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The gangs all here

From left to right, Butters, Kirby and Malcolm, in a moment of harmony.

Last week, our cat Malcolm didn’t show up to come in for breakfast. He had been a bit whiny for the last few days. I couldn’t remember when I had last seen him the day before (the cats have a cat door so they can let themselves out – but not back in, after one too many live mice in the house incidents). I called for him and searched the yard, but almost immediately suspected he was gone. He’s spent most of his time in the past almost 7 years either eating, sleeping near me or sitting in my lap. He was always the first one to came in for breakfast, if he even went out at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Babies!!!!

We generally like to have our American Blackbelly Ewes give birth in March. The weather has warmed up enough by then that we don’t need to worry so much about a newborn getting chilled, or mama being stressed enough that she decides she doesn’t want another mouth to feed. Because sheep have a 5 month gestation, that means that we put our ram in with our ewes in early October.

But not last year. Kenny, our beautiful ram, had only one fence between him and his girlfriends, and he had been pining after them for MONTHS, and so he promptly rammed his rather substantial head and horns against an inadequate wooden fence post until he broke the post. That, along with the bottom of the fence not being well attached, and in he went with his girls in early September. Read the rest of this entry »

Snow Farm Implement

First snow. When it all seemed charming.

Years ago, I took a summer biology class at the Mountain Research Station near Nederland Colorado. During the course of that wonderful week, there was a conversation with our instructor, in which she was talking about an old friend of hers, who used to do work at the station, and was now suffering from Alzheimer’s. She would go to visit him, and ask him questions about his past, to keep him engaged. At one point, she asked, “What’s your favorite season”. And his answer has always stuck with me, these 20+ years later. “WINTER, because it’s so dynamic!” I try to remember this, as I witness how snow transforms the landscape, softening edges, hushing the noise, insulating the world from all insults. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall LeavesWow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

barberpolewormBarber pole worms. A phrase I was familiar with, but only in a passing way until a few weeks ago.

We recently weened our flock of lambs, at approximately 10 weeks of age, separating the ewes from the rams. We had a total of 21 rams, two adults and 19 lambs. (Once again, we had a hugely skewed sex ratio this year, about 75% male). We now have 10 rams total. We lost a ram a few weeks ago. He was small. It sometimes happens. We didn’t think a whole lot of it. Then a few days later, we lost another one, and I started calling our vet. They basically told me, “we’ll just send the pathology out to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) at Washington State University in Pullman. Cut out the middle man and talk to them directly”. So, two Thursdays ago, after several “let me transfer you” phone conversations, we found ourselves driving to Pullman with a lamb that we didn’t expect to make the trip (he didn’t). Results were extreme anemia and presence of Barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus). Read the rest of this entry »

Hobbit Hound Charlie

Because Charlie has such big feet, my husband has started calling him the “Hobbit Hound”.

So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »

…and then maybe the lion eats your liver.

Lamb FamilyIt’s been an interesting month here at Miles Away Farm. Starting in late February, we started to have new lambs on the ground. The first was born February 26th. We had 17 bred ewes. We ended up with a total of 28 lambs. We would have had 32, but for the following: Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_0303watermarkMarch is baby month. We started a bit early this year, with the first baby born on February 23rd. (We put the ram in with the ewes on September 26th, so right on time, 4 months and 28 days later, our first lambs were born). We have a total of 17 ewes and 2 rams. All of the ewes should be pregnant. Most ewes will have a single their first year, and twins the following years. Which means we’re gonna have a LOT of babies. Read the rest of this entry »

Kirby Curious

Camera strap!

We had been looking for a new cat for a long time. We have two cats. Both rescues of a sort. You can read Malcolm’s coming home story from September 2010 here. We have no idea how old he is, but he’s probably older than Butters. Read the rest of this entry »

Robin Eggshell Find

I always feel a bit like a small child who has found a small miracle when I find one of these. From a just hatched robin nest, no doubt.

Today was a perfect day to be a farmer, and a homesteader, and a business woman, and a human alive on the planet. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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