RoS News

Review of postings from 2007-2008:

Produce (2007)

Pigs (2007)

Poultry Palace (2007)

Poultry Palace, Take Two (2007)

First Egg (2007)

Bees (2008)

Dairy (2008)

Our Produce
A look at our progress with 'taters, tow-maters and other good growing things . . . This year was a year of preparation, experimentation and learning.  We tried several types of crops and different methods of growing, some successful and others not so much.  We had some strange spring weather that probably skewed the results as well, but all of that has prepared us for next spring and summer which will be grand!!

Here's a view of our more successful efforts.  Sharon is engaged in her morning chores while I get to take pictures . . .

     "The time has come," the Walrus said,
     "to talk of many things:
       Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
       Of cabbages--and kings . . ."
 ~Lewis Carroll
Well, there are no kings here but boy do we have cabbages!!  I’ve got a 20 gallon crock and two 5 gallon crocks, approximately 300 lbs of cabbage and 10 lbs of kosher salt.  Put it together and what have you got?  Sauerkraut!!

We've grown some nice snap peas for stir fry, salads and anything else where one would want taste and texture . . .

These baskets of snap peas make a nice still life portrait of what's good about life on a farm!

And, Yes we have pototos!!

Great in stews, boiled, broiled, stuffed, fried or baked . . . we have 'em coming out our ears!!

Last but not least we have tomatoes aplenty.  This is but one small sample of how they're coming on this year dispite the weird weather.  I think we'll be canning and canning and canning . . . a great "problem" to have!

Three Little Pigs

The tale of the two little pigs (the wolves got them all - no kidding!! ;-} )  Last year we picked up two little Yorkshire x Chester piglets to raise up for meat.  This venture was so successful we thought we would do it again this year and I picked up three more last week.

As with our chickens the piggies will be fed only natural foods - no hormones, chemicals or animal byproducts making for a darn fine pork product as the wolves who helped consume last year's pigs will testify.

Webmaster's Note: I'm one of the wolves and that little piggie was absolutely delicious!!

So meet the three little pigs, Petunia, Hamlet and of course Sir Francis Bacon!   These guys are about 6 weeks old and as much fun to watch as the last ones were.  Here they're exploring their new digs.

As they continue to explore they take on the look of politicians with their snouts in the trough . . .

Beauregard looks on and prepares to make his welcoming speech to the new freshmen . . .

Beau has a one-on-one consultaion with Sir Francis Bacon . . .

Beau looks on with almost paternal pride . . .

As we harvest our produce the leftover vegetation goes to the piglets.  Here the three little pigs munch on bean greens fresh from our garden.  For piggies it doesn't get much better than this!

If you live close enough to take advantage, we will have 3 halves of pork available around the end of November.   In many ways the pigs have as good a life as the chickens (except that they get eaten).   No drugs, hormones, growth enhancers or medicated feeds.   Top quality grains and all the veggies they want from the gardens.  We have an excellent butcher who will wrap to your specifications, and he does all the smoking with no harsh chemicals. Our pork is WONDERFUL.   Nothing like you'll find at your grocery store.  If you'd like to reserve a half send me an e-mail and I'll get you some details.

Poultry Palace
As many have deduced from the articles posted on the Farm Health page we have some definite ideas about what is right and wrong with much of the foods we eat every day.  Early on as we planned to put Rose of Sharon Farm together we knew we would be raising poultry both for eggs and meat.  Thus it follows that if we were going to have chickens we would need a chicken coop - hence the Poultry Palace.

We got the basic structure up and as you can see it is well ventilated and well lit.  We didn't get it completely painted because of the weather but should be able to get to it before winter.

And here she is, Sharon, Queen of the Chickens!  These little critters ar only about 16 hours old.  We got 200 hundred of them shipped from Iowa with only one casualty!

When we opened up the boxes the chicks jumped right out and began looking for their first drink and some food.

Thirteen days and feathering well!

Margaret the throwback. – meet Margaret, she seems to be 100% Rhode Island Red based on my years of raising them.  The other chicks are called “Red Star”, a hybrid that appears to be heavily imfluenced by the Rhode Island Red breed.

Here we are at four weeks.

Four weeks old and already struttin' his stuff for the ladies, Fogghorn T. Leghorn is the only rooster spotted out of the 200 chicks we got.

I can just hear it now: "Boy!   Ahem!  I say boy!  Why aren't you payin' attention to me boy! (aside: I swear that boy is one sandwich shy of a picnic)"

Poultry Palace Take Two
Here is our second installment of the great chicken saga . . .  The last posting showed the basic sructure of the Poultry Palace and the chicks that had taken up residence.  Since then we've set up an enclosure to keep the chicks somewhat contained.

For now the girls only get about 1500 square feet of pasture to roam around on.  Come spring this may triple, two hundred laying Hens can eat a lot of bugs . . .   I can’t say enough good things about this German made poultry netting and charger.  Fabulous stuff.  The fencing goes up quick and easy, definitely a one person task.  A couple of quick strips with the lawn mower and lay it out.  Attach to the charger and it’s done.  Because it lays close on the terrain of the pasture it obviously makes grass contact with the grass but the charger easily compensates for this.

The dogs and cats in the area discovered that the netting is HOT and after the first encounter they won't go within 10 feet of the perimeter.  The folks at Premier have been exceptional mentors and every promise has been kept twofold.  We highly recommend both the fencing and the vendors.  Thank You, Premier1, and especially Gordon.  Sharon and I are considering similar fencing for the pigs next spring to facilitate better pasture management.

Here is a closer view if the neting material.  We also have a link to the vendor on our links page - take a look!  Some very well thought out stuff.

A first look at freedom . . .   this was taken just moments after opening their pop-hole to their newly fenced enclosure.  They weren’t too sure about that big scary grass . . .  It’s nice and safe inside!

Here are the girls at 47 days . . .   it took them a full two days of looking out their door to finally conclude this wasn’t the beginning of the death march.   Once the first 2 or 3 brave souls ventured out there was no stopping them.

First Egg!!

Cost to raise 200 baby chicks to laying age

Building supplies
Baby Chicks
Materials for roosts, nesting boxes, misc.
Feed ( to date )
Egg cartons
Rubber stamps

1st Tiny Egg – eighteen weeks to the day
The smile on Sharon's face – PRICELESS *

* apologies to Mastercard
And here it is ladies and gentlemen (drum roll please) . . .

Hard at work on the construction of egg number two!!

Birth of the Lewis County Beekeepers Association (LCBA)

When Bob wanted to pursue his interest in beekeeping, he sought out local resources.  He discovered that the closest beekeeping groups were in Olympia (about 40 miles to the North) and Longview (about 40 miles to the South).  Not one to be deterred by such trivial details, Bob decided to gauge the interest in starting a beekeeping group of our own here in Lewis County.  The press release below announced what was to become the groundbreaking event.  The symposium was well attended, and many of the attendees became charter members of the Lewis County Beekeepers Association.

***Press Release***
Posted 05 June 2008
Lewis County Farm Bureau, in cooperation with the WSU - Lewis County Extension and the Rose of Sharon Farm are pleased to announce a one day symposium on the science and business of Honey Bee keeping in Lewis County on Saturday, July 12th , 2008.  Greater Lewis County has several dozens of small sideline business and hobby Bee Keepers.

James C. Bach, an internationally known and respected Bee scientist and entomologist will conduct a classroom based lecture with question and answer format at the Lewis County Extension office at the Historic Courthouse, 351 NW North St, Chehalis, WA. Following the classroom presentation there will be a site visit and hands on training at the Rose of Sharon Farm, Chehalis. Following the instruction Mr. Bach will be guest of honor at a social hour at the Rose of Sharon Farm where all attendees can continue to talk about Bees throughout the evening. Light refreshments will be provided.

Mr. Bach is the (retired) Washington state Apiarist and has also been a past President and Vice President of the Apiary Inspectors of America. Mr. Bach has extensive background in the early research of the Africanized Honey Bee and its incursion onto American soil. He is currently a consultant and public speaker to the Bee industry and has lectured extensively throughout the U.S., UK and Canada. He has also represented the USDA in a farmer to farmer exchange program with Egypt.   Mr. Bach serves on the executive committee of the Washington State Beekeepers Association.

All Lewis County business and hobby Bee Keepers are cordially invited to participate in this exceptional opportunity to learn from one of the Northwest's preeminent bee masters. There is no cost for attendance; however, RSVP's will be greatly appreciated as early as possible. Bee Keepers from surrounding counties are welcome on a space available basis. For further information or to RSVP   please contact:

Robert Harris, Rose of Sharon farm at (360) 219-6458 or

Washington State University - Lewis County Extension (360) 740-1212

'Til the Cows Come Home
The photo below announced the beginning of the Rose of Sharon Farm home dairy.  What began as an intent to keep a single family dairy cow has evolved into three cows and counting!  I should have seen it coming.  Bob's favorite thing to say about dairy cows is that they are like potato chips--you can't have just one!  See the dairy tab for more current updates.
Posted 14 June 2008
Meet Lillian the divine bovine!! She's a ten month old Jersey heifer who will be coming to the Rose of Sharon Farm on 25 June 2008. Eventually we hope to get whole milk so we can make our own dairy products! Oh happy happy Joy Joy!!