Friday, September 28, 2012

Netarts Bay

Donna here:

Netarts Bay is very special. Besides the great dungeness crab season they are having this year, the crabbing is out of this world. Netarts is on the upper right and has a very, very shallow and dangerous entrance for even small boats.

Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is right outside the entrance to Netarts Bay.

How could you not like a view such as this. Besides the clammers and crabbers, we watch an assortment of seals, birds and other wildlife out the front window.

We are perched on a small rise overlooking the bay.

The reason crabbing and clamming are so good here is that there is virtually no run off of any farm lands and only two small freshwater creeks that feed the bay...a lot of "pure" salt water.

All the crabs at the RV park are measured to make sure they are "legals" and males...if not they are thrown back till next year.

If they are male and legal...yum, yum.

Our doggie kids loved running on the beach and it was so nice to still have sand in the bed, a week later!

I love just relaxing and looking out past "Haystack" rock just south of Netarts Bay in Pacific City. Haystack is also called Kiwanda Rock, not to be confused with another Haystack off Cannon Beach.

One small view from the motorhome, of the bay as the day draws to a close.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tillamook Scenery

Donna here:

Nothing quite says "Tillamook" like this old Dutch style farmhouse and equally old trucks.

This crazy rooster caught our attention by "eyeballing" some hard to reach fruit of the rosa rugosa plant.

After eating all the easy low berries called rosa hips, he has to jump some three feet in order to get higher fruit.

 Pacific Seafood has a very large oyster farm here in Tillamook Bay. They spread seeded oyster all around the bay and just go out at low tide and pick them up. The shuckers here are paid .02 to .03 cents an oyster so fast hands are a necessity.

Most of the shucked oysters are simply washed off and thrown into a small labeled jar, uncooked, then packed for the market.

This fog bank would occasionally come for a visit on the bay. Good thing I know how to use a tripod.


We saw this herd often. Some of the dairy farmers don't like seeing them in their fields because a common practice is to just cut the grass and feed it to dairy cows...but they do not want elk crap in the feed.

Riley gets to pet a calf that is less than a hour old.

Remember the "pet rock"? This is all a kid needs to occupy his time...unlimited amount of rocks and a river to toss them into.

Tillamook has a very good farmers market on Saturday during the summer. It's full of beef, veggies and flowers.

A day at the beach. Here I am with daughter-in-law Lisa head out to test
the water of the blue Pacific.  

Lisa says "it's cold"! Yes, at 53 degrees I imagine it would be.

Granny and Riley would rather walk on the warm sand.

Dad and son are fast at play in the sand, building the Zwart Family  oceanfront compound.

We saw some whales just off the point, twice out of three visits.

I keep hearing about the terrible rain in Oregon but have so far not seen it. I also got Tom out of the motorhome for the day with his grandson, headaches continue to plague him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A small bump in the road

     Tom is laid up for a while because of a car accident on his way to our grandson's 4th birthday party. The dogs and Tom were to meet me at the park when I get a call...I've been in an accident! WHAT!!!! I will be doing the blogs for the next month because of his headaches.

   Tom had stopped because of a jogger was crossing the driveway he was pulling into, when a lady, with her child not in a seatbelt, driving a Lexus slams into the car behind him...pushing that car into Tom and the dogs.

                          Remind Tom not to buy a Lexus...totaled!

This is the Honda that she hit first, which pretty much put her engine in the Lexus's front seat.

Our Honda has nearly $8000 worth of damage and four weeks later...we are still waiting for our car. It really has screwed up the whole trip and our timetable...damn it!

 It doesn't look that bad does it?

Well, the roof, side quarter panel, frame crush extension and floor inside our Honda had to be replaced...this is not going to be fun!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Obrist Family Dairy Farm

I told Donna that my wish while in this valley was to visit and learn a little about dairy farms...seeing that there are over 100 here in Tillamook, Oregon. I had no luck at the visitors center, it's like no one has ever asked that before? I ended up just stopping at one of the biggest farms we kept passing on the way to town and happened to run into the owners son, who said to call his dad.

Rich Obrist, the third generation owner of the family farm, was so warm and welcoming. When I first talked to Rich on the phone to explain my inquisitive nature he thought maybe I'd buy the farm...he was just joking. Rich led me on a 1 1/2 hour personal tour of the farm, history, successes and problems of farming today.

The Obrist farm was started by Richards grandparents (from Switzerland) in 1920 and Rich has expanded the farm to just under 200 acres and leases some neighboring land.

Every single dairy farm in Tillamook belongs to an association, who all sell their milk to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

The farm is large and beautiful, as are the cows. The smaller silo's are original and the larger one, while still good, are obsolete. They can store and move grain much faster nowadays with tractors and trucks.

I'll start with the babies. Rich crosses Holsteins and Guernseys in an attempt to increase fat content with quantity. The Holsteins are much larger and produce more milk while the Guernsey's are smaller and eat less but produce higher fat content for the cheese factory. Rich only keeps the female babies, the males are picked up twice a week and he is paid around $35 each.

Within 5 minutes of meeting Rich I am reminded of my younger brother who has a real soft spot in his heart for all of gods creatures. His cat Charley, a stray, follows him like a child while his treatment and talk of his cows shows his concern for their health. The ear tag tells us the date she was born and she is the 337th born since January 1st 2012

The two week old babies are kept in clean separate stalls for a month then sent to another farm of Rich's for the next few months to mature. In the back of the stall was this little kitten...or mouser.

After a year or so the heifers are brought back to the farm to be inseminated which is strictly controlled with PC records. These gals are not to far away from being impregnated.

Here was a herd of about 30 moms in varying stages of childbirth. Some were hours away, some a few days away. Rich keeps them separate because he knows if they should have a calf without the farm hands knowing about it, the other mothers tend to help any 1st year heifer. The farm might have an average of 5 calves a week. The brown heifer is one of the Guernseys and only hours away from a birth. 

It may be a little gross but Rich likes to get the afterbirth away from the mothers because some have choked in the past while cleaning the calf.

Ok...lets get down to business. A dairy farm survives by selling milk and this utter is what it's all about!

I'd had always heard that the dairy farmer gets up early in the morning to milk the cows...BS! I didn't know that they are milked TWICE a day, at 1:30 AM and then again at 1:00 pm. Each milking takes 5 hours for the 600 milk bearing heifers.

The milking barn is kept very clean and the utters are washed before being pumped. The average cow might produce 10 to 15 gallons a day for 10 months and then are giving 60 days off...that's more vacation time than I had after 20 years! Unfortunately they only last 5 or 6 years doing this.

This lady is wishing they would preheat the teat pumps!

The cows each have their own stall if they wish to use it. If the weather permits, they might be out in the pasture but otherwise they have enough stalls for all.

The feed runs from grass, alfalfa, grain, corn silage to a fermented grass that is popular in the winter. 

While the girls are in the milk barn doing their of the 20 or more employee's loads feed into their stalls so the milk production can start all over again..

Rich grows his own grass, buys grain and has a 300 acre ranch in Eastern Oregon to grow the alfalfa they need.

I was surprised at how many pieces of heavy equipment, trucks, front end loaders and tractors it took to make this farm viable.

The family home shows it's Swiss roots by the manicured and organized grounds.
Many thanks to Rich and the Obrist family for all their hospitality.