Farm Journal Dec. 17th through 24th

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

We've certainly had our share of winter weather here in the Midwest.. How is everyone doing? and how is your weather?

I hear geese flying overhead as I write this and looking out my window I see a couple of birds that like to hide in the large yews that grow up around my house.. There is a bit of snow cover here, about an inch and a half with a little crunchy ice under that.

We got our farm lease signed this year.. That is always a huge relief.. I really like the guys that rent from us and they are easy to work with.. It gets a little complicated with my Brother, sister and I all owning adjoining property.. I like to try to market it together.. We gave them a little bit better deal on price per acre this year.. They have had two really bad years in a row.. We also have a cousin negotiate with us.. Since neither me or my husband have ever put in row crops ourselves and he does, it is good to have that man in the middle.

I learned a lot today.. Anyone heard of corn that is distasteful to corn borers? Forget the producer of it.. But it also doesn't break down in the field as well and cows won't eat it.?

I had the day off and it was nice to check the cows and horses in the daylight.. Won't need to haul out hay till Saturday.. Lost a calf and that really surprised me..

So, off to work on supper.. put wood in the stove.. relax after a busy day.

kj

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We're between storms at the moment. Had snow and rain yesterday, with the temps hovering around 31, but no significant icing. We had enough rain and warm weather on Monday and Tuesday to actually melt the snow down to grass in some spots.

The five heifers that are still outside have taken to wandering, with a little help. Blaze has decided that they are fun to chase. Monday, they were out by my little studio, looking in the glass patio doors. Yesterday morning, Stan found them clear back on the hill in a hay field when he went to spread. He had a devil of a time keeping them coming in the right direction in the dark. He did finally get them back up here and fixed the fence. It will be interesting to see how he handles Blaze. We don't really want him to be chasing them through the fence, but there are times when we do want him to herd them (like when we're trying to put them in after he's chased them through the fence). Border Collie adolescents can be tricky.

Speaking of Border Collies, we have 11 new ones. On of them almost looks like Blaze and the rest lean more toward their mother, Mitzi. We won't know for a couple of weeks how many are black and white and how many are tri-colored. There are 6 males and 5 females. Stan also said that he thinks Sadie is pregnant. Sneaky old dog.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Thanks Kathy for starting a new thread. Busy-busy here. Taking it easy today & catching up on the little things.
Last week we put a kitchen in. Monday we started another one, did more on it on Tuesday. Wednesday we tore out some cabinets in another house & put in two new ones. Then back to the other house & finished there.
Thursday I worked all day on a man's new fish house. He needed a few things a little different inside. Finished about 6 PM. Then did some shopping. Mostly gift cards. They sure make things easier.
News is on, we have a blizzard warning for 6 AM Saturday morning.
My brother called this morning. The family Christmas for tomorrow is postponed until next Saturday.
Stuff is getting piled up! Here it don't usually melt until March.
I got to get Christmas cards out to clients & DG friends today. I always put things off to the bitter end.
Lunch time,
Bernie

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Mercy, Bernie, you're busier than a cow's tail in fly season! You keep right on keepin' on, don't you! (By the way, "worked all day on a man's new fish house"...people raise fish over your way? Or is that one of those ice shacks I see in the movies that you drag out on frozen lakes?)

A balmy 67 here today. Ground is soaking wet from recent rains so can't do much in the gardens except pick a few things for tomorrow's mkt. It'll be our last day in our spot of nearly 13 years so I imagine there will be some sad folks there who will miss us. (And next year we will set up in the black top parking lot of a local Home Depot. Wish us luck!)

All for now, off to take some trash to the dumpsite then back here to pick some turnip greens, collards, kale, and last of the broccoli for tomorrows sales.

All ya'll snow country folks stay warm! (Ya'll nearly make my feet cold!)

Shoe

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Ice shack, he paid $7300.00 for it. Yeah, they're gittin real fancy around here. It has kitchen range, furnace, TV, bunks, electric lights & all the goodies.

Quit a difference from "old days". I built my first on for $4 when I was in High school. Caught more fish than this fancy one every will.

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

LOL Bernie on the fish shanty Don't know know about you but I thought I'd gone up town when I had a Coldmen heater in mine I think my first was made from scrapes from a building site and an old sled to pull it with

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Yep, those are the kind I'm thinking of...the shacks (like in "Grumpy Old Men" movie!).

It doesn't freeze enough here to have any though. Guess I should make one on pontoons though, eh?

Shoe

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Those are called Houseboats. We have them here too. Up on Minnesota-Canada border, you can rent one for a couple thousand a week!

Didn't Tom Sawyer have a shanty on a boat or raft or something.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Houseboats! Hah! Well I was thinking of a smaller one-room shanty houseboat! And yes, like Tom and Huck's!

I actually had a house boat once, when I was 15 and working for a captain that used to run guns to Cuba (long before I worked there!). I lived in it for part of my pay. I think I lasted 3 weeks at that job before my parents found out who I was working for. :>)

I need to experience life in Minnesota but think I better settle for an ice shack or canoe! Meanwhile I'll start saving up for shoes for the Winter.

Shoe

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

We have a few inches of snow, with more on the way in the next few days. It hasn't started to drift yet. I've already had my fill of blowing snow for the year, all in one day, yesterday.

We had made a trip to the Willamette Valley on the west side of the state and came back yesterday in blizzard conditions. The visability was almost 0 at times with the wind blowing and snow falling. As we drove along the interstate, I was watching for traffic ahead of us and telling hubby when I saw something so we wouldn't hit anybody going slower or in the ditch. Lots of cars and big trucks were in the ditch, and state police had checkpoints set up to make people put on chains.

Cars and trucks were so covered with snow that sometimes it was only possible to see a faint glow of tail lights, or something square. The 18 wheelers kick up a lot of extra snow which only made it worse. We were very glad to get off the freeway after a few hours of that, and probably should have gotten a motel for the night somewhere along the route. Today we learned that one pass had been closed for most of the day, and it was only reopened about half an hour before we drove over it. Thankfully we got off the freeway just as it was getting dark, because headlights reflect so much off snow in the air. I really love our quiet country roads!

Kathy Jo, you would have driven over that road last year on your way from Portland to Baker City. Remember the winding road going up Cabbage Hill just east of Pendleton? That is where the worst part of the trip was, and there are no motels for 47 miles until you get to LaGrande, which is where we got off the interstate.

Back at the ranch, today was sunny, mostly calm, a few snow flurries, and it isn't difficult yet to get around to feed the horses. More storms are due in the next few days.

Last week after the cold weather hit, I discovered that the furnace in the greenhouse had the pilot light out. Darn. I wish I had checked it when I blocked the intake and exhaust vents for the winter a couple of days before we had a below 0 night. Every greenhouse has weak spots, those are some of the ones in mine. I could also use an insulated door. Anyhow, I lost about half the plants in the gh, and can only hope some of the roots are still alive. Dead plants will get mushy in a few days. I'll deal with it after Christmas, by then I will know what is really dead. Hubby got the pilot light lit and the furnace going but I think the temp was in the low 20's when I discovered the problem. The 200 gallon water tank that is supposed to moderate the temperature, and has a few goldfish in it, had about 1/2 inch of ice on it. Some things we learn the hard way.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Shoe,
Here's a bunch of wild Indians camping in our back yard years ago.
(I'm in the middle.)

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Bernie, That is a great picture! and I wish I could get you to build me new cabinets for my kitchen.. !

MaryE, Of course I remember that road... What amazing and beautiful country that is.. Wish I could have seen your place.. But, at least , I got to finally meet you.. If I remember right you had a neat rhipsalis or two.. Hope those made it through the greenhouse freeze.

I think some of my plants in the GH got a little bit too cold too.. I have a tiny 6x8 greenhouse.. and was planning on bringing most of them in the house for the cold cold days of January and most of February anyway.. We are getting ready for some pretty cold nights coming up.

The only boating I ever did much of was canoeing.. We have 4 old aluminum ones stacked up against the barn.. We used to love to take them to the rivers in South Missouri..

Think I'll hit the sack.. Had a late Christmas party tonight.. good food, but was ready to come home ....

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Those are some ferocious looking injuns, Bernie! (Got that poor little girl/hostage scairt half to death it looks like, too!)

KJo, same here, mostly canoeing for me, too. And love it!

Hope your plants, and Mary, yours too, will bounce back and live.

Off to market.

Happy Day To All!

Shoe

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Great picture, Bernie. I remember campouts in the back yard with my brothers. Being the oldest, I was never the hostage, but I wasn't allowed to be the chief, either.

We had 6 or 8 inches of snow yesterday morning and then it went over to sleet followed by rain. The schools had all closed in anticipation of heavy snow, but I suspect there were a lot of people doing Christmas shopping after they got the roads plowed. This time, the worst went north and Buffalo was closed.

We had a scare. Thursday night when Stan went out to do chores, there was no sign of Blaze. I drove up and down the road to see if he was in any of the ditches, we went out and followed his tracks, we hollered and whistled and still no Blaze. He was gone all day yesterday, but showed up at midnight last night barking like crazy to get in the barn (it was 10 degrees). Stan went out and let him in and told him that he had been a very bad dog. We're both very happy that he's back. I just hope he doesn't make a habit of this.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

She definitely wasn't a hostage. After the 4 f us, she came along & was adored by all of us. To top things off she was born on my fathers birthday!

Couple of inches of snow overnight. Big bang still to come.
Oops, they just changed forecast, only 2" to 4" now, but strong wind coming with it will create a blizzard.

KathyJo, cabinets can go to anyone's house.

Bernie

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

Bernie, that is a great picture!

This has been an exciting week here on toppa the hill. We had our first sleet storm. I had no idea sleet could do what it did! It began to sleet on Monday afternoon and went on into the night. We woke up to a white blanket of sleet on the ground. Everything was covered, it looked like snow, but wasn't! It was beautiful, but I soon found out how crippling ice is over snow. This South Louisiana cajun sure has plenty more to learn..I didn't drive for 3 days. However, we sure had fun sledding in it!

On Sunday we added another member to family. Her name is Bunny. She is a two-legged hoping dog. She is missing her two front limbs...(Shoe, I feel a story coming on!) We got her from an elderly man who is dying and the family was desperately searching for a loving home for Bunny. Needless to say, she has stolen our hearts.

My goats saw her hoping around and you would have thought they saw a bear. They are so silly.

Have a great weekend all!

Lisa

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Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Hey Lisa,
Great to hear from you.
I was just thinking about all the KY RU people & was wondering how things are going your way.
Buzz up here today & you can observe an full blown blizzard. It's only snowing right now, but wind is on it's way. Soon they will be tracking the wind as it comes across the Dakota's & on into Minnesota. It comes like a big white curtain, the front usually travels across the country about 30 MPH.
One time I was working about 5 miles north from home. The radio was giving the towns the wind was coming to. I left for home when they mentioned a town 35 miles NW of me. I didn't make it home before everything was white & only thing you could see was the very edge of the road. Very though going.

My son is out plowing the snow now. Get it before it starts drifting. About 4' already.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

In comparison with the rest of you guys, we are having a heat wave here in Texas, and weather that cannot make up its mind. Yesterday it was close to 80 and this morning it is in the 40's. Very blowy. I lived up east for several years and looked forward to the snow - that was the city world. Now, in the farming world, snow takes on a whole new meaning.

This has been a most frustrating week; so I ask for a little patience as I vent. I thank you all in advance.

I am trying to get an agreement closed before the end of the year on some land I have been leasing, well actually sub-leasing. I have a verbal agreement with the family that owns the land but there is also a second party involved. Too complicated to explain. Depending on to whom you speak, there can be handshake agreements that go on ad infinitum and then there are those lease arrangements that are very complicated. There are many in between, and I am hoping the agreement I have constructed is a win-win. It is a little unnerving, and this is not a good time to try and do these things. Holidays and everything else. So, another lesson in patience.

Then, a neighbor's cattle walked over the "fence" on the lease property and have been enjoying the large round bales. These bales have already been sold, but not yet moved. So, I called the guy who sold the hay, and I called the guy who bought the hay. Then I called the sheriff's office, who then contacted the owner of the cows, and then I called it a day. The long and short of it is this: no one seems to be interested. I do not understand what in the world is going on.

And finally, my 3.5 year old truck had to have 2 new tires and 1K worth of work on it. Oh, and my cat broke his pelvis and one of my little senior dogs has been sick. Big vet bills.

OK, I am better.

Upon reflection, I know how much I have learned and I am so grateful to have land and to be a steward of that land. The latter is where I focus my attention. I like the idea of bringing back the native grasses. We have them, they just need a little more attention and I love seeing my small herd have plenty of room to graze. They seem a happy lot and each year for the last 3 years they have produced beautiful little calves - mostly heifers. I did some research on the area where I live and found out who the original owner was and also learned it was part of 4425 acres granted to him by the state of Texas. And I learned that the big pecan tree in the cemetary at the end of my road has been there since 1856. Awesome.

Must close this missive and move some hay. I hope these coming days find each of you surrounded by those you love.

Melissa

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Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

morning all...our furnace quit at 2:30 this morning...DH was able to fix it temporarily at about 4:30....workmen to come tomorrow.... it's up to 59 in the house now.
It is -6 outside with windchill of -31....am afraid for my animals in the barn....what a winter all ready

hope everyone is snug and warm

Catherine

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Lisa, ya'll must be having the time of your lives with all that ice/snow, sledding (and hot chocolate!?).

Hope to see some pics of Bunny. Alex's eyes were wide as saucers trying to picture a two-legged hopping dawg!

Computer is moving slower than I am (and that's pretty slow!!) so signing off. Hope ya'll cold folks stay warm, all you heat wavers stay cool!

Shoe

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

It's very cold here too but nothing showing but bare ground at this time. We have had some snow and ice this month. I keep the cats & dogs inside except for potty breaks most daya. On really warm days I put them out for a few hours.

Kathleen, what a scare with Blaze. He/she is getting some age on him/her isn't he/she? I don't remember gender. It's bad enough to have a pet missing in nice wether but in temps lie this it is frightening.

Melissa, get everything you want in that lease in writing and maybe even notorized if you have any doubts at all about the trustworthiness of the other party(s). Otherwise you can get taken badly. We went thru that with someone.

I slipped on ice Dec. 1st and broke my left(dominate but weakest side)wrist. Still in a cast of course.

No Christmas decorating here tho I did get out the 37 year old table size artificial tree and set the fake gifts under it last week. We bought this tree for my mother the year after my dad went to be with Jesus so there is sentimental attachment to it. No decorating to do as I haven't taken them off for years. Just slip a large plastic bag over it at the end of each year & take it off I'm ready to set it up. Nothing lazy about me. lol

GOD bless and keep each of you.

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

ok guys.. It's cold here.. can't imagine how it must be north of here.. I can't tell you how many clothes I put on to walk down to the pond and break the ice. I was well dressed but felt like I could get frost bit fast on the bridge of my nose.. As soon as I was walking with the wind at my back I was ok.. I broke through 5 inches..

MaryE, How are your plants? I brought all mine in the house, which is what I was planning to do at some point anyway.. Hope they all do ok till March...

Catherine, I know you are getting some weather.. You will remember that my oldest daughter's InLaws are from your area and they have decided not to travel to Missouri this Christmas like they had originally planned.

Melissa, That is a way cool pecan tree. I have quite a few native pecan trees on my farm.. Just one of my favorite trees.

justmeLisa, Be careful and don't get hurt walking on the ice.

edited to take out the part about Leaflady breaking her wrist she just posted as I was posting...
Everyone stay warm.





This message was edited Dec 21, 2008 5:09 PM

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

leaflady, very sorry to hear about your wrist. Sending healing prayers your way. Blaze is the new boy, he'll be 1 on New Year's Eve. We suspect there was a lady friend involved.

It is nasty cold here with a general snow supplemented by a generous lake snow. We aren't in the heaviest bands yet, just north of here they are getting 2-3 inches an hour, but it is dropping south and will hit us probably by mid-morning. The wind seems to have calmed down a bit, the peak gust so far was 38 mph. We are expecting another foot of snow during the day.

Stan is still going to his brother's everyday to spread and, most days, fix the silo unloader. The climbing has been hard on his ankle and the cold is not helping. Here, he has 4 wheel drive tractors with cabs, there he's on a two wheel drive with an engine blanket to direct the heat toward the driver, but no wind screen. Stan and his brother farm in very different manners and it's causing a good bit of tension.

I better get moving, stay warm!

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

oooh Kathleen, Farmer tension..sounds like a good plot for one of them thar reality shows..

Leaflady, I hope your wrist heals quickly. I bet you finding out just how much use that hand.


8* here this morning. No respectable cajun should know what that feels like.(does that make me un-respectable?) It is just cold..I am so thankful for our humble little mobile home this morning. I am glad we are not still living in the camper. I remember how cold & frozen it was in there!

Stay warm everyone. I have to go do the unthinkable and break ice for the critters to drink. .

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Don't sound like global warming is kicking in this winter. Everywhere is extra cold!
We are at -14. Even the snow is so cold that it squeaks when you walk on it. Must hurt or something, LOL!
Sun is shining bright, but don't give much heat, it is so far south.

We are taking a TV stand to some people today. Takes a big piece of furniture to hold those wide screen TV's.

I was working on the doll house this morning. Almost done.

Bernie

Waddy, KY

A little chilly here this morning too. 6 degrees. The wind wasn't as bad this morning as it was all day yesterday. The old stove sure sucked the wood up the chimney yesterday. I got up a 3:00 this morning to feed the stove. Faucets were on slow drip last night.

I'm sure glad the last cow freshened last week. I doubt that she'd have been able to clean a calf fast enough to keep it from freezing in the wind we had yesterday. The kids took feed up to the herd on the hill farm. They said the cows were sticking their heads in the back of the truck, grabbing full feed sacks and lifting them over the edge with their mouths to help the girls get them fed faster. Nothing like self service!

I'm taking off from work for the next two days to try to get some things done before Christmas without being in such a rush. I'm hoping that the kids get the Christmas tree today so maybe it can be decorated tomorrow. There's always a cedar that needs to die in a fencerow so we always have a cut tree. I've been trying to get my daylily pricelist for my website ready to go. It's been slow going.

I'm not sure we got as much snow as Lisa did. We got maybe 3 -4 inches. It was gone in a day or so. I guess it's truly winter.

Everyone stay warm

Janet

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Look at this, there really is a Santa Claus.
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/935064/

Merry Christmas!
Bernie

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

What a generous gift to those folks, Bernie! Haven't we all wished, at some point, that we could do something like that for others?

Thanks for posting some good news!

Merry Christmas (eve) to All. Hope everyone gets to spend time w/their love ones!

Shoe

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Is this a daily "post your farm life" thread??

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

That's what it use to be, Anna. I can't say for sure now as I've been away from it for a long time. But it seems to be the same now. Like the one we both attend on Healthy Living.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Howdy All!

Yep, AnnaZ, but we've been posting more on a weekly schedule as we each get time during the week (instead of daily). This thread "timed out" yesterday so it looks like someone should start a new one, beginning with today's date. (What a great day to start a fresh one, Christmas, eh?)

EvaMae, hoping your wrist is healing nicely!

Merry Christmas to All.
Shoe

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Eva started a new thread,
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/935199/

Merry Christmas!
Bernie

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