Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday motivation

monday motivation

I can't believe its independence day this weekend! My favorite! We're going to have some early fire works, a cook out, root beer floats and popsciles. Sounds good to me! It's only going to be 88 degrees...

It was been hot all week with no end or rain in sight. I have no motivation to get anything done this week. I have phone calls to make, things to mail, nothing I feel like doing. We're getting close to our first anniversary on the farm, that means it's time to review and reasses our needs, policies, goals and future plans. Being a grown up isn't all the fun sometimes.

I did a grand total of zero rows of knitting this week. And will probably get a total of zero done this week. Oh well. It can be a write off and thats ok!

What are you plans for the long weekend?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Photo Friday

juvenile and adult

Every time our field is cut, the eagles come out for an easy meal of (I assume) field mice. Next time I will be prepared, this is the best shot (zoom in) of a pair. There is a nest at the end of my property that has at least a nesting pair and I'm guessing this juvenile.

This weekend is going to be hot! The long range forecast is hot. The coolest will be in the mid 80s. We have no A/C, there will be lots of playing in the hose and in the dark. The kids don't seem to mind, I don't do too well with dehydration.

This weekend I don't think we have any projects planned! My hands are getting itchy to do some painting though. I'm dying to paint Nature Baby's room but that requires an extra set of hands to watch the kids. We have a weird hall/closet area that needs a freshing but

The Chickens are 16 weeks!

A lot has happened in the last 2 weeks. The Girls have been busy. Yes, I know there are two boys in the group. I still called the flock 'The Girls'.  

pullets and ducks

The berry field next to us has decided to use sound machines to keep birds from eating their berries. It started as a combination of alien abductions and birds dying. Well, that was just great for 17 hours a day. A week later they added more dying birds and raptor calls. There is now noise... constantly for 17 hours a day.  I get it, birds eat 30% of your crops. Do what you've gotta do, but do it properly. Playing it constantly for 17 hours a day isn't doing anything. Only using sounds without bird netting, scare crows and scare tape doesn't work. The chickens got over the noise in about 2 days, so did the starlings and crows that I watch FLOCK to the berries everyday. That's the down side to rural living, we are zoned for agriculture and "farm noise" is exempt from noise laws. 


We took down their temporary fence, now they have free reign. There is about an acre for them to explore and they, of course, choose the one place I don't want them. They spend a lot of time on the driveway near the barn, and near the house. There is poop everywhere. EVERY WHERE! I put up a bit of chicken fence to keep them from roaming to the neighbors yards, they don't care. 

Red Sex Link

Fence? What fence? You can't contain us!

Red Sex Links

One of the Rhode Island Reds is a tiny one. She is about 2/3rds the size of the other RIR girls. I suspect that she is Droopy but I can't tell anymore. I wonder if she'll lay teeny-tiny jellybean eggs. We'll see, hopefully these girls start pulling their weight soon. 

11 week ducks

The ducks have decided that they are not runners. They are flyers. They fly from the coop to their chosen foraging spot. Fine by me! They fly about 50 feet, 5 or 6 feet high. I had a dream they flew to the river to be free! We'll see if that happens.

khaki campbell rir

Ragnar has been crowing. Full on Cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. He's got the whole weird stance and everything. He has yet to do the "danger is near" cries. Those will come. He needs to protect his ladies. If I'm too slow in the morning to let them out, he lets me know. 

Rhode Island Red Rooster

RIR Rooster

Faux Roo is an actual Roo. He some how hurt his leg and has been hobbling around a bit. I haven't been able to catch him to inspect without him running away. I don't want him running, I'll have to bribe him with treats and take a good look. I hope it isn't anything serious and he just fell off the roost. He isn't usually standing like that.


We lost one of our Buff Orpingtons, we suspect it was an eagle. All that was left was two piles of feathers right by the field. We've been on high alert since. We're thinking about fencing them in, but thats not really what we want. We're looking at different methods of keep them out of the grasp of predators. The eagles have been out in force. I suspect it has been teach the young

Crazy Legs is our remaining Buff Orpington, her legs stay straight every time I pick her up.

red sex link
Nancy Drew has lost her tail feathers. A few jerks ducks pulled them out. Those ducks... She's embarrassed.

16 week pullet

In the last few days we've seen coyotes in the day time, and they are starting to get closer to the house and The Girls. A few evenings ago, a coyote was hopping around in the field have some mice tapas, and (I suspect) heard or saw the chickens. He scampered closer and closer and Scribs went out to protect The Girls. The coyote skulked around and watched the girls. Scribs skulked around and watched the coyote. The coyote either lost interest or smelled Scribs and lost interest. The kids were still awake, that means it was before 8 p.m. the kids were up. We've been on high alert since, especially since it's been around in the day time, when the kids are out. 
It was back this morning around noon while I was out with Nature Baby. It was in the field, but I wasn't willing to let it get any closer. We watched with binoculars and waited. Lucky for him, he went into the bushes. If he comes after The Girls we will take action. 

Cockerel and pullets

You can see Faux-Roo is getting his iridescent tail feathers and he's MUCH bigger than the girls. 

...I've rewritten this 3 times, every time Nature Baby some how erases it. First time was much wittier, I swear! I'm going to do the chicken updates every other week. At this point, until they start laying, there isn't too much going on. I have a ton going on, but they're just kind of doing their own thing. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Motivation


Holy! A bit of radio silence on my part. We had a busy, and a bit difficult week. The berry field next to us started with their bird-scaring sound machine. It sounds like a combination of crows being murdered and alien abductions. It's LOUD and plays every 30 seconds for 17 hours a day. It's a bit much.Oh, and guess what! It doesn't work. The birds are sitting the fields not moving and I assume chowing-down on delicious berries! Needless to say I've been a bit frazzled with the noise torture.  I'm hoping to be a bit more on top of things this week! There will be a chicken update on Friday. Scout's honor! (I'm not a scout of any kind, does that matter?)

This week, hopefully I'll be able to get some knitting done! I'm this close to finishing one baby knit, but by the time the kids are asleep I'm so tired that following the pattern seems impossible.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June garden update

June update

Things are moving along in our little garden! We have tomatoes on the plants, spinach ready to eat, even some little beans and peas! I've thinned out my corn, moved some zucchinis and tried again for eggplants. One tiny purple pepper is clinging to life! The brussel sprouts are still going strong and the carrots are getting nice big green tops.

June update

June update
The weed situation between the rows is getting out of hand. I pull 1 and 30 more pop up. I don't have the time to get it all done. What's my solution? Mulch. Specifically, grass clippings. I've got mountains of them. Maybe it'll help, maybe not. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and I've added a ton of organic materials.

June update

The slugs are under control. Thank you to everyone that suggested Sluggo.  That stuff is magical! And now there's a new enemy - Aphids. Those little gross jerks are destroying my cauliflower. I didn't notice (or think to look) until one plant was looking sickly. I mean it was looking bad! I thought it needed more water, upon closer inspection it was over run with aphids. Out comes the diatomaceous earth again and we'll see what happens. I've been using Neem oil too. The Neem oil has been working but it's a battle! The plants are starting to close up, I think that means we're growing heads. I hope so!
June update

I'm not going to lie, the whole thing is starting to seem overwhelming and starting to look hopeless! Pity party for one, right here! I keep telling myself it's my first garden, there's going to be some bumps in the road. It's disappointing when all your hard work seems to be for nothing. Most of the peppers have died, I've lost 2 cauliflower plants so far, 2 corns that were doing well aren't, the eggplant won't germinate (I've planted a dozen seeds. I'm guessing I got a bad bunch), microgreens more like invisible greens. I only have 1 broccoli left and most of the squash aren't doing anything. I'm starting to think it's me, too much water, not enough? who knows.

My last little broccoli still hanging in there.

These two were planted at the same time. What gives?

June update

June update
We have lots of tomatoes of every variety!

June update
 Every time I start weeding the carrots I get scared that I'll pull the carrots instead.

june update
June update
My one enormous zucchini and pumpkins.

Brussel Spouts seem to be doing well, no aphids or slugs. I'm sure theres something just waiting to jump out at me. 

The peas and beans have been struggling. I have more that have just sprouted. 

We've been enjoying spinach almost everyday.

What do you think? Any advice? How's your growing season going?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Motivation

farm morning

How was your weekend? We were busy as usual! We had a lot of do and managed to accomplish most of it. The lawn is cut, shelves are built, barn and chicken coop are clean, some weeds have been weeded and for one brief, glorious moment the laundry was all washed, folded and put away.

This week Scribs is away and I have this silly idea that I'm going to get a million things done. The house will be spotless, the garden will be immaculate (HA!), everything on the to-do list will be done. Let's be real, that's not going to happen. It's going to be hot and I'm not getting anything done. 

I would like to hang some new curtains, and there is some wasps that need tending to (murdered). Thats about it. 

What are your goals for the week?

Friday, June 12, 2015

14 week old chickens. These girls aren't peepers anymore!

The girls were eager to get out this morning. They didn't even wait for me to fill the tub and waterers.

14 week Red Sex Link

Not too much new to report. Ragnar is working on crowing, one of the ducks insists on flying out of the coop and into the water, scaring the other duck whom then runs through the fence. Nancy Drew gets a little obstinate at bed time. I put her in the coop, grab another chicken and she's back out again. Silly chicken.

flying leap


Khaki Campbell

The elusive Cuckoo Chanel has made an appearance outside a few times a day for the last 2 days. She finally gets it! 

14 week pullet

A neighbors dog was standing watch the girls the other day. If it's from the house I think it's from then they have free-range chickens (and dogs. Don't get me started on that one!). I'm not overly worried about it. I do need to go over there and have a neighborly chat about keeping their animals and themselves off my property.

On to the pictures!

14 weeks

around 4 months

These girls are becoming more and more chicken like. Poor Peepers doesn't come out much and when she does gets chased around by Nancy Drew. Maybe once they have more room they'll be better. They are fine while in the coop. I can't wait for these girls to start laying.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Elephant Hawk Moth in Washington State

I am so beyond excited about this! May 26th, I was playing with A, and saw something on the deck. I had no idea what it was and went out with just my phone. I came back in and got my real camera and snapped these photos. 

After some googling trying to figure out what the heck it is I got in touch with Merrill Peterson of Western Washington University. I'm so grateful and excited that he got back to me. 

That little beauty is an Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila Elpenor). It isn't supposed to exist here, and from what I've read hasn't been seen in Washington or the United States. How amazing is that! 

From Mr. Peterson 
"The species is a relatively recent invader, and tracking the rate of its spread would be helpful, so your observation would be great to add to our database."
From this PNW moth site

Deilephila elpenor is an attractive olive-green, pink, and black large (FW length 26 mm (n=1)) Eurasian sphinx moth that was discovered recently in the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia.  The forewing is typical in shape for the family and is smooth olive to bright green.  The costaterminal area and fringe, and the oblique straight post medial and subterminal lines are pale to bright pink.  No spots are evident.  The hindwings are bright pink with a black basal area and white fringe.  The head, thorax, and abdomen are olive variably tinted with pink, with white lines on the lateral tegulae.  The pale antenna is club-like.

This moth is easily identified by its olive-green and pink color and large size.  It is only likely to be found near Vancouver, British Columbia, but could conceivably spread to other parts of adjacent British Columbia and Washington since its food plant is widespread and common.

Few if any immature stages have been discovered in North America so morph variations are unknown.  In its original European habitat there are both brown and green morphs.  Later instars can telescope three of its thoracic segments into the first abdominal segment to enlarge anterior eyespots in response to a threat. 

This exotic Eurasian species has been discovered at one site in North America.  It prefers open sunny wetland habitats near creeks and marshes.

Pacific Northwest
The only Pacific Northwest observation of this species was at Pitt Meadows east of Vancouver in southwestern British Columbia.  It is unclear how the species was introduced or if it has started to spread to other areas.  It has been suggested that this moth was released deliberately by an amateur entomologist, but this has not been substantiated.

I'm not an Entomologist, but I do understand how an ecosystem works and the disasterous potential of a foreign species being released where it doesn't belong. This has been a great teachable moment for the kids, even though they are too young to understand the potential consequences of one little moth. When they're older they can say we found one of the first (if not the first) Elephant Hawk moth in the country. 

W.J. Turner of Washington State University had this to say about it

"Your images of the hawk moth seen at your home were nicely done. They seem to show the elephant hawk moth, an recently introduced species to this area. From Wikipedia, I see that British Columbia is listed as one place of occurrence for this species. Lynden, WA is not that far from Vancouver and I am pretty certain that the moth cannot recognize international boundaries! Once introduced, many insects spread from the initial area to other places close by and even farther. It is not unusual or unexpected that this species now occurs in western Washington. As for your action at this time, enjoy the opportunity to see the critter first hand. By now your specimen has probably departed under the cover of darkness. Do not be surprised the see additional individuals attracted to lights around your home. This species is now probably a permanent member of the moth fauna in your area. "

Check out PNW Moths I have learned so much about different species already.

This is what can happen when you look at the world around you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Some friends of ours are having their first babies! Two couples each having a baby, not one couple with multiple babies. The first squishy snuggle bug is due at the end of the month and the second isn't until September. Good thing I just started working on these projects, leaving it until the last minute.

For the first time a long while I'm excited about knitting something! I'm about halfway through this Eli Dress . I'm using knitpicks wool of the andes Worsted on size 7 needles. I'm pretty happy with the everglade heather color way. I'm kind of a jerk not using yarn thats machine washable, but I guess they'll just have to deal.

For some reason I seem to be incapable of reading this pattern correctly. I've had to rip back sections at least 3 times. The pattern is written straight forward but I must be too tired to read properly. Or I've been too distracted by Game of Thrones. Can we talk about John Snow for a while? Anyways back to the point...

Knitpicks WotA

I have 2 other baby things to knit after this dress. I love knitting baby things, they're so quick. I'm always tempted to make things I want to make with cool construction like this, (I want one in my size) but I always end up opting for things that non-knitters will like.

knitpicks worsted WotA

Speaking of knitters, how do you get good WIP photos? Do you block it? This morning I had one heck of a time trying to get a decent shot of the leaf details.