All Soggy And Mucky

These last few weeks of rain have turned everything into a muddy mess. We are getting some moisture every day but many 24 hour periods are seeing more than an inch accumulation.

Mike had been putting of driving south to get grain until the weather cleared, but he bull pen has only a day supply left and the show barn that holds the cows and heifers on one side and the newly weaned heifers on the other has less than a two day supply of feed. In order to make the grain supply stretch a little longer we had cut down on the volume of grain they were all eating and upped the hay we were measuring out for each meal. The critters are not pleased with the idea of scrimping on the grain and we do not excess hay to increase the daily volume for very long.

Even though it is still raining every day, Mike has decided we cannot wait any longer to get our load of two tons of grain. He has a mat in the bed of the pickup to hold the grain above any moisture that happens to sneak in as he is driving and uses a stout, rainproof tarp to secure the load under the cargo straps. Even though he wraps things up securely, the rain still seems to get in so once home we will need to get air to the grain to dry out the excess moisture to prevent spoilage.

Even inside the barns, the relative humidity is right around 95% and the bull barn has been having rain and wind bringing in wetness well beyond where I have trying to bundle firewood. Each day, I have been sweeping the water out of the open door and each night the rain and wind re-wet the area. I hear that the weather is supposed to break in the next week or so and that will help firm up the pasture ground and dry the insides of the storage areas of the barns. That is good news for the cows, their grain and for the bundling area of the barn.

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Rolling Thunder

This post is going to be out of the normal order of posts for those who are familiar with my writing. This story is about a side business of the Rogue Brewery and Distillery that has been growing throughout the Northwest, this business is building the barrels for the distillery part of Rogue Nation. I promise I will return with later posts to fill you in on the brewery itself and the spirits that they are producing.

A little about the cooperage. First I had to search for a meaning, I found the definition of the word as; The word on its own is derived from Middle Low German; it simply means “barrel.” But just about anything that the cooper creates is referred to by the name coopering. The shop where he works is often called a “cooperage.”

From Rogue Nation website:

In 2015, Rogue acquired vintage French WWII-era coopering equipment and built Rolling Thunder Barrel Works. Longtime employee Nate Linquist was tapped to be Rogue’s first cooper and spent a year and a half apprenticing, learning the ancient art of barrel making.Using Oregon Oak, Nate assembles, raises, toasts, chars, hoops, heads, hoops again, cauterizes, sands and brands each barrel, one at a time, all by hand. At full capacity, he makes one barrel a day.
One barrel a day is a long, slow, multi-faceted, and heat-filled process that takes the Cooper through a circuit of different machines to complete a finished product. Buying a new barrel is an option for the company at a price tag of about $600 each, but procuring the local wood and using local craftsmen at their own facility is worth much more to them then the price of a purchased barrel.Rolling Thunder is also experimenting with various woods of the Northwest to determine the subtle  nuances in flavor the wood imparts to the various spirits they produce. Hardwoods such as cherry and maple are just a few of the woods they are testing but that also is a long process since it takes months to years to decades for the filled barrels resting in the storeroom to season as the essence of the wood infiltrates the liquid inside.The Oregon company has come a long way from the first brewing days over 30 years ago,

The Revolution began in 1988 in the basement of the first Rogue Public House on Lithia Creek in Ashland, Ore. where American Amber Ale and Oregon Golden quickly became popular brews. Before long, our founder Jack Joyce was looking for a second location.

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Playing In The Rain Part 2

The calves across the river in the nursery field are having a grand time during this week of rain and it does not slow down the exuberance level when they take off at a full gallop or what their spindly, wobbly legs allow.

Not to be outdone, the bulls in the bull pen have been doing some funny things to keep busy during this downturn in the weather. It may be because I have spent more time in the barn since returning from my REALOregon class in Newport to get caught up with firewood bundling, but I swear those bulls are trying to tell me something.

I have one that likes to stand just around the corner of the barn and watch as I am running the wrapping machine. It’s not like he is stalking or anything, just observing as one would sit back and watch their favorite TV show. He stands around for about a half hour, gets tired of watching, and moves on to other activities with his fellow bulls.

Then another of the bulls has decided that he is going to play king of the mountain and tries to scale some of the old stumps that dot the area of the bull pen pasture. These stumps are nearly as wide as the bulls are long and there would be plenty of room up there to stand if they could climb that high. Most of the time, the one bull that attempts to scale the side, gets high-centered before putting his front legs on the top and lingers in this pose for quite a while before figuring out how to extricate himself from the precarious position.

It is apropos that the bulls are signalling for attention because most of them are now a year old and are near the age we can start selling them. The ad is now running in the Capital Press (our newspaper for all things farming in the western states).

13-Month Registered Black Angus Bulls

(3) 13-month Registered Black Angus Bulls. Low birth EPDs. Schmidlin Angus Farms, Vernonia, OR. 503-429-7861

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Newport Maritime Museum

The weather prohibited our Dock Walk that had been scheduled for the REALOregon group while we were in Newport and plans were changed at last minute to accompany our large number while we were enjoying our fantastic lunch at the Local Ocean eatery.

It just so happens that our hostess for the lunch, Laura Anderson, is one of those people that is very committed to her community and is connected to many businesses and venues across the area with her outside interests. Because of her work with the Maritime Museum in town, she went out of her way to get the museum opened up just for our group to have an area out of the elements to learn some of the history of the once home, now museum. Laura gave us a personal tour of just some of the exhibits with history of the fishing fleet that run the economy of this coastal town. The exhibits around the coastal fleet, the economy of the area, and the different fisheries were extensive and informative. Continue reading

Playing In The Rain

We all need a little down time, that moment or two throughout the day to kick up a heel or do a little jig. Those carefree moments can seem to transport us from a day of slogging through the rain, to light and carefree exuberance. Babies of all species learn from those times of wild gyrations or wiggly movements, new muscles are being worked while balance and new abilities are forged.

The younger calves in the nursery field are testing their strength with each other by touching heads and trying to push each other out of the way. They try messing with the bigger calf and even the mom’s in the field, with the larger animals ignoring the little ones attempts to bother them. The calves love to run toward the Gator when we are driving out in the field and fly their tales high in the air as they come flying across the pasture.

The newest baby in the nursery field is KAOS,  now just a week old now and can be seen chomping on a single spear of hay during meal time. It is still more important to grab a few slugs of milk from his mother #99 than eating solid food, but he is getting the idea that when there is food being placed in the field it is time to eat.

At mealtime when we throw out slabs of hay, the babies spend time nosing around and sometimes fighting the hay in an attempt to outwit the pile that fluffs into loose hay as the calf flips it around. Once it is broken into a loose pile rather than a stiff slab, the calf changes tactics and flops down in the hay to enjoy the soft downy pile.

It was a gray, rainy day that I happened to get a few pictures of Hopper who was having  a grand time scooting around a slab of hay and trying to work it into submission. He was not troubled by the muddy ground, the rain coming down or any other creatures out in the field. He was busy taking time to play in the rain.

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Local Ocean, Newport

I don’t usually do restaurant reviews but the REALOregon group had a real treat during the Newport session and I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to this eatery and share the wonderful experience with my readers.

The encounter happened on the day of our tours of the businesses of and around the dock at Newport, Oregon. I may have mentioned that the weather was downright atrocious. Our group of 29 classmates, with our entourage of keepers, was resplendent in layers of foul weather gear and still damp and cold when we huddled inside what first appears as a small, unassuming cafe with a fish case in the middle of it, right on the wharf. What we found when we got inside was a cozy restaurant that let to an open upstairs area that could fit at least two groups of our size along with the downstairs area. We had plenty of room to unwrap some of the layers and get comfortable around the room with a wall of windows that looked right out into bay where more than 100 of the crabbing and fishing fleet docked. Continue reading

Pacific Seafood

To give you a sense of setting, it was a wild weather day in the midst of a wild week at the coast the day we had planned for the tours of the dock area of this town. The coastline and the ocean had been experiencing tempest-type weather with gusts and spits of snow, hail for several days, the crabbing boat that capsized on re-entry into port happened the evening before and was on our minds as we geared up for the weather side of our session. The rain was pouring and the wind was lashing as we made our way along the docks.

The processing company of Pacific Seafood was first up on the docket. This company is a premier processor for the Dungeness crab that is currently in the height of the season right now. It is the job of this company to get the crab off the boats and through the processing sequence in a timely manner to keep the product at the utmost highest value. We got to witness the whole sequence of a ship loaded with crab pulling into the dock for unloading, the backing and cleaning of the crab on the fast paced conveyor line, the crab that had been placed into shallow flats and the flats stacked into blocks, the blocks going through the cooking and cooling process before the product could be individually quick frozen or sold fresh. Continue reading