Friday, May 31, 2013

Computer Problems

I would have posted something sooner but I am not able at this time to download the photos from the SD card.  So I have to find the cord that connects the camera to the computer and attempt to get the pictures in the computer that way. 

Meanwhile I got the second chicken coop/run done and the third coop is well under way.  The mushrooms have been harvested twice more since the last mushroom post, with three or four large mushrooms in each harvest.  Daughter and granddaughter were up for a surprise visit and have since returned home.  Figured out a gate solution for the garden. Applied for a new job, more money, full time regular hours, and closer to home...waiting to hear from them.

Watching a fabulous sunset and feeling good right now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wild Turkey

Hubby finally had some luck while hunting.  He went out on Mother's Day and got a turkey up in the woods. 

Clyde is very interested.

Once he got home he had to check on line to see how to break it down.  It was easier than he thought.  This is the first time we've ever had wild turkey so we'll have to see if we can find some good recipes.  I think it's a lot leaner than farm raised, so maybe a bit tougher.  I think a turkey piccatta might be yummy, or turkey enchiladas, or turkey and dumplings...

Any other ideas?


This year when I ordered my garden seeds and plants I decided to splurge and try out one of those mushroom boxes.  I settled on the regular button type mushrooms since first of all everybody likes them and they seem less fussy some how.

I hate to admit this but we didn't exactly follow the directions to a tee.  However we still managed to be able to produce a few mushrooms.  I had just harvested for a second time a couple of days ago and remembered to check the box again.  This mushroom had been about an eighth this size then. 

I put a quarter in the middle so you can see how big it really is!

I harvested the mushroom and you can see a brand new tiny little button popping up (directly in the middle of the picture, just above and to the left of the harvested mushroom stalk).

Just so you know, these mushrooms are absolutely delicious and in my opinion even a little sweeter somehow than store bought mushrooms. I may have to try these again next year...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fencing Around The Garden

This year we are going to try a traditional garden.  We cleared an area and so far have planted three types of potatoes, garlic, and onions.  Of course one of the problems is the deer that will help you harvest your crop, even if its too early.

So when the potatoes, garlic, and onions started popping up we knew it was time to put a fence around the garden.

We got two 100' rolls of 6' high horse fence and some 8' t-posts.  This may be a bit ambitious for us first time Central Oregon gardeners but that's how we roll -- go big, or ... um, whatever.

Here we have almost finished the fence.  This is Wil and me.

Hubby has returned with a few more posts and Wil and I are coming down to meet him.

The guys took turns pounding the posts in.

I think next year I'll spring for the t-post pounder tool.  I think it will be much quicker and easier.  And safer. (Hubby thinks the fence is going to come down when the garden is done.)

The onions in the back and the garlic barely coming up in the front (from south to north).

The tater line, looking from east to west.

 Our garden, looking from our deck.  The opening is on the left front.  I'll need to make a gate soon.

Now to figure out when to plant the seeds...  Is it going to freeze again before July?  Remember, this is Central Oregon! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Arnold Ice Cave & Hidden Forest Cave

Since Central Oregon is basically one giant volcanic area there are also many, many caves here.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know we have been going around exploring various caves in the area.

Yesterday we decided to see if we could find two caves mentioned in the paper the other day, the Arnold Ice Cave and the Hidden Forest Cave. The article suggested leaving Arnold Ice Cave for more experienced spelunkers and instead check out Hidden Forest Cave.  

The caves are not marked in any way and after a false turn we found the parking area.  The first cave was right at the edge of the lot.

We didn't know which cave this was so we went ahead on down to take a look.

It's steeper than it looks here.  It also appears that at one time this had a stairway that went down into the bowels of the cave as there was a lot of lumber and a partial stair foundation near the top.  Hubby went a little further down to take a look while I stayed above.  The footing was rather precarious.

From the inside looking out.

Hard to see here but there is a hawk nest in the rocks (click on the picture to enlarge).

We figured that first cave must have been the Arnold Ice Cave because it was so difficult to get into.  Then we set off down a nearby trail to try and find the Hidden Forest Cave.  Like I said, nothing is marked and there are lots of large depressions in the landscape that could have caves in them.  After looking into a couple of empty bowls we finally found the right spot.  It was just a very short hike from the parking lot, maybe an eighth of a mile.

We found a big depression and saw the cave, then went around to the other side where a small trail led down into the bowl and towards the cave.

There was only one little spot that was a little rough going, but it wasn't too bad.

Then the trail got really easy.

And it got really pretty.

The entrance.

Inside was a large flat area.  Other people built a fire ring.

From the inside looking out.

The cave itself wasn't really very deep.  It was just like a huge room with a volumnous ceiling.  It was a really beautiful site and would be a nice place to picnic.

On the way back to the truck we saw this pretty little flower. I know it's not an edelweiss but that's what it reminded me of.

On our way home we decided to check out this rock pile.  From a distance it looked like a man made pile of rocks.  I had thoughts of an ancient burial site or something...

But as we got closer we could see it was just a natural formation.

The views were pretty even though it's just desert.  You can kind of see the snow capped mountains in the distance.

On top of the pile.

And then we went home.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chicken Run

I had hoped I would be reporting that the chicken coop/run was done long before this point, but that was just not to be.

We started off pretty well, with leveling the ground.

We got the big rocks to lay along the uphill side of the chicken area.  

I had started laying the foundation blocks using a level.  Hubby chided me and said it wasn't necessary, that it was too much work and I'd end up digging a deep ditch from what he could tell. And besides didn't I want a slight pitch so rain could run off? So I put the level aside and just eyeballed everything.

It started out going well.

But when we got to the back corner we had to start adding shims and extra boards underneath to keep the roof line level.

Then we could see if we continued along that route we'd have to build the front blocks up by a foot or more.  That just wasn't going to work.

So I said, let's do the string thing with a string level, etc, etc. 

After laying the string out with the string level and laying the blocks along the string it looked much better.

I guess the third time is the charm.  This time there were no shims necessary.

Then I got started building one of the coops.

So far so good.

But I was getting more antsy because the chicks were getting bigger and their box was starting to fall apart! I felt a lot of pressure to get at least one run done so they'd have more room.

Then our friends from Roseburg came over and were a big help in getting the coop done.  Here Kathy is helping me put the roof on.

After our friends left I just had a few finishing touches to do and the coop/run was ready to put the chicks in.

Here's the view from the egg box.  A couple of stragglers left inside the coop.

Tonight will be their first night outside.  I think they will be ok.  We will try to lock them inside the coop if we can catch them all.

I expect the next coop in the next run will be a little nicer looking.  As always I learned a few things while building.   First off trust my instincts and don't listen to my husband.  I learned that I forgot to take into account the thickness of the sheathing of the coop (almost 1/2") so by then adding the coop to the run it threw off the my original dimensions. This made me have to make new plans as far as the door into the run goes.  And I didn't have concrete plans for the top cover, so those plans kept changing.  We finally settled on 1" chicken wire.

In retrospect I think I would definitely have the thing more built before ordering the chicks. Part of the blame for that was the ground remained frozen for longer that I expected, so I couldn't start construction when I had originally planned.  I would go more with my original plan and insist on the materials I wanted.  (I had originally wanted to do the entire run in the hardware cloth but got talked into the 2 x 4 wire on the upper panels and the chicken wire on the top.  Now the little birds like sparrows will be able to get inside and eat the chicken food.)

But for now I can breathe a little easier. The chicks are in a much bigger area and I think they'll be a lot happier now.  I know I am.