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?

Happy Christmas!


We hope your Christmas Day was warm and bright, whether you spent it unwrapping presents with family, or eating Chinese and seeing The Hobbit!

For our Christmas Day, the sheep were feeling in a giving mood, so they led us on a merry adventure by getting loose and running off down the road. Then they got ‘lost’, and we had to help remind them how to get back to the pasture. On the way, Eureka’s will to live flagged (it’s a long way from the end of the road back to the barn!), and I got the chance to get this shot of her, giving up, lying in a mud puddle in the snow, while Thaddeus looked on in amusement.

We did finally get the ladies back to the barn, slightly more soggy than when they left it, and made our way to our own Christmas Day events.

Let It Snow

Talina left Oregon for a two week trip to Nicaragua yesterday morning, so it was only appropriate that I wake up to snow today.  In the year we’ve lived here, the only time it’s snowed is when Talina is not in the state!20121215-145608.jpg


I figured it would be a short morning snow and transition to rain later, so I went ahead and moved the sheep to the north pasture.


A few hours later it was still snowing and they decided they were sick of it… so they let themselves out and came back to the barn.  So precocious.  At that point, I realized this was probably an entire days worth of snow, and went out to feed hay to everyone else who clearly wasn’t going to bother leaving the shelter of the barn in the first place.


Yes, you, lazy goats.

I’ve spent all day inside, watching the snow transition briefly into rain and then back to snow.  Good thing I’d already planned to spend today doing nothing but recovering from my hectic work week!  But we have chores to do tomorrow…



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.

One Year Ago Today

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, we first came out to look at the Canyonview property. Since that was exactly one year ago today, we thought we’d take a few comparative photos to demonstrate what’s changed in the last year.

We took out the fencing from the barn pasture (it was over the septic tank, and not a good pasture area) to eventually turn it into a lawn.  And we apparently lined up a zillion plants in pots on the sidewalk on the south side of the house!


We turned the horse pasture into a garden, to be expanded next year.  The garden doesn’t look so impressive now — fall has come, and with it, hungry deer who demolished our temporary deer fencing and ate most of our greens.  The quinoa and corn have been pulled down, and the squash taken in – all we’ve got left is basil and tomatoes.  Luckily, two of my favorite things.


We planted a temporary garden in the half-circle – next year it will be turned into lawn to make it easier to care for.  We also re-did all the fencing around the barn, replacing the horse fencing with field fencing to keep the birds in.  And we replaced that horse with a lot of birds and some super cute sheep!


Inside the house!!  We didn’t do as many physical changes to this room, but replacing the huge dark couches with a kids play area and some lighter colored furniture made a huge difference in this room.


The kitchen and living room.. we replaced the horrible blue carpet, repainted the walls, and got a new fridge for the kitchen.  And yeah, the kitchen looks a bit messier — all that food on the counters waiting to be put up for winter!


Not so bad for a year (really, 10 months of living here).  There is so much left to be done, but we’re pretty proud of our accomplishments in 2012.  Looking forward to more next year!

Blackbroom Farm: The First Six Months

I can’t believe it’s August already.  I can’t believe we’ve been living out in the country for over six months!  These days when people ask if we miss living where things are within walking distance, I point out that we have fresh eggs and greens 50ft from our front door, so we feel pretty luxurious!

Still, this is a good point to pause and look back over the last 6 months and make note of the things we’ve learned.


We’ve learned so much about gardening on a significantly larger scale than our previous tiny apartment patio gardens!

General Farm Management:

  • Mow sooner and more often.  Without even a lawnmower of our own (still!), this one was tough.  But, in retrospect it would have been worth paying someone else to come and mow more of the weeds down sooner.
  • Prune RUTHLESSLY.  We ended up having to prune the orchard trees three times because we weren’t strong enough the first few times to really make the dent we needed to.  And despite the mountain of prunings we ended up with?  The trees are loaded with fruit.
  • Chickens are SUPER easy to take care of.  More chickens sooner would not have been a bad thing.
  • Whatever size of freezer you think you need to handle your summer crops?  Double that.


  • Stagger crops more when planting.  We don’t need 20ft of kale to come ready all at the same time, and REALLY don’t need two 20ft beds of kale plus 10ft of beet greens plus 10ft of chard to come ready all at once.  Too much!  Spacing the green beans by 20 days was a much better approach.
  • We don’t eat that much lettuce.  However much it is, we eat less of it.
  • We really don’t actually eat spinach much, either.  We could probably just do without spinach at all.
  • Broccoli needs WAY more space than you think it does.
  • Squash oh my god squash would take over the world if it weren’t for Winter freezes.

Garden Layout:

  • When planning where to put crops in the garden, don’t forget to consider how tall they will get and where your sprinkler will be.  We ended up with a sprinkler that barely hit the quinoa at knee-level… thereby keeping the water from reaching the far corners of the garden and requring hand watering.



  • Listening to Dad and buying a cord of firewood as soon as we moved in.  Two weeks later there was a week long snow storm, and Megan was trapped alone at home in nearly a foot of snow.  There weren’t any power outages that week, miraculously, but having the firewood provided a great feeling of security.
  • Every animal species we have on the farm showed up before we were really ready for them.  On the surface, that’s not all that bright, but in practice it wasn’t all that bad, and, in retrospect, if we’d waited until we were “ready”, we wouldn’t have most of the menagerie here with us.  The goats survived their days on tether, the chickens managed to stay warm and keep laying through their first few days in the tiny coop, and the turkeys have probably forgotten all those nights we kept them waiting to go to bed until it was dark outside.
  • Feeding mealworms to the chickens.  Oh my goodness, best idea ever.  Before we offered mealworms, the ladies were skittish and difficult to handle because they panicked when they saw us. Once they learned to associate us with delicious, delicious mealworms, they become our new best friends.  They still don’t like being picked up, but they’ll tolerate it if there’s a mealworm on the other end.
  • Focusing on what we can control. When we moved in back in January, we had no farm equipment, and it was too wet and cold to fix fences or plant a garden.  What we did have were weed wrenches and acres and acres of Scotch Broom.  Staying busy making a dent in the Scotch Broom infestation allowed us to feel, and be, productive, without plunging deep into debt to buy tools.  And, all the neighbors got their first look at us, hard at work clearing an eyesore to the neighborhood.
  • And speaking of neighbors… introducing ourselves to the neighbors, proactively, has gone really well for us.  We have met some really great neighbors, feel much more secure in the neighborhood, and all for the price of some home made cake and a ‘hello’ card.  We still haven’t met everyone, but the people we do interact with have been lovely, welcoming, and helpful, exactly who we’d want as country neighbors.

Grown-Up Appliances

So waaay back in December, we ordered a new fridge to replace the old, pretty crappy one that came with the house. It finally got delivered today!! Very exciting, it looks awesome and it’s twice the size of the old one. Now everyone come visit so we can use it!


Old fridge.


Everything that used to be in the old fridge.  We didn’t do a great job of cleaning the fridge when we moved, and I found some pretty gross stuff in there this time around.  Ew.



New fridge!! It’s so shiny and white and pretty!


Vetted food products back in the fridge.  Mmm, food.

Snow Storm 2012

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

This week we’ve had an amazing snow storm. Talina had to leave Monday afternoon to get safely back to Seattle, but we went for a walk Sunday afternoon when the first snow hit, and then I continued to document all the weather for the next few days. It’s really melting today, so all the snow is mostly gone, but it was fun while it lasted! Glad we had firewood though, although we never lost power it was good to know we had food in the pantry and wood in the shed.

New Years Day 2012

Traditionally, Talina and Megan spend our New Years Day watching TV and working a puzzle at home. It’s our way of focusing on accomplishing tasks together, a symbol for how we’re going to try to get through the year. Since we had guests this year, we didn’t get far on the TV series (sorry, West Wing. We’ll catch up later), but we had lots of hands to help with the puzzle, which was very appropriate: we’re going to need all the help we can get this year!

We also took a break and went for a walk on the property generic cialis india. Since we’ve been so focused on the house, I thought I’d put all the photos we took together so you can see why we REALLY bought this place!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

And bonus: a short video of the incredibly cute goat pack who came with us for the hike. Can’t wait to have them here full time!