Secret raspberry garden

I am not a fan of the landscaping that came with this place, but some of it has unexpected summer joys attached.  Like this ever-bearing raspberry sport that survived and thrived in the shadow of the Himalayan menace that stalks our acreage.



Ever-bearing means it was domesticated.  It survived unlike the secret rhubarb from a couple years ago, which sadly got shaded out.  We failed it for the last time.  😦  But hey, RASPBERRIES THE BIRDS CAN’T FIND WOOOOOOOO.


Quick year end notes

We’ve decided to pursue fiber sales, but not meat ones.  Pursuing meat sales is something we’ll worry about once we’ve made it through enough breeding seasons to have extra lambs at all.  And the economics of a fiber flock work out better for the current life circumstances we have going on.  With a fiber flock, you can always skip a breeding season and focus on only breeding the ewes that will give great fiber and good-enough lambs for slaughter.  Then they eat way less, but still pay their hay bills.

Selling fiber is ok, it just tends to be more of a slow trickle than a burst.  And we have to be open to the entire country to get reliable sales.  I don’t mind shipping though, and we’ll certainly explore sending fleeces to the mill once we get into 20 or more fleeces regularly. Fiber milling is an interesting field, given that as infrastructure goes, nobody is really taking it up, so there will be lots of machinery available as the mill owners, who are generally like 70+, retire or pass on.  Something to think about in a few years, maybe.

Preparing fleece is a lot of work.  There are ways to cut down the workload, but sheep grow that stuff pretty long because they need it, so it’s always going to be a bit of work, even if we ultimately send everything to a local mill and focus exclusively on high-value yarns, roving and felting batts.

And next year, since I won’t be growing any babies myself, we’ll go ahead and put in a real garden, finally go back to having poultry (going to go all-in and get ducks, chickens and geese) because the eggs really are Just Better and hopefully have a successful second lambing season.

I hope to post more to this blog and get more pictures up in the new year.  It does help to take little snapshots of how things go.

Duck Tales: Limpy Postmortem

We had to put Limpy down.  There was a congenital birth defect in both legs, so even our splinting efforts were meaningless.  Now we have four ducks remaining, and they are in robust good health.  We moved them out to a real pen this weekend, including a small swimming container, and they are incredibly happy to have drinking water plus swimming water.


That strip of carpet is in fact rain-proof. The ducks are loving the grass and the insects to be found in the grass. They are already foraging enough to offset feed.


Four girls, it turns out. I eagerly await the eggs in late summer! The blue plastic tub is where they swim and they get anything more out of the gallon waterer.

The girls have a bigger 5 gallon waterer, but it sprung a leak and we’ll have to fix it or get another this week.

The potatoes are ready for hilling up soon.  So that’s also pretty cool.  And in other news, some neighbors graced us with a playset their kids had outgrown.  Our eldest is in toddler heaven.



And it’s blurry, but salmonberries are already ripening.  Delicious!

Potato Plant Progress


We couldn’t find the rest of the white markers, so we used sticks.


We had about a dozen or so of these, not enough for all the potatoes. The potatoes don’t seem to mind the plastic.


My attempt at a fancy overhead shot of the white marker and the taters.

Most of the taters came in, only a couple plants haven’t sprouted.  We are on track to get a decent yield this fall.  They look so cute when they are tiny and new like that.  Yay potatoes!

Potato Planting Picture Post

We are finally preparing to plant and we are starting with something easy– potatoes.  The glory of potatoes is that you can just plant a sack from the store and get back several more sacks even if you forget to weed some weekends.  You can also in this climate leave them in the ground if you don’t want to harvest all at once.  So it’s a nice break-in crop.  

some dirt we dug up

Preparing the ground for taters by digging up clumps of grass


more dug up dirt

More digging!

We have some native plant life around and about.  Out here in more rural Snohomish County, the native plants have not been pushed out as much as is the case in even fairly remote bits of King County.  Thus, we have lovely salmonberries that will soon fruit and make for delicious snacking when the kids party outside in the wonderful summers Cascadia has to offer.

salmonberry closeup

Closer look at the salmonberries that abut the taters. Already flowering!

However, there are still a few places where noxious invasive plants crop up, like English Ivy, which can create “ivy deserts” where nothing else grows.  


English Ivy

Stupid English Ivy littering some junipers that have to come down anyway.

Conveniently, the junipers in that picture are coming down to allow for enough sun for the taters and other stuff we want to plant, so the English Ivy will be gone baby gone soon enough.  

It was nice to start digging in the dirt.  Hopefully we can have lots of planting through the late spring and early summer.