Sunday, September 30, 2007

Big exciting saturday!!!

Duane Van Dyke of One Mile Shires agreed to help Chief and I with our training and boy am I grateful!

Saturday morning I was wide awake at 5am and my chores were done by 7. At 8:30 when My friend and neighbor Holli graciously showed up with her trailer, Chief was groomed, warmed up and ready to go. Chief and I have done lots of ground work but this was the day to introduce him to actually pulling weight... a little different then me ground driving him. Chief loaded very well it was like he knew this was a big day and he needed to trust me and things would be a-ok. Duane's place is about 5-10 miles away and down right stunning. We turned down his drive over a little wood bridge and then up along a big open pasture where we where greeted by about half his herd. His shires are beautiful and so happy and content.

Duane has been training and working horses all his life and is from a family of folks that farmed with horses. So needless to say he is a pro and well beyond the ego nonsense and just does what's best for the horse I found him firm, kind and very balanced.

He started by helping me to fit chiefs harness and equipment and getting him in a popper bit. It was fun to watch him pulling together bit's of this and that finding just the right pieces for chief and explaining to me the why's ... and then he even to fired up his forge and shape a hook for my single tree so I had everything working perfectly .. I was blown away... it was pretty neat and the kind of custom fitting that no tack shop could ever give me...

Then we started in. Duane first then me with each step...We did some ground driving and I got some more direction on driving then when chief got comfy with that Duane let down the chains, followed by the single tree and chief was great he was very brave and really gave everything his very best! We where doing all this in an area that was VERY rutted with big clods of dirt, deep furrows and holes so chief had to really work and pick up his feet. It was a challenge but a good one. I was also good for me to be very conscious of where I was walking while driving him. Then Duane attached the "tire" to the singletree which is a tire he has outfitted to work as a training tool and boy it is good!

I love this shot because you can see some a duanes herd cheering on mr. chief

These photos are of chief's first go with the tire with Duane riding one the tire which let me tell you - he makes it look very easy! It's not at all... It's kind of looked like water skiing on really choppy water with no tow rope to lean against in fact all his balance is on his feet on this uneven grounds and bouncy tire all while steering... it's was pretty cool to watch... I didn't even try it.. I got the beginners version of the hay bale on the tire and drove chief from that which was really fun: ) .. it was such a rush to actually get chief to this point it's been a along time coming!! and I feel like Chief was really mentally ready and really rose to the occasion... So in the next weeks I'll be going back to Duane for more training, refinements etc. and in the mean time I'll be putting some more miles on Duane's training tire till I can rig up my own.

I have deep appreciation that the world still has people like Duane in it - open, kind, and generous.

Thank you Duane for helping chief and I find a new job together and Holli for hauling our butts around : )


In other news we've started to get rain and it feels like fall is really here.. I've pulled out all my rain gear and quite frankly I'm pretty relieved. This summer was a ton of work and I'm glad to have a rest.

The wood is all ready, we have plenty of hay and the freezer is stocked. I feel down right prepared for winter. The garden is still producing lots of bounty and the new fall crops are all coming along including the cool weather lettuces yummm I was sad when the summer lettuces stopped being sweet.

So as I sit here happily typing eating homemade cauliflower soup while Brian is at the winery punching down and dealing with cold sticky grapes... burrr I feel a little bit guilty... This rain is no good for harvest but we are all crossing our fingers that we get another dry week or so after this storm.

Stay warm and eat well

the new pigs are growing up fast as pigs do... The're also finally warming up to me : ) which is nice .. they ate out of my hands today for the first time

(one of the roses I propagated from napa this particular one used to be outside my studio and smells sooo sweet : )

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Big Table lived up to it's name last night

Last night we had a dinner party. It was a pre-harvest dinner party celebrating many of the amazing folks we've worked with and become friends with since we've moved here! Every one brought amazing wines and seemed to really enjoy.

We started with the garden...

we beheaded many broccoli and stole every last tomato for our favorite tomato bread salad. The hens gave us their eggs for the raviolis, ice cream and wild-blackberry tarts.

Our late pigs gave us pancetta that went into a beet and pancetta dish and the main event was a brisket which we smoked all day it was yummy! ... the party went late there was of course cigars, whiskey, many dessert wines and spirits that were touched by those we know and love.

The house was a sight this morning... but the good kind of sight that reminded us what a great night it had been...

Life is good and the dishes are all done! Thanks all who came and we'll do another one soon ...


Friday, September 14, 2007


Well I've finally gotten back into my studio ... after a busy spring and the whole broken arm thing... whew wasn't sure I still knew how to paint... I 'm thinking I may try to post paintings rather than photos for a little while just to see if it helps me keep on this roll I seem to have gotten myself on : ) ... here's the first three inspired by my garden harvest ...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

why my horse is like cabbage

They where both misunderstood...

At this point I'm not claiming to understand Chief.. but I can tell you my eyes where opened a bit last night to how wonderful Cabbage can be..

I grew a bunch of cabbage this year ..It's been patiently waiting in the garden looking perfectly gorgeous... saying "hey what about me what am I chopped liver?"... so I figured it was hi-time I started braving the cabbage .. To me cabbage was one of those poor man's vegetables that I just figured wasn't very good I mean really "slaw" who wants to eat "slaw". Truth be told I only grew it because I love the way gardens look with a row of cabbage.... little did I know how wrong I was to underestimate The Cabbage... !!! and "slaw" for that matter...

I NOW LOVE cabbage ! and I've only made one stinkin' recipe...

I found this super easy recipe on epicurious and used the cherry tomatoes from the garden which or course made it extra nice!!

I'd recommend getting your self some cabbage and giving it a whirl... BTW it says serves 8 well not if your me : )

This is the dish the next day and even MORE deliciouses!!!

cabbage and tomato slaw with sherry-mustard viniagrette

1/3 cup Sherry wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup olive oil
12 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (from about one 2-pound head)
10 green onions, thinly sliced
12 ounces grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved (I used extra tomatoes)

Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Add cabbage, green onions, and tomatoes; toss to coat with vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. Toss before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The care and feeding of clients versus animals

  1. When an animal asks for something they are clear about what they want. Bmwahhh “I want some of those apples on the other side of my fence” and if I give them the apple they don’t say "why did you do that I wanted the pear from your kitchen counter” they say “umm thanks” and rub their head on you…
  1. They are easy to schedule …they are there when I call them .. right where I left them.. I don’t have to leave them a voice mail and wait for them to call me back.
  1. Animals pay their bills on time I’ve never had a chicken say the eggs in the mail.
  1. They don’t bully me. If they do they don’t get dinner not the other way around.
  1. I don’t have to pretend to be nice to them.
  1. Animals can’t write e-mail.
  1. There cute.
  1. With animals the expectations and deliverables are very clear.
  1. Animals wait if I’m late.
  1. They can’t spell and don’t care that I can’t either.

Monday, September 10, 2007

blog update - no more comment log in...

Hi all just a FYI - I just made it so if you want to comment you don't have to log in I got some feedback from folks and figured out (took all of 2 min : ) how to change that setting... so comment away free of logging in... : ) .. .oh and if I didn't get it right let me know that too ... thanks c

Saturday, September 8, 2007

lots of "goings" on the farm

Where to begin... I'd say with a note of gratitude...
This time last year Brian and I were living in different states and trying to buy this place which seemed to be slipping away at that time... and here we are a year later wow.. I feel blessed!...

So here's "mighty might" our new-old john Deere crawler that only turned left when we bought it... an month or so ago... Brian being so amazing managed to get him running great ... and so with a (new to us) mower brian and mighty might have teamed up.. and we'll let's just say they are putting the goats to shame... but the goats will still have a job on the really steep terrain... but Brian has been getting after the scotch broom and it's exciting to see our hillside starting to be revealed...

Our Fire wood stacks for this winter are really shaping up ... Josephs help this summer got us going and now Brian and I have added more.. Brian has as improved on the palette system by using some steal shelves that we salvaged from a trash heap out side a staples that was getting re-modeled.. what a score : ) ... the palette system Brian has devised is quite clever of course - with the fork attachment for "Maggie" we can drive brian's wood palettes to the burn piles.. where we pull out the logs chainsaw and split them and stack them on the palettes .. then the palettes get driven to the winter storage and then again driven to the house for use.... the beauty here is the wood only gets stacked once!! and if you've ever heated with wood you will appreciate the time saved with that : ) ... I also got lots of tractor driving experience the last week or so I think I like driving mighty might better than Maggie... I think it's a combination of being closer to the ground and lower chance of tipping over... : )

I addition to being warm we will eat well this winter as well ... I've been filling our new chest freezer with anything that will keep from the garden. I was also inspired by our friend Maggie - (no relation to the tractor : ) and have done some canning as well... and everything else we've been enjoying while it lasts... It's been really amazing to eat meals right out of the garden along with our own pork and even home made pasta with our eggs... some day a glass of wine from the hillside... again truly blessed!

These next shots are Brian carving up our ham that he made from one of our pigs... it was pretty darn tasty!

Many thanks again for all those who weeded and planted in our garden during the broken arms... I think of each of you as I dig potatoes pick tomatoes and gather bunches of basil!! thank you....

cantaloupe : )


garden bounty and some canned apple sauce from our trees... : )

veronica - cauliflower family pretty fun vegetable

the Broccoli I've learned keeps on even after the firs harvest... gotta love an overachieving vegetable like that

and my cutting flowers.. can't eat 'em but sure are nice to look at : )

The fruit trees are going like gang busters with more fruit than I know what to do with so far I've noted about 4 kinds of pears and a few different apple varieties... the pears are small but super sweet... chief knows which trees to go hunting around under for his breakfast... I'm not sure if I be able to can too many this year but we'll see... we certainly have been enjoying eating them much to do so little time...

So now on to the livestock news... I've put the new hens in with the layers and everyone is getting on just fine! Doug the rooster showed a surprising acceptance routine as I put each new hen in .. he sort of shooed each one individually into the flock it was really very sweet... of course he pecked each one first just to say "hey pay attention I'm in charge here... now go over there with the other girls..." now we have 50 hens! it's quite the flock...

Then there was an unexpected surprise two days ago I had one black hen that didn't want to stay with the flock she kept going off on her own and disappearing for days at a time... and then I saw why .. she was sitting eggs and produced 12 of the cutest little chicks i ever saw!!! there living in chiefs stall for now after the chicks get a few days older I think I'll move the new family out to the garden...

I hope it was Doug who fertilized blacky's eggs our other roster Percy is not quite the stock doug is... : )

after several hours and way too many wheelbarrow loads I got he pig pen totally stripped down ... then I put in about 6 loads of wood chips and a bale of fresh straw ... it looked nice enough for me to curl up in quite frankly... then I went and picked up our next two girls from a local pig breeder a small family operation about 4 miles away ... these girls looked good.. I'm thinking we may have to re-visit perry and platus for thier names.. john you may have to weigh in again...

Last but not least Mr Chief and I have been working towards a new job for chief... he's taking to the harness well and so far so good I've done the first part of his "breaking" to harness and ground work. I have spoken to a local horse farmer and trainer and hoping to meet him this coming week to talk about next steps and get a little guidance for chief and I as we go forward...