On Thursday, Manijeh and Orin stumbled across a cougar in the act of killing two chickens. It slunk away, leaving one dead bird, one wounded bird, and one very distressed wife.

Finding no sign of the cat, Dianna scooped up the dead bird while I tracked down the wounded one. She was pretty badly torn, so I wrung her neck a little more vigorously than necessary, popping the head off and sending the headless bird literally flying. Or at least flapping erratically as she careened through the air, sprinkling me liberally with bright red droplets .

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We plucked and gutted the birds. One for the freezer and one for the cook pot. I like the thought that we’ll be eating meals prepared by a mountain lion. I’d like to see what that’d cost in a high end restaurant. “Locally grown, free range, organically fed, hens. Freshly killed by local cougar. $75 per plate.”

Orin excitedly retells his version of the encounter at every opportunity. What he lacks in accurate details he makes up for in enthusiasm and large hand gestures.

Don’t mistake amusement for lack of fear. There’s plenty of room for both.

We’ve been talking a lot about permaculture techniques and zoning. Here is a first scribbly sketch of our thoughts for the land.

Top left is the yurt.

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Home in Washington. Seeing family and old friends is great, but it’s a relief to be back in the mountains.

First day back, one of the new chickens died. She lost all of her feathers molting and got lost on her way back to the coop. We buried her the following day. Orin and Atticus attended the funeral.

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On the same day, both goats turned up at the doorstep with teal powder on their noses. Apparently there had been a bag of copper sulfate sitting in the back of the old water tower for a few decades. After a week of diarrhea and lethargy, we thought she would pull through, but on Friday, November 8th, Little Big One died my and Manijeh’s arms.

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Banana is hanging on, but not looking great. We’re continuing to administer meds, but even if she survives, we’ll need to find her a new home with other goats. Goats shouldn’t be alone.
(Update: We found her a great new home thanks to the Oregon Homesteaders Facebook page)

Outside, a friendly local fellow named Mike works on widening the driveway (a county requirement), scooping up loads of Oregon Grape, mallow, yarrow and who knows what other native goodies with the topsoil. Orin enjoys playing King of the Hill on the giant mounds of soil.

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We harvested enough Oregon Grape root to make a tincture. We’ll see how that turns out in 6 weeks.

And another chicken recently met her end thanks to Scribble. We plucked, gutted and cooked her. Poor, scrawny old girl.

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So… rough times as the cold creeps in and the days get shorter.