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Our New Garden Fence

Paul put up a new fence around our garden over the winter. This one is much sturdier than the previous fence and will surely not tip over or allow any deer inside. We also built several raised beds for the garden and installed cattle panel arches over which peas, beans, and squash can grow during the summer. Lastly, we are putting landscape cloth on the pathways and wood mulch to keep the weeds down. The wood mulch will cover the entire garden to help retain moisture and build the soil. As you can see, we're only partway done with the mulch.  I've been recycling milk jugs to use as miniature greenhouses over young, tender garden plants. Green bean seedlings are growing under those jugs. Previously, earlier in the spring, the jugs helped my peas get established. The garden is about 5,000 square feet, making it hard to get a good photo of the whole thing. There is still much to do. Paul built two sets of gates, one at each end. The one below is mainly for if we need to get the tr
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Meet Loki the Rescue Kitten

Loki, the rescue kitten, has joined us here at Vintage Home and Farm. He's the sweetest little guy, very curious, and into everything. At night and in the early morning, he tears around the house, bouncing off the walls and trying to coax our other cats, Grey Guy and Tipper, to play with him. Then in the middle of the day, he disappears, and we find him fast asleep on one of our beds. Below are a few photos of him snuggled up today in our daughter's bed.

February Nature Walk

We went for a nature walk the other day, one that we've taken many times. It takes us past our neighbor's cow field, up over the old railroad bridge, along Morse Creek, and out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. While it was a cold, cloudy day, it had finally stopped raining and the crisp air felt wonderful after being cooped up in the house. We stopped to admire a small waterfall that tumbles down the saturated hillside and follows our path. I loved the bubbling sound of the water trickling downhill. If you look closely, you can see signs that spring isn't too far away. We stopped to take note that the osoberry trees (also known as Indian plum) were forming leaf buds along their stems. The vibrant green ferns stood out in an otherwise drab winter landscape.  I found myself admiring the forms of the barren alder, maple, cottonwood, and oaks that grow in this area. Some grow closely together, while others lean over, stretching their limbs at odd angles, perhaps reaching toward t

Farewell Poof and Big Duck

As you know from an earlier article I wrote about our duck troubles, we have too many male ducks. There are two ducks in particular who are bad-boy ducks. As my husband says, they really love the ladies. But there's too much loving going on, what with them giving attention to the female ducks as well as the chickens. In the absence of any female birds, the boy ducks mate with each other. Big Duck and Poof are the most amorous of the boy ducks, and after separating the three males from the rest of the flock, they turned their attention to the other male duck, Cheese. Poor Cheese. He was getting so much attention that he was limping around. So, we had two rehome the two bad boys. We're happy to announce that Poof and Big Duck have moved to a farm in Onalaska, about three hours away. The couple who took them has a farm where they raise Khaki Campbell ducks. They had put an ad on Craigslist looking for some new male ducks for their flock, and since Poof and Big Duck are Khakhi Camp

Last Night's Low Was 11 Degrees

I just wanted to record the lowest temperature we've seen here, which was last night at about 8 p.m., when the weather station in our yard recorded 11 degrees F. That is mighty cold for this coastal area! We survived the overnight chill, thanks to keeping the water dripping in three sinks in the house and fires going in both fireplaces. The chickens and ducks also fared well enough. I'm not sure yet about our honey bees. I'm not too hopeful that they will survive the winter, as it's been cold so many nights in a row. They are California bees, used to mild winters where they can keep foraging all year. Hope you are all keeping warm.

First Big Snow This Winter

The first big snowstorm to hit our area arrived overnight. When we moved here five years ago, everyone we talked with in town said it never snows here. They said we're too coastal for snow. Well, Mother Nature decided to prove them wrong, giving us an astounding 6-18 inches of snow each and every year since then. Today, the snow has accumulated to 8 inches. The sky still looks dark, leading us to think we may see more. Then, the temperatures will dip into the teens over the next couple of days, something we haven't had here before. There are a few measures we take when it snows or when the temperatures dip below freezing after learning some lessons the hard way. For example, we leave the water dripping in the downstairs sinks at night to avoid frozen pipes. Everything's also insulated way more than in the past; leaving a slow trickle of water dripping is just added protection. We also put a bucket over the water shut-off valve in the yard, so we can find it later on if nece

A Few Updates & Figgy Buckwheat Orange Scones Recipe

It's been a busy December so far, especially with our daughter in a local theatre performance, with every evening filled with practices and performances. We attended her first public performance last night, and it was fantastic! They will continue for the rest of the month. We also had a farm-related issue to take care of a couple days ago, which I have added to our Bee Journal . Most honeybee hives around here don't overwinter well, and in fact, I just talked to someone last night whose friend lost 5 out of 7 of their hives due to the cold weather we've been having. We still have two hives left. I'm hoping our remaining little bee friends can hang in there. Today, I made figgy buckwheat orange scones that I will be taking to a special "craft day" a friend is hosting. The scones came out very nice, especially considering how significantly I altered the recipe. I have been craving the figgy buckwheat scones that Kim Boyce of The Bake Shop in Portland makes. Her