Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday five: Corvallis housesitting.

We finished our five-week housesit in Corvallis about two weeks ago. It was more of a farmsit, actually. This couple has about 40 chickens, ducks, and geese, as well as a large vegetable garden and orchard.

And also? They have THE BEST DOG IN THE WORLD.

Here are five things we did on this farmsit, in no particular order... except the first one which was definitely the most important (and the most enjoyable!).

1. We spent a lot of time with Danny.


Danny is a cancer survivor with an affection for sticks, boiled eggs, catching rambunctious chickens who flee the coop, and belly rubs. You can set your watch to her food schedule and if you happen to be a few minutes late, she'll tap dance around the kitchen and nose your hand to remind you. She's a fantastic watchdog with an abundance of energy. We loved dogsitting for her.

Our hosts lived near McDonald-Dunn Research Forest where Danny had her daily walk. This 11,250-acre forest of old- and new-growth trees is one of eight forests managed by Oregon State University's College of Forestry. Many of OSU's forests are used for instruction and research as well as fundraising from harvests. In addition to these uses, McDonald-Dunn Research Forest also offers an amazing network of trails for local residents to enjoy.

Our daily forest walks with Danny were our favorite part of the day. We tried new trails several times a week to keep things interesting during these five weeks of dog-walking. Still, we probably explored less than a quarter of the available paths! Other days, we rotated between a handful of favorites.

straight lines on the Intensive Management Trail

patiently waiting among the mossy trees

It was definitely the best way to experience autumn in Oregon.

We also took Danny out to the coast twice. We hadn't seen the Pacific ocean in forever and we weren't sure when we would have our next opportunity, so we took advantage of being within an hour's drive of Newport with a beach-loving dog.

we think she had a good time ...

... what do you think?

Danny's yawns are not as impressive as Ruby's and her fly-catching abilities pale in comparison to Rusty's, but this little lady really made an impression on us. She's absolutely adorable.

2. We tried to keep the chickens happy. It got cold, and then the rains started, and they were not very happy. But we tried.

half a day's haul

Despite valiant efforts to keep the coop clean and dry, three chooks died of natural causes on our watch. Three! They were three of the older ones in the bunch, but still, it was somewhat distressing (moreso for Patrick who had to bury them). At least the customers still got their eggs on a regular basis and all the ducks and geese survived.

3. We cooked and ate lots (and lots, and lots) of delicious food. Our hosts told us to help ourselves to the ample vegetable garden that was still thriving when we arrived. So we did.

dinner! (and breakfast!)

one day's harvest


peppers stuffed with sausage

eggplant tomato bake
(my new favorite comfort food)

With a surplus of eggs, we also enjoyed a lot of frittatas. (Sorry, cholesterol.) After much experimentation I've decided that anything that would be good on a pizza works in a frittata.

tomato, arugula, feta

tomato, spinach, parmesan

spinach, feta

And speaking of pizza! Our hosts had a few pizza stones, so Saturday night became homemade pizza night. Because why not?

olive and mushroom, sausage and pepper

sausage and pepper, goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and spinach, arugula pesto

sausage and bacon, mushroom, pesto and goat cheese

Our hosts also had a fancy industrial bread kneader and a wheat mill. I had lots of fun with those.


challahback girl

Patrick's awesome cookies and 
the most beautiful bread I've ever made
(sadly, the second round didn't turn out as well)

4. We enjoyed the scenery around the farm. The weather was pretty mild for most of our stay so we kept busy in the garden and orchard as much as possible before the rains and shorter days hit.

the first of many

gorgeous hazy sunsets

we like tha moon

5. We caught up on some pop culture. Our hosts had an extensive music collection and library, so we read quite a bit and restocked our iTunes playlists. They also had Dish TV/Netflix and we were able to see what all the Master of None fuss was about, catch up on past seasons of Sherlock, watch hockey live (!), and enjoy episode after episode of Castle reruns during our many hours on their elliptical trainer. (Okay, maybe that last one was just me.)

Cholesterol aside, it was pretty perfect and we were really sad to leave. But it gave us lots of food for thought for our future farm house and property... Pretty sure a border collie/retriever mix and a fancy industrial bread kneader will be involved, but we'll pass on the geese.

Now we're in Canada for holidays. Because that's what normal people do - go north for the winter - right?


  1. What a neat experience!!! I love the idea of spending time on a farm- really makes things slow down and you can appreciate the little things!

    1. It was definitely a peaceful place to be for five weeks, Rachel! Highly recommend it.

  2. Industrial kneader! Does it do a better job than, say, a Kitchenaid with a dough hook, or is it just bigger?

    1. Hi Kelley! It was definitely sturdier and probably more powerful, and it could hold more dough. But homemade bread is good no matter how you knead it - sometimes I prefer pure armpower! Whatever works for you, I say...

  3. This looks like an amazing time - Plus, everything is better with a dog! Black labs have the sweetest temperament!

    1. Indeed, Erin! Danny is a border collie/lab mix - apparently this makes THE BEST DOG IN THE WORLD.

  4. Wow - look at that harvest! Those tomatoes! And an industrial kneader? Impressive! What kind of cookies are those? They look delicious too. Now I'm super hungry :) What a great experience!

    1. We had lots of fun, Marlynn! The cookies were the healthy gluten free chocolate chip kind, with coconut oil and oat flour, and no dairy (except for maybe an egg?). They lasted about a day. :)

  5. What a great housesit, almost like a vacation! Glad you had a nice time. Sorry about the chickens, but it sounds like everything else went well. The forest trails sound fantastic.

    1. Well, technically we're still FUNemployed so every day is a vacation. It was a good time though, Tracy! Definitely check out those forest trails if you find yourself around Corvallis.

  6. great images of all the beautiful vegetables and food.