True grits

The fennel in our garden is ready to eat. After discovering how much we loved eating it last year we decided to add it to our garden this year.


The picture below is grits soaking which were ground from corn we grew two years ago. Lee is rather addicted to growing dry corn so this year we planted 480 feet of it. He is testing out three varieties with an emphasis on flavor.

Soaking grits

I don’t mind Lee experimenting in the garden because he ends up making me things like shrimp and grits with fennel and mushrooms.

Shrimp and grits

Posted in Gardening | 2 Comments

Four dead trees removed

Late last summer four Port Orford Cedar trees by our house died from a root fungus disease. We weren’t very surprised, since one Port Orford had already died of the same problem in 2012. Our tree guy took two down in late November and finally got back to us this week to drop the remaining two.

Dead Cedar trees

I’m glad these tree are gone as they were way too close to the house for comfort. We have four more cedars by the house that haven’t been affected yet (only two are Port Orford’s). Hopefully they will stay healthy.

Dead Port Orford Cedar

The area where the trees died is a warm season roosting site for Turkey Vultures. At one time I had wanted to use this area as a shade garden. However, each summer vast quantities of poop fall from the trees and coat the ground, thus making it a less than ideal space to lounge.

Boom goes the tree

The nice thing about removing all the dead cedars is that it finally highlights our beautiful Sequoia tree. We plan on acidifying the soil (good for moss/conifers/rhodies and bad for grass) and planting a lot of rhododendrons along with some Dogwoods. Mowing through vulture poop all summer isn’t a job I wish to continue.

Sequoia tree

Posted in Cleanup, General | 5 Comments

What’s in the garden?

April is officially over and soon it will be time to plant warm weather crops. Is there a veggie plant you always have to grow? We can’t seem to live without garlic.

Muddy kid

Currently, we have the following crops in our garden:

Cheddar Orange Cauliflower
Vitaverde Cauliflower
Bilko (Napa) Cabbage
Dinosaur Kale
Finocchio Fennel
Veronica Broccoli
Assorted greens
Copra Onions
Walla Walla Sweet Onions
*La Ratte Fingerling
*German Butterball
*Mountain Rose
*Yukon Gold
*German Red
*Unnamed variety from a friend

Posted in Gardening | 4 Comments

Fence line clearing and building

The north property line fence was finished this February. We had very mild weather this winter so I cleared a lot of blackberries and Lee took down a lot of wild hazelnut trees. Sidney got overdosed on cartoons one night and we threw up the wire field fencing by flashlights and headlamps.

Field fencing

Behind our house was a section of old horse fencing interwoven with blackberries and thorny Purple Robed Locus trees. We cleared that all out (other than a few sticking up stumps we need to finish removing) and later this summer we will put up a new fence. It’s all about child containment now.

Fence removed

On the east side of our property we have an old Cottonwood trunk that is covered with blackberries. We had never completely beaten back the blackberries to our neighbor’s property until now. The tree is holding back a sea of more blackberries but that cleanup will have to wait. If we finish ringing the back yard in fences this summer, then the east property line fence down to our neighbor will be next on the list.

Old Cotton wood tree

Posted in Cleanup, Farm Structures | 4 Comments

Raspberry relocation

Lee dug up the raspberry patch and moved it yesterday. It’s been in the same area for five years and has done diddly squat. We think the lack of thriving is caused by the deer. At least we hope so as otherwise we stink at growing raspberries.


Another reason we moved the raspberries is they were in line with a new fence we are building this summer. I call it piece of mind from all the, “where did the child just go?”

Old raspberry trench

Posted in Gardening | 2 Comments

New baby chicks

Last winter we barely got any eggs so it was time to get some new chicks. The new peep cheepers are in the brooder house getting fat and sassy.

Baby chicks

Posted in Livestock | 1 Comment

Breaking ground

The summer garden is officially started. Woohoo!

Tilling the garden

Posted in Gardening | 5 Comments

Tasty garlic in my belly

We planted six varieties of garlic last year and somehow they managed to survive. I think I weeded them twice and watered and side dressed them once with fertilizer.

Garlic drying

The six varieties we grew were Elephant, German Red, Blanak, Duganski, Susanville, and Chinese Early Pink. The Chinese Early Pink was the most disappointing of the bunch as they never thrived and grew small heads. Maybe they would have liked more pampering than we provide.

We’ve grown garlic lots of times before, but lost our two nameless varieties to weeds and rodents in the spring of 2013. (We were busy with a different project.) The six varieties this year were an attempt to find some new favorites. We’ll probably scale up a couple these in the fall and try a few more varieties for good measure. Anyone have recommendations?

Posted in Gardening | 5 Comments

Kitchen progress

Work has been steady over here and projects are starting to get close to wrapping up. The kitchen is nearly complete. The counter tops and window sills were installed last Friday. They are Silestone composite quartz.

silestone composite quartz marengo

The pulls and knobs were attached on Saturday. I have no idea why our builder was there on a Saturday.


The tile back splash was installed Tuesday.

Liquid marble tiles

We went with “liquid marble” subway tiles to continue the monotone theme for the kitchen.

Pulls and knobs

After cooking on a wood stove and hotplates (balanced on a washing machine) for six years, we are beyond excited to finally have a usable kitchen.

Interior wall of kitchen

Posted in Renovation | 10 Comments

Misadventures in water

They came. They drilled. They left a huge mess.


But sadly, they did not find the water we were looking for. The whole point of this exercise was to find rust free water. All of our neighbors have clean water, but apparently our whole property is sitting on a slightly deeper bedroock which is criss-crossed with rust deposits. At 80 feet, we were getting 7-8 gallons per minute of green-brown slurry. It seems far worse than our existing water, so we are just going to replumb our current well rather than use the new one. I’ve been looking into backwashing iron filters. Anyone have any recommendations?


There were two further insults after we finished drilling. The first was that the rock was so crumbly we had to add a liner or it might have collapsed upon itself and become completely unusable. It’s rusty, but I’d still like to keep my options open. Maybe a hand pump? The second insult was a letter from the Oregon Water Resources Department. It turns out that there is a separate “well recording fee” in Oregon, added in 2009, to be paid after the well is drilled. That’s a total of $525 in fees to put a hole in the ground. Yay! At least we get to keep the pools of rock slurry.


Posted in Renovation | 13 Comments