Tag Archives: family

Happy New Year!

It’s been a whole year since we threw a housewarming/New Years Eve party on the farm. What a crazy year it’s been, too!

Just days after we mailed out our holiday cards last year, on December 5th, we found ourselves signing an enormous stack of papers, as we closed on a house after a year of hunting. Talina left for a pre-planned trip to Nicaragua with her school, and two days later, Megan arrived at the new house to pick up the keys. While Talina was away in Nicaragua, Megan and an army of friends and family, including her brother Thaddeus, who came up from California to help, washed and painted, ripped out the carpeting and installed new flooring before Christmas Eve. After Christmas, we moved out of our apartment in Portland and were finished unpacking in time to throw a New Year’s Eve party in our new house.

After the New Year began, Talina headed to Seattle for a two month clinical rotation at University of Washington. While she was away, Megan worked from home, and spent her free time working on the new house, preparing space for a garden, and settling into “farm” life. With Talina home on weekends and help from Megan’s parents (and Weed Wrenches), we attacked a pasture full of scotch broom bushes and the task of rebuilding a luxury chicken coop in the barn.

In March, Megan started to travel regularly to Austin, TX for work, and it was Talina’s turn to be home alone. We brought home baby chicks and raised them in the bathtub (something we’ll probably never do again, the dust was incredible!), then found a few adult chickens, and a rooster, to round out the flock, and by the end of April we had 12 birds and enough daily eggs to swear off store bought eggs for the rest of the year.

For Megan’s birthday in May, we threw a big garden party… as in, everyone helped us build a garden! Friends sorted seeds and hauled loads of compost, and by the end of the weekend, our first 1500 square foot garden was in. Some of Thaddeus’ goats came to join us permanently, making us feel like a real farm. On May 19th, after three years in undergrad and three in graduate school, Talina graduated from Pacific University with a clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy and the Director’s Award. She accepted a job at a geriatric outpatient clinic in McMinnville, a twenty-minute commute from our house, and spent June studying for the national PT board exam, which she passed in early July.

Also in early July, Talina’s father Oscar, sister Khylia, and our niece River came to visit us. We hung out on the farm, went berry picking, split logs, and took River to the Oregon Zoo; it was fun to share our new life with family. With the warmer summer weather came the discovery of fruit trees in the pastures, and the seeds planted in May began to erupt into food! The rest of the summer became a flurry of garden chores, the biggest of which was figuring out how to eat or put away all the food we grew… our freezer and pantry shelves are quite full.

August, September and October passed by in a flash. We harvested hundreds of pounds of food from the garden, and spent some time off-farm dealing with various medical related events.  Reaching the quiet time on the farm, in November and December, has given us some time to regroup and begin to plan for the next tasks. We look forward to the new year, and the continued realization of our dreams. We hope that you too are seeing the realization of your dreams in this year and into the next. We are so thankful to have you in our lives.

Megan & Talina


A few photos from our New Years Day walks:


Happy sheep in a frozen pasture


The whole menagerie in one photo: Sheep, Turkeys, Chickens, Goats


Next year's holiday card photo?


Christmas time! Our big Christmas present this year was A NEW TRACTOR! The boys shopped around, and we ended up accepting delivery of this beauty this week.


Talina and Megan got lessons in driving it today, and we took it into the Neutral Zone to play around with knocking down some of our standing dead trees. Much better than cutting them down, which would have left a stump to mow around forever. Plus, fun!


Our new toy is a pretty small one, so there will likely still be projects for which our neighbors larger tractors will be more appropriate. But as a good, easy assist around the farm, I think we have only just begun to discover the ways this little guy will be useful!



For Thanksgiving dinner, we celebrated our year on the farm with many local ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Goat Milk
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Sunchokes
  • Herbs

Goal for next year: Add brussel sprouts, parsnips, and carrots to the list.

Family Visit

Talina’s father and sister, and our niece, came to visit with us this week. We had so much fun showing them around the farm… maybe almost as much fun as they had exploring it?


Khylia and her adorable daughter River met the turkeys the day they got home.


River was a HUGE fan of the chickens, and they were surprisingly cooperative for her, even letting her pet them!


Now that the goats spend most of their days across the road in the Neutral Zone, the family pitched in to help roll one of the fancy goat toys over to a flat spot so the goats have something to play on in that field, too.


John taught Talina’s father how to use a chainsaw and to split logs with a maul.  He’s an expert, now… he also got to use the weed eater, and we had to tear him away from it to make him eat dinner!


Talina and John supervising the log splitting.  We got a ton of wood split and stacked for next winter (okay maybe not a real TON, but, a lot.  A lot of wood.  Basically, we need a bigger wood shed).


Oh, hello, visitors!  We moved an old bathtub being used as a watering trough, and discovered a couple of garter snakes giving themselves a warm spot for the afternoon.  So fun to see the population is so healthy around here:  keep it up, guys, eat those bugs!

En Garde!

High on our list of priorities has always been fixing the fences..  previously, we redid the fencing around the barn pasture, but, the big summer goal was to rewire the fencing in the Neutral Zone pasture, and to enclose the North pasture (our hill).  When Thaddeus came up with his goats to visit this month, the need became, shall we say, slightly more urgent.  4 goats can go a long way in a 1 acre pasture, but 14 goats!?  We needed a bigger space.


I had a traumatic travel experience that led me to get home late afternoon on Friday, instead of as planned on Thursday afternoon.  In my sleepy travel haze, here’s my photo of the work crew (Lela, Thaddeus, John, and Talina) discussing the next steps to rewire the fence in the Neutral Zone.

Saturday we got up early and attacked the fence.  The biggest challenge was rewiring the entire back length of the Neutral Zone; this is where we share a border with a neighbor, so we wanted to be especially sure there were no gaps!  In the end, we left the existing field fencing up, and ammended it with a double length of 5″ stand-off insulaters holding the electric fence.  Hopefully that does the trick!

I was so busy helping with the fencing, I actually took zero photos the entire day.  Whoops! To make up for it, here’s a lovely photo of the Neutral Zone pasture, on it’s best behavior.


Day two, we wrapped up the new length of fence to enclose the North hill pasture.  When I say hill, I mean, HILL:


Here’s the same crew, all hands on deck to tie down the supports for the new gate brace.


One weekend, four sets of hands, two new pastures!  We’re on a roll…



A few months ago, because even we with our total lack of orchard education could tell it was necessary, we tried pruning our four orchard trees, two apples and two pears. We were wimpy. We cut, and the trees basically looked the same when we were done.

BUT! We have an expert in the family. Cassy came up on Saturday and showed us how it’s really done. 20120325-162824.jpg

Cassy up on a ladder, held by Mom and Rich, sawing away at one of the leaders on this pear tree.

A successful pruning adventure, resulting in a MASSIVE burn pile full of fruit tree clippings!

Sunday Brunch

This Sunday we hosted our first Third Sunday Brunch at the new house. We had such a great crowd, I spent too much time enjoying our company and not any time taking photos! So, no documentation, but so many grateful thanks to the guests who came all the way out to join us.

A quick reminder to send muddy boots to the mud room.

A deer, my first sighting, on the property by the crossroads at the spring.

Day Fifteen: New Years Eve Party!

To celebrate 14 days worth of progress, we threw a New Years Eve party in the new house! Here’s some great photos of the clean, unpacked house, and all the lovely friends and family who came out to join us in celebrating. At the cusp of the new year, we had lots of hands to bang pots and pans in every room, scaring out the evil spirits.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Work Break: Merry Christmas!

For mental health reasons, we all took the Christmas holiday off from work on the house.. Although we did work enough to be able to host Christmas dinner there with my dad’s family!


No furniture in the living room yet, but we got a tree from the neighbor down the road and put the presents under it. Sitting on the new flooring is the best way to celebrate, anyway!