Blog

Thankfulness

Whoa!  Where did November go? We had a crazy month!  Matt went to a solar class in Los Angeles, I went to Africa for 3 weeks on a trip of a lifetime (more on that later) and we lost our beloved ranch mascot Angus.  It was a roller coaster of emotions.  I’m still processing the grief over losing my baby (5 years old!) to bone cancer.  Life does indeed go on, but it will certainly look different now. Enough about sadness, let’s get thankful. The weather has been very mild, thankfully!  We have been able to get a number of …

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What I love about wool

Given a certain animal rights group’s campaign against wool these days, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love wool. First lets talk about sheep.  My sheep have a really great life.  In fact, I think the horses are probably jealous of their nice sturdy, dry, warm barn when  the wind is howling and it is below freezing – don’t worry, we are working on that.  They have food in front of them 24 hours a day and all the fresh  water they can drink.  They freely roam, choosing whether to be outside or inside.  A sturdy fence and …

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Heritage Breed Conference

Last weekend I attended the Heritage Breed Conference in Santa Rosa, California.  This conference is hosted by the Livestock Conservancy and this year it was ‘Everything Sheep’.  I attended some great field trips and workshops – including one on targeted grazing.  I learned so much about pasture management and intensive grazing, lots to implement on the farm in upcoming years.  The talks were very informative, covering everything from marketing to shearing to livestock guardian dogs.  Every one of them seemed to have a topic that was applicable to me.  There were great opportunities to network with other sheep lovers, exchanging …

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Reflections

What happened to fall? Actually, what happened to 2019? As usual we had a lot of farm projects planned for the year.  We use a quarterly planning method where we sit down at the beginning of each quarter and list the things we want to accomplish.  If there are any unfinished tasks from the previous quarter (duh! always!), we decide whether we want to carry them over or postpone them.  We also take time to talk about the things we DID get done and give ourselves a proverbial ‘pat on the back’.  Overall we did pretty well – we got …

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Shave Em to Save Em

We are so excited to be participating in the Shave Em to Save Em program through the Livestock Conservancy.  This initiative links producers of rare fiber breeds with fiber artists in order to bring attention to the conservation of heritage livestock breeds. What is a heritage breed?  Heritage livestock breeds are those animals that were raised by the early settlers of our lands.  They are from all over the world and represent a critical piece of history for their country of origin.  These breeds are facing extinction in part due to commercial farming practices which cross breed for specific traits.  …

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And then there was a farm…..

It was a long cold winter Scraping a completely offgrid sustainable farm out of dirt is no small task – even without the challenges of the harsh north Idaho climate.  When we purchased our initial 50 acres of bare hay field in October 2015 it sounded so simple. As time as marched on – we find ourselves 3.5 years in with a lot accomplished and a lot left to do. We began living on the farm full time in October 2018, our house in town sold faster than we expected.  We moved into our very small and very old camper …

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Cover Crops

Early season straw mulch and clover cover crop.                         Benefits of Cover Cropping My husband and I were fortunate enough to enroll in a course sponsored by Cultivating Success (http://www.cultivatingsuccess.org/) and Rural Roots (http://www.ruralroots.org/) back in January 2016.  It was called How to Start a Sustainable Farm in Idaho.  This fantastic course was spread over six Saturdays.  The agenda topics included everything from developing crop budgets to various livestock species.  Throughout the course, we were developing our whole farm plan which would be the initial guiding document for our …

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Ubiquitous Baling Twine

If you feed animals hay, it is inevitable to acquire a large amount of baling twine.  You know how it is….it’s everywhere.  You stuff it into bags and throw it in the garbage, only to feel guilty when you hear the stories of osprey with it tangled around their feet because they used it in their nest.  It is a fact of farming life.  I wish someone would invent biodegradable baling twine. Really, I do!  My husband and I like to try to live as sustainably as possible, so finding ways to recycle things we generate as part of farm …

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Spicy Pepper Boats

This time of year, easy supper recipes are critical for me.  We are often out late working on the farm and I need something that can be quickly prepared or prepared in advance.  Being of eastern European descent, stuffed vegetables were a staple for my family growing up.  I still love them.  This is a recipe adapted from my Paleo Stuffed Peppers – it has a lot of spice, so tame it down if you don’t like heat! Prep time – 20 minutes, Cook time 15 minutes (more if they are coming from the fridge). Ingredients: 4 large colored bell …

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Early season extension

This year was our first attempt at season extension. Since we are all about recycling and reclaiming materials, we incorporated that into our strategy. Last summer we scored a bunch of used tractor tires from a local farmer. They have to pay to dispose of the tires, so he was super happy to let us haul off as many as we could fit on our trailer. At the time, I didn’t have a solid plan for what I would do with them but it has evolved over the winter. Growing up, people built elaborate tire structures to grow tomatoes in. …

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