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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark? (Page 5)

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Author Topic: The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark?
ctm
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One thing to keep in mind with working breeds is... they like to work. They like to keep busy, and if you don't have a lot for them to do work-wise, they will look to entertain themselves other ways, such as herding your kids or chasing cars and deer.
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quidscribis
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Hey, I mentioned an Australian shephard upthread. [Smile] The one I know was friendly and smart and protective of those she owned. [Smile]
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Farmgirl
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Yeah -- your post is the one that made me think about it more. I just haven't owned one personally.
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breyerchic04
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Yeah, I think the energy thing might be the only issue, but I haven't owned one either, I know most young shelties would go nuts. AJ has, but she's really busy, so I'm not sure if she'll see this.
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theCrowsWife
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Just based on my reading, I would be hesitant about putting an Australian Shepherd, or any other herding breed dog, in charge of guarding a flock. They were developed to work closely with a person to move stock, not to protect the stock from predators.

Herding dogs do not have the same relationship to livestock as guard dogs do. A herding dog has the same goals as his owner, to move certain animals to certain places, whether they want to go or not. His position is inherently aggressive towards the flock, although it is a controlled aggression. A guard dog will see himself as part of the flock, and will only show aggression outward, to something threatening.

There probably are individual herding breed dogs that are perfectly safe to leave unsupervised amongst the animals. I would expect that that would generally only occur in exceptional dogs that had a very strong relationship with their masters, though.

--

All of this is assuming that the LGD is going to be living and working in the same space as the livestock. Another option is to have an exterior fence to contain the dog and keep predators out, and then interior pens to hold the livestock. Then, pretty much any dog that is willing and able to guard a space can be put in the outer area to deter predators. This might be a good solution if there is concern about being able to handle a dog as large as a Pyrenees, but it will be more expensive at first to build all those fences. However, fencing will last far longer than the working life of a giant breed such as a Pyrenees, so eventually it would probably work out to be cheaper. Obviously, it is more cost-effective on a small farm than in a situation where the livestock are out on range. So there's another possible option.

--Mel

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beverly
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I was reading today about people doing what I hope to do (small-scale livestock) having Great Pyrenees. I must admit, I have been concerned about the large price-tag attached to these animals and if it would really be worth it.

Then I was thinking, surely there are other people out there who are looking for GP for the same reasons I am. What if I got a breeding pair? Why not? Maybe I could make back the money I put into them and then some.

What do y'all think?

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rivka
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I think breeding dogs -- especially pedigree-quality -- is not so simple as that. Talk to AJ about it. I also think that finding dogs of breeding quality is going to be both more expensive and more difficult than simply finding ones who will just be working dogs. (As well as the fact that even if the per-dog cost is the same, now you're talking about two instead of one.) Moreover, I wonder if breeding them might not make them (or at least the female) less able/willing to be guard dogs.

A general comment as well. I think it is awesome how excited you are. And while I am not the kind of person who would enjoy all this, you are, and this is so cool! [Smile] But I keep getting the impression that you are going to bite off more than you can chew, in terms of how many animals you are talking about STARTING with! Not one dog, a breeding pair. Not just chickens, but guinea fowl too. I get that most of this is just thinking aloud, but . . .

I worry because I care. I want this to work for you, because I know it is important. [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But I keep getting the impression that you are going to bite off more than you can chew, in terms of how many animals you are talking about STARTING with!
We are sooooooo taking baby steps when it comes to getting critters.

Bev and I do this a lot. One of us gets excited about something, and the other one naturally puts on the brakes, even if it's something that we could get all crazy excited about as well.

[ October 24, 2006, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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rivka
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[Smile]
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beverly
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Yeah, I worry about that myself, rivka. The thing is, I am talking about llamas, dogs, and guinea fowl, but that doesn't mean I intend to do all three. On the contrary, I am in my "research phase." I am trying to make the most informed decision possible. (I am researching feral cats as well, thinking about controlling mice.)

Realistically, I will probably start with chickens. Period. But because my dream is to eventually have a multitude of different kinds of animals, I am trying to learn about each one now *enough* to make informed decisions on how to start out. What I learn about goats will effect what I choose to do with chickens. Learning about Dexters cattle will effect what I choose to do with goats. If I find great opportunities earlier than expected, then I want to be prepared. I don't want to pay top-dollar for the things I want/need. I want to find amazing deals. This is how I plan to do it: learn, research, then keep my eyes open.

Porter did the same thing this past year with buying a banjo. He did something like a year of research before shelling out any dough. He bought one banjo, and he is very happy with it.

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rivka
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Research is a Very Good thing. [Smile]
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breyerchic04
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Really don't try breeding a litter until you've had a breed for several years. Research is great, but you need to feel comfortable. You aren't going to make money breeding dogs with vet fees, food, and facilities for housing a litter of puppies. People like you are around here the main people buying Pyrs. Someone with a small farm and some sort of white fuzzy animals. It seems a perfect dog will fall in your lap, as they often do to most people.

And chickens are fun.

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theCrowsWife
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
Learning about Dexters cattle will effect what I choose to do with goats.

Ooh! That's the breed I want, too. Have you run across the Journey to Forever site? There's lots of good information there, if you scroll down and click on Small Farms in the sidebar.

--Mel

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quidscribis
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This thread represents one of the things I like best about HatCrack. [Smile]
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beverly
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Mel, I read your link. I *love* it! It puts into words so much of what I have been thinking and feeling. I really do hope others will feel this call to return to the ways of small farming. I think it will go a long ways to heal our planet.

quote:


The myth of efficiency -- Industrial agriculture claims "efficiency" and cheaper food. But itís a false promise. In farming, bigger is not more efficient. And if you count social and environmental costs, itís not cheap either... The situation is clear: Our conversion to industrial agriculture means subsidizing the richest corporations on earth to run a system that eliminates livelihoods, harms communities, poisons the earth, and doesnít feed the people, either. Maybe you pay a few pennies less for your industrial potato, but the next generation will pay billions more in taxes, to clean up the mess this system creates. This is not "efficiency." -- Turning Point Project

Beautiful! I love the idea of how in touch you can be with the individual lives on your farm when it is small. Your animals get personal attention, they get your *love*. You feel the weight and price that eating meat really costs, and thus feel to eat meat wisely, frugally.

You know your plants' and soil's peculiarities. You can develop strains of plants from your own seed that best fit your specific environment. My whole soul cries out that this is the way it should be.

Another exerpt along those same lines:

quote:
Chemical corporations will assure you that plant nutrients are plant nutrients, and they're exactly the same whether they come from soil humus or from a bag of chemicals, and chemical analysis confirms that.

Chemists can often find no difference between organically raised crops and chemically fertilised crops. Cows see a difference though -- they need much less food when it's grown organically, to produce the same amount of milk. Many farmers have confirmed this. "Cows are capable chemists," said the great soils scientist William Albrecht of Missouri. He also said: "Food is fabricated soil fertility."

Wise farmers are small farmers who listen to their cows.

And this just sums it all up:

quote:
If we are concerned about food production, small farms are more productive. If our concern is efficiency, they are more efficient. If our concern is poverty, land reform to create a small farm economy offers a clear solution. The small farm model is also the surest route to broad-based economic development. If the loss of biodiversity or the sustainability of agriculture concern us, small farms offer a crucial part of the solution.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I hate moving.

That is all.

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ElJay
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Safe driving & good luck!
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I hate moving.

That is all.

I am so in agreement. And I've never moved (as an adult) as far as y'all are going. Good luck, and drive safe!
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mr_porteiro_head
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Rivka -- didn't you live in NYC for a while?
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foundling
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I hate moving too. But I love the results. I'm really glad for you guys. It's not many people who have the drive to pursue their dreams, and I'm both admiring and envious of the ability. Good luck!!
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mr_porteiro_head
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Actually, the moving hasn't been nearly so stressful for me -- it's been all the things I've been doing to fix up the house before we leave (we're putting it on the market as soon as we're out of it). Our realtor says that these (relatively) minor fixes will probably make a big difference on how much we can get for it.

I'm kicking myself not not doing these projects years ago so that we could enjoy the fruits of them ourselves.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Rivka -- didn't you live in NYC for a while?

Yes, but for less than a year. No furniture to move, and the bulk of my possessions stayed in my parents' house all year.

Besides, I was only 18 for a couple months of it. [Wink]

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ctm
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'm kicking myself not not doing these projects years ago so that we could enjoy the fruits of them ourselves.

I know just what you mean! My (then)husband and I thought the same thing when we replaced the scuzzy carpet in the spacious sunroom of our first house just before selling it, and when we painted over the ugly green exterior of our second house just before selling it, and when we painted the great room of our third house... just before selling it.
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beverly
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We are here! [Smile] [Smile] [Smile]

My whole body aches. I can't believe how much friggin' work both Porter and I have done. We are *mostly* moved in--at least the important stuff. It is totally bizarre to me that tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I love this house! The funny thing is, I wasn't really expecting to. I mean, I figured the house would be sufficient for our needs, but if it weren't for the land it is attached to and the location, I wouldn't have picked this house. But the longer I'm here, the more reasons I find to love it! Little things here and there that I like so much better than where we were.

The rain has been coming down and we have been extremely busy with moving in, so I haven't had much chance at all to explore the grounds. That will have to wait.

Things I like:

I have been having lots of fun having woodburning stoves! The comfort and the beauty, ah.... I love the kitchen setup. I love having a playroom where the kids toys can be less underfoot. I love having a separate laundry area (not stuck in a bathroom.) I love having 2 bathrooms rather than the unnecessary 3 we had before. I *love* having a mudroom!!!

And there is something extra-special about looking out my window in the dead of late November and seeing green EVERYWHERE! :big grin:

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imogen
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[Big Grin]

Congratulations! Enjoy post-moving bliss. [Smile]

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Telperion the Silver
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Porter and Mary, I'm so happy for you guys!
It's been a joy to follow along with your moving and following your dream. The house sounds awesome!
I know how much a pain moving is and I'm glad you guys are finally there. Let the unpacking begin!

Your ever fan,
Telp

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Tante Shvester
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I'm glad you are home and settling in comfortably. And hurrah for internet access!
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quidscribis
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I'm glad you're having such a positive experience so far. Yay!
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Kwea
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I didn't chime in before this, as I have no experience in owning land. My family owns a cottage on a lake in MI, and we have a bit of land with it, but not that much, as we really only went up there for summers as a kid.

I love camping, and being out on the land . I love lakes and ponds, and the place you bought sounds wonderful. MY parents had blackberry brambles outside their house in RI, and the only bad thing about it was all the birds that swarmed them....BEFORE DAWN! I love birds, but there were times I wanted to throw a net over them and kill them all. The brambles were only about 40 feet from the house, so the birds would wake everyone up with their calls. [Smile]


But the best part about this thread, at least for me, has been reading it once a week and seeing your excitement about the move, and about what the changes mean to you and your family. I know that you talked about doing a lot of things, and you probably won't get to all of them right away, but it was really heartwarming to hear your excitement, and watch as this story unfolded.


I hope that it becomes all that you wanted it to, and more.


Kwea

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mr_porteiro_head
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I can't believe how much it's raining here. I mean, I know it's supposed to be wet and rain every day and all that, but come on! This has to be a joke on the n00bs.
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rivka
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Bad news, Porter . . .

It's just a regular November in the Northwest. Enjoy! [Wink]



Bev, I completely understand every delight in your new home, except the glee at FEWER bathrooms. Clearly, your kids are very different from mine. Or maybe just younger!

Anyway, I'm glad y'all made it ok (if a bit battered), and are enjoying the new place.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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mr_porteiro_head
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Oh yeah. Today's Thanksgiving. I keep forgetting.
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rivka
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*giggle*

For me, it's mostly a day off work. We're doing the turkey thing tomorrow night.

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beverly
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Thanks, all! It has been so much fun to share this with you as well.

I don't know how things will play out with acquiring animals. I can't remember if I mentioned Porter's "6-month-animal-rule" where after getting a certain kind of animal I have to wait at least 6 months before getting another kind. It is probably a very good idea to keep me from going overboard, but of course, opportunities do not come on a semiannual basis!

At this particular moment, I am too focused on moving in to think about getting animals--at least to think about it *much*. [Wink] I have an opportunity right now to adopt a very nice wether (neutered male goat) that would be a pet and weed-eater. But according to the 6-month rule, if I do that, I have to wait much longer before I can start chickens and therefore before I can have my own eggs! So when I learned a couple days ago that someone else is interested in this wether, I am thinking I will let them have him. I dunno yet. I think I better meet this little guy first before making the decision. [Smile]

Oh, and yes, it rains here a *lot*. It just makes our house feel all the more cozy! [Big Grin]

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

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Miro
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You're making me jealous. Can I come live with you? [Razz]
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Farmgirl
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I would by-pass the wether for now. Because you will probably want to start with a female, anyway, so you can eventually build up a herd! [Wink]

Unless you plan to eat him at some point.... otherwise he is just a lawn mower and pet, and with the 6 month rule, I think you would rather have chickens first.

FG

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Scott R
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quote:
I have an opportunity right now to adopt a very nice wether (neutered male goat) that would be a pet and weed-eater.
Wow. It eats weeds and pets.

Convenient.

[Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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[Big Grin]
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quidscribis
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I have an opportunity right now to adopt a very nice wether (neutered male goat) that would be a pet and weed-eater.
Wow. It eats weeds and pets.

Convenient.

[Smile]

[ROFL]
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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I can't believe how much it's raining here. I mean, I know it's supposed to be wet and rain every day and all that, but come on! This has to be a joke on the n00bs.

It's a bit wetter than usual this year, but like rivka said, get used to it.

n00b.

[Big Grin]

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quidscribis
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No kidding. [Big Grin]
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ClaudiaTherese
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beverly, one of my fondest childhood memories is of heating our home with a wood-burning stove. My mother always had a pot of water simmering on the top in back to keep the winter air hydrated. Slow-roasted sweet potatoes, chili ... mmmm. [Smile]

Porter, it is a little extra-rainy now, but just wait until these rainy months are through. The spring through fall seasons are magnificent -- jewel-toned greens and blues, flowers everwhere, just gorgeous. This is the hunker-down period we use to pay for the highlights.

Do you have the right gear? Thick, tight wool overgarments, a raincover, warm soft undershirts, good boots, etc.? The gear makes allt he difference.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I just heard that so far, this is the third rainiest season ever in the valley. It's good to know.

quote:
Do you have the right gear?
Not at all.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Porter, I'm big on scrimping and saving, and I hate -- hate! hate! -- to waste money. Spending money on fads and useless trinkets seems immoral to me.

However, your experience of the Pacific Northwest and you ability to function in it moment by moment is extraordinarily affected by having the proper gear. Dave and I ended up scrounging thrift stores for our basics, and man, am I ever thankful for that investment. [about $50 each]

I would love to help you and beverly figure out what you need and how to do it in a frugal way (rather than just plunking down a lot of money at a sports store) if you are interested -- either by email or here. I even found some good websites.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Actually, I am going to email your profile address right now about this and something else.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Hmm. My profile address doesn't work right now because of the move.

--baleeted--

[ November 25, 2006, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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Got it. This is just an idea, by the way.

Thanks.

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Shigosei
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Welcome to the Willamette Valley! The sun will be out to say hello sometime in April or May. I've actually not had too many problems with the cold during my time here. Most of the time, a warm jacket and an umbrella has sufficed for me. On the other hand, I never lived on a farm.

If the lack of light gets to you, I recommend getting one of those nifty light boxes. They're no replacement for sunlight, but they do help.

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Happy Camper
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I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention to this thread, I didn't realize you were actually in the valley. I just got here myself a little less than a year ago. It will, indeed, probably rain until mid-April sometime. At least that's what happened last winter, some rediculous number of consecutive days with rain, swollen rivers, the whole nine yards. Seriously, I came out for a visit to look at the school and find an apartment, and it was raining. Hard. I went home, packed up my apartment, drove across the country, spending a nice few days with my parents on the way, and when I got back it was still raining. Hard. It continued to rain for at least the next month. Hard.

Like Shigosei said, the cold is almost certainly not a problem, heck a windbreaker/raincoat has done the job for me. I may have broken out a slightly heavier coat once, but I don't think so, and never touched my heavy winter coat. I hear it snows here from time to time, but I'll believe it when I see it.

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beverly
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Oh my freak! We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland! It is gorgeous out there! I was going to sign my kids up for school today, but school is cancelled. Oh well, I guess they will just have to romp and play in the snow all day.... [Big Grin]
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