Winter Snaps of Sweet Hills Farm

It’s blustery and cold, wind, rain and snow coming and going.  The land is resting, rejuvenating itself, and preparing for spring.  Just a few sights around Sweet Hills Farm for you to enjoy.



Pinto in a field of winter wheat.  The wheat was planted last September, and grew the height of about 4″ before the dormancy of winter.  It continues establishing its roots over winter, and will have a head-start this spring, growing fast.  It is harvested earlier than wheat planted in the spring.



Bright green winter wheat cheers up a winter scene.  Those snowy mountains are a beautiful sight.


Our neighbor’s field.  If you look real close, you can see the green sheen of barely-emerged winter wheat.  This field was planted later than ours, so the above-ground plant is shorter.  It will catch up as soon as the temperature warms this spring.


The corrugates are all made on New Farm.  This allows more moisture to be absorbed and retained into the soil for next season’s crop.  Sugar beets will be planted in April.


Snow on the Owhyee Mountains, fields and barns.


They’re pregnant, and enjoying their dinner.  The wool really does keep them nice and warm, even in the coldest chill.


The ewes, enjoying the sunshine on a crisp winter morning.


Merrygold & Roxie keep their blankets on whenever the temperature drops below 30*.  They’re old dames, and need the extra insulation to stay warm.

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American Grown Avocados

As we’re nearing Super Bowl, I’ve been seeing a lot of ads on TV about “Mexican Avocados.”

Just a friendly reminder that when you buy produce from other countries, you DON’T KNOW WHAT’S IN IT.  Our U.S.D.A. does not have tracking systems in place to determine the chemicals, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides which were applied to out-of-country grown produce.  This includes “organic” produce grown in other countries.


BUY AMERICAN AVOCADOS (and everything else)


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Thought of the Week

Everything else – culture, art and science – depends upon adequate agricultural production.
Obscured in prosperous time, such connections become starkly apparent when agriculture falters.
Recently, the problem of environmental refugees fleeing the effects of soil erosion began to rival political emigration as the world’s foremost humanitarian problem.
Although usually portrayed as natural disasters,
crop failures and famines often owe as much to land abuse
as to natural calamities.


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#26 – Pinto the BlogDog – Ava the NewCat

HOWDY FOLKS!  How’s it hangin’ out there in humanland?  Here, on my farm, life is buzzin’ and hummin’ – in other words, everything’s GREAT!

So, ya know how M’Lady doesn’t like it when I get right in her face?  Well, that’s old news, and she just doesn’t give it up!  I mean, geez, M’Lady, you been goin’ on ’bout that fer years now, get over it!

When she’s gettin’ ready to go out to work, she sits on a little stool in the mud room in order to put on her barn boots, so’s her face’s right on my level.  Seein’ her gettin’ ready to go outside makes me all excited, so I’ll start d-a-n-c-i-n’ and -s-p-i-n-n-i-n’ ’round, pantin’ in her face, all dizzy-like.  She’ll be sayin’, summat-like, “Now Pinto, just calm down, I’m hurrying.”  And I’ll nip in and give her a quick lick on the mouth, ‘afore she can react at me.  Then, she’ll go off, “Pinto, now KNOCK IT OFF!  You’re DRIVING ME CRAZY!”  Ahhh, I just love that.  She’s just tellin’ me she  l-o-v-e-s me.

So, we have a new barn cat.  Her name is “Ava.”  She has a Hitler mustache and comb-over, so ClayMan named her Ava Braun, after Hitler’s girlfriend.  Kinda creepy reason for namin’ her such a purty name, if’n you ask me.  But then, nobody asked me.


Seein’ as how she’s the newby ’round here, Ava should be bottom of the peckin’ order.  But nooooo!  She’s bossy!  She picks fights with all the other barn cats, is mean ‘n sassy to ’em, ‘n’ tells ’em how it is.  Even though she’s not top-cat (that would be Chester), she’s bossed her way to right under him!  The other barncats give her  r-e-s-p-e-c-t!

And listen to this!  She actually chased Roxie the horse!  Talk about s-t-u-p-i-d!  Roxie could give her the spin around, stomp on her with just one hoof, and that would be smash-a-roonie for ol’ Ava!  And when Brodi was checkin’ her out, she even hissed at him and scratched the poor guy on the nose!  Brodi gives her a big leeway now.  Not me.  I’d never hurt her, but I feint right at her, givin’ her the what fer, pretendin’ I’m gonna get her!  Brodin ‘n’ I, together we pay her back by chasin’ her round the barnyard and up trees and sech.

But M’Lady ‘n’ FarmGirl ‘n’ TheWeeLaddie love Ava, ’cause she’s all sweet and affectionate with ’em!  She rolls ’round on the ground, actin’ all innocent, waitin’ for them to give her a pet pet.  If’n they only knew!

Well, gotta go harass Ava!  Keep your tail waggin’!

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Thought of the Week

The person who has plenty to eat may have many problems.  The person who has nothing to eat has only one.

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Happy Birthday Kiss My Tractor

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday Dear Kiss My Tractor!

Happy Birthday to you!

Kiss My Tractor is 3 years old today!
Thanks everyone!

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Wheat! Wheat! Wheat!

Speaking of the wonderful world of wheat, thought I’d share some exciting facts about wheat with y’all.

Wheat is a member of the grass family, it produces a dry, one-seed fruit called a “kernel”

One bushel of wheat weighs approximately 60 pounds

The average yield per acre of winter wheat is 82 bushels
(sometimes even up to 120 bushels!)

A single bushel of wheat will make 73 loaves of bread
or 55 boxes of cereal or 72 pounds of tortillas

A one ounce serving of wheat can be:
1 slice of bread
1 cup of cereal

1 small tortilla
5-7 crackers
1/2 bagel
1/2 cup pasta
1 small waffle
1/2 soft pretzel
1/2 bun or pita

The bagel is the only bread product that is boiled before it is baked


Photo source

There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide

Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in the US each year

Gluten is the composite of proteins and is combined with starch
in the endosperm of grass related grains, including wheat.
It is highly nutritious and aids in helping dough to rise

About 1/2 of the wheat produced in the US is used in the US

Wheat is grown in 42 states in the union and on every continent in the world

Winter wheat is planted in the fall and harvested mid-summer
Spring wheat is planted in the spring, and harvested late summer

Kansas is the largest wheat growing and milling state in the union

A grain drill is the machine which plants wheat –
it drills little holes into the earth and drops a seed into each hole

A combine is the machine which cuts, separates and cleans the wheat all at one time

A grain elevator is a place where wheat is stored and sold




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Thought of the Week

We keep covering up our farmland with houses and pavement.  What are we going to do when we run out of farmland?
Dig up the pavement, tear down the houses?
Why aren’t we preserving and protecting our farmland,
and building on un-farmable land?

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Potato Facts

Just some facts and statistics for you, about the MARVELOUS POTATO!

300,000 acres of Idaho potatoes,
and 165,000 acres of Washington potatoes,
are harvested each year

Approximately 6% are niche varieties such as
golds, reds, fingerlings and more


The average American eats approximately
110 pounds of potatoes each year!

America’s favorite vegetables are potatoes at 26%,
followed by corn at 19% and then broccoli at 17% of all vegetables consumed

New York state eats the most potatoes,
followed by Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.


62% of Idaho potatoes are used in
processed products – frozen and dehydrated

29% are fresh market
9% are grown for seed (for next year’s crop)

The Idaho potato industry contributes
$2.7 billion to Idaho’s economy and provides 30,000 jobs.

Finally, people the country over think that the “Idaho Potato Truck,” now beginning it’s
4th year of touring the United States, carries a real potato, and that the truck must be lost!


Thanks, America – keep eating potatoes!

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Daylight Saving Time is Outdated

A Medford, Oregon man hopes to have daylight saving time eliminated in Oregon by popular vote.  If he and his followers gather the 117,578 signatures needed to get it on the ballot, the initiative may just succeed.

Daylight saving is a practice that seems to have little practical utility.  Springing forward and falling back seems easy enough, but in practice it can be confusing.  First, the name is a bit of a misnomer.  No daylight is saved, it is merely reallocated to different ends of the day by manipulating the clock.  One bit of lore holds that an American Indian said of daylight saving time that only the government could cut one end off a blanket, sew it on the other end and believe it has made the blanket longer.  We are only fooling ourselves.


A good reason to get up before sunrise! An especially spectacular sunrise at Sweet Hills Farm.

Sunrise and sunset depend entirely on the spinning earth’s tilt on its axis as it orbits the sun.  In summer, when daylight lasts longer, the clock is set an hour fast, pushing sunrise ahead an hour, from 4:30 to 5:30, when most people are sleeping and sunset later when most people are awake.  As the days grow shorter, the clock is reset to standard time, meaning the sun rises earlier in the day, allowing more people to begin the day with natural light.

All of this is artificial.  For factory and office workers, whose movements are governed by the clock, daylight saving time can be a boon in the summer.  But the semi-annual fiddling with the clock inevitably leads to confusion, and there is evidence that the manipulation isn’t good for the natural rhythms of our bodies.

Beautiful photo from Live on a Real California Dairy Farm

Beautiful sunset on a western farm

A recent study suggests that the energy savings which originally prompted its adoption during World War I have largely evaporated 100 years later when artificial lighting and air conditioning adjust the light and building temperature.

Farmers traditionally lobby against daylight saving time – dairy farmers especially, whose herd’s milking habits don’t recognize changes in the clock.  So it seems as though there’s little reason to keep daylight saving time.  Perhaps if Oregon is successful in going either daylight saving 365 days or standard time 365 days, the rest of us can follow!

-Capital Press, December 17, 2015

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