Thursday, February 28, 2013

Strawberry Bed

I was out in the yard yesterday looking around at the stuff that still needs to be done. I posted pictures of the area we need to build the block wall. Well today I am going to show you where I am going to start a new strawberry bed.

Above is the location I am going to put the strawberry bed. There is already a small bed there now but I will be digging the old strawberries out and splitting them. I also have some new ones coming in March so I really have to get busy and get it done. Has to be done in between storms.
I will be using some old lumber that we have left from when we tore down our old deck off of the house but was still usable. I plan on building the bed the size of the wire cage you see in the picture. The cage will fit over the top of the bed. This is to deter any mouths (deer) that tend to wander and munch through our yard at night when it is dark. Also hope that it will keep the birds from pecking at the fruit this year. I will post more pictures as I go.
If you are interested in building a raised bed yourself, I have put some plans in the gardening section of our blog. I do recommend that if you put your raised bed on you old lawn or grassy area you put several layers of old news paper or cardboard down first. Also I would extend it several inches past the edge of the boards. This is to stop any weeds or lawn from growing into your new bed and you won't have to dig it out. It will take several months for the paper to break down, but by the time it does the weeds or old lawn will not be viable then and the seeds you sow will grow right through the paper. Then you can put some kind of bark mulch or what ever around the outer edges of the bed and this will stop the weeds from coming up around the outer edge of your bed.

I was looking at our Lenten Rose again and noticed that it wasn't quite as tall as it was last year but still as beautiful. I believe there are more blooms on it this year.

Such a beautiful flower.
Until next time, Happy Gardening.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Making Progress

Despite all the rain and snow, Don and I are making progress on the upper garden area. It is starting to look really good.
As you can see by the picture below, we have it pretty well leveled out. Still have some more raking to do, but that will come later.

We did get 4 apple trees planted and one Asian Pear. The Pear is closest to the greenhouse because that is closer to the Asian Pear in the garden below the rock wall. The Apples include a Fuji, a Liberty, and two Freedom Apples. I also moved the Forsythia and the Lilac bushes that were up by the filberts down to where the big stump is behind the rock wall. We couldn't get a stump grinder here to grind the stumps so I am planting bushes around it so we have to walk around the bushes and will miss the stump (hopefully) in the process as well as hide it.

In this picture you can see the bank wall in the back. We just ordered 3 pallets of block and will be building a block wall along this edge to stop erosion and of course for looks. I can hardly wait for the block. Don't get me wrong, it is a lot of work stacking the block but the center garden in the yard needs to be finished and then when this wall is done it well look sooooooo good. I will take more pictures as we go. After we get the wall built we will finish leveling out the rest of the garden and then probably put some kind of mulch in the bed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Ghost delivered her kids for this year, a couple of beautiful doelings. Now the only Nanny left to deliver is Brownie.
 The doeling in the above picture is a little bigger than her sister and weighs in at 9 pounds. This girl is a little darker in color
This doeling is the smallest of the two Ghost delivered, she only weighs 8 1/4 pounds. Both kids appear to be healthy. We have them in the stall along with their mother right now, keeping the heat lamp on so they don't get chilled. So far all the babies this year have their daddy's ears. I tried to get a picture of Grizzly, their daddy, but he wouldn't hold still long enough.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Just to complete the blog Janice entered this morning, I am adding the pictures she had not taken yet. This first one is of our newest baby born this morning of Daisy, a little buckling of 11 and 1/4 pounds. He is a big boy and already eating well. We actually took three pictures of him, but he is a wiggle worm, so two of them were blurry.
Then there is Flash who was the instigator of the freedom movement this morning. Looks pretty proud of his accomplishment doesn't he.
And of course Dancer had to egg him along in the escape attempt, and just to have some fun.
She is looking pretty satisfied with herself also.
Tonight we go to the local Bee Keeper's Association meeting, Should be interesting. Janice and I have both read the books that came with our new Bee Hives, "Backyard Beekeeper", and liked it quite a bit.We now have everything needed to start, except the bees.

My Morning.......

Let me tell you how it went this morning. First I thought it would be like usual, fairly easy morning. You know, do the chores and sit and have a cup of coffee and read the blog. WRONGGGGG. I went out to feed the horses and Mr. Houdini opened the gate, this was expected because he had been practicing for some time, I just didn't realize how close he was to succeeding. This morning was the morning and he was a very happy camper and Miss Dancer was just following along like usual, and like most horses they like to play games with me, like run away when mommy comes. Well they meandered through the yard and when I was trying to catch one they took off up the right of way. They did that before and it was very hard to catch them so we used some dead trees and put across the right of way for a temporary fix. This temporary fix stopped them this time and Dancer decided she better come peacefully. She let me catch her and I put her in the pasture. Mr Flash wasn't having any of it and was still playing games. I finally got him in the pasture with Dancer because he wouldn't leave her behind. OK got the horses taken care of next on the list the goats. Went into the barn and things were different. Ms Daisy was no where to be found. Finally realized she was by the back door between the stall and milking area. Guess what BABIES. Wasn't prepared for that. Now I have to clean out in front of the stall so I can open it, get some clean straw in there, find the heat lamp and get that set up then get momma and baby in the stall. OK got that done, got the rest of the goats fed and then went back into the stall to make sure baby ate. Gotta get the colostrum in them as soon as possible. Momma is so good, she let me work with new baby boy. I needed to clean out her teats, as they were plugged with dry milk. Got that done and got baby boy eating. At least he knows where to look. Now baby and momma are taken care of and on to the chickens. Not to bad there except guess what. Out of water, so I need to walk back to the house get a bucket of water and walk back to the coop, fill the waterer and walk back to the house. Not too bad, but after a 10 mile hike after the horses and running for the goats I think I got my exercises for the day. Now I am going to sit back and drink that cup of coffee I had sitting and waiting for me and take five before breakfast. I will post some new baby pictures later for all to see. Hope you have a good morning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The best laid plans of mice or man, as the saying goes, we had planned on moving a couple of apple trees today. well those plans are changed due to weather conditions. I got up a little after 9:00am this morning and this is what greeted me.
Too bad it was really nice the last few weeks. As you can see in a comparison to the Filbert Catkins picture taken a couple of days ago and the one I took this morning, things are a little different.
Janice went out and measured the snow on the driveway and was able to push the tape measure in eight and a half inches, with maybe another half to one inch of hard stuff under that to total about nine inches. Looks like we are not in Kansas any more Toto!
 I suppose I really can't be too upset as we usually get our last snow around April 1st. Keeping that in mind we still have a couple of months of winter coming.
We usually get our last frost about May 15 or there abouts, time to sit in by the fire and keep warm. Just as a side note we have received our Honey Bee Hives and other accessories, but the Honey Bees won't get here until about mid April. We have received our Mason Bees and they are out in their little house.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Good Start

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and a bit of a chill in the air. All in all a great day. As you can see , everyone was in the lazy mood today. The sunshine felt reallllllly gooooood.
Although we have been working our butts off. We have been adding the compost that is broken down to all the gardens, as you can see. The herb garden below looks so good with the fresh compost.
The rest of the gardens are beginning to look like they're ready for planting. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the weather to cooperate. It needs to warm up a bit and then I can put the plastic on the frame in the center garden you see below. This helps to extend the growing season up here on the mountain.

After we moved the Granny Smith apple I raked the soil around and got it as level as I could for now. I think the blueberries will do better this year. They will get better sunshine with the apple tree gone.

In the center garden below, I added a couple of old railroad ties to the ends to enlarge the garden area for planting. and you can see that we started putting the compost that is a bit fresher around the trees.

The herb garden is looking a bit scraggly but when the rhubarb starts to grow and the rest of the garden comes alive this area looks beautiful and full.

In the garden area below we still need to put more compost. We haven't quite got all of the compost in the area's that need it. Hopefully this coming week we can finish it. Although it is suppose to start raining again. Hope it holds off.

After composting my Honeyberry bed below I put some plant stakes around it with some fishing line attached to it to help keep the deer from eating them this year. We hope to get berries from them this year. We have had these bushes for three years now and no berries. Thank you DEER.

Below you can see that the fruit trees got there share of the compost. We would like to try to get the grass to come in a bit thicker this year. We think that this would be good pasture for the horses. 

The last garden is looking pretty good and ready to go.

We did some meandering around the yard today and got to enjoy some of the beauty here.
As you can see, my Lenten Rose is beginning to bloom. This beautiful flower blooms for a long time. I really enjoy it.

The wild Huckleberries are beginning to get a little bigger, they should be producing soon.

The pear tree in the yard is starting to break bud and should be blooming soon also.

The filberts have had the catkins on them for some time now.

They are such a wonder to look at.
Tomorrow we get back to it. We still have a lot to do before the growing season really kicks in.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Did some more work on the area above the rock wall today. Presently I think I have the excavation work done, now I need to grind some stumps and replace more soil. When you live on the side of a mountain You have to make flat areas for gardening.
 The picture below has arrows showing two stumps buried That need to be ground along with the obvious one in the next picture after the next one. Hey what do you expect this used to be forest.

 The stump below is a big White Cedar stump that Janice and I spent two or three days and many saw chains cutting down just to get the wall put up. We also had it ground once before, but not enough. The area along the back of the excavation, where the dirt bank is now, we are going to put up another stack block wall
 The picture below shows the path going down from the driveway to the Greenhouse, Lawn, and area I have been working on. This area will hold some raised beds for garden and a few fruit trees.
 This shot looking down the driveway shows my enormous dirt pile, looks like two, the dark pile of finished compost we are now putting out, and the chip covered fresh manure composting at the end.
Another project later will be to dig down the driveway, removing the high area, so water runs away from the house when it rains, but that is a whole other project, Thank the Lord we have the little Tractor, Loader, Backhoe.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I have been working on my family tree now going on three years, and the one thing I have learned is this truly is a small world. I learned that my Great Grandmother on my birth fathers side of the family was a Downer. This is weird because there was a Judge living here with the last name of Downer. It would be interesting to know how we are related.
Another little anomaly is that one of my 11th Great Grandmother's, Baroness, Lady Margaret Dixon, 1485-1550 along with the continuing line of that family at least down to Jonathan T. Dixon, 1873-1944, my 12th Great Grand Uncle. And here where I live is a family with the sir name of Dixon, Related, probably, but I don't know how.
Something a lot of my current friends don't know is that my name at birth was Donald D. Merritt and remained Merritt until May 27, 1963 when my brothers and I were adopted by Edward C. Hausmann. The Merritt family name has had many notable persons throughout the history of this Nation. The first Merritt's to arrive in this country, arrived with the Mayflower Party, not sure of the ship. After arriving in Plymouth some of the family surveyed and settled Rye township, Westchester County, New York State. The Island on which the people working at Cape Canaveral live is Merritt Island. Some of the first settlers to Oregon were Merritt's going to Portland and Canyonville.
Other interesting facts I have found is that my 5th cousin 3x removed, Brig. General Wesley Merritt, served in the Civil war with General Sheridan. Wesley Merritt along with Elon J. Farnsworth and George Armstrong Custer were all promoted at the same time skipping three ranks from Col. to Major General. Unfortunately General Farnsworth didn't survive the next battle he was in.  In the above picture Wesley Merritt is seated on a chair at the right, George Custer is laying petting the dog.
 In the above picture, Wesley Merritt is seated at the middle right, with General Sheridan with the big beard. I Read that General Merritt was one of only three Officers present at the surrender at the end of the Civil War.
The above picture is of Wesley Merritt when younger. After General Custer was wiped out, General Merritt was placed in charge of the Indian champagne, and was the first commander of the Buffalo Soldiers. There used to be an Army base at San Francisco California named Camp Merritt After General Merritt.
The above Picture is of Brig. General Wesley Merritt after he served as commanding general in the War of the Philippines and acting Governor, and completing his career as Commander of West Point for five years.
Other interesting facts I have found are; I am related to most if not all United States Presidents, although I currently only have six of them connected in my family tree. The six that are currently connected are Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Taylor, Madison, Polk, Ford, and Obama. Interestingly, President Polk, my 2nd cousin 6x removed Admitted Oregon, California and Texas to the United States.
Virtually all of my family lines were founding fathers, including David Tasker Reese, who signed the Meklenburg Declaration of Independence.
In conclusion I would STRONGLY urge everyone to search out their family trees, not just for the interesting people you find but some of the really great stories and I think you will find this is truly a small world.
Am I bragging? Well maybe just a little especially since I didn't know these things a few years ago.