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Cherie Langlois
Country Discovery
Join Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home contributor Cherie Langlois on and off her five-acre Washington farm as she explores the wild, creative, unpredictable, unusual and adventurous sides of our rural world. No passport required; just bring an open mind, your sense of humor, and wonder along with Cherie on her latest discovery.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resolutions and Goodbyes
'Tis the time of year to make New Year's resolutions (unless you're my husband, who seems strangely immune to the resolution bug). Because we'll be bidding farewell to good old 2010 and hello to shiny new 2011 in just a few short days, I figured I better get started. More »

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Nutty Christmas Recipe
I’ve nearly finished the National Geographic book Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants (2008), and so thought I’d regale you with a few more interesting facts from the last section I read. Serendipitously, the category of plant foods covered in this section included some delicious and healthy edibles bound to put on a short-lived appearance at many Christmas parties and feasts this week. More »

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where did all of this stuff come from? I'm writing this from our living room futon, hemmed in by a somewhat intimidating mini-Grand Canyon of furniture and stacked boxes. More »

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nature’s Swag
A few weeks ago, a fairly impressive wind storm littered Douglas fir branches around our farm, plus snapped off the dead top of the big, old fir gracing our horses’ pasture. It seemed a shame to let all of those branches go to waste ... More »

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Different Turkey
Now that you’ve hopefully had time to finish your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers (our turkey soup was fabulous, by the way), I thought it might be OK to share a few last pics of my turkeys taken before they were … well … you know. More »

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I started to write a little ode-type thank you blog to our dearly departed turkeys today, but then I remembered the looks on our guests’ faces when I began reminiscing about the turkeys in their living state during Thanksgiving dinner last year. More »

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Tour of the World’s Food Plants
For the past month, I’ve been taking a trip around the world as I drink my morning coffee—the edible world, that is. Some time ago, while wiling away a drizzly afternoon in one of my favorite rainy-day sanctuaries (a book store), I found a wonderful book that I couldn’t resist. More »

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun with Leaves
On a visit last week to our town library, I parked next to a line of ornamental maple trees ablaze with brilliant, sun-struck foliage. Beneath them, a riot of scarlet, crimson and orange leaves covered the ground, free for the taking. (Or so I assumed.) More »

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Favorite (Fall) Things
Today was one of those perfect autumn days that takes my breath away: cool, crisp air; pale-golden beams of sunlight slanting through the firs; the scent of damp alder leaves wafting up as I raked them into piles to toss on the vegetable garden. More »

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jelly Day!
I woke up to gloom and drizzle this morning, a sight that would usually make me feel like ducking back underneath the covers to hibernate. (I can’t, of course, because the animals will be demanding their breakfast.) But today is different ... More »

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weird Broccoli
Whenever we return from a trip somewhere, my family and I come home with two kinds of souvenirs: the real, hold-in-your-hands kind that you pick up along the way and the intangible kind. More »

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Masked Visitors
The morning's peace and quiet is shattered by my (suspected) Coonhound-mix Pippin howl-barking and lunging at the living room window. He acts as though an ax-wielding murderer lurks on the front porch, but thanks to past experience I already have a good idea who’s come to call. More »

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pioneer for the Afternoon
The log cabin, dimly lit by oil lamps and a few small windows, bustles with activity: girls dressed in matching aprons and bonnets (and a few boys, definitely not in aprons and bonnets) kneading bread dough, churning cream and grinding corn. More »

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Harvest
When Brett and I moved to the country two decades ago, we envisioned having a sunny little orchard where we would harvest bushels of apples, pears and other delicious tree treasure each year. Unfortunately, this orchard of our dreams didn’t come to fruition ... More »

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wild Country Discovery
I’m sorry to have been out of touch for so long, but several weeks ago my husband and I decided to unplug from our computers, TV and coffee-maker (oh, the agony) to embark on an off-farm backpacking adventure. Our plan was this: spend 12 days hiking the 90-mile Wonderland Trail encircling Mount Rainier ... More »

Wednesday, AUgust 25, 2010

Farm Biodiversity, Conclusion
In recent years, “heritage livestock” has become a popular term used to denote the genetically diverse, traditional livestock breeds that have been raised on farms in the U.S. and other countries for centuries.  More »

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Farm Biodiversity, Part 3
Last summer, after much squinting to make out the smaller print in magazines and books, and much denial about how the ruthless passage of time was again messing with my once-accute vision, it finally dawned on me:  I needed new glasses. More »

wednesday, august 11, 2010

Farm Biodiversity, Part 2
During the years this farm has been our home, my family and I have discovered our five acres of woods, garden and pasture provide temporary or permanent sanctuary for a diverse collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods (insects and the like). More »

wednesday, august 4, 2010

Farm Biodiversity, Part 1
I'm a big believer in that old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.”  Huge monocultures of corn and soybeans; vast tracts of cloned houses; chain restaurants offering the same fast food: They all leave me feeling bored and vaguely depressed. More »

wednesday, july 28, 2010

Summer Fun List
Sometime during my daughter Kelsey’s grade school years, she and I started a little end-of-the-school-year tradition called the Summer Fun List. More »

wednesday, july 21, 2010

Moving Pains
It didn't take long for our young turkeys to outgrow the portable pen we use each year to raise meat chickens. More »

wednesday, july 14, 2010

Drying Herbs 101
I noticed a few days ago that some of our herb stores were getting dangerously low—especially dried oregano, a critical ingredient for the homemade pizza we often make on pizza/movie nights. More »

wednesday, july 7, 2010

Safer Sun Worshipping
After days of experiencing mostly gloom and rain, my family and I finally located that big shiny, scorching hot orb-thing … um, what do you call it again? ... down in southern California last week. More »

wednesday, june 23, 2010

Native North Americans
Fed by days of rain, the lush meadows glow a vibrant green on this June afternoon, providing ample forage for the animals grazing hock-deep in the grass. More »

wednesday, june 16, 2010

Rug Hooking Rx
With a sunny forecast on the horizon at last, I had huge plans to conquer the garden this past weekend and celebrate my conquest with a nice, long bike ride. Tragically, those plans were dashed when I sprained my back … More »

wednesday, june 9, 2010

Jelly Report and Adopt-a-Cat Month
Well, my first fir tip jelly venture nearly went up in flames—literally.  A word to the wise:  when making fir tip jelly (or any other jelly, for that matter), always use a larger pot than you think you’ll need. More »

wednesday, june 2, 2010

Christmas in June
This is the time of year when our dark green Douglas fir trees flaunt new, spring-green needles from the tips of each bristling branch, and I always think about making fir tip jelly for future holiday gifts. More »

wednesday, may 26, 2010

Return of the Turkeys, Part 2
Well, the mystery of the flipping poults remains largely unsolved, although I did find an interesting study here, where the authors noted that “early poult flip-overs” occur in commercial turkey production and happen more often in an experimental line of turkeys selected for increased egg production. More »

wednesday, may 19, 2010

Return of the Turkeys, Part 1
“Most teens’ moms leave notes like ‘There’s lasagna in the fridge, I’ll be back at six,’” my daughter Kelsey observed today. “My life is so weird.” More »

wednesday, may 12, 2010

Do-it-yourself Discovery
This isn't the most earth-shaking of self-discoveries, but it did come as a surprise to me: I'm crazy about tiling. More »

wednesday, may 5, 2010

Our April showers show no sign of stopping just because we entered a new month—kind of a bummer from this sun-starved gardener’s perspective—but at least they did bring lovely May flowers, including one of my favorites: The forget-me-not. More »

wednesday, april 28, 2010

April Showers
After our dry, sunny late winter and early spring spoiled us rotten, we’re back to spring weather as usual here in western Washington. More »

wednesday, april 21, 2010

Return of the Hummingbird
About a week ago, I heard a zinging-buzzing sound as a miniscule feathered missile (with a dangerously pointy beak) zipped past my head:  the first of our Rufous Hummingbirds come home from wherever they hummer off to for the winter. More »

wednesday, april 14, 2010

A Few (Hundred) More Mouths to Feed
Several months ago, we purchased a Worm Factory Composting Worm Bin System made from recycled plastic right here in Washington. More »  

wednesday, april 7, 2010

Dealing with Ducks
You would think after keeping them on our farm for near twenty years, I’d have discovered a consistent, efficient, responsible way to deal with my Muscovy flock’s obsession with reproduction (I suspect they’re plotting to take over the farm, then the world). More »

wednesday, march 31, 2010

Easter Egg Experiments
With our teenaged daughter speeding toward high school graduation, I’ve found myself wishing on a near-daily basis that I could turn back the clock and make her my little girl again. More »

wednesday, march 24, 2010

Monteverde Memories and Earth Day
For just a moment, I’d like to invite you to step away from your farm, and come with me to the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, a fantastical place filled with such an infinite variety of plants and animals it makes my lush Washington home look like a wasteland by comparison. More »

wednesday, march 17, 2010

Picking Potatoes
Yikes, today is St. Patrick's Day!  That means: A.  I've got to find something green to wear. More »

wednesday, march 10, 2010

Stop the Treadmill!
Do you ever feel like you’re running on a treadmill with the speed set too high? One without a big red “stop” button, so you’re stuck there, knowing you’ll fall off the back if you slow down... More »

wednesday, march 3, 2010

Nettle Cravings
For some reason, I woke up today with a fierce craving for fresh, healthy greens. More »

wednesday, february 24, 2010

Food Documentary Insomnia
I really need to be more careful about what I watch before bedtime.  Of course, I (usually) know better than to view a terrifying movie like Paranormal Activity right before turning in, but who would have thought a mere documentary about food and farming could make me lay awake at night, simmering with anger and disgust? More »

wednesday, february 17, 2010

Dusty's New Dig
Last week, something momentous happened.  My husband and I actually completed a project we started: Building a new cage—more like a palace—for our house-rabbit, Dusty. More »

wednesday, february 10, 2010

A Corky Craft
Ask my husband, I’m a compulsive list-maker: Shopping lists, chore lists, packing lists, farm project lists ... and the list goes on. Of course, that means I need a handy place to put those lists so they don’t get lost... More »

wednesday, february 3, 2010

Country Walks Revisited
During January we experienced unusually warm temperatures here, thanks in large part to El Nino, a cyclic warming of the Pacific Ocean’s surface. More »

wednesday, january 20, 2010

Like many people around the world, my thoughts have been centered on the citizens of Haiti this past week:  Mourning the staggering loss of life in a poorer-than-poor country whose people have so little, and have now lost their family and friends, too. More »

wednesday, january 6, 2010

101 Uses for Canning Jars
OK, I lied. I haven’t actually figured out 101 ways to use them yet, but glass home canning jars, also called Mason jars, are just so versatile and useful that I couldn’t resist the title. More »

wednesday, december 23, 2009

Winter Solstice
We’ll be two days past the shortest day of the year when you read this, but as I blog right now, here in the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice is today, December 21 (you can blame it on our tilted planet). More »

wednesday, december 9, 2009

Winter Hunger Pangs
The official first day of winter falls on December 21, still several weeks away as I write this, but you would never know it from our weather here in western Washington. More »

wednesday, november 25, 2009

Goodbye, Turkeys
I miss my turkeys. Kelsey tries to ease my guilt over their new residence (the freezer) by reminding me that if any of us had collapsed unconscious in their pasture, the flock probably would have pecked our skeletons clean within minutes, piranha-style. More »

wednesday, november 11, 2009

Country Cards
I’m not fond of these shorter, soggier, colder, darker days, but I can think of one good thing about them: they give me the perfect excuse to stay inside where it’s warm, dry and lamplit, and get crafty. More »

wednesday, october 28, 2009

Celebrate National Cat Day
According to the National Cat Day website, tomorrow—October 29—is (how did you guess?) National Cat Day. More »

wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Walk in the Country
You might think after two decades of walking these same country roads surrounding our farm that I’d be bored out of my skull, but it hasn’t happened yet. More »

wednesday, september 30, 2009

Farm Dogs on Holiday 
Have you given your farm dog (or dogs) some love recently? How about a break from the farm? More »

wednesday, september 9, 2009

Loving Life 
I wanted to write about something, anything else, but all I could think about last night, and again this morning, was Chris, and the final words on his Facebook page:  “I love life.” More »

wednesday, august 26, 2009

Potato Hunt
It feels a lot like the dyed Easter Egg hunts I loved as a kid, and staged for our daughter when she was little. More »

wednesday, august 12, 2009

Turkeys, Part 2: Turkeys are Cool
I had planned to call this blog "The Trouble with Turkeys, Part 2," but changed my mind for two reasons... More »

wednesday, july 29, 2009

The Trouble with Turkeys, Part 1
After three years of raising our own broiler chickens for the table, we decided to make the big (and I mean big) leap to turkeys this year. More »

wednesday, july 22, 2009 

Postcard from Italy
I’m writing this from Venezia—or Venice as it’s known in English. It feels like a dream to be here in this mythical land of canals and gondolas and grand but crumbling palaces. More »

wednesday, june 24, 2009

Part 2: Mixed-up Moms
When hatching day came, Velma possessed 7 eggs and Tica had 10 eggs. I think. I’m unsure because during the entire incubation period the expectant mother Muscovies kept trading—or more likely stealing—eggs from each other. More »

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Part 1: Odd Ducks
Although I love them dearly, I must admit Muscovies are very odd ducks. For starters, while all other domestic duck breeds presumably descended from the wild Common Mallard (Anas platyrhychos), domestic Muscovies arose from a different waterfowl species ... More »

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When Life Gives You Wool
I don’t want to give you the impression that sheep are stupid; they’re definitely not.  But I wouldn’t call them geniuses, either (there’s a reason you don’t see bumper stickers that say “My sheep is smarter than your honor student”). More »

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Invasion of the Fleece Snatchers
A few weeks ago, we celebrated sheep shearing day here on at our farm, a day and an activity I particularly enjoy for the following reasons ... More »

wednesday, may 13, 2009

Let Us Plant Lettuce
I just took a peek at my lettuce wheelbarrow, and discovered that the lettuce I’d planted about a month ago had suddenly shot up to a whopping two inches in height. More »

wednesday, may 6, 2009

When Anxiety Attacks...
After Desert Discoveries, I’d planned to blog about a nice, innocuous farmy topic, like my lettuce wheelbarrow or my flock’s shearing adventure. More »

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Desert Discoveries Part 3: Desert Pricklies
Our time in the desert flies by in a sandstorm blur. We take a scenic boat ride on Saguaro Lake (strange to see so much water – and bald eagles! – in this dry country), enjoy a night of eclectic music at the Arizona Opry (Elvis was there), visit Old Tucson movie studios (gosh, those cowboys are cute), and hike through birdwatching mecca Madera Canyon (spotted wild turkeys, lots of hummingbirds; missed the coveted Elegant Trogon). More >>

Wednesday, april 22, 2009

Desert Discoveries, Part 2: What Grows on Trees
As a hobby farmer, I know those neat piles of apples at the supermarket grew on trees somewhere, maybe even here in the apple capitol, Washington state, and not a zillion miles away in New Zealand. More »

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Desert Discoveries, Part 1: Escaping the Farm
Don’t get me wrong – I love our farm. But it’s been too long since my family and I escaped the animal feeding, dog walking, manure scooping, garden tending, house cleaning, fence fixing, bill paying, and other duties that go with living in the same place day after day. More »

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool!
Warning: In case you don’t know it already, today is April Fool’s Day, also known as All Fool’s Day. Be careful – very careful, because as Wikipedia defines it, April Fool’s Day, celebrated in many countries, is a day of practical jokes and hoaxes inflicted on family, neighbors, friends, and ... animals? More »

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dreaming of Dandelions
Where art thou, Dandelions? I suspect some suburban-dwellers reading this will think I've totally lost it, considering that many folks spend a good deal of time trying to rid their neat lawns of this cheerful scourge. But I can't help it... More »

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Animal Personality
I knew it all along, and I’ll bet you did as well:  the animals we share our hearts and homes with have personalities, too.  In fact, according to “They’ve Got Personality,” an article by Cynthia Berger in the February/March 2009 National Wildlife ... More »

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 

Knitting Therapy
Awhile back I discovered a forgotten ball of yarn in the little box on my spinning wheel. I'd spun it a year ago – badly – and the yarn looked lumpy--thin-lumpy--but the color took my breath away:  variegated shades of indigo blue, deep ocean blue, violet-blue. More »

WedNesday, March 4, 2009

Bicycling Out of Hibernation

Emerging from hibernation, my husband and I grab bicycles ... Climbing on, I experience a fleeting worry after our hiatus: maybe I've forgotten how; maybe I'll wobble and gravity will yank me to the ground.  More » 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Change in the Weather

I’m writing this first blog with weather on my mind, sneaking suspicious peeks at the lead and silver skies of a typical Puget Sound winter day, wondering what Mother Nature and global climate change will dish up next. More »

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