The Three Pigs

No, I haven’t taken up writing children’s tales. We have three new pigs here at the ranch.  Alex and I picked them up yesterday in our trusty stock trailer.

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If you are going to have livestock, it really helps to have a trailer. Our trailer is old and small – but it works!

The pen is now more than twice as big as it was for the last hogs we had a couple of years ago – though we only had two then.  The new hogs wasted no time checking our the deluxe hog hut. In case you missed the creation of the hog hut, you can read all about it here.

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The new boys must have approved, because later on they were snoozing in the hut.

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The porkers explored the  newly enlarged hog pen in the woods. You can see where the old pen was at the line between the grass in front and salal and ferns in the back. When we put the first pigs in the pen it looked just like the back part of this one does with lots of salal and vines. The pigs rooted around and got out every last bit of that stuff – and then the grass grew back in its place.

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Those porkers make good little rototillers.

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The Hole Cover Revealed

As our commentors guessed, this hole that used to be the smokestack of the old firepit / gazebo is now a solar tube skylight. John the builder framed in the hole and added supports on the inside.

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John and the roofers added the dome on the top of the old firepit hole.

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The insulators made it snug and energy-efficient. 

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John wrapped it in tongue and groove cedar. And voila! We have natural light in the center of the store building.

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The Store Update

While we’ve been busy with calving and all the other things that go on around here, our friend John the builder has been working on the store here at the ranch. We are trying to get it ready to open by Memorial Day Weekend.

John added an entrance to the west side of the old gazebo.

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They wrapped and sided it with cedar boards and batts.

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He also made the doors – which he designed to look like barn doors.

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Then the roofers came and put a new roof on the whole building.

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The new roof completed.

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Insulation in the walls.

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We even have plumbing!

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Any guesses what this part is?

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A Calf is Born

stork calf

Dolly the cow gave birth to her second calf yesterday. I was standing fairly close and got pictures of the whole thing.  You can read all about it – and see lots of pictures – HERE on our grass fed beef website  Warning! If you think the stork brings these little critters (and you want to keep on believing that) this is NOT the blog post for you! If you want to see what really happens when a cow gives birth, click on the link to read more. 

Either Way

In the fertile fields of the Skagit Valley about 35 miles down the Skagit River from our place it is Tulip Festival Time.

tulips and barn

Acres and acres of daffodils and tulips bloom in the fields – a beautiful sight that draws visitors from around the world.

tulip fields

I did not take any of these pictures, but I really wish I had! We have been to the fields many times and it is always gorgeous. A living rainbow of color.

tulips

Meanwhile about 15 miles up the Skagit River above us, they are clearing snow to try to get Highway 20 open across the North Cascades.

clearing snow

Highway 20 “The North Cascades Highway” is the northern most route over the Cascade mountains to the East side of Washington. It is a beautiful drive with stunning views – when it is open.

liberty bell

The road takes you past emerald-green lakes surrounded by towering peaks. This is a photo of Diablo lake in the summer time.

diablo lake

The crews have been working for weeks to clear the roadway. They had hoped to have the pass open by Tuesday the 16th, but we had more snow last night so I don’t know if that schedule will hold.  Depending on the weather, the pass usually closes around Thanksgiving and opens again in April or May.

snow clearing

So, either way you go on Highway 20 from our place there is some beautiful scenery and something interesting going on.