Monday, April 30, 2012

Yesterday's Day Trip

Yesterday we took a break from all the tractoring and slash burning and went for a drive. We were looking for a horse camp for possible future rides. As luck would have it the camp is not open yet for the season.

On the way we passed this field full of...

...water buffalo!

We've seen them before while driving this road and I never had a camera with me or they were way off the road.

I could hardly believe it the first time I saw them but found this article about them on-line. Yesterday they were close to the corner by the road so I jumped out to get a picture. Unfortunately they were rather skittish and as soon as they saw me getting out of the truck they started scampering away.

We continued on our way and came to this rock formation. It's called Steins Pillar. The sign explains how it was formed. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

This was taken at the "view point". Next time we go this way I think we'll stop along the road because I think I could have taken a nicer picture.

The road loops through the national forest and we ended up back in Prineville on Main Street. When we got home I attempted to make "macarons". (Not macaroons.) I first saw them when Chuck Hughes made them on his show "Chuck's Day Off". I got the recipe off of the Cooking Channel website. They were very time consuming to make (I had to make my own almond powder for one thing...) Then there was the thing they forgot to mention in the recipe. The important thing like to line the baking sheets with parchment paper before piping the mixture on. Here's the first mention of a baking sheet:

Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch/1 cm round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets. Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles. Let dry at room temperature for 1 hour to allow skins to form.

Did you see any mention of parchment paper? I didn't. So I cooked them and then:

Remove the macarons from the oven and transfer parchment to a cooling rack.

Now it mentions parchment! So my macarons kind of stuck. I had to be very careful getting them off the pan. That's why they are all cracked. Then came the experience of attempting to make the butter cream. Well, let's just say it was a slight disaster that I fixed by adding a packet of instant vanilla pudding.

So my macarons weren't perfect but they didn't taste too bad. They are very rich and I may attempt them again some time in the distant future. But with a different recipe source.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Filling In The Holes

After the close call from yesterday (no serious damage btw) today I decided to work the tractor and let Hubby do the fire.

Here is one of the holes from the stump removal.
And after a few go rounds on the tractor I was able to fill in all the stump holes.  I tried to take the picture in the same location but couldn't see it too well on the camera screen.  This is pretty close though.  You can use the ashes from yesterday's fire as reference.
Well today was a lot more fun than yesterday!  I ♥ my little Kubota!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Danger Of Wind Change During Slash Pile Burning

Today Hubby wanted to remove the stumps from the arena.  I think he just wanted to play with the back hoe.  In any case it fell upon me to burn the slash piles.

It was going just dandy when the wind came up and the fire went sideways.  I jumped over to put out the ground fire that was starting to slowly spread across the brush hog chopped sage before it could get out of control when the wind shifted again.  This time it blew the fire right at me and I got a close dose of fire.  I even heard the sizzling!
Hair trimming by fire.  Not recommended.
Facial hair removal by fire.
Not recommended.
That was a little close!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Slash & Burn

Today was perfect for burning the slash piles in the arena.  It rained a lot last night and all day we got a revolving mix of sun, a touch of rain, overcast skies, then a touch of gravel snow!
Notice the logs I piled after bucking (that means taking the limbs off the logs).
Hubby got the fire going and I used the tractor to bring the limbs to the fire.
 Here's the view from the other side of the arena.
I like saying that.  Our arena!

We got quite a bit done today but there is still lots more to do.  We still have some logs to buck and limbs to burn.  Then there are the stumps to remove and all the ripping, raking, scraping, and smoothing.

Yep, we still have a lot of work to do! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cherries Planted & Some Extra

We planted the final two fruit trees today.  This one is the Black Tartarian Cherry.
This is the Rainier Cherry.  I really hope these cherries grow well. Rainiers are like eating candy!
That leaves just the Sugar Maple left to plant.  I'm still not 100% sure where I want to put it.  The place I have in mind (where my trail splits at the loop) means I will probably have to put a deer protection fence around it until it gets big enough.  

And so it is still in the pot (in the background of the first picture) while I try to make up my mind.  That was the extent of our outside work today because it was significantly cooler and windier.

A good day to make bread!  (This is Farmhouse White Bread from the Farmgirl Fare blog.) 
And lest you think we're all work and no play here's Star and me out having a little fun last Sunday!

As I sit here writing this the clouds have opened and it is now pouring rain.  The weather looks to be improving by the weekend so we'll be able to get back outside soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aspen, Pear, And Apples Planted

This morning I smoothed the area where I wanted to put the quaking aspen trees.
It was pretty rough from digging out the larger clumps of sage brush with the backhoe.  This was before we got the brush hog.  I think I figured out the trick to getting everything fairly level.  As my husband said, "You went over it about a thousand times."  Yes, I did go over and over this small area for about 45 minutes.  But it worked and now it's all smoothed out and level.  No more fox holes to trip in.
I know it's kind of hard to see but the five aspens have been planted. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)  If all goes well then we can get more to plant here next year.   
Another view.
Then we moved on to planting the fruit trees.  We decided to keep them inside the fenced area.  In the corner is the Red D'anjou pear and on the side is the "four-in-one" espaliered apple.  While we were planting I noticed the four-in-one is actually a six-in-one.  The varieties are all semi dwarf of:  Jonagold; Gravenstein; Braeburn; Macintosh; Gala; and Fuji.
We still have the two cherries to plant and the maple tree.

That will be another day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Planting Flowers And Making An Arena

Today I finally got to planting my roses and lavender.  First I had to rototill the area I had in mind for them.
Rototilling:  done.
Time to start raking and planting.
While I was planting and raking Hubby was trimming the large juniper.
My planting is done.  Kind of hard to see here because everything is so little yet.
A little better view.  I planted English lavender (supposed to be frost hardy); the roses are from nearest to furthest (I know you can't tell now anyway...) Sheer Bliss, Double Delight, Angel Face, and Snow Fire. And along the fence line I planted two types of Dahlias:  Spassmacher and Witteman's Best.  They were in a bag of ten from Costco that our last visitors brought for me.
After lunch and a nap I went out and flagged the area I had in mind for an arena.  Then Hubby told me to go get a take and bake pizza for dinner.  When I got back he was almost finished!

On this picture you can see my flags on the trees to the right.
Almost done.
Of course then I noticed I had put a big dent in one corner so I had to run out and change the flags to make it more square and not so trapezoidal shaped.

There is still quite a bit to do before it will be rideable.  Most (but not all) of the trees in the area will be removed.  The trees that are to remain will be limbed up to look more attractive.  And of course the ground needs to be tilled and smoothed.

I guess in about 2 years the flowers along the fence will look half way decent.  Hopefully it won't take that long to get the arena in shape.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Scenery And Wildlife

Well apparently Blogger has made some changes in how we make a new post, so all these photos are actually in backwards order.  But good thing it doesn't matter in this particular case.

We took a little drive and brought a picnic with us and I took a few photos along the way.

This is an outcropping along the side of the road.  It looks like it would be fun to investigate but it is on private property.
I had the zoom on for this one.  It's actually quite a ways away from the road.  This enormous house looks like it is two identical but separate homes joined in the middle by a big entryway.  I don't know if that's really the case, that's just what it looks like from the road.
 And just around the bend and below the above house is its private airstrip!
 A sandhill crane sitting on a nest.
Some cows grazing on the BLM land.
They're so cute!
We had our picnic near here.
A racer crossing the road.  Lucky for the snake that Hubby saw it.
And somebodies remnants from previous hunting.  We think it was a quartered elk that they left the skins behind.  Not too cool IMHO.
Back to "yard" work tomorrow!

The One That Got Away

I forgot to tell a funny story yesterday.  Sadly, it happened so fast by the time I thought to get my camera out it was too late!

Here's what happened...

When Hubby mowed the brush the other day he went over a couple of prairie rat compounds hidden by the weeds.  Apparently this frightened and confused at least one of the little creatures.  When the mowing was all done he took the dogs out to show them the new field.  

The dogs loved it and were running around.  Then it was time to go in and when Hubby whistled for the dogs to rally he saw Gus dart down and grab something in his mouth.  Then he sprinted for the front door.  Just as Hubby opened the door Gus dropped his "prize" and pranced inside the house, so proud of himself.  At that same moment Hubby saw something dart behind the wood box.

We both went out and saw the trembling creature between the woodbox and the wall.  It was a little prairie rat.  We finally managed to get it out but then it went darting around the corner and down the deck towards the back.  We ran after it and found it under the bbq.

Then we managed to get it out from under the bbq when it suddenly made a beeline for the edge of the deck and it did a lemming imitation.  It went sailing about 12 feet to the ground below.  We rushed to the rail and saw it take off for the far beyond, aka across the driveway into the unmowed area.

Unfortunately I don't have the photographic proof, so you'll have to trust me.  We giggled all night about it.

Well, maybe you just had to be here, but it sure was funny at the time! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shaved: Grass & Cat

First thing this morning I took Ollie in to get shaved of her knotted and felted fur. I would have done it last year so it wouldn't have been so bad this year, but as you probably know circumstances just didn't allow it to happen.

Anyhow, then I went home and we waited for a delivery from the Kubota dealership in Redmond. Just before noon the driveway alarm went off and it was our delivery. Hubby had talked to the owner of the dealership yesterday inquiring about renting a mower. They have been thinking of renting implements but still haven't gotten to that point. Instead he showed Hubby a used brush hog and said we could use it and if we liked it he would sell it to us, otherwise just let him know and he would pick it up.

Kind of hard to pass up a deal like that.

The delivery guy (also one of their mechanics) showed us how to hook it up and how to operate it. Then it was time to go to work. Today he mowed the section north of the house.

The finished area. I love it! Next we will grade it smooth with the scraper and probably throw some sort of grass seed out.
I have an area in mind for an arena and that will be next.

Here is poor Ollie with her new 'do. She was done a little later in the day so she is still quite groggy even as I'm typing now. She may be unhappy about the manhandling and going to the vet but she has got to be more comfortable without the knots pulling at her skin now.
And finally today Hubby saw a new bird at the feeder. This is a Brown-Headed Cowbird.
It got a little drizzly this afternoon but I'm still resisting starting to paint the purple wall. We'll see what happens tomorrow.