Shawn, aka the Beastmaster

Last summer, before Tuk Muk was born, Shawn and I spent a lot of time at the SAgE Sammamish Valley Farm helping our farm manager Perry with the student farm - which included many walks around the property. Because the farm sits on 91 protected agricultural acres smack in the middle of Woodinville, it’s home to tons of wildlife. Everything from mice to bunnies to birds of prey. 

Shawn has always felt a kinship with raptors. He has an eagle eye for them (forgive the pun!). One day we joked about raising our arms and having our very own falcons swoop down to land, Beastmaster style. It would be our moment of glory.

Although it hasn’t happened just yet, we've been lucky enough to see peregrine falcons, merlins, turkey vultures and bald eagles at Tuk Muk. And that’s just the raptors. Hummingbirds, crows, blue herons, finches, Canadian geese and a lone snow goose have graced the property. 

In the meantime, Shawn will have to settle for the companionship of our rooster, Nugget. He may not be a peregrine falcon, but he’s looking to be a tough little dude with a golden mane and gorgeous multicolored plumage. Not a bad substitute... ;)

Welcome to the ladies of Tuk Muk

Nine beautiful hens and one handsome rooster have joined the Tuk Muk family! Shawn and I spent a sunny morning at Baxter Barn in Fall City, WA admiring the amazing selection of chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl and the most colorful pheasants I’ve ever seen. Plus the cutest, fuzziest mini donkeys ever.

After a little clucking (ha ha) we settled on a mixed flock of Wellsummers, Easter Eggers, Buff Orpingtons and one Black Sexlink. They’ll live inside our hoop house for a few weeks while they get used to their new environment. It didn’t take long before they were pecking at feed and tasty, protein-rich, dried mealworms. Once they’re a little older and a little bigger, we’ll move them out onto the pasture to range for bugs, worms, grass and seeds. In exchange, they’ll gift us with nature’s best fertilizer: chicken poop!

Welcome to the new additions!

It’s been one wet, wild winter

Update from the farm: it’s wet. Last week: it was wet. The week before: wet. Well, we seem to have picked the wettest winter since 1998 to start a farm in the PNW. Lucky us! Yet we forge ahead...

After a nearly complete loss of our hoop house in the past week’s rain and wind, we rebuilt with stronger materials, burlier construction and improved twine-lashing skills. This one’s gonna make it. And we learned a ton in the process. Even on a chilly, breezy day, the hoop house is at least 10 degrees warmer inside. Add a little sunshine and it’s downright balmy. That warmth will help our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers thrive in the coming months.

In the meantime, we pray for sunshine! As soon as the soil is dry enough, we will mow the reed canarygrass and begin forming our garden beds. Our first of the season crops will include peas, salad, Asian greens, radishes and turnips. Even with all the rain, you can see spring popping up everywhere on the farm. The grass is green, the daffodils are blooming and the Canadian geese have begun to leave for northern climes. It’s a beautiful way to be reminded of the majesty of Mother Nature.