Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I went to Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my girlfriend's family. I ended up getting snowed in. It was a scramble to find people to watch the goats, but I am so blessed that I was able to find friends and neighbors to pitch in for a couple of days. I ended up spending a couple of extra days and it was wonderful.

There was a one day break in the storms and I was able to make it home. All the animals were safe and sound. Then a new round of storms hit the inland Northwest. I got more snow and high winds. Still have electricity though.

There are four foot drifts in the driveway. I got the tractor stuck trying to dig them out. I am practically snowed in again here. It was much more fun being snowed in with a beautiful woman than it is being snowed in all alone except for the animals. I'll have to chain up the tractor, get it unstuck, and plow the rest of the driveway tomorrow.

Geese are flying over the Palouse. Pretty soon I'll be out to set up a hunting blind and decoys in the hayfield. I can hardly wait.

What a gift it is to be living in such a beautiful, wild place. Despite a touch of cabin fever, I wouldn't trade it for a million bucks. Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seasons changing

It's steel head season. Especially now that I've filled the freezer with a deer. I'm still waterfowl hunting as often as possible too though. In fact, it won't be long until the geese and mallards will be flying over my hay field. At that point in the season I just hunt in the back of the house. It's not quite as exciting as going up to the lakes, but it's a whole lot easier.

We are having a huge blizzard right now. The highway is closed and I am snowed in. I managed to get out to town to go to the hardware store this afternoon and the roads were pretty bad. I'm not surprised that they closed it.

I nailed up some plywood over the old windows in the barn to keep the worst of the wind out from where the goats are. They seem to be keeping warm enough by curling up together. In fact, the barn cats were sleeping with the goats when I went out to check on them last night. I'm just feeding them lots and keeping them out of the wind. I've been going out every couple of hours to break up the ice in the water trough. There is no power out at the barn to hook up a heating element for the trough. If anybody knows of a solar powered heating element for a watering trough let me know.

I'm going to have to haul hot water in 7.5 gallon jugs out to the barn in the morning in the tractor. The water trough will be frozen solid by then. That will not be a fun chore in -20 windchill weather. The chickens usually do OK, although I haven't checked them since this afternoon. I may put a heat lamp in their coop tomorrow when the temperature really dips.

I have been blessed to meet a wonderful woman. She is such a gift in my life. She, and all my other great friends, are such a blessing in my life. Stay warm everybody. Winter is here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wind Storm

I had a huge wind storm here the other day! 85 mph winds, lightning, rain, and hail. Wow! It was scary. I had a window blow in, a tree come down, and power lines across the road. I had no power or water for almost two days. It was a couple of long and sleepless nights. The neighbor's barn roof blew off and pieces of it are scattered all the way to my property a mile a way.

The intensity and stress and lack of sleep really knocked me out of commission. I am finally getting back to a more regular sleep schedule, hopefully, and trying to get caught up. I had to miss teaching for a couple of days.

I was fairly well prepared and the event helped me see a few areas where I'd like to be a little more prepared. I'd like to have an extra propane tank on hand for my outdoor stove. I'd like to have a generator to power the freezer for a couple of days. And I'd like to actually have put water in my 55 gallon food grade emergency water barrel. That's right, I have an emergency water barrel, but I had been wanting to clean it out with some baking soda to make it smell a little fresher. So when the storm hit, the barrel was empty. Now that the power and water are back on I'll make sure to fill it.

I am so grateful that the power is back on, that the big tree fell away from my house, and that all my critters are safe. And I am truly blessed that I have such good friends who helped me and prayed with me during this stressful time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love never fails

"There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13

I realized that I hadn't posted very many pictures of Maggie the princess. She is queen of all she surveys.

I had a splendid day yesterday with a new friend. We walked around the mountain artist community of Joseph, Oregon. Had a leisurely lunch and hiked to a waterfall in the first snow of the year. It was stunning. I am filled with hope, and faith, and love. Hopeful that our friendship will continue to grow and flower. Full of faith that God will guide us. I am feeling so truly, truly blessed. I am filled with gratitude for all the love and grace that I have received. What a truly wonderful day. Have a blessed Sunday.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I canned the sauerkraut last night. It spent about three weeks in the crock fermenting. It is amazing. In the last three years I've only had one successful batch of sauerkraut. This is my best kraut ever. It's crispy and tangy. I had sausage and sauerkraut for dinner. What have you canned this year that has gone particularly well?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pickled sprouts

Up close and personal with some pickled Brussels sprouts. Yum! I've never pickled sprouts before. I think they will be good. They certainly look good. As much as I have grumbled about my garden this year, I have been blessed in the brassica department. Lots of cabbage, broccoli, and sprouts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cowboy guns

I'm not personally into assault rifles although I don't mind if you are. I do like "cowboy" guns though. Here are three lever actions in classic calibers. A Marlin 45-70, a Winchester 30-30, and a Henry .22. I've hunted with all three at various times.

So many hunters are using guns that are scoped to shoot at 300 yards, but I've rarely shot at game more than 50 yards. Only this year's deer at about 125 yards and that was barely within my comfortable range for an ethical shot.

I'm doing some late night cleaning and may even get around to canning some pickled Brussels sprouts. I enjoy them in some V-8 juice. Minus the vodka please.

I had a major gas leak last night. I couldn't get in touch with the propane company, so I eventually called the fire department. They said one spark would have blown the whole place up. I was pretty stressed out. I usually don't stay stressed for long, but last night just threw me for a loop. Luckily I was able to talk with some good friends both last night and this morning. Said a few prayers. A little "please" and a lot of "thank you."

I calmed down by this morning and was able to go and teach for a while. It was good to get out of myself and focus on helping someone else. Nothing like being of service to get your head on straight. It is such a blessing to have a job that allows me to be of service to others in such a clear-cut way.

I am so blessed to have such good friends that are there for me when things are crazy. And trust me, things were pretty crazy last night. Well, back to cleaning and canning.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A new friend

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." Anais Nin

Well, I have made a new friend. It is a fresh, new, exciting time. Meeting her has been such a blessing. Wondering what new world will be born.

Fall in the barnyard

After what seems like a whole week of clouds and rain, the sun came out. The barn cats were out and playing. The chickens looked less forlorn. The goats seemed pleased with the change. And I was loving it. I'd rather it was either sunny and hot or cold and snowy. Cold and rainy is just not my favorite.

I cleaned out the goat barn today. I always let the goats wander around the farm while I clean. They don't seem to get into too much trouble. They climb on the tractor, eat evergreen trees, chase the cats... They just act like curious goats on a new adventure. Carissima has been getting out occasionally, but she doesn't go far. She is just there waiting to get her treats and get put to bed in the evening when I go out to do chores.

Colleen is going to come over and sight in her rifle to go deer hunting Sunday night on the property. It will be nice to see both Colleen and Luna. I haven't seen them much lately. I plan on going duck hunting on Monday unless I am up late skinning Colleen's deer.

I spent a relaxing day working on the farm today. Just puttering around going from one task to the next. I picked up some windows to put on the goat's side of the barn. They'll need them come winter. Which is probably right around the corner. Tomorrow will be a busy day with Mass, meeting with friends, more farm work, then hunting with Colleen. I am so blessed.