Long Break Update

I guess I missed the last two weeks on the blog. There has been quite a bit going on here and I just didn't get around to it.

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The first week, Michael and I were on our anniversary trip. We flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove from cute little town, to cute little town until we got to Portland and flew home. The whole trip took 7 days. It was fabulous, fun, tiring, and memorable.

The first day we walked the Muir Woods trails, sat on the beach and hunted for shells at Muir beach, and ate an amazing dinner at Stinson beach. That night we stayed in a very rustic B&B in Bolinas. 

At Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California. 

At Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California. 

Every day seemed more amazing than the last. The redwoods, camping on Sunset Bay, the secret botanical gardens next to it (!), the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Cannon beach, coastal farm towns... It was a blast! 

Though the kids did a good job taking care of the garden and animals, there was still a lot of catching up to do when we got home. Cleaning, harvesting, loving on everyone; there's always something to do!

 Since then, we adopted 10 beautiful hens from our friend's flock. She was downsizing her heritage chicken business and we got some very nice layers from her. It seemed all our other chickens needed was some competition to remember how to lay. Our egg production has gone up 3 fold since the new arrivals.

One of the new hens. A blue Amaracauna.

One of the new hens. A blue Amaracauna.

In my flower garden, the watchman hollyhocks I planted last year and the coreopsis are blooming. I planted both of those specifically to use for dying yarn or cloth. When they started blooming I knew I wouldn't have time to do any just yet, so I dried the blooms.

Watchman hollyhocks with coreopsis in the background.

Watchman hollyhocks with coreopsis in the background.

Just yesterday I got them in jars with some natural Moreno sock yarn for sun dying. To make this work, I took the dried flowers and put them in fabric tea bags, filled the jar halfway with cold water, added a bit of soda ash and iron oxide (made from soaking nails in vinegar and water), and then the yarn. Set in the sun, shake daily to make sure the dye hits everything equally, wait at least a month, rinse, hang your loose skeins dry. I can't wait to see the results.

L-R: coreopsis should make yellow, onion skins- pink, hollyhocks- lavender or blue. 

L-R: coreopsis should make yellow, onion skins- pink, hollyhocks- lavender or blue. 

Michael and I have been toying with the idea of raising a few goats not just for milk, but also for meat. It would be ideal for us if we could supplement our meat rations here on the farm. We thought about how we could make that happen to the extent that we wouldn't buy any meat at the grocery store, but we just don't have that kind of room here. We couldn't accommodate a herd of cattle on pasture, but a few more goats is doable. Someday, maybe a pig. 

The Western Montana Fair is happening this week. We will be going down tomorrow to see if there are any boer goat breeders we can partner with for breeding our milkers, and maybe bring home a couple new boer does. We will have to see.