Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Where Did I Go?

Lifes been pretty crazy as I'm sure you can tell. Alot of time and energy has gone to the farm, but I was also hired as an apprentice at a large jewelry company. I'd only been there for 9 months when I got promoted to a full time bench jeweler. My skills have improved dramatically...though there isn't much creativity. Unfortunately I have very little energy and time left for my own personal jewelry.

 Hopefully as I get more settled and set up at the farm I can reorganize my jewelry studio and start making my own work. Until then: please wait for me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Day in the Life of Me

Did I mention I got fired?

Yeah, it didn't work out at the last place. Politicy stuff, ya know? So I moved back to the farm and focused on that stuff and got a call from a big jewelry company that they needed help and heard my name from someone I buy supplies from. Coolio. So I'm working that job as an apprentice jeweler. Last week I learned the "real" way to rip-tip stones and then I rebuilt some broken prongs and set stones. cool stuff.

So my morning starts around 7:30 feeding the animals, then milking the sheep. By 8:15 I am back making breakfast and getting cleaned up for work. If I have time I will run an errand like picking up more feed. Then I'm off to work by 9:20, work until 6:30. Pick up free veggies for the pigs from a grocery store, get home, feed the animals and try to muster up the energy to feed myself. Since my day typically doesn't end until 8:30 I haven't been putting much time into the bench.

This will change one day. One day I will be back here more frequently. Until then, forgive me for I am tired.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Farm Blog!

I decided it was time to start a blog focused on my farming and return this one to jewelry. That means, yes, there WILL be less baby animals pictures here. BUT fear not, for if you come over to http://farmerista.wordpress.com/ there will be plenty.

In jewelry news I have decided not to do a booth at the CMAG spring show this year. I may get around to putting some pieces in the gallery, but I don't know if I will have time to make something new. I don't know if I mentioned the bench jewelry job i got in december didn't work out? Yeah, various reasons i don't need to go into but I did just land a new one with the official position of "apprentice." Thats great: that means the other jewelers KNOW I'm supposed to be learning. It will mean 40 hours a week so fitting that into the farming and all...well, good thing I have lots of energy!

Anyway, I'll leave you with a picture of my bottle baby lamb, Blaze. She is totally sleeping on the couch right next to me at the moment. (If you want to know her story follow that link)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Got my studio half put back together: I had many comings and goings over the last few months that left the space in disarray. Unfourtunatly, some of the ex's cats took to peeing in my studio and I can't sit at my bench without to the distinct smell of cat urine.

Despite the stench I trudged on (with the help of a scented candle). I had the neighbor girl over tonight to learn the basics of jewelry making. I started her on just hammering metal, then onto sawing. By the end of the evening she had made a cute copper dragonfly.

So I have a jeweler in training...hopefully she'll will help me battle through the cat stank by actually WANTING to be in the studio.

(dogs rule, cats drool. :P)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Farming and stuff

Well my friends, I have been up to alot. I moved back onto the farm and have been working non-stop to get it fixed up. among the happenings: I picked up a new sheep named Polly. She is and East Friesian x Lacaune which means another milker. She is a month or two younger than Ash, which seems to mean she is about a month behind in her pregnancy.

 The ram was REAL excited to get to meet her, so I tried locking him up for a day to let him cool his jets while the girls bonded. This was him trying to crawl under the barn door.

 She's spotted, so I'm hoping I'll get a good color when I cross her with a Jacob. Check out the cool spots on her ears: they are ringed like agate!
 The adorable friendly piglets were so curious about the newcomer! She was interested in them...not so interested in Rosie (who walked over to say "Hello.")

Good ol' Rosie. Being a mom is hard sometimes: I guess she needed a pick me up when she tried to drink my coffee.
The piglets are getting big fast! I built a creep feed to help let some pressure off Rosie. They are starting to root around and eat worms and such, but they harass mom nonstop in the barn for more food while she eats pulling at her teats...puts her in a bad mood fast. So at breakfast time I give them a small amount of pellets with milk. They enjoy that while mom eats in peace. Then we all play. I feel like with giving them a little extra food they've been growing even faster...I already had to lift up the bottom electric line on the feed so they could get in. I am disappointed that she sheep haven't lambed yet and the piglets arn't getting the sheep milk: that was the plan. Didn't happen...guess they get powdered milk instead.

In the less than two weeks ive been back I have: repaired the barn walls Rosie punched out, replaced the rotten/broken board on the barn door, got it to open and close again, and reinforced it. The wood piled in the barn is mostly cleaned up, I built a creep feed and a simple pen for the sheep at night. Painted 2 rooms in the house, cut 1/4 a cord of wood (burned most of it already, too), cleaned up the front and am now getting the gardens ready. I need to build a self-feeder for rosie so the sheep stop stealing her food, then I am on to fencing. I am also about to start reorganizing my studio and working on my jewelry again. yay!

On that note I will be moving my farming stuff to a new blog soon and focusing back here on jewelry. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading about the animals, but its time to move this content onto its own site. I'll let you know the new blog as soon as I come up with a proper name. Any ideas? ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Weeks!

As of yesterday the piggies pasted a milestone: two weeks old! And what a happy, healthy, energetic bunch.

And what little trouble makers! They knocked over a glass pane and broke it, then they found this plastic and have been playing with it. Any piece of trash they find they put in their mouths (i guess how piglets learn is through their mouths). This property was covered in trash when we bought it and I had thought I did a decent job cleaning up. Nope, not enough for babies!
 They started going outside when they were 5 days old...seems early but I guess not!
 Now they are starting to root around like mom.
 Rosie looks very satisfied with life.
 Lots of joy, energy and jumps with the piggies are outside.
 This is the only one I dare name: Peppercorn has lots of spunk! She might become a breeder in fall.
Look at those pretty piggy lashes!

So now we have our piglets out of the most dangerous age. Only lost one the first night. While I had hoped for 10, 7 healthy lively piglets is still pretty good for a first time 'round.

Now on to the lambs! I think Ash is going to drop anytime. She is uddering up and laying down alot. I've been pretty nervous because no one is there to keep an eye on her during her first lambing. Shawn has been trying to move out so he hasn't paid much attention to the sheep. I am moving back in today so hopefully she has put off lambing until I'm back. We will see. I don't know when I am going to get my sheep from our shared Jacob flock, so I went ahead and bought another sheep. She is a milker like Ash so it seems we will have a mini dairy going. hopefully I can pull off this milking thing. We shall see!

Either way I'm excited to be  moving back "home," living next to my animals and getting back to *my* personal bench. Yes! that means jewelry will happen again!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013 Seed Order

So Shawn was to be the gardener. Alas, now the task falls to me. To be honest neither of us really got any beds in order. By now the pig should have rotto tilled the garden space, then amendments and cover crop should have been added. However, only one small cool crop bed has been prepared...everything still is covered in grass. The pen the pigs were in during the summer had cover crop seed, but it never took. I'm hoping to muck Rosies pen out and put all her dirty straw back there, but im not sure if i can: she jammed the door closed while puncturing a hole in the bottom of the door. So pigs can use the door, just not humans. This means I have to throw everything over the fence and climb in. Thanks girl.

2013 looks like it wont be the most successful garden year, but I can learn alot regardless. I'm trying to follow the advice of Steve Solomon about high yield growing in Cascadia and eventually move towards more Sepp Holzer style permaculture. (Assuming I can afford to keep the place)

My soil is very rocky clay which is not ideal for many plants. Over time one can build up humus by mixing in organic material...but that takes time. One of Holzer's methods is to build 4 to 5 foot hills hills, rather than raised beds. The hill may have a log underneath to add stability and slowly rot to release nutrients. The hill has greater surface area than a raised bed, and plants can be placed so they don't block each others sun. I won't get to building any hills this by summer, but I can use this method to combat clayey soil buy creating a loamy hill on top. It will also help with drainage.

I just got a bunch of sample sized packets from Territorial Seed. Shawn said they arn't as good as they used to be and their germination rates are down from what they used to have. I figure I'll give them a shot since most their seeds are grown in this bio-region, but next year I may try out Victory Seeds out of Mollala.There are a couple other seed companies I hear good things about like Johnnys Seed Co. and Fed Co...but both are from the East Coast which means the plants that fruit seed well there may not do as well in the West Coast weather.

Of the more interesting things I will be planting: I am going to give quinoa a try. The leaves are apperently edible, too. After reading how international popularity of quinoa has made to too costly for the poorest Bolivians I would like to see how it grows in Oregon.

Other plants I will grow will be Japanese favorites like edamame, kabocha, Japanese cucumbers, and edible crysathamum. My old Japanese Restaurant said they'd buy from me if I could produce enough for them. That means I'll meed 40# of cucumbers twice a week to keep sushi supplied. I'm starting out small this summer to see what I can handle for them, but that may be my niche. We'll see. I'm excited to get started, though. Luckily the animals are keeping my farming bug satisfied.