Wingus choked to death on electronet

I was able to bail him out a couple days ago, but today he snuck by and we just didn’t catch him in time.  He was tangled where there is a lot of bramble and it’s not easy to see if a sheep is actually tangled or not without stomping out there in the mud and thorns.

No more electronet for us.  This is the first (and hopefully only) death from it, but we’ve had so many close calls with our other sheep that we’re just going to have to put up something else that is higher-hassle to move around for our temporary fencing.

I know it’s our first year (from when we got our initial sheep), and my husband keeps saying that part of starting out even on a small scale is losing animals due to inexperience, but we were really hoping to eat Wingus, he was really massive.  And the punchline is that we don’t know enough about dead animals to know if the meat is salvageable, so he’s going straight in the ground as fertilizer.

I’m just feeling very overwhelmed right now.  My own child is gaining like crazy, if his current gains persist, I’d have a 90lb one year old.  So it’s hard to wait for the old energy levels to get back up.  But it’s good to have a healthy, comically large newborn.

Anyway, we have a lot to learn, and in the meantime our bellies will have to be filled with humble pie as we gain that wisdom from experience.


Post a Pic Tuesdays– Juniper Burn, or the Desolation of Stupid

As is occasionally the case with country living, accidents will happen.  In this case, a stray spark led to a small brush fire, scorching juniper that had run wild over the landscaping (which was a nice side effect) but also nailing our plum and cherry trees (which was a not so nice side effect).  We got to meet the fine folks of Snohomish Fire District 4 who arrived very very quickly and immediately got the fire under control.  It looks bad from the road, but it’s a fairly small burn.

Here’s some pictures of it all

Burnt Holly

The fire hit this English holly, another invasive that will now be easier to dispense with.

Window View

Taken from the window, not long after the firemen (and one lady) put the blaze out.


Scorched juniper


The flames went right up-hill due to it being a breezy day.


The burn revealed old terrace landscaping that had become hidden under mounds of juniper bushes, now burnt bare.


That untreated cedar fence was going to be firewood. Heh.


Poor plum tree, no plums this year. 😦


Closer view of the old terracing and the poor plum tree of love.


It spread through the grass up hill, but was beaten back, so our pasture is fine.


The juniper hid a lot of hard work landscaping this place.


Poor cherry tree! The stump is fine, though!


This is well up-hill, it spread in less than ten minutes. This is why rural areas need multiple fire districts.

Desolation of stupid is my husband’s name for the burned area.  The Juniper Burn is mine.  It looked worse than it is.  The grass is likely to come back, it doesn’t look like anything was burned to death, but with no leaves, the juniper will be much easier to clear out and replace with fruit trees or bushes.  While the fire was going on, it was stressful, but it was over quickly.  I took the girls and kept them out of trouble.  My oldest was thrilled and wanted to help the firemen.  My youngest smelled the smoke and was scared and unhappy.  Funny how personality differences come through even at very young ages.

Anyway, due to this accident, we’re going over our property and will be working to clear fire hazard plants out now while there is still frequent rain.  And if things go very well, we’re going to go ahead and throw some sheep out to graze down some of the brush in the next week or two.  Sheep are great at eating plain grass and also knocking out underbrush.  Their dining habits blend cow and goat, skewing more towards one or the other depending on breed.

Life is a strange business, but we’re glad to have good neighbors and firefighters.

Food and Faith: Why Bother?

My dear husband and I are Christians and this is not so unusual in the sustainable farming and food realms.  Farming comes up repeatedly in the Bible, as well as the general principle of stewardship and taking good care of the temporal blessings we’ve been graced with.  For us, growing and raising some of our own food and clothing and energy is part of the big picture of taking care of what the Lord has provided for us to tend.

We’re in it for our posterity.  We want our children to see that hard work can have a connection to a good end result.  We want them to know where food comes from and how it gets all the way to our plates.  We want our children to understand that because we love God and His handiwork, we want to take good care of it, not use it up and toss it out and hope space travel becomes an option.  It is about love and labor, and learning to love labor.  I don’t think everyone needs to farm or homestead, but certainly a few more will have to try.  It is not known how much longer this old rock will last, but in the time we have right now, it seems obvious as a Christian that excellent stewardship of land and the life upon and inside it is part and parcel of walking along His narrow Way.  This is not the only choice a Christian can make to be a good steward, but we hope it can be considered a choice that demonstrates the light and love in our hearts.

So there.