Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flower Power

Front Door

The clemati (or is it clematises?) near the porch are putting on quite the show.
Makes our front entry look just so, especially with the New Orleans lamp.

I've always wanted one, but never had a perfect place at our old house to put one to showcase it properly.
This weekend, a dear friend came to visit and guess what she brought as a house warming gift?

Hooray!  More clematis!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rubber Duckies

We've been getting the ducks out for a swim every couple days.

Though they aren't big enough yet to go out into the pond (they're still working on developing their feathers and preen glands that they will use to oil those feathers.)

After their swim, they spend their days in a pen made from a baby gate with some straw for bedding.
The metal watering trough is almost too small to contain them, so we only put them in there are night.

And, because nothing can every go smoothly, we noticed that Racer is limping. I can't really tell what might be wrong, other than it's not putting weight on the foot...the webbing and toes aren't spreading out when the foot is on the ground. Hoping it's just a twist or a little sore that will heal up within the next week. Otherwise, we are going to have to find out what to do with a lame duck. :(

Thursday, May 17, 2012

shop Local :: Tracy's Roadside Produce

On Highway 164, as you're approaching Enumclaw, there is a quaint roadside produce stand with offerings throughout the year.  Tracy's Roadside Produce is not just a veg stand, but has built a sweet little business with gourmet foodie items and kitschy gifts as well.

Some of their fancy offerings include things like pastas and sauces, flavoured olive oils, local honey, vintage sodas, and jams and syrups for Oregon.  They also carry practical things like hormone free milk from Smith Brother's Farms and eggs from Twisted S Ranch, a local farm down the road, which was the reason for our visit this day.

Of course, the kids will love the candy cart stocked with taffy, rock candy, and honey sticks.  Cookie Monster found these delightful Dilettante chocolate laced honey sticks.  We also found locally made tortilla chips and salsa from a company called Penny's of Auburn and toffee covered peanuts from Totem of Kent.

Predictably, their produce section shrinks in the winter time.  However i was elated to see that the family running the business denotes the place of origin on their produce--most being from the Southwestern US or Mexico.  Right now, the asparagus from the Yakima Valley is in.  Yum!!  I can hardly wait to see what this place is like in late summer when all that produce comes in.  I am hoping a little more of it will be locally grown. 

Tracy's also has a line of their own canned produce: things like peaches, pickles, etc.

It's a great little place to find gifts ranging from food to kitchenware to garden flowers.  And while mom's shop, there is a well maintained play area in the back of the store for kids to enjoy the experience too.

Hopefully as more and more sustainably grown produce becomes available, shops like these will make an even bigger killing.   But just because they don't have organics right now, doesn't mean we can't support them and encourage them to grow in a more sustainable direction.  In supporting shops like these in our area, we can only hope that more of our local produce out here in farm country stays here and instead of most of it being trucked into Seattle's farmer's markets.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's Local :: Enumclaw

Ever since moving to a new town, i have been trying to find the best places to shop in town both to help meet our needs and support our families living out here on the Plateau.  It's a little more difficult, since the one stop shop is more than 10 miles away and the grocers out here are my two least favourite stores of our region--least favourite because of lack of organics, nothing else.  So there are some things that i can buy in these places rather than driving into the city.  And while all of us would love our towns to have prosperous local economies that support and are supported by the surrounding area, that is just not possible in some area's of our country at this time.  So i am trying to keep focus first on the thought that shopping at stores in our area, allbeit chain store or not, supports local families who's patriarchs or matriarchs work in these establishments.

With multi-thousand dollar marketing budgets, chain stores don't need the community's help, beyond shopping for goods in their stores. However, like many small towns, Enumclaw is home to many Mom and Pop shops with mere pennies for marketing, and most of that goes into their signage at the street.

Trying to find these shops or reviews of such online proved futile.

The only way to test them was to try them out myself.

Which lead me to wonder whether i was the only one looking for these places?  Can't be, eh?

One day while visiting one of the sweet spots downtown, i overheard a woman who said she drove all the way from Olympia to get a few flavours of ice cream that they don't carry in her town!  She had no idea what else there was to do in town or where the good shops or restaurants were.

It's inspired me to write about our adventures in living out here.
I will include shops as well as places of interest.

First up will be tomorrow.

Chuckling Adventures

Today, Moose and Cookie Monster let the "chucklings" out for their first adventure together.  They all kinda hang around together still, just in front of the shed where their brooder is.

Everybody's growing up way too fast! 

The first thing that came to mind when i took this photo was a grade school class trying to get everyone settled down for a class picture. :)
Class of  '12
 Our polish chicks are starting to develop their mohawks.

Is this not the sweetest thing?

Well, technically the same could said about this silkie too.

And don't even get me started on how cute these quackers are...

especially when they are going to sleep.

Aawww!  Duckers!

Okay, so maybe i'm not the best person to judge a sweetness contest. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Peek in the Greenhouse

One bed in the greenhouse is coming along real nicely...
most of our starts are moving from one greenhouse to another at this point.

Di Cicco Broccoli

Oakleaf Lettuce
 We've mostly been busy pulling weeds in the Abominable Growman.  The beds are full of grasses and chick weed and some unknown to me wetland type looking blobs.

This bed is really exciting because it's starting to show fruits of our labour.
The Candy and cipollini onions i planted as sets in March.
The French Breakfast and Watermelon radishes were planted last month with carrot seed interspersed. 

Also included in this bed are the tomato starts. 
Boy, they are growing so strong--just within a week!

Purple Cherokee
Needing to clean more space out faster in the greenhouse...my peppers are ready to plant and i've got about 4/5ths of my tomato starts to plant up as well.

Moose also got the garden rototilled this weekend, so we'll be planting that up soon.  We've been getting frost in the morning, so i think i'll be waiting til June 1st to plant most things.  Especially the beautiful heirloom beans i received from a particularly generous acquaintance! :)  Thank you!!  The soil seems to have a high clay content, so we will see how things do this year.  In the fall, we hope to add lots of local, organic Moo Doo to start enriching and restructuring the soils.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mom's Day

Wishing all the ladies who read this a Happy Mother's Day...whether you are a mum to human babies or fur or feather babies. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Fine Art of Duck Rearing

Does homeschool get any better than this?

This morning we took the ducks out for their first outing with Cookie Monster in the grass.

Teaching her to be a good mommy duck didn't take too much time...
and the ducks took to her like they did to their first slugs! :)

Mischievous loved playing "Duck 'n' Seek" with Cookie.

Preening Mischievous the duck

Cuddling with Daffodil the duck

Daffy quickly found out that Cookie's lap makes a good nesting spot.

But you have to be careful with Daffy because this duck will bowl you over and 

shower you with ducky kisses.

Racer is the wild card.  This duck is a scaredy duck.

As soon as you separate Racer from the rest of the chucklings, it peeps it's head off
and runs away from people.

So, Cookie came up with a good, but risky, solution.  She thought if we took Daffy and Mischievous out with Racer, that maybe they could help ease Racer's anxiety and show it how to behave. 

It was a bigger risk, because Rosie the Barn Cat had relocated to the porch and become quite interested in the birds.

But Cookie's idea worked.

After a little time spent playing with each other in the grass near Cookie the Momma Duck :)...

it was time to waddle back into the brooder in the shed.

Git Along Lil Ducklings

Friday, May 4, 2012


We had a rough past couple of days here. 

Thank God, Moose had the insight to check on the "chucklings" before he left for work on Wednesday, or i could be sharing a completely different story.

He found the heat lamp had started the brooder bedding on fire...no flames or anything, but it was smoldering and smoking up the place.  The smell was absolutely horrific!

I dumped a huge plastic bin of yarn in our bedroom and ran out to save the lil' guys.  We brought them into the bathroom, and set up a little critter ER in there.  Trying to get a bathroom heated to 85 degrees F in a house without central heat is an uphill battle, lemme tell you. One i'll be able to annoy my grandkids with someday; "You think Statisics is hard, did i ever tell you about the time when..." :)  With a wall heater and space heater cranked on full and the hot water running in the shower, i could still only get the temperature up to 76F (with 90% humidity though!)  Grrr!  It stayed warm enough long enough for us to run into town for more bedding and a new waterer.  And made me very thankful that we don't live in Florida. :)

The critters have survived thus far, after suffering from smoke inhalation and a few minor burns.  Save for one chick: we will see how life for her pans out as she is missing two digits from each foot.  She doesn't seem to be suffering from the damage, so we were lucky not to have to put her down.

Not certain what to do for them, but wanting to try to help them.  I've been adding electrolytes to their water, serving them cooked yokes and yoghurt, and applying aloe and neosporin to wounded necks and feet. 

We'll keep you updated, but if you don't here see new posts for a while, you know i'm out tending critters and praying my thank you's to God!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In Bloom

The plants are coming to life here at the new digs...

Apple Blossoms

Columnar Apples Make a Beautiful Screen

Lenten Roses Under the Medlar Trees


Wondering What Kind of Plant This Is?

Lemon Balm That is Becoming Naturalised
 in the Front Walk

Naturalised Primroses
 This is an interesting vine growing on the front arbour.
Hoping to find out what it is someday too.

Alpine Strawberries

Bluebells and Some Kind of Daisy?

My Favourite Combination: Lilac and Apple Blossoms
What's blooming in your garden?