Saturday, February 6, 2010

We're seeing hints of Spring at The Big Backyard. It has been a long one! The crocus and daffodils have faded, but we're still waiting for the sun! Spring greens are still going strong and we are eating our way through the canned goods of last fall. Peaches are especially low and hopefully the kids will develop a craving for cherries soon. One of the aspects of managing the household here is to guesstimate how many jars of each product should be put up. A note will be made for next year, less cherries and more peaches. Our new Lapins cherry tree survived it's late transplanting last summer and shows lots of new leaves. We didn't get any blossoms this year, on it or the new Stanley plum. The new apples and pear all showed lots of beautiful blooms, but we won't expect much fruit from any of our new additions. All but the Belle DeBoscoop have survived the winter. They all got a pruning based on the findings by the huge local Bear Creek Orchards. They prune their fruit trees to have whorls of 5 or 6 fruiting branches spaced exactly 15" apart up the trunk. This allows the fruit to hang penduously, giving you more and perfectly shaped fruit. We'll see.

We hosted the first WWOOFers ( of 2010 in January. A delightful family from Normandy, France. We have purposefully left our WWOOFing calendar empty this year, but look forward to making light work with many hands next year! We love the world expanding, sustainable agriculture building, positive vibe we get from being part of WWOOF!

The Big Backyard is hosting a wedding in late June! Veggie planting has been put off until July 2010. After Sam and Camille ride off in wedded bliss, we'll do more soil buiding, harvest our strip of rye, and plan the overwintering garden. It has been such a chilly, wet spring. The scarlet runner beans are still little things. Hopefully we'll get some heat so that the garden/wedding site will be surrounded with these glorious vines!

Our poultry flock did not fare well against the bears this year. Our new hot wire line is now working well in keeping ursus americanus out, but the disruptive attempts to enter leave our egg counts low. A flock culling to stew up nonlayers and old hens is slated for this early summer. Rainbow Warrior, guardian rooster, will stay, even though he has turned into a rascal. We'd like to see some baby chicks!

It has turned out to be a good trade, not milking the goats in exchange for a simpler schedule. Especially now that Heidi has a new job as Ashland's Saturday Market manger ( . We've almost run out of olive oil preserved feta and frozen chevre. Both girls will be bred in the fall, hopefully to a Toggenburg or Alpine buck. Training kids to pull a cart or drive a plow would be so much fun! Cross your fingers for a matched pair!

Hopefully, updates will happen more regularly this year, check back and see what we're working on!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We are an English speaking, agnostic, omnivorous, homeschooling family of four on three acres in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains in Southern Oregon. Wwoofers ( and work traders are welcome to stay for up to seven days in a lovely, separate apartment that does not have an Internet connection in exchange for about 3 hours of work per day.
We are considered to be in rural Talent, Oregon but are very close to the hip town of Ashland (
This summer we are continuing to turn our old kitchen garden into a small orchard and herb garden. We've got 8 fruit trees planted, some grapes, raspberries and several medicinal and culinary perennial herbs. We are also working on our new garden site. We're working on soil building, figuring out watering systems, and doing minor fence work. We currently house two dairy goats, about 50 chickens and various household pets.
Expected work can include mowing, weeding, cleaning the coop and goat shed, firewood stacking, tree care, food preservation, more weeding, woodland trail clearing, compost building and general garden work.
We welcome singles, couples and families but do not welcome dogs.
Please provide your own transportation, food and sleeping bags.
Contact Heidi Dawn at for availability.