Sunday, July 31, 2016

Good-bye July!

Let me get the complaining out of the way first.  The mosquitoes are INSANE this year!  And it's not just me that is saying so.  I have heard more than one person say that this is the worst year for mosquitoes that they can remember - I of course, try to avoid saying such things since my memory is so bad.  Anyway, mosquitoes have replaced the weather as the number one topic of conversation in these parts.  It doesn't matter the time of day, sunny or cloudy, they are equal opportunity irritants.  Picking raspberries has become quite an adventure in blood-letting.  I have run across some really mammoth toads around too - I'm thinking they are fattening up on the skeeters!

The garden at our place is getting busy - beans and sugar snap peas a-plenty, a few tomatoes, zucchini of course!  Unfortunately, the weeds and bugs - potato bugs, cabbage butterfly caterpillars, etc. are getting busy too.

Kevin and Rollie have gotten the rye harvested and today the straw was baled up.  We have a small patch of hull-less oats and Rollie first swathed, then combined that too.

How many of you blog readers have been in this position?
Next up, the oats - you can see what a beautiful day we had today!
Rollie - the Swath Master!
 Even though I feed them, the little turkeys view me as a threat... I've never had turkeys before but have to assume this is normal turkey behavior.  Anyway, they are hard to photograph because whenever I am near they just keep running back and forth.  I wish I had an hour to just sit with them but I do not.  Anyway, the skeeters would suck me dry if I sat still for an hour anyway.  I did manage to get a less-than-lovely picture of them today- they have grown so much in such a short time.  And you can see the little black dots on their backs now.
Running from the scary farmer!
So that is all I have this week.  Stop by next week to find out what is new on the farm.
Be well.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Enough with the Storms!

Like last week, I will open this post with comments about the weather.  We were not even done drying out from "The Deluge" when we had another nasty storm. This was a big one, very wide-spread and very windy.  With the ground already saturated many, many trees went down.  At our place we suffered little damage compared to some folks.  We were without power however from about 2AM on Thursday to about 7PM that evening.  It was long enough that I was worrying about the freezer and getting enough water for the animals if it should continue.  Kevin was off to camp but Rollie helped me get water from down the road.  It didn't help matters that it was hot - in the 90's, for most of the week.

I think I wrote last week about Kevin moving the pigs to the two coop-yards and splitting them up into two groups of three.  It turned out to be spa week for the pigs, as I ran water for them to make wallows to keep cool in, which they wouldn't have had out in the field.  They haven't completed their work of plowing the the two coop-yards yet, so they will probably stay where they are for another week.
In the Winter Coop yard, the girl pigs helped me out with the hose

And over in the Summer Coop yard, they guys just enjoyed themselves
Not sure what sort of bird this is but it wanted to hang around while I ran the hose so I took his picture
This afternoon the does got long-overdue pedicures and we put them in a paddock with a portable shelter for the afternoon - sort of like day camp.  There is lots of long grass there, just the kind of thing goats like - you would think they would have been delighted.  Well, they most definitely were not.  Vinca  made her feelings known whenever she could see one of us, calling out in a loud strident voice.  Echo echoed her now and then and they were both very happy to return to their regular quarters at milking time.
The malcontents
We sure are eating well these days!  Today I picked the first shell peas and dug up some new potatoes.  I cooked up one of Kevin's favorite meals - creamed peas and new potatoes.  I have really been enjoying my salads - this one is lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, onions, basil, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and goat cheese - all home grown - yum!

Still on the cutting mat -  my food stylist didn't stop in today!
I didn't get an updated photo of the little turkeys after all - hopefully next week.  Until then, be well all, and good night.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Post-Deluge Post

I can’t help myself… I am a Minnesotan, I just HAVE to talk about weather!

You locals know that our area has received a significant amount of rain - starting Sunday with most of it descending on us Monday.  Most of that time the rain was heavy or very heavy and reports of up to 11 inches were not uncommon.  Our rain-gauge is out of commission, but Rollie and Ardis measured 8” inches so that is close enough.

We can count ourselves fortunate that the worst we ended up with was varying degrees of moisture in the basements.  This multi-level house actually has three basement levels so the inconvenience varied from dampness in the “laundry basement”  to really wet – sucked up with the shop-vac (what a great invention) in “Kurt’s basement”  to standing water 3.5 inches deep in the “way down” basement.  We were without hot water one night as the pilot light of the water heater went under and we had a tense hour  when we thought the septic was flooded but that turned out to be a fairly easily repaired pipe issue.  Phew! 

He appears to be contemplating the problem at hand
The pond overflowed of course, but Phil's hives are fine
 It’s taken a lot of effort to dry things out but all in all, it could have been worse.  Many folks have lost all or part of their gardens and crops – ours are OK.

If you look back a couple of weeks, it's changed quite a bit.  Notice the hull-less oats to the east?  Almost ready to harvest.
Things in the garden are a little behind, as expected.  I did nibble on a few sugar snap peas today, and had my first cherry tomato earlier in the week.  The lettuce has been good and there are a few raspberries ripening every day - with a lot more to come.

The pigs are enjoying a different living arrangement this week.  Kevin is off to camp, so to make the feeding and watering chores a little easier for me, the porkers have been split up and moved in from the pasture to the two coop-yards - three pigs in each.

I am hoping they will plow up all the long grass and weeds that the chickens do not eat.
Kevin moved the pigs on Friday while I was at work, so I don’t know just how he accomplished that task.  I was NOT supposed to let the hens out into the coop-yard (they are in a fenced area out the front instead) but I forgot.  He couldn’t lure them in, so he just put the pigs in with them.  Poultry and swine seemed to get along fine and the hens rather enjoyed the pig’s chow.  So, no problems until I went out to pick up the eggs after work and discovered that all three of the pigs were in the coop gobbling down the chicken’s kibble - payback I guess!  Kurt and I managed to stuff them back out through the little chicken door (that they were not supposed to fit through) and put a board across it to reduce its size until all the hens came in for the night.  Thank goodness they did not go out the front door of the coop, as that fence would not have held them long – crisis narrowly avoided!  Ok, it wouldn’t have been a crisis but we didn’t need a pig round-up Friday night, that’s for sure!

It's kind of different for me when I am spending some time in the garden.  I am used to hearing the gentle clucking and occasional squawking of  my hens but now there are piggy noises. They talk quite a bit - I wonder what about?

Over at the Winter Coop, the chicks are looking very adult – some of the cockerels are eating size!  And, the little turkeys can fly up on the roost now so I finally got a better photo of them.

Notice that they are all white?  At the Farmers' Market yesterday morning, I asked  a fellow farm gal who has Royal Palms about that and she said they will get the black marking when they are a few weeks old.  So, the picture above was taken yesterday afternoon.  This very afternoon, I noticed that they have a little black on some of their feathers... When did that happen?  I should have taken another picture, but didn't think of it at the time.  Next week maybe, if they cooperate!

Until next week then, I will bid you good night, and be well.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reunion weekend in brief

This past week, and especially this weekend has just flown by - this will be by necessity  a very short post as I have much to get done before I give up and just go to bed; also I didn't get around the place to take many pictures - will try to do better next time.  Yesterday (Saturday) was a farmers market day for us and a family reunion - my side.  We went to the market for a few hours, then Ardis and Rollie took over so we could go to the reunion.  It was so good to visit with cousins not seen very often and just sit and listen to the elder generation - the get-together goes by too fast and it seems like I always miss talking to some.

So, a quick update.  Nutshell version - pigs are getting bigger, the does are milking well but I still have concerns about their health.  Chicken chicks and turkey poults seem to be doing fine too; the little turkeys are still very wary of me and I wish the hens were laying better.  The garden is looking fairly well considering how little time I spend in it - will try to get a new view of that for next week. 
A view out of the living room window to the east.   These are the squash and pumpkin plants and Rollie is on the tractor discing up an unplanted area - at least I think that is what he is doing

And the poults running to the corner when I come in - guess I am pretty scary!

That's it!  Be back next week - be well!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Independence Day Eve

I looked at what I blogged at this time last year... we had eaten some sugar snap peas and the potatoes were blooming.... not even close to that this year! Well, every year is different right?

This week, the hay that Kevin was cutting last Sunday got baled up.  This morning while we were unloading the last of it in the hayshed, we were entertained by a doe and her two fawns out in the field.  Kevin had said that he had scared up four fawns while he was cutting the hay.  Maybe these were a couple of those, who knows.  Anyway, they just kept running and playing for a long, long time.  Funny how baby animals are.

One of Kevin's projects today was to move ForestRanger's little hut and paddock to fresh pasture.  We put them into temporary quarters in the Winter Coop yard where the weeds are so big they are getting a little scary . ..  We've decided to leave the lads in there for a couple of days since they were chowing down on the weeds, maybe they can knock them back a bit so the young birds that are housed there won't need a GPS to find their way back to the coop.
Eat fellas!

Back to the garden, the clematis on the gate trellis is just a baby but it is blooming for the very first time.  It was a Christmas gift from Kori - so thoughtful of her to help me replace the one that died there.

Here is a view of the main garden from the roof of the Summer Coop.  The light green beyond the fence is the hull-less oats that is all headed out.  On the other side of the driveway you can see some rather weedy sweet corn and the potatoes.  So, though I call it the main garden, it is really pretty small, comparatively speaking.


I will close by wishing you all a safe holiday.  Be well friends.