Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Mountain Madness

I love where I live. Like most western Washingtonians, the moment the sun comes out I forget the long, wet winter, the dismal grey days stretching through spring. In the warmth of the sun we see the lush and lovely world we live in and know the answer to winter's question - why do I live here? 

It's still May, and we've had weather in the high 70s. Cloudless, sunny days. The sun is a drug we are all drunk on.

The feed store is only 4 miles from my farm, off the ridge down in the valley. It's a beautiful drive. From this one spot along the road you can see farmland, woods, and both resident mountains.

Looking northeast, Mount Rainier.

Turning slightly to look southeast, Mount St. Helens.

Millie's Day

First thing in the morning I checked out the sheep to make sure Millie wasn't harassing anyone. As you can see, everyone looks peaceful.

Millie is very pleased with her new job. She likes the paddock that gets her closer to farm action, and she likes having a job. 

Millie telling Charlie how happy she is, and what a great job she's doing. Charlie is feeling a bit out of sorts, I think he has mixed feelings about Millie's new role.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Millie has been living in a large hillside pasture with a pond. By herself. She has been too eager to play with sheep, and to chase and kill chickens. I haven't had time to work with her, to teach her what is expected of an LGD living with stock. This spring I've had the sheep in with her several times when I've been around to correct over enthusiastic behaviors, but haven't trusted leaving them in with her.

Today, this afternoon, I let the sheep in with her. I brought along a big yummy, meaty bone. Millie happily grabbed the bone and trotted off to her dining room. The sheep et al burst into the field and started munching down. 

A bit later when I checked (Charlie was barking unhappily) the sheep were all up by the fence munching away, Millie was down at the pond. Just now the sheep are in a different area, Millie is exploring the paddock. She seems totally disinterested in chasing! Charlie isn't really happy with the affair, I think he's jealous. I'm so pleased with Millie, if this keeps up I'll leave the sheep in with her overnight and hopefully next week. 

I think giving her something to focus on when the stock first came in was key. She had something to do while they settled down, and when she finished eating she just went about her normal business of protecting the world against predators.

Now if I can get her to ignore chickens...

Mountains in Sunshine

St Helens and human-made dragonfly heading south.

Another side of Mt Rainier - and hawk heading east. 
She dominates the landscape wherever she appears.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Misty Moon

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Unpaid Help

Such a beautiful day on a holiday weekend. I decided to spend the early evening doing one of my favorite things, gardening. I went up the hill to dig up some cedars I'd spotted growing under the power lines. Left there they'd get cut down eventually, so better they get transplanted. 

There's a buffer of trees between my house clearing and the lower building and field. I lost several trees in windstorms this winter and last, and wanted to replace them with evergreens. Nothing like having a source close to home!
When I got back with the trees I found the planting area already occupied. Turns out downed trees are great places for bantams to hang out in. They watched me with great curiosity. I'm not sure whether they were afraid I'd eat their bugs or hoping I'd turn up more bugs.

Or perhaps they just find humans interesting with their odd behaviors of digging holes and filling them up again with other stuff, leaving all the good things - earthworms, bugs, bits of grass - laying around on the surface.

One of my Peacocks settled in to watch as well. It's so much fun watching someone work! With the help of my watchers I got 5 cedars and a bunch of native iris planted and watered. Beauty surrounds me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Searching for Grass

I spent a lot of time and effort when I first moved here covering the cleared areas thickly with old hay, to provide nutrients and grass seed, so I could get pasture.

I went out the other day to see how the lower pasture was coming along this year, after I let it rest all winter.

It turns out there are all sorts of interesting plants in that hillside field.

There is even some grass interspersed between bits of pretty and interesting plants.

With lots of lovely green moss and rocks.

Lots of lovely green moss. It is such a joy living in a rainforest.

There is some grass. At the top of the hill. It's getting tall, I've let the sheep in a few times to trim it down some while Millie and they get better acquainted. But mostly - there are pretty and interesting plants.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Golden Glory

Sunsets! It must be spring. Usually - winter phase, at least - it's dark before I get home.

New leaves and evening sun equals gold, set off by lovely green.

And while Mt. St. Helens isn't visible beyond the base, the clouds are impressive, and picking up that orange evening glow. Even the evergreens in the valley look orange.

It actually could be fall, not spring. What a glorious place this is.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Flying Time

Time is an interesting concept I've never quite understood. It has never moved swift and straight for me the way it seems to for others, linking one event with the next and the one before. For me it swirls and ebbs and flows. Sometimes I ride it, flying high and fast and watching the world. Sometimes I run behind it, trying to catch up. Occasionally I get caught in an eddy, and time moves in inexplicable patterns. 

The more I learn about myself and my place in the world, about energy and essence and living inside my body, the less power time has, the more it fits into my existence.

Almost a month has gone by since I've written here, but I've been taking pictures and writing comments in my head. I'm going to backfill, add things in where they belong, in the line of time.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Storm Light

Spring, the time of new growth, rebirth, color and light - the time of warm sunny days and blustery dark storms.

I was entranced by the movement and textures, the way the special storm light lit up the new leaves.

The contrast of darkly bloated clouds behind the newly clothed trees.

The rainbow rising from velvet grass, welcomed by the white fluffy cloud. Rainbows, the joy of spring storms that combine bright sun, dark clouds, and rain.