Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not so hot

Summary of a day:

Work schedule is shifting again, so today is my only day off in the week.

Got up, and it was blessedly cooler - we have been having a week of scorcing temps and high humidity resulting in heat indexes in the 100+ range. Which means no work outside of any length, especially not in the direct sun for this reddie! Or else - timberrrrr! But today was nicer, thank Maude.

Karen and I had plans to finish up mulching around the house and all the beds in front of the garage, the perennial garden, etc. Since we got the ton of mulch a couple of weeks ago, we've been pecking away at it here and there, but the trailer was still half full, and the truck was still totally loaded. So we wanted to get that all unloaded so we could use the truck for getting a new screen door. Well, started mulching, and the phone rang. The water heater went out at the duplex. Of course it's a Saturday.

I have recently acquired what I hope to be my "guy". You know, when somebody needs someting major done around a house, like a roofing job, or replacing a toilet, deck, or water heater, they ask you if you know a guy. Or if you have a guy. Anyone who has ever tried to deal with handymen and contractors know that a good guy is as good as gold. Long story short, I thought after not hearing from my guy that I would have to spend over $2,000 to get the heater replaced by a plumbing outfit, but then my guy called me and he was on his way over.
I was taking and making phone calls while pitcing a mountain of mulch. Got that finally done, took a shower, jumped in the truck, drove into town, wrote my guy a check (and offered to bring him a sandwich, but he declined),went to the Homo Depot and checked out doors, then to Menards to compare, definitely want the ones at the Depot, much better quality. Karen got a few potted plants to make her feel better. We bought 24 stakes for the tomato plants.

Got home, the weather was looking like rain was coming, so I started mowing to get as much done as I could while Karen made us supper. We had fresh greens and carrots! from the garden with bleu cheese, home made bread with an olive tapanade spread, hard boiled eggs, and she even made potatoe pancakes! I love these kinds of healty light dinners when it's hot out.

Then after dinner we went over to the neighbors to check on and put her broiler chickens in for the night. I spied an old Farmall 460 in the barn. Same as my old tractor. Awww, red tractors are the best!!

Noticed that the house that is for sale against part of our side yard had their (and our) boundaries surveyed. I am pleased to see that I'll be able to fence in about another ten foot -wide strip along the side yard/hayfield :-) When one is feeding ungry mouths, every square foot counts!

Did a little internet research, look up iris rot, because my iris bed in front is not doing very well. It is, I have learned, overgrown, and suffering from root rot and possibly iris borer. Tough I love irises, I'm thinking I may replace them with something a little less high maintenence. I've got enough things that need attention. I need to focus my limited time on things that feed us, I've decided.

Now it's time for bed. Got to go back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here's what's growing!

How many babies can fit in one nesting box?

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh my- farmin keeps ya busy

I can't believe it's been since May that we last posted. And I still am surprised that folks NOTICE (thank you dear friends who actually do read the blog. I'm always so thankful and honored.) So much work has been accomplished if not so much blogging. We can't believe all that is growing and all that always remains needing to be done. We have some half assed projects laying dormant- like the strawberry garden is now fenced in with chicken wire but only a small portion is buried and there is no gate. So Dottie gets into the garden and then has to tromp on everything 3 times before circling out the arbor. But we FINALLY got our truckload of mulch last week and I'm happy to say it's down and doing it's job. There are still a few areas that can use the wood chips and then there's the unloading of the balance of it in some good spot. But it was a huge thing that was delayed and delayed and just when we felt hopeless, Red got a better contact number than I had and the city of Madison dumped load after load into our pickup bed and trailer. A big thank you to the guy with the front loader.

The hay finally was cut (unfortunately just before a huge storm) last week and today the round bales were loaded into the mow. It seems dry enough. It will be waiting for the big critters that we'll hope to have by fall.

The garden is amazing. I'm curious about the tomatoes, that seem to be all in blossom and we even see some green tomatoes but look just sad. They are not too tall (just about 2- 2.5 feet at best)and the leaves look wilty (no spots, no bugs to speak of just droopy.) But our potatoes are so lush and the blossoms are coming in the fingerlings and the beets (why did I plant so few?) are ready.
The peas and beans are in blossom- we need to plant more rows of carrots and more beets! and beans but it's hard to imagine we'll eat all the beans that are already well underway. The wax beans and snap beans, northern and jacobs cattle are all looking great. The pole beans just got trellised late as they were crawling all over each other. It was very satisfying to disentangle them, methodically tying each piece of twine and giving them the support they need. My second patch of lettuce is ready and we harvested some of the tender baby carrots. A couple of months ago we bought a bag of those carrots that are lathed to be 'babies' and they were inedible woody things. So amazing to compare! The broccoli di rapa is bolting and I tried to freeze as much of it as I could but given I'm the only one eating em in this house.... I will grow them again but plan more company to come enjoy them. I wish I was feeding more of my friends, nudge nudge please visit!

The cherries - I've been harvesting them for the last several days and sadly, there are more with the little worms than not. I've developed a float test that works fairly well (the wormy ones float to the top) and then a painstaking picking through. It's discouraging to read the poor prognosis for organic cherries- but I'm interested in trying a more comprehensive strategy next year. It would be fine if the pests get a few but still leave us a harvest. It seems like it doesn't really go that way (and our apples seem to be pretty much completely lost to damage.) Hmmm. I hear we can sew up nets .... I do love to be crafty.

Wormy cherries aside (they are still CHERRIES and the ones that escaped are yummy!) This is such a great start on this farmin' thing. I feel so grateful for all that we've been able to do but also for the plants that keep growing, ready to give us this amazing food. I have been reflecting a lot on my anxiety about failing - why I have been so vulnerable to my ego being all wrapped up in outcome. I'm choosing to be amazed and impressed and see that my tending this thing is a small contribution.

The last two days have been exceptionally and abruptly HOT. Heat index near (or over? 100) and the chickens are constantly panting and holding their wings out to stay cool. What can ya do? Maybe bringing them into our one air conditioned bedroom but that might make us seem really crazy. We have shade and a fan for them. I've still maintained some good hours of weeding and working on various projects but have to do them first thing and in the evening. I'm enjoying cold showers to wash off the mud and I'm forgoing my concerns about water use to enjoy a few a day if I want (they only last a few minutes!) Today, I was weeding between the rows of beans and the soil is still moist from the heavy rains last weekend. To save my back, I was kind of crawling along and the cool(relatively was still steamy) ground felt great. I am so used to being a dirt streaked mess (in between those cold showers) and having clothes that just never come clean. Red was concerned that neighbors might have seen me rollin in our weeds. :) I try to look more composed than that- ya can see us from the road. (I thought through that one while wearing my sundress weeding.) But it's just that fun! I'm glad to have all this work. I'm currently sans baby as she is with her other mom and I'm finding my way through it all. I'm glad to be tending this bigger than me thing and appreciating what it gives back.