Monday, November 21, 2011

Online Shopping!

It's thanksgiving week now and already, stores have been filling with Christmas decorations, toy displays and music.  For two weeks i have already been receiving mail ads for Black Friday sales.  Just today, I have finall gotten on the bandwagon rather than just watching it go by.

Omache Farm's Etsy shop is open for the winter!

All of our immediately available fiber products are being posted on our Etsy shop:  For local customers, you may also check out the Yarn Underground in Moscow for fibers on consignment there.

This is very exciting for us and I'm hoping to sell through most of our fiber between Yarn Underground and Etsy before we shear again in June!

So, help us out, have some fibery fun!  Check our fiber products out and pass the link on to your fibery friends!  Browse the rest of Etsy as well, you will probably be able to find the most beautiful gifts for most everyone on your list, all from small business people, many of whom are working hard to earn their living from their passions.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Publicity and Press

We've been in our local paper but this year we're starting to attract the attention of some slightly larger entities.

The first would be WSU's CHANRS College.  They came to our farm and interviewed us in part to promote Organic Agriculture and the agriculture programs at WSU.

They also cut a second version that we may use in our own promotions.

(If you're having troubles, Click on one of the links below to go directly to You Tube to watch.)
From Education to Entrepreneurship
Omache Farm

We also recently heard of and checked out the movement known as The Greenhorns.
They can be found at

Severine and her traveling crew actually called us up and asked to come check out our farm.  Well of course! They visited on Thursday and came back on Friday to film footage for a new project of shorts about young farmers.  They also want to interview us in the future for their radio show!  Crazy exciting!  We'll definitely be bringing it up again when their new video project goes public.

In the mean time, enjoy our new videos and Pass it On!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our latest adventure: CSA!

We have officially decided to offer a small CSA for the 2012 growing season.  (small being the number of shares, not the amount of produce!) 

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is a Partnership between a farm and members of the community providing a direct connection between the growing and eating of the food.

As a member of our CSA you help provide the farm a guaranteed source of funds to purchase seeds and supplies early in the season, and a guaranteed market for our produce. For you, it guarantees a supply of fresh, local, and in-season produce grown using organic methods.

As a member of our CSA, you will receive a weekly box of fresh veggies grown locally and seasonally.

By being a member of our first year CSA you are helping us to take an important step towards growing our farm. Each step we take in growing moves us closer to our goals of being a source of fresh, healthy food to our community and helping build a strong local food web from farm to fork.

Season Length, Pricing and Pick-up:

Our season will run the length of the Pullman Farmer's Market.  This year that is from May 9th through October 17th; a total of 24 weeks.

Our regular size box or share is perfect for 2-3 people who love to eat vegetables.

Price: $300
Due by March 1, 2012.

Pickup: Come to the Pullman Farmer's Market on Wednesdays between 4 and 6pm.  The Market is located in the Spot Shop parking lot, just up the street from Swilly's restaurant in Downtown Pullman.

If you are unable to pick up your box on any given week, you're out of town, your garden gave you a surprise bumper crop, whatever the reason, try to arrange to have a friend pick it up for you and give them a taste of fresh local produce.  If another arrangement cannot be made, we will be happy to donate it to the food bank.

More Information?
Email us!  We would love to email you a copy of our CSA brochure and sign-up form!

Welcome to our new adventure!

You will also receive a weekly newsletter via Email. Our newsletters provide each week’s harvest list, information, stories, recipes and photos of farm life. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Changing Seasons

Just as quickly as spring dove into summer, once it finally decided to that is, summer has taken it's dive into fall.  It has been raining in the mornings. The morning air has begun to have that fall crispness to it.  The daytime temps here have been in the high 60's to mid 70s with clouds and some wind.  not cool enough for another layer but not warm enough to avoid thinking about one entirely.  quite a pleasant way to work!  The nights have been frosting in some places, some folks have even had killing frosts as early as last week, we've heard!  *Knock on Wood* Our garden has so far evaded frosts. 

In some moments, I'm sad to see the summer go.  I know it'll be back again next year but It's so long to wait!  No worries about coats, shorts every day, no shoes necessary, farmer's tans, Swimming daily.

In other instants, I'm glad, relieved, cheering even for the wheel of the year to turn.  Apple cider, warm fuzzy wool sweaters, stick-to-the-ribs crockpot meals, halloween, thanksgiving, Yuletide seasons.

Spinning wool, garden planning, cleaning house.  Preparing for chickens, analyzing data.  Feeding sheep and playing in the hay.

So much to miss and yet so much to look forward to.  Every season has it's beat and it brings the rhythm to the year.  Always changing, never ending.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Children on the Small Farm

Once, a long time ago for this area, agrarian pursuits were a necessity of life.  Folks didn't "go to work" in the same sense that most of us generally do today.  Children weren't such a burden but a blessing upon their families.  Children were welcomed into most life spaces and activities.  Efficiency was traded for education and learning and being part of a larger community.  Children and their families lived generally in larger familial or religious or some other form of the village.  I'd bet that is from where the notion that "it takes a village to raise a child" came.

It seems that the village today has been traded for "SuperMom" who cleans and cooks and washes and transports and schedules and plans and manages and teaches and so on and so forth.  At least it seems that way to me.  Some may call my plate overfull (which it is) or me just a young, new-ish mother (which I am).  And while my family is still learning how to blend together, we also have a few things figured out quite nicely thanks.

One, our children need other people besides us to interact with.  Well, during Market season, they get to go once a week with a dear friend to play for a few hours.  Yes, they miss a good deal of learning about working and being at the market but it gives them a break as well as us!  everyone is happy all around.  (that and we go to two markets and have only one night is with our friend, so they're still getting that).

We have also, our circle of friends.  Granted, most of them are older and if they have children they are teenagers.  But who cares?  We see eye-to-eye with them most of the time.  That is always the important part of friendship, not age or life stage although those can be nice at times too.  They love us, we love them, they love our whole family and our kids have tons of loving aunties.

We are starting to figure out how to run our farm both as a business and as a passion together with our children.  Obviously, we cannot afford daycare, not on the farm and certainly not on my small income.  We often explain our baby steps as "bootstrapping" it all together.  We certainly are.  We have had some generous help in some places but we refuse to place ourselves in debt because we know we will never escape it.  We have placed economic sustainability at the forefront of our business and life.  One step provides for the next.  One day, our farm will be our livelihood.  Our children therefore, are a part of our business as well as our family.  Being nearly two and nearly four, they're not always the most helpful but they have their moments and they have their small helpful routines.

HannaMae always helps Papa harvest cucumbers.  Alli is starting to understand the concept of a "red" tomato as opposed to a "green" tomato.  sometimes.  They are rather effective herders of sheep in simple situations.  they are awesome brick-movers, for a little while.  They are super good at the art of a dirt bath and in the mud-hole swim.  They have incredible imaginative abilities.

No, their childhood is definitely far from today's conventional childhood of snacktime and playdates.  Rarely is anything on a rigid schedule at our house.  They go to bed after 8pm.  Do I care?  Yes and No.  Yes because they are outside the societal norm and may have a hard time becoming part of it all.  No because I know they are happy, healthy, well-fed, imaginative, intelligent, have strong immune systems, are creative and curious.

So when folks ask us how we do it all, our answer is "we don't."  Something always falls through the cracks.  Sometimes dinner isn't until 9 or ten or 11 sometimes.  Sometimes they watch every movie they own in a week... twice.  Sometimes they get so dirty i can't recognize them as my own.  Sometimes people ask me where they got so dirty on days that they are a little dusty and I prickle at them.  But I'm sure they'll turn out okay.

I'm also sure that between Jason and me, as husband and wife and as business partners, we will be able to figure it out.  The two of us will be able to be counted as one and a half workers or even two in some moments not because we have a babysitter but because our kids know how to "help out" by staying out of the thick of it all for a few moments.  We will be able to manage our farm so that we will be able to hire some extra hands for the most desperate times and still pay ourselves enough to live on.  maybe, someday we'll even be able to afford our own health insurance!

Yep, parenting and farming are both full-time jobs without pay or hours.  That doesn't mean that it has to be one or the other.  gee, maybe we'll even homeschool our kids while earning our living wage...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Squash

6 Zucchini
2 Beets
1 bunch Kale
Olive Oil
Salt, Balsamic
Vinegar, other spices to

Slice one side from the zucchini or slice in half if large or cut to appropriate size and then hollow it out, leaving a sturdy shell.

Chop the beets into small pieces

Rip up the kale into pieces.

Combine the beets, Zucchini insides, ¾ of the kale. Dress with olive oil and vinegar/salt/spices to taste. Place a layer of kale in the bottom of each zucchini boat and stuff with the veggie mix to capacity. Roast at 350’ F for about 10 min or until Kale becomes crisp. You can roast the remaining mixture for a side as well. Best served warm.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Shepherdess

A few weeks ago, The sheep were fenced into an area between our garden sections.  There are about 7 lambs that simply do not respect our four-strand electric fencing in part because of their full wool coats (insulating against shocks).  Thus, we were constantly having several lambs out and eating grass by the old grain elevator, eating weeds in the squash and corn, luckily leaving the crops themselves alone.  Not a huge deal but a nuisance.  Jason was working on a small wier in the creek to allow us to pump water for the garden even during the dryest parts of summer.  Up to his elbows in creek muck, literally, HannaMae came down and informed him that there were sheep out of the fence.  Jason told her he would have to handle it in a few minutes.  "I'll take care of it" she said and marched off.  A few minutes later, Jason started thinking about what HannaMae had said and went to see what she and Alethea were up to.

HannaMae was directing Alethea to walk this way and that and was using her as a blockade to collect and drive the lambs back inside the fence.

They did it all by themselves, a nearly 4 year old and nearly 2 year old.  no help or direction from Papa, on their own initiative, smartly and safely.

Little shepherdesses with a knack for the art.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summertime Veggies

Refuse to join the movement that is Facebook?

Here is a link that'll take you directly to our new photo album of summer veggies.

Mouth watering yet?  Nice!  Come to the Pullman Farmer's Market on Wednesdays in the Spot Shop Lot on Kamiaken between 4 and 6pm.  We'll be there with lots of other vendors of healthy deliciousness.

Food this good can't be passed up!

Hay Pictures

For those of you not on facebook, or who are finding it here first, below is a link to a new photo album from moving hay a few weeks ago.

Hope you enjoy it!  Hard work but we had fun.  Especially playing in the pool afterwards!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Barn Kittens!

As students were leaving town at the end of the school year this past spring, at least one cat showed up around our barn.  Shame on whomever left her behind!  She trusted her person and they dumped her at an old red barn just hoping that she might survive.  Luckily for your conscience, she did.  You forgot a detal though.  You forgot to get her spayed!

Luckily for this little kitty, I now have one known barn cat: Mama Kitty.

Yep.  I now have one barn cat and six little barn kittens in training!

Boy, are they ever cute!  I would never have known about them if it weren't for the adventuresome grey tabby kittens.  I nearly stepped on them when walking up to our sheep barn a few weeks ago to start setting up to move the sheep to a new area!  They were all the way out by the old corral fenceline, on the other side of the barn from where they spend their days now!

There are two dark grey tabbies, one blue/light grey tabby and three little black and whites, just like their tuxedo Mama.

Their eyes are still blue.  I reckon that I found them not too long after their eyes opened, making them probably about 4-6 weeks old by now and their eyes are starting to change to their adult colors now.  Alli and HannaMae came with me to check on them the other night and got to play with five of them for a little while.  (They like to hide inside the pallets next to their little nesting area and I couldn't find number 6.)  They kept my girls so busy!  Hold onto one while trying to grab another from climbing the bale of hay while another distracts by crawling across a leg.  I even convinced Mama Kitty to let me pick her up and hold her although she wasn't much on the idea of Alli petting her.  Now that they are getting to be big little kittens they can hop and jump and run quite fast!  I still haven't caught the second tuxedo kitten, number 6.  It is a good little hider.

Alli and HannaMae are now always asking to go and see the kittens now.  They even talked Papa into checking on them the other day!  Papa isn't one much for cats of any cuteness level but I think these may have pulled his heartstrings a little.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jumpy Jacobs

Jacobs are known to be flighty by nature.  This trait is definitely heritable and some are more flighty than others.  Generally, our flock seems to not be as flighty as their breed’s reputation.  As individuals become familiar with us as their caretakers and as they age, they seem to generally relax.  Some of it is also experience.  As they have seen all there is to see, they start to know what to expect.  Perhaps it’s just us and our attitude towards them but our sheep seem generally as calm as any other flock of sheep.  We also learned early on when working with sheep that having any sort of handling facility with a proper setup of squeeze pen and gate is immensely helpful for any number of sheep above zero, as is a calm and in control mindset. 

At the first farm that we spent time on, Jacobs were the breed of choice.  While they had been in business a number of years, the farm was quite small and handling facilities were not really an option.  We only really needed to work with them a few times while we were there and we set up a temporary squeeze pen for drawing blood samples, for shearing we caught them in the field.  The owner had  decided that it was better to shear them herself with the help of her husband.  That was where Jason and I each got to shear our first sheep.  It was difficult to say the least and now I am more than willing to pay our dear shearer to come in once a year and get it all done on one day.  Two minutes a sheep versus our 60 minutes per sheep is well worth every penny!  Catching the sheep on the day we were going to shear them at our first place however was less than easy.  They had enough open space that it took three of us a while to catch a hold of just one sheep and in the process we riled them all up in their full wooly coats on some rather hot days.  It also allowed for incidents like nearly having my knee smashed to pieces by one who wished to go underneath me rather than around.  Luckily, she missed.

While we were going to school at WSU we worked with a gentleman who no longer had much in the way of handling facilities.  Our sheep ran with his for a while and he told us that they made his sheep more difficult to handle.  We also couldn't get anywhere near his rams in order to collect ours when we were ready to move them to land of our own.  Part of that was his rams were used to him and wouldn't come near us as unfamiliar people.  Some people call them jumpy.  I think they're still smart, for a sheep anyways.

While in school, I spent a little bit of time at the University of Idaho sheep facility.  They were fully setup everywhere to facilitate easy movement and handling of sheep there.  If you needed to wort a group into two, you'd take them up to the sorting pens.  During lambing season, the pens and gates were arranged so that all you had to do was open the gate and walk behind the ewe and she would end up where you wanted her to go. 

Granted, the U of I sheep facility was built with sheep and only sheep in mind and had been there a long time.  Most of us don't have that luxury. Most of us must build our own systems within our capital and land constraints.  Most of us have more than just sheep living on our farms.  For us, we are planning on eventually having a great variety of livestock living here and everything we build must reflect that somehow.  Building for ourselves a permanent and appropriately sized handling system of pens, chutes and gates is both a priority and large challenge.  A priority because already we are up to thirty breeding adults with more being added every year.  With lambs this year, we have about fifty animals to work with at any given time.  This is a large enough group that we feel the costs of a permanent system will benefit us greatly both economically and mentally.  It is a huge challenge because we are definately not done growing our flock yet and we don't want to build something too small but it has to be able to work with very few animals at a time as well and not be simply too big.  We also have to fit it in amongst other facilities like a barn and chicken coop that are both also being utilized and in between land features like a creek and the general palouse hillsides.  Oh yes, and it must fit in with our capital restraints as well.

In the time between now and when we get to build our handling system, we use a lot of T-posts and cattle panels.  We also lucked by some large sheets of lightweight concrete reinforcing panels which are very similar to cattle panels.  We but them up and left long posts on one side so that we essentially have step-in panels now.  Permanent or not, having a way to direct our flock so that there is only one way to move makes life much easier for us and much less stressful for our animals.  It is an important consideration for any sheep owner and one I feel that isn't touched on a lot in literature, especially for the small time folks.  Most of our convictions about handling facilities and methods has come from experience rather than school or books.  If you are considering investing in a permanent facility for livestock handling, take a look at the book Humane Livestock Handling: Understanding Livestock Behavior and Building Facilities for Healthier Animals by Temple Grandin.  It discusses theory and methods for calm handling techniques as well as how to build a system and facilitates proper handling of livestock.

Some folks call Jacob sheep flighty, jumpy, crazy.  I call them smart.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farming with Kids

Having young children is a challenge. having multiple young children is more so. Anyone with multiple children within 2-3 years of age will remember those years before they began school well. Damage control is a very accurate concept. More so with some children than others, obviously. also more at some times than others. There are those days, many of which may fade into distant memory sadly, where your little ones are absolutely angelic. then there are days that make us wish there was such a thing as Toddler Boot Camp. hmm... A new reality TV show? I think SuperNanny may have already accomplished that.

Being farmers, our family and our children are faced with many special challenges and experiences. "Helping" takes on a whole new meaning each day. While most toddlers might be indoors learning letters and tracing shapes in a workbook or playing with pupets and blocks on nasty, confused spring days, HannaMae and Alethea get all bundled up in their winter clothes and go out to the farm with their Papa. They make dirt angels, dirt castles, go mud jumping, watch ants braving the cold air and help herd sheep (effectively even now that HannaMae can walk across a pasture!).

HannaMae has become a rather accomplished shepherd, Alli has begun to learn what the names of crops are and which plants are really weeds, mostly.  Both girls must be plied with fresh kale and lettuce and carrots of their own to keep them out of the boxes of clean produce heading for market.  And everyone has been learning to listen to directions when it's crunch time before market.  Everyone is even learning to stay in our own space at the markets, especially at the Tuesday Grower's Market at the Moscow Food Coop, where market is in a parking lot with lots of cars going by.

Farming with young children especially, is a huge challenge.  It is also one of the greatest joys I can imagine.  The girls put on their cowgirl hats and are all dressed up in their cute go-to-market clothes and I can't imagine anything cuter.  Watching our girls obsess over the latest ladybug and even simply playing quietly in the dirt is something I can't imagine living without.  Their imaginations soar when they have little more to play with than a stick and lots of dirt.  (okay, they have TONS of toys at the farm, most go un played with for weeks at a time!)  Watching our girls sit on various trucks and push each other around is so cute.

Life is hard with lots of long hot days and not much more than a blanket and some shade to take a nap in, not like you need much more than that.  Our girls are always absolutely filthy with all the dust and wash water they've been playing in.  but when we finally get home at night, they sleep hard until it's time to get up and go do it all over again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Stir Fry

Omache Farm's Summer Stir Fry

The is one of our favorite stir fries!  So much so that I simply had to write it down!  Now, a stir fry can include anything you wish it to, but this particular combination of vegetables is just perfect.  We've found it to serve between 2 and 4 adults, depending on the appetites involved.  It is wonderfully colorful and the flavors are perfect after a long hot day even if it takes a bit of preparation work, you don't have to heat up the kitchen very long to cook this meal!

1 bunch Chard
1 head Napa Cabbage
1 bunch beets
1 bunch green onions
Snap Peas
Oil for cooking
Rice, if desired, to serve stir fry over

Slice the stems from the chard leaves.  Chop the leaves into squares about 1 inch across and the stems into ½ in. chunks.

Quarter and core the cabbage.  Chop into 1 in. chunks.

Remove the greens from the beets.  Chop the thin root ends from the beets.  If larger than 1 inch in diameter, chop beet into halves or quarters so that all beets are similarly sized.  Greens may also be used in the stir fry if desired or saved for soup or another purpose.

Chop green onions from the root end to within an inch of the tops.

Snap the tops (and ends) from beans and snap beans if desired into 1-2 in. sections.

Chop or slice zucchini into 1 inch sections.

Heat oil in wok or large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Cook onions until softened.  Add beets and stir to coat in oil.  Allow to cook until beets begin to soften.  Add Beans and peas, Chard stems and Zucchini.  When also softened, add cabbage.  Cover and allow to cook for several minutes until cabbage is cooked through.  Add chard leaves, stir, cover and allow to cook until wilted.  Serve hot, over rice.  Sauces such as gyoza or soy sauce go well with this meal.

Lambs can be so.... challenging.

It's a good thing that they're edible.

Now maybe that's mean.  We definately do not do enough handling of our sheep, especially the lambs for them to learn that people really are okay.  The adults have lost their edginess around us and the yearling mamas have begun to lose their edge too, although they are still at the back of the pack and a few tend to get left behind with the lambs sometimes.  Jacob sheep are known for their flightiness and difficulty in handling.  I don't knwo if it's just us or our particular group but they don't seem much flightier than any other group of sheep I've worked with.  Smarter, certainly but not any flightier, really.

Tomorrow morning, we were going to move our ewes and lambs into the next pasture over from where they were the past week.  There were several things that weren't quite right. 

1.  Somehow, last week while in the previous pasture that was next to the rams, one ewe and her two lambs (both males) got themselves into the ram pasture and couldn't get themselves back.  I'll have to be watching that one in mid-december for lambs.  Our rams have never been fertile this time of year before, too hot, but it's been much cooler lately... hmm. 

2. Goats weren't really supposed to be mixed with the ewes yet, but there they were.  Stubborn goats!

3. a couple of lambs had been making adventures somehow into another pasture in the old orchard. 

This time, when I went to check on sheep after market before going home for the evening, the lamb escapees couldn't figure out how to get back into the correct pasture with mum.  I'd have to convince them through a gate, relatively easy.  There were also some lambs already in the next pasture.  Well, I guess it'll be tonight while I've got light rather than tomorrow when I should be building the next fence for the next pasture.  While I'm at it, I might as well get the ewe out of the rams.  Because she has to males for lambs, I don't care if they stay or come with.  They stayed, this particular ewe is particularly un-flighty and loves people because people always bring grain.  I got her through the fence with little problem.  Getting her away from her lambs (still nursing some even though they are 5 1/2 months old!) was more challenging but grain solved the issue, the first time.  Second problem was getting her into the ewe group.

For some reason, in hoping that ALL the ewes and lambs would follow me and my grain bucket, I left the gate open enough to admit Sweetpea, my errant ewe, but most of the lambs and the alpacas and the goats decided the last pasture would be better.  The adult ewes went with me and I got them into the correct pasture.

Next step was retrieving everyone else.  Not too challenging except that SweetPea wanted to go back to her lambs, and the lambs and yearlings were confused because they could see their mothers on the other side of the fence of the old pasture.  I had to go all the way back across the pasture and start over and herd everyone back to the gate to their most recent pasture.  convincing the alpacas has so far been the most difficult but thye actually led the lambs through.  The goats had a mind of their own so I let them stay behind.  The alpacas impressed me by leading the lambs around and through a gate to get to the opening in the fence for the next pasture.  The lambs piled past them once they realized which pasture they were in since they'd been there before.  The poor alpacas nearly fell into the creekbed but quickly figured it out.

All I had left was the three individual goats.  Once I got them headed in the right direction and through the gate, all I had left to do was tie up the gate again and amost every difficulty had been fixed, about an hour after I began.  All I'll have to fix later is getting the two lambs out of the ram group but we'll be into breeding season before the first ones go to slaughter and I'll have to sort the rams then. 

I do love my sheep.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shepherd's Corner: Pasturing

We are about to move into the time of year where we are rotating the sheep very quickly from pasture to pasture.  In our idealized farm management system, our sheep would be moving from one pasture to another on a daily basis or atleast on a weekly basis when we are grazing un-fenced areas.  Right now, we are rehabilitating and replacing many old "hard" fences.  These are the fences that are made of a metal mesh and/or barbed wire.  Some of our fences include the barbed wire if we can salvage it from the previous fence while others have a strand or two of electric wire.  In areas of tougher terrain or that are not part of a larger fenceable pasture, we use a four-wire electric fence to keep sheep where they are supposed to be.

We rotate pastures for a number of reasons; first is that forage during the dry season is at a premium and must be used wisely.  Moving quickly from one pasture to another reduces the amount of forage that is lost to trampling when the sheep walk in search of their favorite grasses.  Another prime reason is fertility.  By rotating pastures, manure is spread across the pastures evenly and with zero labor input by us.  We also do not have any runoff from too much manure because the sheep are never in any pasture long enough to leave “too much” manure.  The soils have plenty of time to absorb what the sheep leave behind.  By rotating, we are increasing the amount of forage available to us as well as increasing the fertility of the pastures under our charge!

We also reduce our labor inputs by rotating because we are allowing the sheep to harvest their own feed.  The only hay that we need to move from field to barn and then into feeding racks is hay for winter through early spring when grasses cannot be found under snow and when the ground is so wet and cold and not yet growing that sheep would merely starve and tear apart pastures.  On the Palouse, this still ends up being 4-6 months of the year, depending on spring and fall weather patterns.  This is great for us, because we don't have to spend as many labor hours on the sheep and it reduces the cost of lamb and wool that we produce.  We pass these kinds of savings on to you as our customer.

Now, looking at our prices, this may not seem like a whole lot of savings.  Remember however, that we have little mechanization to ease any labor loads, and that we don't charge at our prices because we can.  We charge the prices we do because we are covering all of our costs.  Take wool for example.  Even 100% wool yarns and products might be less expensive than what our products might cost.  On the other hand, many wool producers are not even covering what it costs to have wool sheared from their sheep!  Our wool and lamb prices reflect the costs and labor involved in producing these items.  When you buy woll or lamb from our flock, you can rest assured that we will be there in the future to provide you with more wool and more lamb because we covered our costs today.

Stewardship of our land begins with stewardship of our economy and our community.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Market Boxes

We are going to offer this week what we like to call "Market Boxes!"

A Market Box is essentially a No-Committment CSA type box.  Each week, we'll put together a group of produce and take 10% off the regular price of the produce if you were to buy each part separately.  We will also include a recipe that will utilize the contents of your Market Box or the box will be themed such that one won't need a recipe.

For Example:

1 Bunch Kale                $1.75
1 bunch Chard              $1.75
1 head Napa Cabbage  $2.00
Beets                            $2.00
Beans                            $2.00
Green Onions                $ 1.75
Regularly: $11.25
Market Box: $ 10.00
Pretty good Deal!

The exact contents and price of the market boxes will change each week as produce moves in and out of season.

Some future themes we are looking at for our boxes during the rest of the season include a Grilling box, a Dorm Dweller box, and a Salsa box.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Colcannon with Bacon

Colcannon with Bacon
(Serves about 16 as a side)
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes, sautéed onions and sautéed Cabbage or Kale and is often served with Irish bacon.  This is my own twist on the basic that will get even non-veggie eaters to adore eating veggies!  This dish does take a bit of juggling around the stove but the results are well worth it and because this recipe makes such a large amount, you will have plenty of leftovers to go with lunches all week long or perhaps just enough for one meal that includes a few teenagers!

1 head cabbage, cut into 6-8 wedges
2 large onions cut into about 8 sections
2-3 pounds potatoes, cubed
8 slices bacon
Olive oil, salt and pepper.

  1. Preheat oven to 450’F.
  2. Boil and mash potatoes, adding milk and butter to make them creamy.
  3. Chop cabbage and onions into about 8 wedges, discard cores.  Lay on baking pans and drape bacon across wedges.  Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Roast about 30 min.  Rotate at 15 min if oven cooks unevenly.
Combine bacon, cabbage and mashed potatoes.  Serve Immediately and Enjoy!

Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan Recipe

We love to hear how recipes turned out for you and how you might have changed it and made it your own for your family.  Please feel free to share with us here or at the markets as well as pass these recipes on!  Enjoy!

Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan
(Serves 4 as a side)
1 pound chard stems (approx. 12 large stems)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
¾ C. Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400’F.  Bring about 4 quarts water to a boil.  Lightly grease an 8 in. square baking dish.
  2. Add Chard stems and salt to the boiling water.  Cook until almost tender, about 8 min.  Drain.
  3. Lay 3 or 4 stems in baking dish in a single layer, cutting to fit.  Dot with some of the butter and sprinkle with some of the cheese.  Repeat this process three or four times, alternating the direction of the stems in each layer until all chard, butter and cheese have been used.
Bake until chard is very tender and the top of the casserole is lightly browned, about 25 minute.  Serve Immediately.

Garlicky Chard Recipe

Garlicky Chard
(Serves 4-6 as a side)
2 Tbsp olive oil or other oil of choice
2 med. Onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 med. Garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ lb Chard, stems discarded, Leaves washed, shaken and roughly chopped (about 12 packed cups)
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

  1. Heat oil in stockpot deep enough to hold greens.  Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 8 min.  Add Garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 min.
  2. Add damp Chard, stir well to coat with oil, cover and cook, stirring a few times until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If desired, simmer uncovered for several minutes to evaporate excess liquid or use liquid to moisten rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, pureed beans, or meat.

For an Asian style dish, replace olive oil with roasted peanut oil; add 1 tbsp minced fresh gingerroot and 2 med. Scallions, sliced thinly with the garlic to the Garlicky chard.  Substitute also, 1 tbsp soy sauce for the salt, or more to taste, and drizzle with a tsp or two of toasted sesame oil just before serving.

For a Mexican influence, add a minced jalapeno chile pepper with the garlic and serve the dish with lime wedges.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shepherd's Corner, July 20

Did you know that meats are seasonal?  Omache Farm works on a grass based system albeit we are learning the intricacies of the seasons on the Palouse as both Jason and Margaret hail from western Washington.  In a system that follows the natural fluctuations of grass and feed supplies there must be choices about which animals head to the freezer before winter and which ones are worth keeping over the hard winter months.
In the case of Lamb, they reach finishing weight in the fall.  Since it cannot be financially justified to feed them over the winter because they take several months into the spring and summer to increase their weight, they must be sent to freezers in the fall, before the flock needs to move to hay feeding.  Red meats like lamb and beef and fall pork can also be cured so as not to require refrigeration.  Most curing done today however still needs refrigeration.  Curing is as much of an art as it is a science.
Broiler chickens of a meat type breed can be ready for the pot in as little as 2 months.  Chicks naturally start to hatch in the spring as laying hens increase their laying of eggs with the flush of spring bugs and warmer weather.  Spring and summer chicks supply people with summer and early fall chicken dinners.  In the case of Pigs, piglets grow to market size in as little as five months.  If they grew all summer, one would likely have to split chops between two people for a meal!  If given enough facilities to farrow, or give birth, in early spring the first pork could theoretically be ready in time for the Fourth of July Barbeque.  Pork is sometimes called “The other white meat” and works well with lighter fare as well.
Red meats often feature in much heavier meals that are most welcome during the cold months of the year, when they are most available.  White meats however work much better in lighter fare during hot summer and early fall months.  While our mainstream culture may not generally promote meats seasonally, one might notice the prices of these meats fluctuate with the seasons because in many ways our conventional system has not yet conquered the seasons and seasonality of production.  With natural, grass-based systems, one can be allowed to revel in seasonal bounty with meals for each season!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Enterprises for Next Year

We are starting the process of evaluating possible enterprise additions to Omache Farm for next year.  We'd love to hear some feedback from all of our lovely customers, newsletter recipients, and possible future customers!  This way, we'll know that we are setting out in the right direction with our existing clientele rather than taking a shot in the dark, so to speak.  Keep your eye out for paper survey copies at the markets later this season to help us assess our options in these new endeavours.

Laying Hens

We have heard hundreds of times from people that they want to buy local, pastured eggs.  Current egg vendors appear to sell out every market and we know that there is certainly room for another producer in the market.  We'd like to hear from you as far as what you'd like available for eggs.  Dozens? half- dozens?  Egg shares done CSA style?  White? Brown? is fertilization important to any of our customers?  Are there any restraunts out there who would be interested in purchasing eggs?  What kinds of price points are families and businesses willing to purchase at?  All of these questions have a large potential impact on how we go about this business and whether or not we can rovide a sustainable business model while still finding ourselves capable of serving folks that may not have a large food budget available.


We;ve noticed a very short supply of publicly available pastured pork available in the area.  We're positive there are plenty of backyard herds out there that are providing a few porks for friends and family and such, but we've also heard desires from our farmer's market customers for more pork.  We think that pigs could play a great role in the diversity of our farm but we would like to hear from our potential customers, familys and restaraunts alike, as to what they might be looking for.  We know availability of cuts is always a popular request. Tell us more about your timing desires, if you'd like whole carcasses or just halves available, prices you might be willing to pay, and any other things that you might consider when deciding what pork products you purchase for your family.

As I noted above, we'll be doing some paper surveys later this summer as we have some more solid info of our own to ask about but any comments left here will be greatly appreciated!  We have a lot of work to do in determining exactly how we'd like to market our products to you, our customers, while also creating a profitable and sustainable business model for our farm.  Please, let us know what you think and we'll be sure to take it into account!

July 13 Shepherd's Corner

We had an exciting adventure early this week when our new ram, Dillon decided that life was more exciting with the ladies than with his bachelor flock buddies.  Well on the one hand we know that Dillon is indeed interested in the ladies and on the other hand, we’ll know that any lambs born in January are his since he was the only ram that felt the need to mingle this week.  Hopefully we’ll have no more break-ins until something more like October so that we can wait for lambs to start arriving until March where hopefully we’ll have some milder weather.
            We are looking forward to lambing and more importantly receiving data from our lambs next year.  We’ll then have two years worth of lamb data and we can then start making some production decisions as far as lambing time and genetic quality in our lambs for both breed standard and production for your freezers.  If you have bought a lamb from us, we would love to hear back from you.  While we are providing a quality product now, we are always looking for ways to improve!  Your comments will always be instrumental in our production decision in years to come!

Weekly Newsletters

For those of you who do not recieve our weekly newsletter, sign up!  Otherwise, You can find a blog version of our newlsetters here on our blog weekly.  Each week, We'll also be trying to find some time to post fun stories and tidbits, recipes even here on our blog.  So, keep checking in and keep sharing.  Plese also feel free to post responses to recipes especially including how you liked it and any changes you made for your family!

Newsletter for July 13, 2011

The Zen of Weeding

Everyone has weeds.  Nobody likes weeds. Then again, shouldn’t that be more reason to find some joy in taking care of them?  There is certainly a satisfaction when one finally finishes weeding a row of vegetables.  Kneeling, crawling along on the ground, level with the cabbages or broccolis or chards or salad, searching for every last weed attempting to choke out the vegetable’s hold on resources, one realizes the benefits of a broccoli canopy to the soil below.  There is a detectable difference in moisture and temperature, a relief from the heat of the bright sun.  I’ve found that once I get into the rhythm of weeding there is a certain zen to the whole thing.

Where we grow our veggies, the weeds grow in entire matts.  Needless to say, we do a great deal of weeding here.  There is a certain triumph as one grabs whole fistfuls of weeds and stuffs them in the weed bucket. I only have to weed around about three nearly-grown cabbages to fill my bucket.  It’s a lot of work and not easy either.  But it also allows me time to exercise my imagination.  I’ve dreamt up products for gardeners who want to wear shorts while weeding on hot days.  I’ve thought about time management as far as the possibilities of producing such products as baby wraps, my personal favorite for carrying children when little.

I’ve thought about how to make a big enough jump in our farming to allow me to not have to work during the “busy” months of summers.  I’ve pondered over what it really would take for neither of us to have to work off the farm.  I’ve pondered whether we really can do what so many people have told us is simply not possible and truly support ourselves and our family on our farm income.  I’ve always thought so but I’m wondering just how close we really are these days.  I’m thinking pretty close.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!  We hope that everyone had a safe and fun holiday on Monday.  We sure did!  Independence Day is one of our favorite holidays.  The weather is nice but not blistering yet, the days are still long and it comes with no other stipulations than pyrotechnics.  But it also is a yearly reminder of the struggle and sacrifices made by our military since our nation declared itself free.  What better way to celebrate independence than by recognizing the hard work and delicious rewards provided by our local entrepreneurs.

Be they farms or a locally focused business, there is great satisfaction to be found in buying and supporting whenever possible the local people who work so hard to keep our local economy strong and vibrant by just being local.  Yes, American made items might be more expensive than their foreign counterparts but you know that at the end of the day, the extra money you spend on those goods is helping to support another American family.  The time you spend finding locally grown food is certainly more than that spent picking the first items found at a chain grocery store but the joy of growing and being part of such a community is more than the meals made from that food: it is the beautiful relationships and support structures nurtured by that time and knowing that being a part of your farmer’s life will be repaid in top quality foodstuffs year after year.

Many of the founding fathers were farmers, gardeners and businessmen.  Each year we are reminded of our unique connection to these people, being farmers, gardeners and businesspeople ourselves.  Each year as we take a few more steps towards owning a business that not only supports our own family but also supports other families in our community, we are grateful that these men made the choice to declare independence so that we might have the option of being independent businesspeople and have the freedom to choose exactly how we live our lives.

In remembering and thanking all those that played a part in earning the freedoms that we enjoy every day, thank a member of the military, a military family, and thank all the other folks out there who do what they can to keep America independent and free.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spring into Summer!

I've got mroe pictures posted on our facebook!  you can check them out there but if you're not a fan of facebook (geeze, terrible joke!) you can check them out via the following link to the publicly available album.

Our girls are turning out to be great farm girls.  Veggies are finally starting to grow and should start getting ready for market soon!  Summer officially arrives on Monday but the appropriate weather is certainly taking it's very sweet time arriving on the Palouse!  At the most only a few more weeks of spring fare before we can begin our summer feasting!  Hope everyone's gardens are growing well!

Friday, June 17, 2011

HannaMae Saved the Lamb

About a month ago, we had a surprise lamb in late May.  He came from a yearling ewe that we had previously thought had lost her lamb.  Just like her mother, Penny gave no signs of being pregnant and dropped her first lamb with nothing more than the bleat of a baby to announce it's own arrival.

The afternoon that Penny dropped her lamb, Jason moved the sheep, as planned, into a pasture that encompassed a section of the creek running through the farm.  We have a small bridge spanning the creek but as the creek is not very wide, it is common for the sheep to simply hop the creek to get where they're going.

Being a first-time mom, Penny had yet to learn what her baby could and could not yet do.  While Penny had no problem hopping the creek, her toddling lamb still wasn't quite strong enough and ended up hopping into the creek instead.

HannaMae watched Penny's lamb try to follow it's mother and when she saw the lamb fall into the creek, she ran to her Papa who she knew could save the lamb.  After a moment of translating "the lamb is bubbling!" into "the lamb is in the creek!"  Jason took off for the creek.  He threw himself on the ground and pulled the lamb from the water.  a moment of inspection determined the lamb to be fine and he gently tossed the lamb across he creek to his mother.

The lamb had indeed been bubbling, being able to only get his nose above the water about half of his jumps.  Being spring the water in the creek easily runs several feet deep and had HannaMae not seen the lamb, he may have very well been lost.

Three cheers for HannaMae!  Who still will begin telling you some version of how she saved the lamb whenever she gets the chance!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shearing Time!

Last Thursday, we had our sheep sheared!  It was quite exciting.  Even after having Martin Dibble come for the past three years, I am always still awed by how easily, quickly and efficiently he shears sheep!

Martin has been shearing for about 40 years now, starting when he was about 15.  I'm sure he took longer then but each sheep now is sheared in two to three minutes!  We asked him what his daily limit of sheep is and he told us that he'll do about 100 per day.  Well, we're not that big yet but in a couple of years we might be taking up the better portion of a day for Martin!

After watching our video of him shearing SweetPea, you may start to wonder what we pay him for.  Well, Jason and I have both sheared sheep before, using electric sheep shearers though not as nice as Martin's setup, and it took us much closer to an hour for each sheep.  and our fleeces came off with way more second cuts and the sheep were a fair amount bloodier than when Martin is done with them.  If you ever have the chance to attempt to shear a sheep, you will likely also conclude that Martin is worth his weight in gold!

Getting set up to shear was an interesting task.  Our first shearing experience was with some folks who, at the time, had nothing in the way of handling facilities.  We had to catch each sheep in the field.  With Jacobs being known to be more flighty than more commercialized breeds, this made for interesting times.  We learned our lesson then and there but we have to make facilities when we need them now because as yet, we have nothing permanent.  With our sheep barn steadily emptying of a decade's worth of storage, we had enough room in the nice dry barn to make a pen where we could squeeze the sheep into a small enough space to catch them easily without anyone getting hurt.  Our sheep are still flightier, being Jacob sheep, but I think they are less so than their reputation when we use gates and panels and chutes and proper handling techniques.  All of it is worth it in the end for happy sheep and the products they provide us with every year!

This year, we had 24 sheep done.  With an average of just over 2.5 lbs of raw wool per animal and selling two fleeces before even getting home, we still have 59 pounds of raw fleece to sell, process and sell.  None of this included the lambs.  Their wool is not yet long enough to be useful or cause them to overheat as it gets hot in July and August.
After washing, our sheep keep about 80% of that weight, on average, which is a pretty good yield.  That will leave us with about 47 pounds of wool.  If approximately 20 percent of that weight is lost again in the carding and spinning of the wool (dirt, vegetable matter, short fibers, etc.) we will still have nearly 40 pounds of wool yarn.  If it takes, on average depending on the weight and size of them, a pound to make a sweater.  Our sheep could make approximately 40 all-wool sweaters!  So if 59 pounds of wool didn't seem like a lot before, It sure seems like a huge amount now!  As a spinner, I'm looking at my huge pile of wool and thinking "geeze, I'm going to be BUSY this winter!"

If you are a fiber artist of any sort, please let us know if you are interested in purchasing some of our wool in any of it's states between raw and yarn.  Batts for spinning and hand-spun yarn will be available on a limited basis as I can make time for working on them.  As much as I enjoy the art, I have very little time to work on such items.  We should have washed fleeces available after the fourth of July as that will be our washing weekend.  If you absolutely must have a whole fleece before then, let us know and we can probably squeeze in a little bit of washing time.  Raw fleece is $12 per pound, Washed fleece is $20 per pound.  Batts are $4 per 1 ounce batt.  4 ounce skeins of yarn (varying yardage) are $20.  Colors will vary between white, black and all the greys in between.  If you come to the Pullman Market, you can choose from what is available each week.  If you have a particular project in mind, please come talk to Margaret and we will figure out just what you need!  (509) 590-8897 or

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Early Spring Pictures

I've posted some photos from March through May 4.  For those of you on Facebook, you may check them out there.  For those of you who are not on Facebook, below is a link to a publicly available album.

Jason and Margaret
Omache Farm

Hoophouse Pictures

At last! pictures of the completed hoophouse!

It was pretty nasty weather the week Jason was putting up plastic over the end walls.  We might still be able to see the footprints next year as evidence of the "stop flying away you silly plastic!"

HannaMae even helped put up the end walls!

Hoophouse from the North Side

 North Side End

South Side

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


For all of you out there who love to hear about whats going on and love to feel special enough to recieve newsletters, put yourself on our special list!

Omache Farm will be doing a weekly newsletter via email each week starting on Monday, May 16th. 

Each week, we will be listing what should be arriving at the Pullman Farmer's Market with us that week.  A recipe or two, especialy for those veggies that you might see a lot of or have never seen before.  Inspiration is always good!  We will also be informing you of what is going on around the farm in general.

Send us an E-Mail listing your name and email so that we can add you to our newsletter list!  We don't want you to miss out on this exciting new adventure with Omache Farm!

Send your email to:

Tell your friends, forward it on, keep in touch.

During my summer vacation, I'm going to eat great veggies and make new friends.  How about you?

Our Hoophouse Adventure!

We decided that one of the first big steps we would need to make in order to grow our vegetable operation was to obtain a hoophouse.  A hoophouse will allow us to start and grow veggies earlier in the spring and later in the fall as well as maintain a warmer, longer growing season for crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, basil and many other crops that enjoy warmer nights than what normally occur on the Palouse.

We decided the best method for us was to build it ourselves as opposed to purchasing a kit.  We started with Jason researching methods and materials and the best size for us between cost and quality.

We settled on a 48' x 20' structure.  We made our hoops out of bent chain link fence piping from Home Depot using a bender we bought that was specifically designed to bend our piping to the right circumference.  We borrowed our planting table from ourselves and mounted the bender on top.  The only difficulty with that plan was that we had no place to anchor the table so that it wouldn't rotate while Jason was bending the hoops.  Luckily, Jason is big and strong enough to have been able to both hold the table and bend the hoops at the same time!  I, on the other hand, can only barely do one or the other.  Jason did the majority of the hoop bending.  We worked together to drill and label the bent piping so that it could be assembled out at the farm easily and quickly.

Jason and his Dad built the frame over the course of a weekend.  They pounded the ground posts so that they were all level and then assembled the hoops and put them up.  They installed the purlins for stability and then Jason began calling friends for assistance in putting up the plastic on the next weekend.  He got about 8 of our friends out to help with the plastic.  Luckily the day chosen was fairly windless and the plastic went up without incident.  Jason and Ronn, his Dad, spent the next two days building and installing the end walls and doors.  Jason spent another few days putting the plastic up on the end walls to close up the hoophouse so that it could begin warming the soil. 

At the south end of the hoophouse, they installed a single man-door, because it was free and already framed.  At the north end, they built large double doors to enable something as big as a tractor to enter if necessary.

 The only details remaining for the hoophouse which will likely wait until next year for installation is the piping to enable the side to be rolled up quickly and easily for ventilation.  This year we will install a few more eye bolts and some colored cord so that we can ventilate via the sidewalls.  Conceptually simple, a little more time-consuming than the piping but much cheaper for the time being.

Now that our hoophouse, one of the major installations for this year, has been built, we are seeing lots of things out growing in it along with the weeds.  Our larger starts have all been moved out to the hoophouse and there are Carrots, radishes, beans and salad mix all growing in the ground inside, all of which have now begun to grow.  Hopefully we'll have some salad mix and radishes from the hoophouse in time for the first Pullman Farmer's Market!

Come back soon because as we are gearing up for an exciting growing season, there will also be a lot more going on here as well! (Including some finished and growing pictures!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Site Updates

Hi Everybody, This post is just to inform you that we have added a couple more pages to our blog.  We now have a contact page and an "About Us" page with some general information about our farm and about the family providing you with such delicious foods!

Hope you all have your seeds ready to grow because spring is very near!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Quick update!

So life has gotten very busy around here!  I'll just post a quick update to keep you all coming back for more later!

Jason, his parents and some very good friends all pitched in together to build our brand new hoophouse two weekends ago!  We've been working on this project a long time, first in finalizing our particular design, then in obtaining parts and bending hoops and making sure everything would go together just right.  Jason and Ronn, his dad, spent a whole day two weekends ago setting up the frame and then some of our good friends came out to our farm to help pull plastic over the frame and get it all tightened up just right.  One more weekend of framing for the endwalls with Ronn and putting plastic over them and our hoophouse patiently waited one more week to start the process of growing yummy early veggies for us!

I will post pictures of our hoophouse and it's workings later this week, stay tuned!

Our first starts are now three weeks along and growing quickly under our grow-lights setup at home and waiting for their turn at the freshly turned dirt in and around our new hoophouse.  I have some cute videos to share from HannaMae helping her papa to build our frame for the lights and some pictures of our first little starts!  Is your mouth watering yet thinking of all those yummy veggies so close to the table?

All of our lambs have dropped and are growing quickly!  They hardly look like lambs anymore!  We wil be having our last four lambs heading to the U of I meats lab and we are gladly taking reservations for the lambs that will be ready in the fall-early winter.  Send us an email at to reserve yours as soon as possible or to ask for more information.  We will be selling somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 lambs this fall.

Stay tuned for more updates, pictures and notices here.  If you would like a newsletter sent to your email inbox once a month, please email us and let us know at  We will be sending those out at the beginning of the summer market season.

I hope everyone is working hard on their own gardens, whatever forms those take because the best growing weather will be upon us soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

snowpocalypse + dumb = Haysplosion

So we had quite the adventure last week.  Now I must be sure to make disclaimers up front that no living being was injured during the course of our adventures so all you worriers can now relax and have a laugh at our dumbness.

what do you get when you mix two young farmers, lots of snow and 1400 pounds of alfalfa hay?


Now....  How did we arrive at said "haysplosion"?

Well it all started when the weather report was checked and it was determined that it was a "good day" to pick up a round bale of hay for the sheep.  We arranged to buy one round bale of alfalfa (for a very good price) north of Potlatch.  When we left home in the early afternoon, it had indeed begun to snow.  by the time we got to potlatch, it had begun to seriously stick to the roads.  At the farm outside Potlatch and somewhat higher in elevation, there was atleast a foot of snow on the ground.  The tracks in the road out to the hay farm were most likely tracks from the farmer returning home from earlier errands.

We loaded up our one bale of hay.  For those of you reading who have no idea just how large a "round bale" is...  This farmer makes bales 5 ft wide and 6 ft in diameter.  this thing took up 2/3 of our full-length truck bed and stood atleast a foot above the cab roof.  It's estimated weight was 1400 pounds.  It was just big enough that we could only fit one in the bed of the truck although that was probably a good thing, hindsight being what it is.

We made it back to Potlatch and stopped in Moscow for a snack and stretch break for the girls.  By the time we got out to our farm, just south of Pullman, it was most decidedly dark however visiting the sheep was required to feed and water sheep that day, regardless of the hay bale in the bed of the truck.  We drove past the gate and down to the fork in the road to turn around as usual.  The right hand fork dips downhill and the left hand fork turns uphill.  Normally, this is no problem for our truck but it IS the only place wide enough for the truck to turn around in one go.  With the large amount of snow on the unplowed road and so much weight in the bed of the truck, we slid sideways downhill as we tried to turn.  It took over an hour to get out.  First trying momentum, then brute force, then rocking and so on.  Second, Jason dug by hand while Margaret hiked back to the barn for snow shovels.  By the time Margaret had fed the sheep and locked them in the barn for the night so as to not cause trouble while unloading hay, Jason had dug the truck out and managed to turn around.

We decided that it was not a good idea to attempt to drop off the hay that night.

The next day, we headed back out to the farm to drop off the hay.  The barn sits at the bottom of the pasture.  2/3 of the barn stores hay.  1/3 of the barn is space for sheep (and goats).  The pasture has a road graded between the gate and the flat bottomground in front of the barn specifically for vehicles to access the barn.  The problem is that our gate is temporarily about 6 feet into the pasture and thus the grading is not wide enough for the truck to turn fully into the pasture and stay on the "road" even on a normal day.  This day was definately not a normal day.

I am not sure why, but we decided to attempt to drive the bale down to the barn.  What is the worst that could happen?  We get stuck until the pastures melt and dry out enough for us to dislodge the truck and return it to the real road.  As inconvenient as that would be, we are covered as far as another vehicle goes so nothing terrible there.

Jason starts down the hill with the intention of turning towards the barn about half-way down the hill and driving straight across the less sloped lower portion of the pasture to the barn.  Forget the "road."  About 1/4 of the way across the pasture in the process of turning the 90 degrees towards the barn, the truck begins to slide sideways down the slope.  While trying to correct and maintain a course towards the barn, the nose of the truck met the lower fence and we were officially stuck.  After a few hours of dismantling the bale of hay, flake by flake, and stuffing some under tires for traction, we manage to remove ourselves from the fence, back up our tracks (sort of ) by about 30 feet.  Well, we were still stuck.  Our biggest issue was that there was still enough hay in the bed to (relatively) remove weight from the uphill side tires so that they couldn't gain traction.

We decided then was a good time to bail with the rest of the hay bale.  Since we were pushing uphill, we could not get rid of the 3/4 bale in it's entirety.  we removed a total of about 1/2-2/3 of the bale in flakes, leaving several loose-hay piles next to the truck.  We rolled what was left of the hay bale out of the truck and Jason went to get Eric (the landowner) to see if he might have enough tow chain to help pull us out with his more powerful diesel truck while I watered and hayed the sheep so we could keep them confined in the barn.  That way we could return the next day to somehow move the hay to the barn so that sheep would not trample all of it while attempting to eat it.

Jason and Eric returned, surveyed the scene and left in search of every piece of chain on the farm property that may be of help wether it was 1 foot long or 60 ft long.  We needed almost another hundred feet of chain in addition to our own 40 foot chain.  We actually came down to requiring the last 1 ft section of chain but there was enough.  We hooked it all together between the two trucks and began pulling our truck out of the pasture, about fifteen feet at a time.  We reset and pulled again at least ten times since there wasn't much room on the road for Eric to maneuver his truck.  We even took out the old gate post that we were intending to pull this year in the process!  Eventually, something like 7 hours after the whole thing began, Eric managed to pull our truck all the way out.  Hooray!

We emptied the last of our bale of hay from the bed just inside the gate and went home for the night.  The next day, we returned with a cattlepanel intending to use it like a sled.  As it turns out, cattle panels collect snow rather than sliding on top.

Thank goodness for Jason's mother!  She suggested a large piece of plastic.  We happened to have a roll of plastic we were using to cover broken barn and chicken coop windows that worked wonderfully.  We loaded several hundred pounds of hay onto it at a time and it floated across the snow behind us.
We now have a loose-hay pile in the barn where we used to have several weeks of small bales of hay stacked.  This bale of hay is supposed to last 2-4 weeks for us.

Now, we know how our grandparents felt at haying time and I sure hope that it's dry out the next time we need hay!

Now, having survived all that, Jason found a most appropriate video on YouTube.  Enjoy!