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October journal

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

It is crisp out this morning, flannel and sweatshirt weather, but the sky is mostly clear. I imagine that there's frost in the valleys, but up here on the hill it's all green yet. I hope to get some outside work done today, but that remains to be seen. We've been having lake effect rain the last few days - warm lake waters with cooler air rushing up the escarpment and dropping moisture - at least it's not snow.

Stan has been doing some barn repairs the last few days, making a new part for the barn cleaner and welding some stalls. Last week when the weather was better he got most of the house painted.

Janet, what happened to your calves is downright gruesome. I hope all the rest are well now.

Our two silos started their lives on other farms. We had a crew of Mennonites from Penn Yan NY move them for us. When we had the second one moved, our DGS was 3 and he and Stan met the crew in Clymer for lunch after going to the other farm to watch them tear down. When they got back in the truck after lunch, Tom, who had been very quiet during lunch, looked at Stan and said, "Granpa, did they bring the destructions with them so they know how to put it back together?"

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Fall has fallen here, with a THUD! In a week's time we went from a string of 90 degree days, to a killing frost night before last, and today we have mixed rain and snow. I have so much to do outside, I am not happy with it, although I am busy making juice of our 120#+ harvest of grapes, all off 3 vines! We have red ones, called Canadice, and green ones that are Interlaken (I think I remember that correctly). We need something purple, but pink grape juice tastes good too, it just doesn't look the same! I'm down to the last bucketfull and already have 35 quarts in the jars.

Tomorrow will be the end of the wet weather system, then the forecast calls for some sun and dry conditions, so I will get more done outside before it is too cold and wet to want to be out there. Some of it will wait for spring, it always does.

Kathleen, destructions, that's cute. Kids are great.

Tabor, SD(Zone 4b)

Fall is here also. We have had cool rainy weather since last week and it seems like it's become the standard pattern now. Forecasts call for much of the same for this week. Lots of farmers were trying to get their beans out before the rain, but that has come to a screeching halt for a while.

Janet, sorry to hear about your calves. Nobody that I talked to has ever heard of that. How awful. Hope you don't lose any more.

I'm trying to get the rest of the tomatoes and peppers either frozen or canned today. We became grandparents on Thursday, so it's been pretty hectic since then. The baby came a month early but everyone is well and might come home today or tomorrow. I've been cooking and baking to put things into their freezer so they can just pop something into the microwave or oven and don't have to put much effort into it. He's a first grandchild for us so it's going to be fun. DH already bought him his first John Deere toy. LOL

I had planned on tilling the gardens this weekend, but the little bundle that came on Thursday put a stop to that also. My tomatoes were terrible this year with the blight from the wet weather. I just couldn't get rid of it. I'm hoping to mulch with lots of newspapers next year so it doesn't happen again.

There are flocks of geese flying over already. Our Canadians that we raise are getting antsy but since they can't fly, they have to stay put over winter. DH has to fix some of the wiring in the barn as one of the heifers took to scratching her head on the light switches and tore them off the wall. The geese and ducks will winter in the barn this year as we lost so many of them to coyotes the last few years. DS trapped some fox last year, but we haven't seen any since.

One of these days we need to cut wood for the stoves. DH is putting a wood stove into the machine shed. He's partitioning off one end and insullating it so he can work there in the winter. He is trying to find some cheap insullation, but so far, the cheap stuff that he's found isn't very good. The search continues.

Kathleen, aren't kids great.?? I'm going to write down what happened on Thursday and give it to DGS when he graduates from high school. Hope he enjoys it.

Take care

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, we (and I use the term "we" loosely here) still have to chop almost 2 bags of corn silage yet............been raining and waaaay to wet to even think of it. Oh, who wants to even think of it, gives me stomach pains.

Of course the cows are SO nice and clean coming in the barn too.........almost need a power washer/steam cleaner to get them prepped to put the machines on. I'm not liking the looks of this whole fall thing............I think it's gonna get ugly before we get done.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Ruth, congratulations! I'm glad to see your DH has his toy priorities in the right place. Grandchildren are fun.

It's a cloudy, misty Sunday afternoon here. The leaves have started to change, but are just at the 'rusty' stage. We went for a drive through some state land near here just for a look.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Between time here. No frost yet, so all is green. Lots of rain here lately, & still overcast. 5 days of clouds. 50 everyday.
Big day in Minnesota today. Supposed to be last baseball game in the Metrdome. But our team tied for division title today. Now they will play again Tuesday afternoon against Detroit. If they win that game, they go on to play New York Yankees for chance to go to the world series. Long after game program honoring all the past players & the 2 world series winning teams. Some real tear jerkers along the way.

We are getting baby chicks on October 22, so are going to do some work on the hen house. Have to keep those little girls warm.

Soon will be time to clean up the garden & wait for another year to come. Quite a rush, getting things in the ground, watching them grow, & then the bounty of the harvest.
Every year seems better than the last. I think that must be part of growing older, you appreciate things more instead of taking it for granted.


southeast, NE

Hello all!

Congratulations Ruth on your new grandbaby! Still no grandbabies here but I am spoiling by 10 month and 3 1/2 year old nieces. The 3 year old is a hoot. Several weeks ago her family was going to Omaha to the zoo. They drove past Boys Town. My niece asked what that was. By brother told her it was Boys Town. She replied "Where's GIrls Town?"

We woke up to inch of white stuff on the ground this a.m. We were not ready for that!

DD and SIL made an offer on some pasture ground. The owner accepted. Now they're trying to get financing through FSA. Cross your fingers; otherwise, they won't be able to buy it.

SIL smacked a big buck with his pickup last weekend. I was surprised it wasn't bad enough to total the vehicle.

Better get back to all those weekend chores!

Waddy, KY

We've sort of fell off our October posts.

We're still doing the farmer's market here. I had green beans ready to pick plus two rows of broccoli and two of cabbage and patches of collards, kale and turnips until Dad's cows and calves got out last week. They literally ate everything into the ground. Got grass up to their bellies but somehow my green beans had a better taste. All I've got left is a few rows of potatoes that I haven't dug yet. A neighbor gave me his tomato patch a couple days ago so I'm trying to get all the green tomatoes out of it tonight and tomorrow because they're pretty sure it's going to frost Saturday. I guess it's time.

Usually September and October are dry months here for us but this year has certainly been the exception. One week last month there came 10 inches then this month we've had between 5-6. Some folks are scrambling to get beans and corn out. As it is the moisture in them is pretty high and it's hard to get it down in between showers. I've heard of some that have been trying to dry corn a little before they take it to the grain dump. As it is there's a few bottoms with beans in them along the river that may not get combined until the middle of January if at all.

Jewel, sorry to hear of the SIL's bad luck. I've had so many close calls with deer it's almost inevitable. White stuff on the ground? YUK!!!!

Anna, got the silage done yet? Used to be you could hear choppers going all over the community but now days there aren't enough dairy folks chopping corn. I suspect with milk prices by next spring there'll be fewer still in the county.

4-Wheeler broke down here a few days ago. They've been feeding with the skid loader. DH has located another 4-wheeler to buy (why am I not surprised?) so when the other one gets fixed I guess we'll be hip deep in 4-wheelers. It does beat taking a tractor out in the field when it's as wet as it is right now. Doesn't tear up the fields nearly as bad.

What's going on with the rest of you?


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We've had about 6 inches of snow since yesterday morning. The trees are still heavy with leaves, so we are watching for any cracks, but so far so good. Our trees are used to snow in October, I guess. Needless to say, the gardens are done. I've got geraniums and fuchsias outside yet, o well.

Stan left the cows in the barn today - just doesn't want to deal with all the slushy mud. If the weather gets better, they will be back outside next week, but some years once, they stay in. He has all of the heifers in the neighborhood, if not on the farm. We had a cow with a full 360 degree torsion birth last night. The vet is a couple of years older than Stan, and when all was over (dead calf, live cow), Stan said, "old farmer, old vet - not a good idea." He's downstairs stacking in the wood he threw down earlier in the week. There's a load of elm on one of the trailers, but it can stay there for a bit. I kinda wish he'd start a wood fire, but he's holding off for some reason. The gas furnace (supplied from a well on the farm) just doesn't heat the house the way the wood furnace does.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Yes, the corn finally got done being chopped on Monday. On to the next disaster. Which came this morning. Kept cows in last night and wa-la...............already this morning one couldn't get up in her tie stall. Not a big cow. Stall not too small. Stall big enough for a gestating elephant. SU ended up dragging her out, she got up when outside. We got her back in the barn, put her in the pen, and I called the trucker. Off with her head.........we have NO time anymore for these flop-arounds.

We had a yearling heifer that a couple months ago decided that there was no way she was even attempting to get up in her free stall. Drug her out with a chain, and when she got up later in the day we put her back with the small ones. Been there ever since, till a couple weeks ago I told SU to put her back with the other ones, as she was starting to get her head stuck in the headlocks, which were for smaller animals, obviously. And no trouble on the getting up routine. So, put her back there, and this morning back to the same-o, her out and put her in the pen in the barn. If she hops to, she's also getting a ride. Well, she is getting a ride regardless. Whether it is to a dairy sale, or to the local friendly meat locker and ending up in our freezer remains up to her. Live or die, jeez, there's gotta be some cooperation on their part. Dumb animals, I know, but they carry it beyond the pale. And I wonder most days why I feel like i have a vise around my ribs............

southeast, NE

Hey all!

Another dark dreary day. We had 3 inches of rain this past week and it's drizzling out again. It put the harvest to a halt. It will have to warm up with the sun out for about a week or freeze before the farmers will get back in the field. I noticed some of the corn stalks are breaking. Tomorrow is DD's 28th birthday. 12 years ago on her 16th birthday, we woke up to a foot of snow on the ground and no electricity. The heavy snow broke limbs which fell on power lines. We were without electricity for a week.

This weather is not good on the calves. We've had a few get sick from the up and down temps and wet weather.

Surprisingly, the insurance company didn't total sil's pickup after his run in with the deer two weeks ago.

You might recall that my dad is in a nursing home. 5 1/2 years ago he was diagnosed with bipolar and dementia. We heard about a doctor in Pender, Nebraska who specializes in geriatrics. He's even given presentations on geriatrics in rural settings. Anyway, we had my dad totally reevaluated. He suggested some changes in medication and explained that Dad's dementia is getting worse. Although, Dad still maintains a sense of humor and doesn't say much most of the time and we wonder if things sink in. Last weekend, the family was getting ready for an anniversary party. My 3 year old neice (we call her "the sheister) was supposed to change her clothes. She didn't want to change in front of us (her aunts and mom). My sister told her she could change in front of us because we were all girls. My neice pointed to my sister's dogs and bluntly said "those two are boys". My sister told my dad this story and he laughed out loud and said "that's funny". We used to roll our eyes at how much my dad would talk and talk and talk. Now we look forward to a few words. My 3 year old neice and her almost 1 year old sister enter the nursing home and pretty much turn the place upside down. The staff said the residents immediately brighten up when they come in.

Well I'd better get back to all those Saturday "get-er-dones".

Take care!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Winter hit here last night... as usual, I'm only about half ready. Have got the winter's hay in, plenty of wood cut, and wood chips down on the paths to keep the mud out of the house, but the onions are still in the ground and I didn't manage to get all the veg beds prepped for winter. Did get the garlic in just before a premonition sort of rain on Wed... mixed with snow, but melting as it hit.

Thumbnail by Jayryunen
Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

It's 24 degrees, snowing and the ground is covered. Tomorrow's forecast is for a mix of rain and snow, so I hope this doesn't stay with us until spring. I still have work to do outside! This morning I dug a few more hills of potatoes, until my fingers were getting numb through my wet gloves. Last week I planted garlic in a big tractor tire. My garden is pretty much free of perennial weeds, ready to rototill if it ever gets dry enough. Sometime this fall I hope!

Believe me, I'm glad I don't live in Colorado, they have 3 ft of snow already!

London, United Kingdom

Dear Kathleen, wonderful to read all the articles on your journal, good luck to you all.
I was watching Country Files on the T.V. yesterday, and it seems one of the greatest threats to our farmers is rustling! The Police are quite baffled as nobody i safe even the Queens estate at Sandringham lost 250 piglets. It does not stop at pigs even calves have been taken, and at one farm 3000+ turkeys!
It has cost the insures 40 million so far, but that is what they have paid out not the real cost to the farmers.
The Police are baffled as to whoever is doing this, as they are extremely professional and organised, and the Police claim very skilled in knowing what breed they want and animal handling. Quite disturbing!
My friend down in Kent has a problem with poachers so has asked me to go down, no they are not after the live stock or the over abundant rabbits or deer, just his coarse and trout out of his lakes!
They have caught two people who claim where they come from in eastern Europe fishing is legal everywhere. According to our Police "ignorance is no excuse of the law." So they were deported.
The weather has been one of the hottest on record in October and was in the 60℉ which is t-shirt weather, but we have had two bad thunderstorms and a lot of rain over the weekend. Now it is sun and 59℉ which is still hot for this time of year!
Now we have Guy Fawkes night on the 5th approaching, and no one can ever remember a warm bonfire night!
So it looks like i will have a lot of work thinning out the rabbit and deer problem, before DEFRA step in.
Hope Stan is Ok!
Regards to All from England.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Hi Neil, and everyone. I think I need to start a new journal, being that it's November. A gorgeous sunny, frosty morning. The weather report speaks of mixed precipitation later in the week, but I will be going out to enjoy this bright morning soon.

That is awful about the rustling. Several years ago, there was a small number of heifers stolen and butchered out, but since then I've heard nothing of any such occurrence. To have so many taken so specifically is odd indeed.

Stan had some heifers to put in earlier. The deer had run through the temporary fence and our girls decided to go visit the neighbor. Stan ran up on his four wheeler and made short work of putting them back on our side of the line. This time of year has them (the heifers) all suffering from wanderlust. We have three bunches out yet, the younger heifers, the bred heifers and the dry cows and springers. The milking herd is comfortably ensconced in the barn, with some going out on the occasion that Stan replaces their mattresses with new foam pads. He's also been welding up some stalls that had broken loose, but he has that all done now.

I'll finish this up on the new thread here:

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