Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mighty Stewart... and OW!

How could we say no, to this face?

This is Stewart. His name is of Scottish/English origin and means keeper of the house OR steward or manager of a household or estate. Quite appropriate it seems for a dog who'll hopefully watch over our farmstead whenever we are away.

So far he's not only handsome, but of excellent disposition, and eager to please. He cried a bit his first few nights here, but he is already settling right in, learning Fergus's quirks and that kitties are a big no-no!

Here Fergus is thinking, good golly, I was never that goofy!

At any rate we now have our hands full again, potty training for starters!

It was another "meant-to-be" situation with the dog. We've discussed to death what exact breeds we would be interested in, and finally determined to hold out for a very specific Rottweiler, German Shepherd mix.

J happened to look at lo and behold here was a litter, right in our area at the Alternative Humane Society, specifically both parents mixed of those two breeds. They wanted us to come by the next day and see them at a place not more than 2 miles from our house. Stewart was the last pup they had, but was the least dominant of them all, which is exactly what we were after.

Maybe Fergus does have a little goofy left in him!

***This next photo is not for the faint of heart, so consider yourself warned! ***

J had a fatty lipoma removed from her arm this Tuesday. It's been pretty painful, but had to be done before it got any larger. Here's her arm in all it's painful glory! It's feeling better today finally. They are biopsying the lump, just in case, but quite certain it is benign. The surgeon will take that bandage off after 5 days.

It makes me hurt just looking at it!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lots of news, not much time

We've made some big changes around Seven Trees. Mostly personnel changes. Luna is no longer with us, and it was a sad time for us all. Chappelle went to live around the corner with another goat and a nice farm family. With Stella the cow coming here soon, there just isn't enough goat forage for everyone. So Chappelle moved while the family's kids were at the fair, so they could come home to a surprise. We still have 27 or so little chickies, only they aren't as little any more. The 3 old red hens are now free ranging with the goats, since they are pretty much done laying eggs and are too mean to put in with the new red hens.


We have added a baby. So far his name is Stuart/Stewart, but could change as we've only had him a couple hours and haven't gotten to know him yet. As Luna aged, we knew we'd need another big dog, and had been researching and checking out likely breeds. With so much going on right now, we also had decided to wait til the rains start to get serious about it. Well for some reason I looked at a local shelter website and saw a little of Rottie/Shepherd puppies available. Those 2 breeds were at the top of our list, but purebreds of either can have issues, let alone expense and finding a good breeder. One problem with mixes from a shelter is that sometimes they just label a dog according to their best guess, and it could grow up completely different. But these puppies were purposely bred from Rottie/Shepherd parents, both mixed. So the babies are a nice blend of the 2 breeds, not just a random cross. The shelter people liked our application, and though the litter was all spoken for yesterday, some people had cancelled. So tonight I stopped at a kennel just a few miles from home where they were being fostered, and brought home a little boy. So far he misses his family, but Fergus loves him and they are starting to play. Now we get the fun of housebreaking and "no kitty" training, but I'm sure he'll learn fast.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get some pictures up tomorrow. It's been a hectic week, with one of us getting some kind of bug and the other heading for minor surgery in the morning. Lots of canning done, off-loaded a cord of wood, worked on the chickie pen, moved a hay stack and so on.

I sure hope winter makes us slow down a bit...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Here's what we did when I had a few days off.
Got the egg-nest attached, sided and the coop mostly done. Just needs the chickie ramp and another coat of finish. Baby chicks are resident and doing well.

And we went hiking. Winchester Mountain this time. Say hello to Mount Baker! The vista was stellar on what turned out to be a particularly clear day.

Goat Peak.

After a 2.5 mile hike to the Twin Lakes (shown in picture), then we started up the trailhead to Winchester peak. Here's a shot down on the lakes when we were finally getting close to the top. Did we really hike all that way??

A snack at the top, by the lookout. You can camp inside on a first come sort of basis. It had some amenities, and we sat inside in the shade for a few when we first reached the top. We also signed the guestbook, "Seventrees was here!"

Can't go any where with out a pan-handler showing up. Here she is sharing some healthy seed cake from the local coop.

Further mugging on top of Winchester by the lookout flagpole with Mount Baker in the distance. 360 degrees of awesome mountain views.

Here's the peak from back down below. It had been 1.9 miles to the top. Once down, it was still 2.5 miles back to the car on a scorching hot day, so over 8 miles round trip.

We're both still recuperating from this one... 2 days later!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Little peepers!

Fresh from the post office...

A box of cute...

These little cuties go from running around, eating & drinking, to sound asleep in about 2 seconds. Amazing to think they were born yesterday, and popped onto a jet from the hatchery in Minnesota. They are Speckled Sussexes, a heritage breed from England.

You can bet we'll have more pictures as they grow. We'll keep a rooster and maybe 6 or 8 hens for our laying flock, and the rest will be raised for meat.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crunch time!

The baby chickies will arrive tomorrow morning. So naturally there are millions of little details we need to take care of between now & then. We've been working non-stop on the new coop, and it looks great. Now it's time to put in the heat lamp and baby chick feeders etc.

We've also been critter wrangling, trying to get the new & old hens used to each other. We ended up segregating them in pens next to each other. But we're getting 3 eggs a day often now! The new herb bed up front has 16 feet of it dug and a few herbs planted. It's been so dry, each new plant means more hand watering. Ugh!!

So while we're running around like the proverbial headless chicken, here are some gratuitous critter shots...

Yoda says Mark the Evil Parrot is strong in the ways of the dark side.

Newt, being cute, as usual.

Mother & son, hanging out, chewing cud in the barn.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bronco Berry and the New Chicks on the block!

Berry thinks he's a bonafied bull-bronc somedays. Here he is pitching an imaginary rider, while a concerned mom looks on.

We don't have the heart to tell him goats can't be broncs in rodeos... and that he's been neutered. Poor, poor Berry.

After a hard day of being rowdy, even the toughest baby goat needs some love from mom.

These are the New Chicks on the block. Two Red Star hens just starting to lay at 4 months old that we got from a gal thinning her flock.

They are just recovering from the trauma of our attempt at having them live right with the old Rhode Island Red biddies who didn't give them a moments peace... Usurpers!

The solution was to give the new gals the coop area, so they had time to settle, and move the 3 old biddies out for a time. Honestly the biddies are sooo mean, it maybe for good.

The new gals are so much happier a check of the nest box shows that they promptly laid an egg.

Here the biddies are with a temporary shelter made out of a left over framed roof panel from some other application and a bit of straw for a laying area and bed. To them it's just a fun camp-out.

And tough as nails... here's one already making the perfect spot to lay an egg. We found they seem to prefer laying in these kinds of places, even over their nest boxes anyway.

The next step is to feed at the fence-line between all parties, so they have to see each other at mealtime, but no one can clean anyone elses clock! Or hog all the food...

Who knew adding a few new hens would create such a ruckus!

With in 10 days or so, the new 7-trees built chicken house will be complete and the real stars, our Speckled Sussex, will be shipped from Strombergs. Of course they probably won't lay anything until next spring. Until then it's up to the New Chicks and Old Biddies.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Baby Squirrels...

When I got in to work for my shift yesterday... we had a squirrel drama unfolding. A call had come in about a squirrels nest at least 60 feet up a tree, from which babies were jumping.

Those responding found mom-squirrel a good day dead or more, at the base of the tree. There were several of her off spring who'd jumped also dead from the fall near her. They must have been desperate from hunger. While rescuers were there trying to sort out what to do... a couple of the remaining babies still in the nest, shreaking for mom, also jumped. None of those survived the drop.

A sheet was duct taped to chairs and made into a trampoline, basically to catch any other babies who leapt. Three remaining babies landed safely on this before I arrived for my shift.

The last to bail from the nest ended up back at dispatch until wildlife rescue could come pick her up. So needless to say, we all took turns comforting the baby, and drizzling a little water in her mouth with a damp papertowel.

Here she is doing some exploring of her new friends. Have to confess that she was covered in fleas! So as she crawled along we killed any we could see.

Safe and warm. She liked being close to us. Especially officer friendly.

Eventually we got her to nap in her box for a bit.

Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation were the ones who responded, and who will rehabilitate all of the cute babies. We've been assured they'll get released when they are ready, in the same area they were born. Maybe we'll see them again as grown up squirrels.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hide & peak

We finally decided on a dayhike to try - Skyline Divide If you click on that link, you'll see pictures of what we thought we'd see, since it was a nice mostly clear day morning when we left. But as you can see from our actual photos, sometimes the mountains just don't wanna play. We also thought it would be a fairly "easy" hike, only 2 miles to the ridge crest, with alpine rambles to charming little Chowder Peak. There were stunning meadows of wildflowers, humming with bees and bugs of all kinds. The black flies weren't too bad thanks to the dry weather, and it wasn't terribly crowded even though a Volksmarch was doing the same hike that morning.

We didn't factor in that there was a 1700 foot elevation gain in those first 2 miles. But we perservered and even made it to the top of the peak. We had a snack and waited a bit to see if the clouds would blow away, but they didn't. So back down on our by now achey shakey legs and off to the North Fork Beer Shrine we went. They brew in 126 gallon batches, and you can get a growler (1/2 gallon jug) for take out. Our choice for the night, their red ale, was fantastic!

Tomorrow is the big freezer day. We bring home an itty bitty chest freezer to help cope with the enormous amount of food our tiny patch of dirt is putting out. And one of our neighbor's keeps giving us produce as can we refuse. So this weekend is all about pickles and zukes and blackberries and chard and green beans...oh my! The peas are about done and our corn looks kinds funny. I think the dirt didn't have enough "stuff" in it. This fall it will be bulked up with homegrown cow poop, fava bean vines, luscious homemade compost, and what I like to call "$hit cake"- the layers and layers of packed straw, hay and goat poop that was compacted where the manger used to be. I've been slowly hauling it to the compost pile where it riles up all the other humus-producing goodies quite nicely.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where Newt is cute...

Here you see Newt behind the cedar shed, on a stack of snow tires weighted with a chunk of concrete. She actually stayed while J ran and grabbed the camera. Amazing.

And here's baby Berry claiming the high ground. You shall not pass!

What a spoiled brat!!

Happy Wednesday!