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Valkyrie and Kieran

Mountain Home Farmstead. Adventures in homesteading and small scale farming. Year 3. No till. Organic. Permaculture. Southern Oregon Cascades.

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My great-grandfather on my mother's side painted this chair. I never met him in person. I met him through stories and photographs and occasionally I meet him in the mirror. And these mountains I now call home were his. This modern pioneers life was manifest destined I suppose. Oregon trail from Arkansas.1865, Westward ho and all that. I'm not really proud and yet I am. It's complicated. I've read the journal my great, great grandfather left behind. Kill or be killed. Land grabs. I've listened to my grandma tell the tales of life just down the road from where I now live. She's 91, still alive, and can remember when...gravity fed cold water only, heat the kettle for the weekly bath, hand wash, hand sew, knit, grow, preserve. And great grandma really didn't want that 'lecricity... but the lines were strung and eventually they had electric light to illuminate their black and white world. When things were good, it was due to hard work. No such thing as luck. Maybe a blessing or two, sure. But that was also from the hard work of daily prayer and righteous living. Sometimes it's like he's sitting in that chair. He thinks I'm soft and a bad shot. I envy him. His virgin old growth forest and the straight line he could walk through it all. Things don't feel like that to me, cut and dried, right and wrong. The birds circle overhead, but I don't let them nest in my hair. And he's right, I am a bad shot. But I'm not soft. And I'm a pioneer, a warrior and a provider just as he was...only in a different time and with different tools. #familytree #ancestor #traditions #homesteadlife #modernlife #pioneer


Those dark mountains buried in snow all black now and the crescent moon hasn't quite crawled out from behind the ridge but it's coming. Winding our way home at sundown, the chickens, of course, always the reason to get home by dark. Still, not lamenting our lack of an automatic door closer or any such thing...it's different. Running back home towards more than the evening chores, more than responsibility...towards my heart. My heart. So different now than when I was 25. 20 years. Like it was yesterday in another life. And stillness inside of me that I think comes with age... and that stillness is reflected back at me from the horizon. And that tree pressed against those mountains is my heart pressed against another beautiful day. Branches stretching out to claim every shred of light. #sunset #eveningchores #mountainhome #stillness #calm #pnw#mountainroads #oregon


Here's a great story. At the beginning of October we put 5 eggs in the incubator... then my friend down the road put 5 in hers. (You know..just in case) And I put 2 fertilized eggs under my broody in the coop. (an experiment!) All because we lost 2 birds from our tiny flock of 6. Well, chicken math on our first attempt hatching because I originally wanted 'just a few' to build back up our flock....you know, maybe 3 or 4..or some that would get us up to 10..counting our existing 4. But now we have 11. And that doesn't include our original 4. I see how this goes now. I just moved all of them..new Mama and her two chicks and all 9 teenagers out of the brooder and into... where??? My greenhouse. Where we will bide our time until we can build a new coop that can house 15..instead of less than 10. They seem happy, in fact beyond thrilled to have some stomping grounds. Here's Willow and Simon posing for the camera in their new digs. See their smug chicken faces? Mama gave us her greenhouse! Why? Because she's a sucker for a chicken face..that's why. #chickenmath #happychickens#freerangechickens #backyardflock #diy #greenhouse


Blueberry muffins...half the sugar, double the cinnamon and nettle tea. I'm certain this is what people are talking about when they say they're gonna party hard... Tie one on? Like the teabag string around the handle of the mug..and get super crazy? Like eat two muffins instead of one. Yeah..I had A LOT of friends in high school. I was pretty cool. Still am. #supercool #winterevening #happyhour #homesteadkitchen #happyhomestead #fromscratch #muffintime #thursdaythoughts


Meet Willow! You've seen this one before in my feed, still in the incubator, having just hatched. This was the first one to hatch and is now filling in with beautiful ginger plumage. So grown up. Our tender chicken littles are now 5 weeks old! Getting their feathers and filling out. I'm more than ecstatic to get these stinky adorable little poopers out of our 1,000 square foot house though, the time is coming! It's been a joy hatching and raising these babies. And fingers crossed we don't have 9 roos! I'm ever hopeful for a boost in our egg production..(I do love to bake!) However it turns out, our chickens were born into a loving sanctuary... And will be summarily spoiled rotten..like all the critters on our homestead. and these little monsters have also provided us with many merry peeps and cheeps on these dreary winter days. #chickenlittles #chickensmakemehappy #chickennuggets


Well here is it all frigid out and we have some accidental lettuce. Do you ever get behind? Scattered? I do. I wish I didn't. I have struggled my entire life to put things in order, to stay on top of details. I make lists. I organize. But sometimes I just toss seeds in an empty bed, throw a row cover on it and say a prayer. Forgotten, while the firewood gets split, and lumber stacks get covered and winter slow rolls over our mountain until one day, accidental lettuce appears. And now it's a curious experiment, I've no expectations and I'm playfully engaged. When the anxiety goes, my capacity to learn grows. Something I need to remember. #accidentallettuce #decemberlettuce #wintergarden


Saturday dusted our mountain top with the first snowfall of the season. By today it's all diamond encrusted ice scape and big blue sky. The storm moving on. A Sunday sunset walk to cap off the weekend. So much to be thankful for as December descends. Coming in from the cold air to the dim house, the sun almost down, the woodstove kicking out the heat, all so cozy. Dogs lazy, slippers wrap my feet, warm and dry... and all those magnificent outside colors still in my mind's eye. Trees against the sky. #wintercolors #sunset#wintervibes #happydecember


There are no winners in the selfie game. I'm positive. Still, how else can I get my nerdy mug up here for you all to see? I'm a real person! It's #fridayintroductions because it's Friday and it's been awhile since I said something about myself. I'm Valkyrie and yes, It's my given name. Its a heavy name..and though I wear my name with pride these days, that wasn't always so. I grew into that strength. Hubby(@kieran076 )and I are working class, working hard homesteaders/no till farmers. Moving toward zero waste, sustainability and liberation. I call my Instagram feed orphans cookbook (for now) because my life is one recipe after another for getting stuff done without help, or a guidebook. Hacking life on my terms and writing about it. I am a RELENTLESS optimist. Though I am drawn to layers and facets and I don't shy away from the darkness. I like depth and authenticity over towing some party line. I'm a goody two shoes rebel. Weird. My dad was a Marine and my mama was a hippie, so naturally I'm an intellectual hillbilly. Head in the clouds, hands in the dirt. And hey! Thank you all for reading my words and sharing this journey. We are passionate about what we're doing up here on our mountain top..that's for sure. The rest though, I have no idea! Happy Friday friends, near and far. And again..thanks for coming along for this ride. #knowyourfarmer #bethechange #persist #dowhatyoulove #gratitude


Pulling hard from the pantry this year. Last year I canned less and we didn't get through everything..but I'm learning what our favorites are and our rhythms..what to can in triple batches and what things to skip. We've already burned through our enchilada sauce! Which is fine, it's a learning process, the nuances of which are intriguing to me. Our eating habits..the source of our energy, our health. Food is medicine, I believe it! We grow it, freeze it, can it..because I know that healthy food is essential and I don't trust what I can buy in the store. I don't want to have to rely on it. And so along with canning and preserving, our eating habits change little by little too.. which again, shifts how much and what to preserve. I should take more notes, but I just jot things down in my calendar..last jar of enchilada sauce, last jar of plums..and so on..and then go on with the dance. It is a dance too, a cyclical, never-ending one, but it doesn't make me weary..it piques my curiosity and helps me understand, deep in my bones, the true cost of food. Waste nothing. Return what we don't use back into the system and if I can't..there's no place for it. Life with my ear down to the ground. Listening..I can hear when everything is in harmony. #foodmatters #foodismedicine #growyourown #preserveit


It's pouring rain and I just got done crawling through the poopy mud under the elevated chicken coop. I retrieved eggs, brought in clean dry straw and fashioned a cover over the leaky parts so the hens have a dry "chill out space" that's not inside the coop itself. These types of jobs are the gross, dirty, less than glamorous side of having a homestead. These are also the jobs that go on the to-do list in high summer, but invariably don't make the cut when it comes to summer priorities. So here I am in November, crawling through mud on my hands and knees...And when someone asks me later what I did today I'll be sure to say.."oh, I finished transplanting these lavenders, see how pretty they are?" And with bits of straw still stuck in my hair and my poopy clothes on the spin cycle, I'll never let on just how many hours of dirty hard labor I actually accomplished on a given day. Now... look at the lavender. See how pretty? Oh, you want to have a homestead??? You should TOTALLY do it. 🤣🤣🤣 #ilovemylife #ilovemyanimals #homesteadconfessions


Cleaning and cleaning is how I spent the day. A perk of having guests for the holiday is that the house gets a good scrub. Top to bottom and then some. Our little house will soon be full. 5 humans, 6 dogs, 9 baby chickens and one angry cat. So blessed are we! To be safe, warm and together. We love our laughter around here too and so not to disappoint, I scrubbed up the puking duck pitcher today..when the gravy blops from it's mouth, lasting holiday memories are made! 🤣 Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving! #thanksgiving #givingthanks #pukingduck #traditions


Chirps, cheeps and chest bumps! The littles are 2 weeks old now and really perfecting their dirty looks and bed head. Brooder life kind of reminds me of prison...and I don't mean my first hand knowledge of prison...but rather, like the depictions of prison I've seen on TV shows..a little 'Orange is the New Black' maybe. On today's episode these ladies mix up some toilet wine and then give each other makeovers for the prison talent show! Later there might be a fight over meal worms..but no worries, they'll all be friends in the end, cuz that's how they roll. Seriously folks, I might need to get out more since I'm writing the teleplay in my head right now... Ah well! #farmliferocks #brooderlife #chickenlittles #chickennuggets #babypeeps