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Showing posts from February, 2010

In which a bunch of seasonal employees are added to the staff

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The menfolk are doing something...?

Aha! The new sign for the entrance to the farm! (I intentionally blurred out the numbers, just in case any of those interwebular stalkers are stalking around here).
But, hold on a sec. The sign is up, it's pointed towards the road, and Jim is attaching something to the back.

A roof! He's putting a roof on the back of our farm sign. And under the roof, he is hanging a little condominium for our newest farm staffers:
Orchard Mason Bees! Jim and I learned a lot about these native pollinators, and we decided to invite some to live with us on Haiku Farm.

Here's cool stuff about mason bees:
* They are native to our region, and are not affected by whatever mysterious ailment is killing \european honeybees worldwide. * The males will hatch first; the females hatch a few days later, mate very soon after emerging, and then start nesting a few days after that. * The bees will work, pollinating the flowers and trees in the orchard, for about 4 to 6 wee…

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories : the Hummingbird's Story

This is the "signature story" for the storytelling radio show hosted by Jim and me and another friend. We always finish the program by telling some version of this story, which we originally learned from local storyteller Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald . --A


Elephant and Hummingbird

Early one morning, an elephant was walking through the jungle when he saw a hummingbird ahead on the path. The hummingbird was lying flat on her back in the middle of the path, with her feet sticking straight up in the air.

"Hummingbird, Hummingbird," cried Elephant, "are you okay? Are you sick, are you injured?"

Hummingbird looked up at the elephant. "Hello, Elephant," she said. "I'm okay, I'm not sick or anything. I just heard that the sky might fall later today, and so I'm ready to hold it up."

The elephant couldn't help laughing. "Oh, Hummingbird," said Elephant, "you are so tiny and little. You can't possibly hold up the sky …

In which Fiddle decomposes an old song, and we see flowers

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I got new shoes today, oh boy!I had some boots but then I got to trade....and though some folks think shoes are badWell, I just have to laugh.Check out my photograph.
It's really true that Fiddle strides out better with shoes than she does barefoot or with boots. The photo (above) was taken when Fee was a green-green-green 5-year-old, at a Standardbred playday in Canada. She'd been under saddle with me for about 3 months at that point. Notice that no feet are touching the ground. (You can also see in the picture that she will land heel-first, which some of the more adament barefooters assure me doesn't happen with a steel-shod foot.)

I had errands to run this afternoon, so Fee was turned out in the pasture after her appointment with the farrier. When I got home and hitched up the truck to the trailer, she met me at the gate!
Out we went, for a quick jaunt into the swamp before the sun went down. The salmonberry bushes are beginning to bloom! Spring cannot be far away.

Wild c…

In which the Middle Swampland County Road Crew brings a toy for the goats

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The road crew has been working along our road this week, clearing out ditches and taking down trees and branches that compromise the road.
We don't have any such trees on our perimeter, but our neighbors do. When the trucks stopped at the neighbors' driveway and started taking down branches, I walked over to say hello...and to ask for some of the chipped wood they were creating from the scraps of trees.

"Sure" said the guy, and I showed him where to dump the woodchips.
When I got home last night, there was a gigantic pile of FREE woodchips by the pasture gate. Hurray!
The goats immediately claimed the pile as their very own toy."Oh, hey, this toy tastes terrific!"
"Whaddaya mean, I'm not supposed to eat it? I'm a goat. I eat stuff like this."

"...and stuff like this..."

"...and possibly, even...

...stuff like this!"


To a goat, the whole world is a playground, and everything we do is just adding toys to it.

Life is good.

In which I am an opportunistic heliophile in winter

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It's been five days, and the sky is still blue and full of sunshine.
I went up to the North Swamplands to visit my family for the day. I am genetically disposed for opportunistic heliophila--my mom and dad love to be out in the sunshine as much as I do--especially in the winter!
Luna isn't much of an athlete, so Mom and I took her and Mimsy on a walk on a nice flat trail at Tennant Lake park.
Don't let the waves of golden grain fool you--this grass is growing in 2 feet of standing swampwater. The trail is built up so that it stays dry (mostly).
We didn't actually walk on the trail in the photo (above), because it was under a lot of water. I took the photo from the top of this observation tower:
At the foot of the tower is a fragrance garden designed for the blind--very cool and also very pretty.
Later in the afternoon, Mimsy and I still had some energy to burn, so the two of us ran up the Fragrance Lake trail up the side of Chuckanut Mountain (yet another hill named &quo…

In which we go up and down some hills, and Willy makes a nice dinner

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With sunshine in the sky again today, Jim and I took the mares a little farther afield.
Heart Lake is a neat little trail system maintained by the city of Anacortes around "Mount Erie" (another hill labelled as a mountain by out-of-towners making early maps of the area). I am always grateful for a tall mounting block at trailheads. It's a long way to the top of this mare! The trails in the area are pretty, steep, and pretty steep. Not up to Trail Master Standards, for sure--there is a lot of washout and exposed rock, as a result of trails built too steeply for the slope. We did notice some blue flags in the woods marking what we hope is a re-route of an especially washed-out trail, so maybe the parks department has gotten tired of clearing bad trails and is ready to make some good ones. We can hope.
Pretty. The parking lot is waaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom of the hill.

More pretty. I didn't take many pictures because we were under the tree canopy for most of the rid…

In which we have lofty goals, sunshine...and a logging operation

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With a blue sky like this, there's no way I could stay home today!

Fiddle and I are tentatively entered for the Limited Distance ride (25 miles) at Home on the Range this year, and we both need to spend more time on the trail. (I know, I'll be brave).

The goal today was 20 miles or 5 hours on the trail, whichever came first.

However, we reckoned without this:


In about a minute, the machine--which looks like a gigantic brush cutter--cut down 6 trees. I didn't get a photo of the cutting machine because there was no safe place to stand and take pictures of it. I shot the video of trees falling from about 1/2 mile away, and could feel the *thump* vibration through the ground...even though I was sitting on my horse! Trees lay where they fall. We saw the next stage of tree processing a bit further down the trail:
We heard the processor working at the top of a hill, so we trotted up to see what was happening. At the end of the swinging arm is a motorized pencil sharpener--the machine…