Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29, 2008 - UPDATE

Hope the holiday season has been treating you well, and best wishes for a happy (and safe!) New Year!

While I had a free moment (i.e. before the rest of the family wakes up and the 4-legged critters start threatening to mutiny outside), I just wanted to send out an update on how things are going over at our place...
We had the unfortunate luck to be forced to fire our first contractor...I won't go into the details, but needless to say we are happy to be free! We are still waiting to get the new contractor working on the barn - the holidays sort of ground everything to a halt...The nice thing (as far as stress levels and my sanity are concerned) is that the main level of the barn (which contains the stalls, etc.) are pretty much complete - so our kidding/foaling season can be conducted in our new barn this year! YAY! We have spent the past few weeks racing to get the fencing for the four new pastures completed (we have two done and one that is almost there), and Ryan has been working to construct a little kidding stall (within one of the stalls), so that our expectant goat mommies can give birth in the presence of other goats, but the other goats can't get in to disturb the mom/babies. Try to picture a wooden frame with farm fencing and a gate, which cuts one of our barn stalls in half. Anywho, it's going to be so nice to have a barn!!!!

We have 5 animals due to give birth every month between January and June/July, and possibly 6 (as I think we will be breeding Poit in Feb/March - for an August kidding date). We have three goats between the end of January and the first of March, and then two donkeys. I am excited, but nervous. I pray every day for safe and easy kiddings/foalings. But, just in case, Ryan and I have beefed up our veterinary supplies, and I have been reading up on baby positions, etc....I guess it's a good thing I have small hands, eh?

Ryan and I have decided to bite the bullet and pay the fee for a private linear appraisal for our nigerian dwarf goat herd in 2009. I really want to find out how our bucks rate (especially Suede Boots), and I think being able to talk to someone with a heck of a lot more knowledge would be a wonderful learning experience for both of us!

We have also decided that it's high time for us to invest the money and add and jack to our miniature donkey breeding program. We have four breedable jennets (and Frieda - who is sort of a question mark at the moment), and instead of paying thousands of dollars in stud fees a year (and yes, I am being literal!), Ryan and I decided it would be well worth it to buy a jack. We have one in mind already, and are just waiting for 2009 to hit (when we'll actually have money!). We are taking out a loan for about half the cost of the home remodel, and decided we'll probably just squirrel a little money into the "donkey fund."

The good news, speaking of loans/remodeling, is that I have found two wonderful resources to keep the cost of our very large undertaking down: craigslist and the Restore in Medford! I have been able to snag antique doors for $30, pedestal sinks for $30, tile for mere cents per square foot, antique tubs for almost nothing, etc.! I have been pretty stoked! :) So, here is the list of remodeling items:
(1) We are replacing every square foot of carpet with character-grade black walnut hardwood flooring - it will really look good with our bold color schemes and antique furniture
(2) We are tearing out our kitchen down to the studs, raising the ceiling, putting up a wall and new doorway to separate the dining room and the kitchen, and repairing some of the leaky pipes and faulty venting in that area as well. For those who have seen my 70's-decorating-nightmare-
of-a-kitchen, you won't even recognize it! :P
(3) We are tearing out our two upstairs bathrooms and remodeling them - it was sort of a necessity, as the hall bathtub has a hole punched through it (which the idiotic previous owners had merely caulked over), and the master shower isn't even completely SEALED (you can see into the inside of the house), so it's got a wretched mold problem (which will be taken care of when the old shower comes out), as well as the fact that it isn't LEVEL (so trying to put down your soap on the shower ledge is always a battle of wills). I am refinishing an antique claw-foot tub, which will be put into the hall bathroom on a raised platform, and when we rip out the master shower, I am just going to tile that area and put in a base and a set of glass shower doors.
(4) We are COMPLETELY re-doing the basement: moving walls, putting in a bathroom and pantry, etc. We are basically creating a 2nd master suite (which will be for us - the "innkeepers"). I am attaching a scanned image of a hasty drawing I made, showing the general floor plan for the new basement.

That's the general scheme of things for the remodel.

I have also as of late purchased several pieces of beat-up antique furniture, which I have been patiently restoring and reupholstering. One is a couch (purchased from a VERY scary 40-year-old bachelor pad in Rogue River), which will go into my office in the barn (to sleep on during kidding/foaling season). I also have two wingback chairs and an ottoman on my to-do list...I purchased about 20 yards of Scottish-thistle-patterned fabric, which is what I have been using on the's REALLY pretty, and aptly fitting, since Ryan's background contains a bit of Scottish ancestry (maybe that's why he's so bloody HUGE! *laughing*).

I have begun my front patio landscaping project: I have planted about 12 heirloom apple trees for a small orchard, and thanks to some good friends of ours (who have a small nursery, and generously donated about 20 native trees to us), I have been able to landscape around the house with some very pretty plants! I am going to put in some more roses and honeysuckle next spring, and then I'm calling that good enough for now!

Speaking of kidding season, I have also spent many many hours updating our website, so now all of our nigerian and donkey pedigrees are up on each animal's page, and the due dates are as accurate as I can make them. I have also put up a link to my photo album on flickr, so you can see images of the new barn, as well as what I have accomplished thus far in remodeling/redecorating. The big structural remodeling changes won't begin to occur until January, but I will keep my photo album updated with pictures of that! Our contractor said that it should take about 4 months to get everything done, so we will still be able to open up by May 1st and hit the summer tourist season. I am SO excited!! It feels like this past year we've been beating our heads against a wall, just waiting-waiting-waiting (for things to start; for things to stop going wrong). I am hoping that 2009 will prove to be much more productive and fruitful! We have had a lot of interest in our B&B, and I have even had people call and ask when we will be open so that they can come and I think (hope?) that even with the economy as it is, we will still be able to do fairly well. I have a feeling that people will want to stay with us due to the unique experience we'll offer.

Anywho, hope that you are doing well! It's off to chores now! :)
Take care,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lazarus Girl...
Appropriate title, I thought, seeing as how I really do feel as though I am returning from the much has been going on lately (both good and bad), that I haven't had the time, energy, or motivation to really speak to anyone or update our websites...Alas, so it goes...
The biggest news is that the barn is about a week or two from being totally finished! Today they are installing the lighting fixtures in the downstairs, and then in the next couple of days we will be having our final building inspection (hurray!). Ryan and I have been incredibly impressed (and slightly jealous when viewing our own "handy-manned" house) with the quality of work of our contractor, if not necessarily his attitude and treatment of his customers. Whenever people ask us about him, Ryan and I always reply that while he does EXCELLENT work, we just don't enjoy dealing with him. Anyhow, I am including two shots of the outside of the barn. I would have preferred to obtain better images, but it has been pouring rain outside lately, and that just isn't conducive for good picture-taking. I will try and get some indoor shots of the barn next weekend if possible. In any event, the downstairs consists of my small 10x10 work room (with a window overlooking the donkey pasture), a large workshop, a full bath, a 10' wide breezeway, and four generously-sized stalls. The upstairs is a nice 800 square foot loft, which has absolutely breathtaking views of the vineyard next door and the mountains in the distance. Sliding glass doors in the loft open up to a large deck, which overlooks our very-near-future dry doe pasture (for our nigerian goats who are not in milk). My grandparents have asked me to pick out colors / paint the interior, as they have loved the bold color schemes I created in the main house. People seem to either love or hate the colors in the house - there generally isn't an inbetween. For me, after living in drab white apartments for so long, the bold colors of my own home were a welcome change. I love it, and I think more people should experiment with rich color palettes. The other reasoning I had behind my color choices was the thought that I needed to create rooms that could stand up to and compliment my bold antique pieces. I would say that I did well in that respect! In any event, I am thinking of pearly pinks and delicate blues for the barn interior, offset by deep gold accent walls. I already have the colors picked out, but haven't had the opportunity to go down and purchase the paint cans.
The one downside to the new barn is that we are forced to re-do the fencing a bit - which is actually a good thing in the long run. However, with the high cost of fencing, we are attempting to reuse as much of the old stuff as possible. I must say, carefully taking down 100+ feet of fencing in the POURING rain and cold does not make for a fun weekend...but, we need to re-fence so that we have four separate pastures for the new barn stalls, as well as a second fence line which separates the Valley View Vineyard fence from our own. I am TIRED of dealing with drunken idiots who can't read the big bright red signs that say "Please Do NOT Feed the Animals!!!" Time and again I have had to chew people out for feeding rhododendrons to my llamas and PREGNANT donkeys. Wow, talk about high blood pressure...I am not taking the chance with my nigerian dwarfs! I will be incredibly happy (and much less stressed) when that second fence line is up, separating the vineyard and the pasture by a good seven feet (enough space to prevent rhododendron feeding, as well as to be able to get a wheelbarrow in there to pick up fallen leaves and such and keep the area clean).
Speaking of donkeys, it's so hard for me to believe that Cappuchino is already in her sixth month of pregnancy!!! Donkey gestation period is generally 11 months, though it can range from 11 to 13 months. So in another 6 months, we are going to have a bouncing baby donkey! Our little "Zatarra" will be so adorable, I just know! Chicklet (our other pregnant jennet) will be due sometime in mid-July 2009. Her baby will be named "Jacopo."
With the barn nearing completion, we have started turning our attentions back to the remodeling of the main house. First item of business: completely tear out and re-do the kitchen. The nice thing about appliance shopping this time of year is all of the holiday-related sales! Ryan and I are going to raise the ceiling in the kitchen, put in a new wall/doorway to separate the kitchen and dining room (right now it's more of a bar-type set up), and move the stove. Instead of a drop-in stove, we will be switching to a wall-mounted double oven and separate cooktop. With the bed and breakfast in our future, we figured it was a good idea. We also plan on purchasing a warming drawer, which again will be handy while running the B&B. We still plan on putting in a full bath downstairs, but if we have to, we may just end up using the full bath in the downstairs of the barn until we can afford to tear up the basement...I can't say it will be enjoyable to run back and forth in the cold and rain whenever we want to shower, but we will do what we have to. Also on the remodeling list: replace all carpeting with hardwood floors, tear out and remodel both bathrooms in the upstairs, and tear out two closets and turn them into walk-in libraries with built-in book shelves (one of Ryan's projects). We are still keeping our fingers crossed for a May 2009 opening...
With February fast approaching, our thoughts have been turning toward our pregnant nigerian does, and hopes and prayers for safe and easy kiddings. We do have one problem child that we have been contending with: Breeze. We have been unable thus far to get her to's been quite frustrating. I bred her again to our prize buck, Suede Boots, earlier this month. If she is open, she will come back into heat next weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will be pregnant! If not...*sigh*...Poit has grown up into a monster goat, and has earned the farm nickname of "Tank Girl." Hard to believe, looking back at the pictures, that she was once a 3-lb. munchkin!! She is now almost 10 months old, and will be ready for breeding soon...Poor Ryan is a bit traumatized: his little baby won't be a "baby" anymore!
With the barn so near to completion, there has been a general sigh of relief around the house. The situation with my grandparents (my grandfather, especially) has been stressful at best, and Ryan and I look forward to having a little bit of breathing room again. Grandpa's dementia has been getting steadily worse, and it's difficult to watch him lose his grip on reality. You can always tell when it's coming on: he starts getting a glazed look in his eye and begins to get cranky, and then it hits and will usually last anywhere from 3 days to a week. He turns into a raging jerk, and it's scary to watch and deal with it. For example, the other day during one of his episodes, he went to make coffee: he put water in the machine and coffee in the filter, and then never put the carafe in, so coffee spilled all over the counter. Grandpa didn't even realize, and actually completely forgot that he had even MADE coffee. My grandmother was the one who found it and cleaned it up. The worst episode by far has been this past week though. He started screaming and told Ryan and I to get out of his house, and how we were stupid and all sorts of awful, hurtful things. It was VERY ugly, and this bought lasted about a week. Then, like all of his previous episodes, one day he woke up and was completely fine, acting sweet as punch and as though nothing happened. It's scary and stressful for all involved, and I have to say that when Ryan and I agreed to take care of Grandpa, we really had NO idea what we were getting into...however, that being said, I would, given the chance, absolutely make the same choice all over again. Because, as Ryan and I are realizing more and more, it's not so much about taking care of Grandpa as it is helping Grandma. She is the one who really needs us, and I fully plan on being there for her as best I can. It's all a learning experience for me, and it's hard to hold your temper when a member of your family is being a raging jerk...harder still, to tell yourself that this jerk-person isn't really your grandfather...*sigh* Across the street, our neighbor's wife finally passed away a couple of weeks ago. She had had Alzheimers for SIX years, and hadn't even been able to recognize her own husband in the end. Though a sad event, it was a relief to all parties involved when she finally did pass away. The neighbor's grandchildren, there for the funeral, came over to our place to look at the animals, and Ryan gave them an extended farm tour to try and get their minds off of the funeral.
I have been improving by leaps and bounds on my floor loom, and have been weaving scarves and blankets for selling (and giving out as gifts). I joke with Ryan that I must have been a weaver in a past life, because it all comes so naturally to me. I have never been able to sit down at something I have never done before, and teach myself without any outside assistance. It was scary at how easily I managed it, and I have been so thoroughly happy ever since! Right now I am working on a delicate scarf, weaving a very intricate "Periwinkle" pattern. I hope to sell it at the Central Point Elementary School Craft Bazaar on December 6th. We will be having a booth there with our soaps and other goodies (& homemade pumpkin pies!). Speaking of fiber crafts, I was SO excited to have found a pair of antique weaving cards in good condition at the local antique mall a couple of weeks ago. Normally, these cards (which look like very large dog brushes) cost $65+ EACH. I purchased mine for $32 for the pair - a true steal! Unfortunately, that now means that I can no longer procrastinate on spinning the 4 hefty trashbags full of fiber sitting in my garage. Damn. Like I needed another project! *laughing*
I have taken to collecting antique sewing machines, and have been blessed to find for cheap (or in one case FREE!) many turn-of-the-century sewing machines, as well as working industrial-grade machine (for stitching upholstery, denim, etc). My latest prize was a Minnesota machine in its original (and rare) parlor cabinet, circa 1920. Pristine condition! Found it at a garage sale in Medford...
The rainy season appears to have finally reached us, and thus our harvest season has ended. I am still working on processing and canning my pumpkins before they go bad. Thankfully for me, pumpkins keep quite a while in the cold...still, we have had to purchase another chest freezer to accommodate all of the pies I have been making, as well as our 1/2 cow and 2 lambs from a rancher just up the road! One thing is for sure, we will not go hungry this winter! I have also taken to making candles, so now we can have our own candles for this winter. Ryan and I have been making more soap batches too, and recently finished a wonderful one called "Blood Orange" for those citrus fruits with the blood red flesh. It's a GREAT soap for oily skin as well as (surprise!) doing your dishes! Ryan and I have found that the citrus soap really cuts through grease! Next weekend we plan on making a double batch of our very-loved "Cinnamon-Orange-Spice" soap. One batch we will cut into bars and sell, and the other batch I am planning to use to barter with my neighbor for four of her potted magnolia trees. I want to get a head start on landscaping the front patio area.
With the recent hard-times, survival has been on everybody's mind around here. Not in the "run away to Wolf Creek and live in a shack with 50 rifles waiting for the anarchy" type of survival - just a general stock pile for when things get rough and there isn't much money around the house. Ryan's work has been doing massive lay-offs, and, while he has thus far escaped, we figure that it's only a matter of time before he too loses his job. With me still unemployed and unable to find work, it's a scary thought, especially due to the fact that we have 4 people and a farm to support. While I make soap and weave and do other things for the purpose of selling, most people just don't want to buy things right now. I am wondering if, with the new president, people will spend more or less this holiday season?...In any event, we are thankful to have a roof over our heads and plenty to eat.
Well, I suppose that's about all for now. I wish you the best this holiday season.
Take care,


Sunday, September 21, 2008

And a Comet is born...

Yesterday morning, after feeding all of the animals, Ryan and I were concerned because our pregnant llama, Michele, looked MUCH skinnier than she had been previously. Yet, there was no cria in sight...? We went into the llama pasture and looked around, mentally preparing ourselves to find a dead baby. After much fruitless searching, we finally went back to the cluster of llamas eating their breakfast. Lo and behold, there was little Comet, la
ying next to his mom, perfectly camouflaged amongst the shrubbery! He was so tiny, and so perfect!! We immediately named him Comet for the white star on his nose. Welcome to the farm, Comet!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TOTAL Destruction!

We were finally able to tear down our old barn after getting the "run around" at the county office for a new building permit. The barn was torn down last Monday, and it was a beautiful thing to behold! I opened up a bottle of blanc de blanc in celebration. Building for the new 40'x40' barn begins immediately...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Apple A Day...

But what about 1,000?

We have been hard at work this weekend picking apples off of one of our apple trees. We have filled two huge burlap sacks with apples, which I think amounts to about roughly 100 lbs. of apples! When you think about how many we had to throw away due to bugs (the tree has not been pruned/sprayed/etc for YEARS, and has a bit of a pest problem - but we are going to remedy that soon, so that NEXT harvest will be amazing!!), the number becomes even more impressive. That, coupled with the fact that all that we managed to pick yesterday was probably only equal to about 1/4 of the apples on the tree, is mind-boggling to me! We have been hard at work drying, cooking, and canning apples. I tell you: we are going to be pretty damn tired of applesauce come next year! *laughing* But I am SO proud of the fact that we are able to harvest and preserve food from our OWN property! We are taking our first big step toward the goal of self-sufficiency. We have also been canning pickled eggs this weekend, using a recipe I concocted with mustard, cloves, and cinnamon (it's REALLY good!). And in the next week or two, the plums are going to be ready to pick, so we will once again be hard at work canning that...ah, the life of a farmer...I LOVE IT!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Unintentional Herb Farm

So, I have discovered this past week that my property is host to all kinds of wonderful (wild) herbs! My husband and I noticed that all of our animal pastures are filled with German Chamomile! I was so excited to learn this! German Chamomile is easy to identify based on the hollow center of the yellow cone part of the flower, and by the way the white petals droop down as the flower matures. I have been harvesting the flowers all week and drying them for use in my botanical products (yes, it's very fitting that the small business owner of an herbal botanical goods store should have loads of wild herbs growing in her backyard). We also have wild spearmint growing around the property, as well as Lemon Balm and bushes and bushes of Rosemary! My husband and I are so happy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Years Ago Today...
My wedding vows to Ryan:

My Dearest Ryan –

They say that they built train tracks through the Alps long before there was ever a train that could make the journey. In that same manner, I fashioned the tracks of my life, long before there was ever a man who could make the trip with me.

In truth, I never thought that I would find you. I searched for you for SO long – looking in all of the wrong places – desperately trying to ease that aching loneliness that always existed in the dark recesses of my heart. I yearned for you from the moment I realized that my life was missing something; yet deep down, I also knew that I was not ready. I had so much growing and learning to do. I had to lay down my tracks.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and all things work out in the end. Instead of fighting life for what I felt I SHOULD be doing, I threw my arms up, and let the wind push me along my path. My path led to Utah – to YOU. I have lived here going on four years, my darling, and in that time I have seen and done so much. Throughout my life I have been laying down my train tracks, but only in these past four years, have I truly been able to discover myself; been truly able to say, “I am nearing completion.”

As you know, I spent the last two years past in almost virtual seclusion from the outside (social & dating) world. I focused my energies inward, and finally, about two months before I met you, I began to feel a change. This change was in part influenced my mentors around me, but mainly by my own self. Finally, I prayed that I might find you, and for the first time, I knew that I was indeed ready – my track line was ready for a train. For two months nothing happened, and I worried that no one had heard me. Then, lo and behold, on the world’s best blind date, *SMACK* there you were. We literally did run right into each other, at least as far as that attempted first kiss is concerned! J From the moment I laid eyes upon you, I knew that you were different. There was a level of comfort and knowing that, having just met you, I had no right to feel. I knew your thoughts before you voiced them, and knew YOU better than you knew yourself. And the even more amazing part was that the same held true for you. You understood me on levels that even I did not comprehend. It was as though I had spent my whole life fumbling around in the dark, and finally you came along and turned on the lights. You lit up my world, and I truly knew what it meant to be ALIVE. How can I ever repay this great gift that you have given me? You took my poor, broken heart – stomped on and abused by so many – and you not only patched it up, YOU MADE IT WHOLE. Oh Ryan, my heart and soul, words cannot describe how I feel about you. I now understand why the Jews and Muslims have 900 names for God; one small word just isn’t enough for love.

I stand before you today to keep a promise that was made before time began. I love you now, as I have loved you always. And I love you now, as I will love you forever. I will stand by you, in the good times and the bad, as I understand that everything in life runs in cycles. I will never desert you; I will be that shoulder that you lean on; I will be that other half that, until now, you could never find but always knew existed. I will be so close, that our hearts will beat as one. So close, that when you close your eyes, I fall asleep. I love you, Ryan.

Two years ago today...And we are still going strong!
And Life Continues in Its Spiral Dance...
So hard to believe how quickly time flies...I am always shocked. They say that time goes by more quickly the older that you get - if that is true, I am going to be in trouble! It's flying by much too fast already! I guess it's simply because there is always so much to do, and never enough time to accomplish it in.
Today is my two-year wedding anniversary with my
husband. It seems surprising simply because it feels as though it should be LONGER. Has it only been two years?? I feel as though I have known him lifetimes...
As spring progresses into summer, we are enjoying
the fruits of our labors. The fruits are ripening on the trees in the orchard, my garden is growing splendidly, and my roses are in full bloom. The days are long and the nights warm - this is my FAVORITE time of year!
The remodeling on the house has temporarily halted. We will resume renovations this fall/winter, but for now we need to focus on the ani
mals and the harvests. Cappuchino and Chicklet (two of our miniature donkey jennets) have been successfully bred, and Frieda (the other jennet) is off at the Benson Ranch for one final attempt (failing this, she will be officially deemed sterile). The nigerian goats are thriving, and Cheerio and Breeze will be bred to Piddlin Acres BZ Suede Boots this fall (for a March 2009 kidding). I am so excited! Speaking of goats, we heard back from the autopsy on Chanel: she tested positive for Listeriosis. How horrible!! I feel so bad for the breeder. I pray for her sake that it was an isolated case, as she is such a wonderful woman and does NOT deserve to have this sort of thing happen to her!
Well, I could write more, but I think I will leave yo
u with some pictures from around the farm instead...Adieu!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

(Photo Courtesy of Pholia Farm)
Chanel's Memorial
A sweet, quiet, gentle soul...though I only knew her briefly, I fell in love with her and recognized Chanel as the kindred spirit she was. A few days before we were due to bring her home, she became very ill, and the day that we were supposed to pick her up, she had to be euthanized. We are still waiting to hear back as to what exactly the culprit of this sweet being's demise was. Chanel was three months pregnant (bred to Goliath), and was due to kid in August 2008. Oh darling Chanel, we wish you and your children better luck in your next life. You will be sorely missed...our broken hearts weep at your departure.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Madness on the Farm…

Spring time has arrived here at Apothecary Farm, and with it a further multitude of tasks to accomplish as soon as possible!

We are very pleased to announce the addition of a gorgeous herd sire into our group: “Goliath.” Goliath comes to us from Pholia Farm in Rogue River, and we are eager to see how his genetics can improve our nigerian dwarf goat herd!

We will continue to increase our ND numbers by adding a second herd sire, Piddlin Acres BZ Suede Boots, and two more does (Pholia Farm RA Chanel & a doe kid from Piddlin Acres), in May & June. Our second phase of the kidding season will kick off with Chanel’s freshening in early August. Chanel has beautiful conformation and fabulous genetics. We are very excited to see how her udder improves with this second freshening! Two of our other does, Cheerio & Breeze, are scheduled to be bred this fall for spring 2009 kiddings. Please see our website for more details and the full kidding schedule.

Spring is the time for trimming hooves, shearing, and administering wormers and vaccinations. We will soon have more mohair and llama fiber available!! The female llamas are being moved into their larger pasture next weekend, and we know that they will be much happier with all of the extra running space. Punkin is going to be moved into the nigerian dwarf doe pasture to act as our new guard llama.

The chickens are laying eggs, and we can now offer farm fresh eggs for sale! We have more chicks due to arrive next week, as well as some goslings and turkeys. We will have (frozen) farm fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving this year, as well as a (frozen) goose or two! Inquire for availability.

The house remodeling continues (slowly). We are almost finished painting the downstairs, and are now focusing our attention on the upstairs: painting, replacing old light fixtures and toilets, etc. We have finished a great deal of landscaping to the grounds surrounding the house. We now have a small native plant and antique rose garden in place. As soon as we have some of the large (dead) pine trees removed from the front of the house later this month, we will begin landscaping that area. We have plans to put a picnic area out there so that people can watch the donkeys at play.

We have our heirloom seeds, and are very excited to begin planting our garden in the coming weeks. It will be a small garden this year, but we hope to expand in the years to come as time and money allows. The orchard trees are in bloom, and soon we will have fresh fruit. We have also planted some wild grapes around the property, and look forward to harvesting their fruit in the future. Each step we take is a step toward being self-reliant!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Attack of the Poit-r-saur!!

'Poit' was born on Sunday, February 24th at 6:30 pm. She is beautifully colored, and has moon spots just like her dam (Zilla). We are so happy to welcome this newest little addition into the Apothecary Farm family!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey, Everyone! Thought it was time for another note from the Farm.

Things are going really well here! We are beginning to gear up for spring and another great year at Apothecary Farm! Kidding season has arrived, and we are up to our eyeballs in goats! Sweet Pea (one of our angora goats) and her two babies have been moved back into the pasture now that the kids are old enough. They are adorable to watch as they frolic and jump all over the place! Their horns are finally beginning to come in, so Sprout looks more like "Puck!" And I have to laugh because Quanta's horns are black just like her. :)

Zilla (one of our Nigerian Dwarf does) is next in line to kid. She is due any time between now and mid-March. She is actually slightly dilated tonight, and Ryan and I are wondering if we may have newborn kids by tomorrow night...? Princess, the other angora goat, is due March 5th. I am hoping that Zilla kids soon, otherwise Ryan will be building another kidding box in a hurry! This is Zilla's (and Princess's, for that matter) first kidding, so we are really nervous. First kiddings can be the most difficult on everyone – especially the mom, who has no idea what in the world is going on. I feel really uncomfortable leaving every day for work, but I don't think my job will give me a month off to goat sit. *sigh* Ah well. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Some days it looks as though Zilla will POP, and others I would swear she won't kid for another month - so who knows! I am praying she kids tomorrow!

We are getting ready to rototill and begin planting our garden next month. We have an enormous heirloom garden planned, and I am very excited! We are also expanding our current orchard to include some more heirloom apple and pear trees. As far as landscaping the area around the house, we have several native plant gardens in the works, and my connections at work are coming in very handy. We will probably begin landscaping in April.

Today we visited friend and fellow goat breeder, Gianaclis, from Pholia Farm. We watched as she and her daughter disbudded and tattooed several new kids. It was pretty traumatic, but we needed to be there so that we won't have any trouble when it comes time to do it for Zilla's babies. We are also going to be purchasing another doeling and possibly a buck from Gianaclis. This afternoon, we attended Troon's Inner Circle wine party. It was nice to wash away the trauma of the morning with some good booze!! Speaking of which, we went to the Troon's Applegate Zinfandel wine release yesterday. It was fun to get away and hang out with Team Troon (many of whom we consider friends). We ended up buying a couple of cases of wine to help stock up our ever-growing wine cellar. We also got to talk with the owner and hear about his plans for eco-expansion and his possible venture into large-scale event hosting.

Our milking stand arrived last week, and we have already trained Zilla to hop up onto it in preparation for milking/grain time!

Next Saturday, Don the Farrier is coming over to trim donkey hooves. Next Sunday, we are taking the only intact male at the Farm, Sprout, over to Carol Ronan (the woman we bought Sweet Pea and Princess from), where he will have his - - removed. Poor Sprout! It's not going to be a good day for him!!!

Ryan and I are VERY excited for fresh goats milk (when Zilla kids). Ryan can't wait to make cheese and butter! The chickens are getting ready to start laying. One of them keeps making a nest in the llama barn - much to the llamas' immense displeasure. Farm fresh eggs are one of the great joys in life! We already have so many people wanting to buy eggs from us that I am wondering if the chickens will be able to keep up with demand! I guess the good news is that we have 25 more on the way in April, as well as geese and turkeys. Yup, that's right: we are venturing even further into the poultry business! We will be raising geese and turkeys for slaughter this year, as well as trading geese for weeding (and fresh chickens eggs!) to Longsword Vineyard in exchange for wine. Geese are apparently excellent for weeding vineyards, and as Longsword is organic, they were game to try it out!

Still haven't been able to bring my two darling llama babies home yet (Curious George and Judge). The weather was too bad to bring them back when we went up to Portland for Ryan's operation. Unfortunately, our schedule is much too hectic right now to plan another trip. Ah well...I will miss my llamas, but I guess I will get them when I get them.

Speaking of Ryan's surgery: he is all healed up and back and bouncing around like his normal self. I am so happy! I was worried sick about him while he was recovering.

We still have no idea on whether or not my darling donkey, Frieda, is pregnant. She is definitely the 'Mystery Donkey.' I love her to pieces, however, and as much as I want a 'baby Frieda,' it wouldn't even matter to me if she never had a single foal. I would still love her as completely and whole-heartedly as I do now. She is definitely another one of my animal soulmates!!

Speaking of donkeys, we had some bad news last week: turns out that the breeder we were purchasing Midway (our star jack) from has discovered new-found reservations about selling him. She basically wants to buy him back and not sell him to us for a couple of years. Ryan and I were pretty upset by the entire ordeal, but in order to keep up good relations we felt we had no choice - that, and we are so busy, that getting Midway in two years rather than right now might actually be better. Still, the whole thing was a nightmare, and Ryan was pretty broken up over it. I am torn between broken-hearted and pissed off. I don't know what to do, and I feel like we had no choice in the deal. *sigh* Alas, that is how it goes sometimes. We will still (hopefully!) be able to buy him in a few years. In the meantime, Cappuchino and Chicklet are scheduled to be bred this March. I am excited for their babies!!!

As far as work: Ryan and I are still working full time during the week, and spending weekends getting our property ready for the bed and breakfast/tourist season. Can you tell we are BUSY???!!! I am enjoying my job, though things are still pretty slow. Ryan HATES collections, but is trying to hold out for two years or so (at which point we are hoping he can quit and work on the B&B/Ranch full time). Who knows what Fate has in store for us in the future, but our plan is to open our Bed and Breakfast full time in two years or less. Speaking of which, we definitely HAVE to open up (even if just on weekends!) this year, as the only other competition in Applegate Valley has closed its doors!! Thus, we have the monopoly on the region at this point!! How AWESOME is that??? Thus my pushing to open up our business in May, even if things aren't 100% finished, just to get our NAMES out there!

Well, I think that about does it. My hands are tired of typing. I hope that everyone is doing well! We miss you all! Please, if you are ever in the area, feel free to visit and play with the animals. I promise I won't make you do farm chores!! And keep us in mind the next time you are in the market for fiber, soap, fresh goat cheese, and farm fresh eggs!!

Love to all,


Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Day at Apothecary Inn!
I have to say that I was more than a little shocked by the amount of snowfall we received yesterday. There was about a foot of snow at our house (I know because I measured the level of the snow with my muck boots during morning chores! *grin*), and the road conditions were less than ideal. It took us an extra two hours to get to work this morning. The animals' reactions to the snow ranged from sheer terror (Frieda, Zilla, Cheerio, Breeze, and the chickens) to open excitement (Gruff and Bartholomew). The snow was so high that the goats had to practically burrow out of their shelters in order to reach their outdoor hay feeders. Ryan and I had a blast playing in the freshly fallen snow! We are used to such snow in Utah, but I NEVER expected this from Oregon!!!

The snow is coming up about mid-calf in this picture. Gruff and Bartholomew (our two pet wethers behind me) are practically being buried by the deep snow!

Jeriko is our Snow Donkey

Bartholomew trying to un-bury himself from the snow!

Sprout and Quanta's Introduction Into the World!

Meet the two newest (and cutest) members of the Apothecary herd!

Ryan says hello to the newborns.
Sprout is the spitting image of his mom, Sweet Pea. Quanta, a darling black-with-red-highlights girl, is our miracle baby! We almost lost her, but thankfully, all things worked out, and Quanta is healthy and growing more vigorous with each passing day!

Here's our sweet, ADD goat baby! Sprout has more energy than a million hummingbirds!!!

Quanta on Day #2, looking happier and healthier

Quanta trying to walk - still unsteady on her feet, but MUCH stronger!

I love this picture!: "Yin and Yang"