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Table Mountain Fire

Give them Shelter

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Give them Shelter

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This weekend was not the first and definitely not the last of what will be many work parties on the farm. The weather was perfect and we had two extra sets of hands to help us finish a half way started project and get a new one going. This piece of land has only had horses on it for the last several decades and the only buildings are a couple of old horse shelters. They were spaced out perfectly to frame out a third shelter in between them and we also added a fourth shelter on the end. After all the hard work this weekend we have one shelter for the sheep, one for hay, one for straw, and one for farm equipment. Having so many helping hands when it comes to roofing and framing are a necessity and we can't thank our friends Diana and Kieth enough.

Our new project is a DIY hoop house kit that utilized a bending mechanism to make your own hoops instead of buying the hoops and everything already assembled. The difference in price was huge and with a little makeshift work table made for the bending mechanism on the bed of the truck all of the hoops were made and the foundation finished. The only thing left is to frame out the ends of the hoop house and put the plastic on it. We have a couple more sets of hands coming out over the next several weeks so hopefully it will be finished in time to shelter the chickens in over the winter and by next summer the hoop house will be bursting at the seams with tomatoes, peppers, and anything else that could use some extra heat. We were planning on another shelter built closer to house for the many farming tools and equipment that we seem to be accumulating but it might have to wait until spring. Its hard decision to put money and time into so many small temporary shelters when what we would really like to do is build a barn.

Besides being a productive weekend it was really one of the most beautiful ones we have had since the Table Fire Mountains started. The mornings started out around 26 degrees with a smokey haze still in the air and by afternoon it would be up to 86 degrees outside and clear enough to see all of the mountains and low lying hills surrounding us. I also got a chance to meet some very nice farmers at our local farmers market this weekend and found out about a monthly meeting they have during the winter. They are planning a farm tour of the Kittitas Valley in May and said we were welcome to join. Everything always seems a little more doable when you've got a community of people to reach out to for help or just to bounce ideas off of and we had that in abundance this weekend.

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100 wildfires and one Threshing bee

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100 wildfires and one Threshing bee

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Almost two weeks ago we experienced the most spectacular lightning storm we have ever seen and the result was over 100 wildfires started in Yakima, Wenatchee, and closest to us at Table Mountain. The first week we mostly experienced smokey air not quite as bad as what we had during the Taylor Bridge fires but enough to keep the boys and I inside when the air was stagnant. We saw hundreds of firefighters camping out in our favorite local park but we didn't see any actual fires. Last night that changed when just as we were commenting how clear and breathable the air was what had been a hazy layer of smoke covering the top of the mountain turned into a large cloud of smoke with flames rising up from behind the Mountain. As the cool night winds started to gain speed we saw almost all of Table Mountain framed by fire.  As of this morning we can no longer see any flames on the mountain but the smoke is thick enough to obscure the skyline. We are in no imminent danger but we are praying to the rain gods for some much needed precipitation.

Last Sunday we took a break from farming projects and went to the Kittitas Valley Threshing Bee at the Olmstead State Park. The highlights was definitely the antique tractor parade but we also got a chance to see wheat being threshed the old school way, wandered around looking at all kinds of 19th and 20th century technology that people have meticulously kept in working condition, and experienced the Olmstead Homestead which is on permanent display at the park with the families original cabin built in 1875, their farmhouse, and farm equipment some of which is in working condition and some of it looking as if it is slowly melting into the ground.

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