Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It looks like this blog is long overdue for an update. So much has happened the past few months- we purchased three more Icelandic ewes to add to the flock- two lambs and a yearling, in early August when my friend, Angela, was visiting from Minnesota. Our wonderful ram, Tyr, who Jared hand selected for our flock, died on September 30th, after a short illness. The summer garden is done and the winter planting is close at hand. Chicks have grown into beautiful adult birds and older hens have passed on. 

We are so happy to have Jack, the Border Collie, who joined the farm in late August. Once he gets some training, he'll be a herding master. I didn't know that dogs could be as wonderful as Jack is. A few weeks following Jack's arrival we had to put Max Weiner down because of a debilitating spinal injury. The cycle of life (and death) is always present on the farm. 

Our Farm! 

The biggest news is that we're taking our farm big time. We've signed a lease on a 13 acre property in the Snohomish River Valley and will be relocating ourselves and the whole farm in the next few months. It's been over a year since I started seriously looking for a "real" farm for which to set down roots, if you will. It has become my obsession to fulfill what has become my dream, to farm. We've been from Naselle to Whibey Island- Elma to Easton, looking at potential farms. I've scoured Craigslist, morning, noon, and night, not wanting to miss that "perfect farm". It turns out the one I almost overlooked is "the one". 

While urban farming has been a great way to get our feet wet, I'm ready to grow our operation to a size where it can not only be self sustaining but provide a stable income for our family. As wonderful as it has been to keep sheep and chickens in the city, it's not always efficient. Driving to the pasture, hauling feed and supplies around, not having an area to keep sick or injured animals, not knowing when the land your using could no longer be available, can feel pretty challenging at times. I'm excited to have all the animals in one place, to be able to look out across the pasture and see the sheep grazing, the chickens scratching and dust bathing, with enough room for all. 

Pasture, Cascades in the background. 

The arrangement between ourselves and the landowner is also unique. We will work together to make this farm into what we know it can be. We'll grow produce, maintain the orchard, plant grains, collect eggs, and tend to bees together as we are all new to this venture. Jared and I will live onsite full time and the landowner will spend time at the farm more during the Spring and Summer months. He will provide a tractor, Jared will provide the maintenance. I will order chicks and raise them up, we will work together to perform the butchering. We will share in the fruits of our labor, from milk and cheese to apples, berries, and leafy greens. We'll also work hard- planting, weeding, harvesting. Finally, when people ask me what I do for a living, I'm able to proudly proclaim that "I'm a Farmer". 

I'm trying to find a moment to soak in all the wondrous, scary things we're about to embark on. However, there is much to do so a moment may be all I've got right now. 

So, Quarter Acre Farm comes to an end and Shepherd's Moon Farm begins. To follow our new farm, check out where all the joys and sorrows of farming will be documented. 

Thanks to all of you for supporting our farming venture. We couldn't do this without you! 

Lydia and Jared

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I cannot believe how busy it's been on the farm!

Wild Sweet Peas

Pencil and her chicks

Pencil's chicks began hatching the last weekend in June. There were some issues, so we lost a few of the chicks that had started pipping in the incubator. We learned our lesson and now know better about humidity and it's pivotal role for eggs that have only just pipped. Out of 17 eggs, we have 13 very robust and healthy trouble makers. They have been out of the fence, even with all the safety measures we've put in place to keep them safe. The cockerels are the worst with their need to wander. Pencil appears perfectly happy to jump the fence and leave the majority of her babies behind in order to scratch in the neighbor's yard. Chickens...

How do they all fit? 

On a mission 

Nap time

Meanwhile, egg production has slowed for a time. There's nothing like opening up the nesting box to see a perfect egg just waiting for collection.
Freshly laid egg in the nesting box

The lambs are growing like crazy! They are still nursing but their mom's are growing weary of the entire situation, it's only a matter of time until mom kicks them off the udder for good.

Isa and Yorrick

Isolde and Ylfa

Ylfa came down with a respiratory infection I was unsure how to treat. With an initial dose of Pen-G and an overnight "sleepover" on our porch with Jared, Ylfa was off to see Dr. Young for a proper exam and meds. Dr. Young gave her an injection of antibiotics, taught me how to administer the remaining doses myself and in no time Ylfa was back with her mom, happily nursing and grazing with her lamb friends.

Waiting for the vet to open

Jared and Ylfa

The girls are getting used to an evening snack of alfalfa pellets, so once the shed door is open at the pasture snack time is ON!!! 

Did someone say snacks?

On the gardening side of things...

Garlic scape about to re-seed, I guess it's ready for drying

Cilantro flowering

It was a short season for peas
Peas look like they're done

Beans are just getting started
Regal Scarlett Emperor Bean blooms


Cabbage is finally acting like it may do something...
Cabbage leaf

...same goes for the cucumber.
Cucumber bloom

Jared and I were on cow duty about two weeks ago, as Vaca's owner wasn't available to care for her. We tried to move Vaca twice a day for the freshest "salad bar" as Joel Salatin would call it but there wasn't as much available as she'd have liked. I love you, Vaca! 

Vaca and Jared

I'm always happy to see this beauty! 
Thanks to Minter's Earlington Greenhouse for the beautiful new Passion Flower vine this year.

Second Passion Flower bloom of the season

Although I haven't any photos, we've been scoring on the berries this year. Our neighbor up the street was feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of strawberries in her garden and invited us to come up and pick them as often as we wanted. I also asked if we could pick strawberries at the ram's pasture and the owner was more than happy for us to clean out what he hadn't had a chance to pick.  I'm happy to say we have about 10 lbs. of strawberries in the freezer waiting to be made into jam. 

I went blueberry picking just two weeks ago at Larsen Lake in Bellevue, for the first berries of the season. I picked about 5 lbs. of berries in two hours and the price is right- $1.25/lb! We ate some, I gave some away, and froze the rest. I intend to pick again once the bushes at Larsen Lake are in full production. The wonderful man who runs the U-pick offered that I could come and pick before they open to avoid the "heat" and too many people with their unruly children. I'm very thankful! 

And finally...

Belgian D'Anvers, the last hatch for this year

The last hatching eggs for 2011 and they are the absolute cutest! 

We drove to Centralia to purchase the eggs from a breeder, one of only about eight in the nation. Out of twenty five eggs, twenty one were fertile and thirteen hatched, with one chick that didn't make it. Cute baby D'Anvers photos to follow soon! 

Friday, July 15, 2011


It's been a very busy time on the farm, so much so that blogging has to take a back seat to just about everything else. A lot has happened; I promise to update you on all the goings on as soon as I have a moment to catch my breath.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Ginkgo and Jared's bird

Summer has arrived according to the calendar but the weather continues to feel a lot like Spring. 

The growing continues...

Pea blossoms

Pea pods

Bean Blossoms

Potato leaves

Ripe strawberry, there are a lot of them

Almost there

Curly garlic scapes

Romaine lettuce, or as I call it, tonight's dinner.

Carrots are coming along... are the beets.

A little succession planting

One garden bed still waiting for soil and plants

Last Thursday morning, our second lamb was born. A ram lamb named Yorick, weighing in at 7 lbs. 

Yorick, resting in the grass while mom eats her breakfast

So cute! 

Last Friday, another ram lamb, Yarrow, weighing in at 8.25 lbs, arrived.

Yarrow, snuggling in Jared's arms

Thinking about making a run for it

Ylfa is 3 weeks old today! She's quick on her feet and very head strong. 

Jared and Ylfa

She's a big girl, eating breakfast with the rest of the ewes. 

Post-breakfast nap

I think we'll have a little break before more lambs arrive, so we trimmed hooves and de-wormed on Sunday then moved the girls and their lambs to a new pasture area yesterday in order to mow and give the other pasture a rest. 

Iris gets a hoof trim courtesy of Jared and the Premier1 Hoof Trimming Chair

 It's time to start thinking about how to manage the pastures through the upcoming Winter and who will go into what breeding group once November rolls around. 

Butterscotch, will she be our next mom? 

Isolde, making the most of sheep breakfast

Iris and Butterscotch, always together

Thistle, scratching an itch

One of our young flocks of chickens has been relocated to the sheep pasture to become a part of our multi-species grazing plan. 

Go chickens!

Meanwhile the rams continue to live the bachelor life in John's pasture...

Tyr, living free and easy

Ithaqua, saying "howdy".

Here's to a wonderful Summer!