Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Early Morning Surprise

The other morning I woke up and stumbled down the stairs. I stood rubbing my eyes and gazing out of a large picture window looking out over our pasture lands. The morning mist still hung heavy in the little hollows giving the whole scene a cloaked appearance. As my eyes began to adjust to the growing light I though I saw a small long legged creature out in the field. Thinking my sleepy eyes were fooling me, I rubbed them again and strained to catch another glimpse of the creature I though I had seen.

Just then the, fog lifted, and to my surprise I saw a brand new baby foal standing there. His little nostrils flared as he took in breaths of the fresh morning air. An admiring mother stood by busily nuzzling him with her soft furry nose. The whole scene was breath taking and caused me to rejoice in God’s marvelous creation and the wonder of new life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Curse or Blessing?

If you have lived in western Washington for any amount of time you will probably be quite familiar with blackberry vines. These persistent plants have been known to sprout just about anywhere and thrive in the most inconvenient places. Before you know it, a small blackberry vine can explode into a great thorny bush and be the cause for great sweat—and sometimes even bloodshed—trying to remove it. If this were the whole story about blackberry vines, I think that they most certainly would be voted as Washington’s most disliked plant

But, before you get too upset about this seemingly noxious weed, you must taste a handful of large, sweet, juicy, blackberries.

Although blackberries can be quite problematic when growing in the wrong place, we thoroughly enjoy the blackberries we have on the farm because they are growing in a great place.

Along the fence bordering our property, great mounds of blackberries grow and each year right about this time yield a bountiful reward of huge, sweet blackberries. Thanks to the horses and cows, these mounds of blackberries are kept trimmed back so that we can actually reach the black bounty without falling prey to the thorns. After several hours of picking, we will come back with enough blackberries to freeze for the winter, as well as to make into an after dinner pie.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Have you ever completed a business transaction and found that you had been fleeced? Well, if you have, you can identify with some rather trim looking sheep running around on our farm. Knowing that summer heat was upon us and that we had a flock of very warm sheep who spent their afternoons panting in the shade, I realized that it was time to get out the sheep shears and go to town. So last week my brother Stephen and I rounded up all the sheep into one of our barns and began to catch them one by one and remove their fleeces. You may be thinking, “Oh, how wonderful! Now the sheep will be cool.” But in reality the sheep were thinking “Oh, no! He’s coming to get me with those big shears. I might die!”

Each greatly reluctant sheep was pushed and coaxed onto the shearing mat for their personal five minute dance with the shearer. For both sheep and shearer, this dance is not at all romantic or enjoyable, but rather is a five minute struggle between the shearer trying to remove the fleece and the sheep trying to get free. The shearer is forced to pose in a permanent bowing position while he constrains the sheep in a sitting position. Once both partners are in place, the shears are turned on. And starting at the head, one swipe at a time, the fleece is carefully snipped away. Once this perfectly choreographed act of kicking, grasping, and clipping is finished, the sheep is let loose to go bleating back to the flock. And the shearer slowly, and with an occasional painful groan, stretches back to an erect position.

Getting fleeced is always an unpleasant situation, but if you were to ask one of our sheep I think he would rather lose a few dollars on eBay then go through another shearing!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Summer Swim

After working for hours in the warm sun and wiping sweat from your brow, nothing sounds better than a cool dip in the river. For a half a mile the Wynoochee River runs along our property, sparkling and glittering on its way as if to entrance the hard working farm boy and beckon him to its cool comforts. After plunging into the cool water it is hard to even remember how hot you had just been.

But plunging in is just a taste of the fun that can be had. If you inhale a great lungful of air, you can dive down to the bottom of the swimming hole and sink your hands in the sandy floor. Or you can explore the sandstone sides and find the nooks and crannies where trout and salmon are hiding. For the more adventurous, there are cliffs from which you can jump and go sailing through the air landing with a great splash. Although those activities are wonderful, the thing that tops them all is swinging from the rope swing hung in a great leafy tree over hanging the river. From there you can glide through the air and land right in the center of the deep hole. If you are good you can dive off the rope... but if not, you can belly flop!

Swimming is fun- in fact, so much fun that at times a “quick dip” becomes quite long. Because, you see, you cannot swim with most watches, and the sun is generally covered with trees so it makes it very hard to keep track of time. Or, at least, that is the way the excuse often goes for the young swimmer who has tarried long in the swimming hole. Summer would not be complete without swimming- nor would farm boys and girls.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Farm Photography

Have you enjoyed the photography on our blog? Well, the pictures that have been presented here have been taken by our farm photographer who happens to double as my little brother. Over the past two weeks he has been increasing his skills by taking part in a photography course. So just for fun, I thought that we might throw in a few of his shots from around our farm and the near by countryside.

Through photography it is our goal to depict the beauty of God’s glorious creation. When a picture is properly framed, lighted, and composed it can help us see the beauty in even the seemingly mundane things around us. The truth is that we become so accustomed to the creation we live in that we forget to step back and realize the marvelous intricacy and design of things such as a blade of grass or a water droplet. So as you view these pictures we hope that they will help you to step back and reflect. Be sure to let us know what you think!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Companionship and Comfort

Sheep are interesting animals and are quite different than cows or horses. Although they possess some very obvious distinctions like sporting furry fleece coats and saying “baaa” instead of “neigh” or “moo”, they also have some very unique attributes like their desire for companionship and comfort.

Sheep are very social creatures. They are rarely ever seen by themselves. They always desire to be with their companions whether they are munching grass, frolicking in the sun, or exploring the farthest boarder of their pasture. In shepherd’s vernacular this natural tendency is called their “heard instinct.” Because most of our grass is taller than the sheep’s heads, if they get too busy eating and forget to pay attention, they can get separated from the rest of the flock. When they realize that none of their companions are to be seen they will set to bawling and running until they find the rest of the pack.

Hand in hand with this desire for companionship is their desire for comfort and protection. Because sheep are smaller then cows or horses they are more susceptible to the dangers of prowling nocturnal predators. If left to follow their own instinct, when it becomes evening sheep will gather together as a flock and all lay down in a close area. In this way they look like a bigger mass and do not appear to be an easy dinner catch. Here at Bradrick Family Farms we try to accommodate this need for protection by every night bringing our sheep into a warm barn where there is no fear of danger. Being creatures of habit, our sheep have grown accustomed to their lodging accommodations. Last night I went out just before dark to put them in, and they were all standing at the gate with a look of anticipation on their faces waiting for me to open the barn door and let them in.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Curious Cows

The other day my brother Stephen and I drove our Ford Ranger pickup out into the field where our cows were residing. Now to a cow, you must imagine how odd a bright gold colored mass of moving metal must look. Well first, all the cows stopped munching grass and decided to race us. As we drove along, they went running beside us showing off their agility by kicking their heels and shaking their heads.

Once we came to a stop, they formed a large circle around us and began inching closer and closer trying to figure out what this gold beast was. Their courage got stronger as, shoulder to shoulder, they inched closer. Soon they were standing just feet away, stretching their necks and sniffing the truck all over.

Meanwhile, Stephen and I were sitting in the truck enjoying their humorous behavior and their attitudes of sheer curiosity. Now it was all fun and games, until one rather bold cow decided to try and bite the truck’s mirror off. At that moment, I came to action. I quickly opened my door and stepped out. All at once, the whole herd took one good jump backwards and then stood there looking in disbelief. It was almost as though they thought I was from Mars and had just stepped out of my space ship!

Not long after that, when we had finished the errand that had taken us to that part of the pasture, we were off again. As we drove back to the gate, we were still followed by those curious cows. They stood watching in rapt amazement as we shut the gate behind us and drove off into the distance.

Now, I’ve heard that “curiosity killed the cat . . . We’ll just hope it doesn’t the kill cows!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Cowboy

Most people across our land have a highly romantic or rosy conception of what it is to be a cowboy. For centuries, western films have depicted the cowboy as a rough and tumble character that spends his days on a horse, working cows, and riding the range. Now that is an accurate description of part of a cowboy’s life, but it is not the whole story. The part that is so often missing is the hours of cleaning out manure from barn stalls, building and repairing fences, putting up hay, and caring for sick animals — just to mention a small portion of the tasks that make up a cowboy’s entire job.

But, it is not too surprising that many people would have a misconception about a cowboy’s life, because every cowboy likes to show the very best of what he does. It is not too exciting to show someone how to clean a stall or mend a fence, but it is quite another thing to show off your horse and display its ability to rear, run, and round up cows!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Moods of Spring

There is a certain mood that comes with spring. It is an infectious mood that seems to grip man and beast. Deep down inside there is a growing excitement that explodes on the first warm day. This feeling universally grips both farm and farm life, but each different man and animal expresses this uncontrollable feeling in a different way. Take for example a cow. For the most part cows are quite down-to-earth creatures, but a cow that is gripped with spring infection will run and frisk and kick up its heels.

Sheep will also do strange things when they are feeling the energy of spring. Their mood will change from being peaceful and curious to frantic and frenzied. All at once they will leap with all four legs off the ground and then run in circles, butt heads, and wag tails. A sheep gripped with this infectious mood will make the most formidable stoic burst out laughing.

Now this mood takes a slightly different grip on the farmer. He will not be seen frisking or butting heads. He becomes very allergic to the indoors and the only cure is to get him outside. Some times this mood is so intense that it will cause him to shout aloud and then listen to his voice echoing on the hills beyond. But probably the most noticeable affect that this spring mood has is that he whistles most all the day.

Every year I see the effects of this mood. It is something hard to explain; but if I had to sum it up in one brief description, I would call it “Spring Fever.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lick’um Stick’um and Stamp’um

One of the projects we face every spring is publishing and sending out our farm news letter and order form. This takes a lot of time, so we must set up an assembly line in order to get the letters out the door on time. So why don’t I show you a little peek behind the scenes.

First, we must print the letters.

Next we fold them. And stuff them in the envelopes.

Then comes the Lick’um…


and Stamp’um.

Then we put them in the mail, and send them to you.

Photographs taken by Stephen Bradrick