July 11, 2006

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Hello farmers! and guests.

The fields around us are alive with haying equipment, stacks are getting huge, all of the farmers have hopes of getting second cuttings since we still have some irrigation water, the weather is cooperating for the most part. Ah, summer!

Here on our place we don't make hay, we just grow pasture and lease it to our neighbor. His ewes are here now, about 125 of them. They get up from their bedding spot before dawn and get their breakfast, then bed down and chew their cuds. We have one spot that stays shady until mid morning so they use that and stay as cool as possible. When the sun heats them up they go down to the pond and get a drink and stand around or bed down on a sub irrigated area. I see them using the body of the sheep next to them to shade their heads. When the sun gets low in early evening they go over the hill into the lower elevation of the pasture to eat, and about 2 hours later are coming back to their bedding down spot on high ground. Sheep are funny creatures, they all go somewhere together when one decides to go. The ewes are very quiet without lambs to keep track of, so I seldom hear them, they just start to move silently and soon they are all going somewhere. It's hard to tell if there is a leader, but if I had to guess I would say it's one of the older ones. These sheep are all related so there are many generations who have always been together.

I've got a sprinkler going in the garden, and also some water running gravity flow through a pipe from the spring into the grapes and asparagus. Later I have to go to town so I need to be changing the sprinkler several times before I leave.

My endurance season has been going along well until a few weeks ago when my younger horse was lame at about 35 miles into a 50 mile ride. I gave him some time off, he seemed to be ok and I entered another ride, lame again but the other hind leg this time. The vet suggested maybe he needed some chiropractic work, so this past weekend I hauled him to a ride to have one of the vets there treat him, ( not many vets do chiropractic). Yes, he was out of line, got adjusted, and I will start riding him Thursday for about 1/2 an hour a day just walking for a week, then about the same trotting the following week, and get him back into another endurance ride in about 6 weeks if he seems to be ok. The other horse is being treated for a cough, is on antihistamine and being ridden lightly every day. There is a ride I would like to go to this coming weekend but that might be too soon for him. I should know in a couple of days, have to decide by Friday morning if he goes or stays home.

Have a great day, count your blessings.

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Hey everyone.

I think I have to worst computer luck.. Modem went out last week. For me that's like missing an arm or leg.. Even though I can answer e-mail from work, my sister called me frantically on my cell phone (something she never does) to ask if I was ok..

The wild blackberries here are just wonderful this year.. Any spare moment that I'm not at work , I'm in the woods picking. I certainly have a list of who wants them next. I have supplied my daughters.. , My best friend ( who is just the best cook ) , next my sister that called on my cell phone.." Oh!, just save me a bowl... I just want a bowl full. " and I have a gallon frozen for someone that wants to make a cobbler for everyone at work. I have been standing and just eating them right off the cane.. If it was possible to overdose on blackberries I would be toxic.

I have been working on cleaning out my barn getting ready for my big hay delivery. It's nice to feel ready for winter... Even though in this heat it seems a ways off.

The sheep here graze even after the sun goes down and in the heat of the day hide under an ancient old corn crib.. The old kind that is made out of wood.. It must be the coolest place on the farm.

Looks like it might storm after I go to bed...

Falls Mills, VA

The blackberries are not ripe here in Virginia yet, its been too rainey and cool. The rasberries are ripe, we picked enough to maybe make homemade icecream this weekend.

The new chicks are up and about, I think we had about 50 hatch and live.

I think the baler is fixed, we will put it back in the field tomorrow and give it a try. We put 500 bales in the barn last weekend.

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

hello everyone. Still going through 'growing pains' with the new goats and our Old Betty. She seems to be accepting Fred (who is hornless) but continues to butt and bother Barney. One day at a time I guess.

So far so good with the resolution of the chicken predator - the girls have started to lay again. A good sign.

Have looked all over for bedding straw with no luck - lots of neighbors are haying and nearly done. Weather has been bearable but this weekend promises intense heat and humidity.

Orchard is weighted down with fruit this year - especially the apples. I need a good easy (crock pot?) recipe for apple butter and/or frozen pie filling. Wish I had someone to share this year's crop.

The flower gardens have bloomed oddly this year due to the weather - nothing seems to be flowering at the 'right' time. But it's looking better this season despite a couple of year's neglect. Greenhouse is cleaned out and ready for some winter sowing come Fall.

Best to everyone


Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Oh Catherine,

I can just imagine you puttering around in your greenhouse! And what a nice one it is. Did I ever tell you I put up a small , kit greenhouse? It's nothing fancy , but neat to be able to start lots of plants. Wish I could see all your trees.

Virginian, Did you hatch those babies chicks in an incubator or under hens?

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

KathyJo - sure wish you could see the orchard in person *grin* - and did I miss those new grandbaby photos????


Thumbnail by jerseyridgearts
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Very nice looking orchard.
Are those all apples, what varieties do you grow there ?

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

thanks CG ~ the orchard was here when I bought the farm 10 years ago - it's primarily apples (Delicious and Jonathon I think), 2 pears (Anjou and either a Bosc or Seckel), one remaining peach and a lone plum. I haven't sprayed and there is always some insect damage which deters neighbors from accepting free fruit - the taste, though, is wonderful!

southeast, NE

Good morning everyone. Great to hear from all of you. Catherine - I would certainly accept free fruit from you!

It has been hot and humid here. Supposed to be up in the 100's this weekend. DH wants to bale small squares of prairie field.

We had a wonderful much needed inch of rain earlier in the week. We have been very fortunate - our crops look great. Other parts of Nebraska are very dry. USDA has released CRP land for farmers in 49 states to bale grass to feed cattle.

Better get back to work - you all take care!

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Today I'm picking up broken bales of triticale hay. Like other kinds of grain hay, it is very slippery stuff to work with. I can get 4 1/2 bales in the pickup and after that it slides off when I'm driving out of the field. Right now I'm taking a cool off break, it's getting hot out there. After I get another load or two I have to ride the horse that had the chiro adjustment. Ano of course there is watering to be done, I haven't looked at the vegie garden today but by mid afternoon the squash leaves will be looking like mostly closed umbrullas, so I'd better give them a drink before that.

Nice looking orchard, Catherine. We have some very old trees of not very good varieties without names, and have been talking about putting in more new ones. If we had done it when we first started talking about it we would have a nice orchard by now.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Nice orchard indeed.

All we have left is 3 apple trees(Harrellson that is badly cattle damaged and not baring this year, a nice semi-dwarf Brauburn, and a second season Fuji), one Dutchess pear and a Red Seckel that looks like it got a dose of herbicide, 2 young American Persimmon trees too young to bear yet and a couple young PawPaw trees also too young to bear fruit. We do have a nice long row of Concord grapes that look as tho they will bear well this year if we keep them watered and some blackberries that are almost thru for the season. Oh, yes, I mustn't forget the lovely mulberries. One tree finished bearing a month ago I think but the other one right beside it is still going strong. I had the 2 plum and one peach tree removed due to a continuing fungus problem I couldn't seem to control.

I'm mulching some new thornless blackberries today with newpaper and woodchips. Kyle says the water table is going down since we are in our 3rd year of drought conditions. All those wood chips are really coming in handy. We have been getting a truckload or more almost every week lately. We only got one or 2 last year so this is so welcome. Shad dumped several tractor bucket loads between the blackberry rows when he was here last week. I'm glad the season for blackberries is nearly over, they would be terrible to try to walk thru to harvest the berries! Some of those piles must be nearly 2' deep and are end to end for a long way down the rows.

The thermometer says 102 outside. I'm working in short spurts. I need to move the water hose from the last PawPaw tree and give the g.bean/tomato row some Miracle Grow water thru the soaker hose. I have one of those new MG dispensers that lets you connect a hose to each end to use it on soaker hoses. That is so neat. I have newspaper under plastic fencing on those rows to keep weeds down and moisture in.

KathyJo, I think I have a guinea hen for you. Do you still want one? She is kind of old tho so you may have trouble keeping her around unless she takes up with your male quickly. She is use to being locked in a building at night so if you have a place to do that she won't have a problem with it. I think the chickens will taking care of the ticks for us and she isn't helping Holly, Kyle, and little Skyler a bit. They have ticks terribly down there. Just about a city block from our yard where we have few if any. If they show up here again I'll just get more baby guineas next spring. They are such noisy birds. That is our only objection to her.

GOD bless and keep each of you.

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

I would love to have the guinea hen. Not sure when I could come and get her though.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

KathyJo, I'll try to bring her with us when we come to the next VA appointment if you haven't made it here by then. It will be in about 6 weeks. Close to the fall RU date of Sept. 16th. so if that day doesn't work out I'll bring her to the RU. That should make the park people happy. LOL She is a very vocal bird.

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Leaflady, I won't be able to make to the September RU.. Going to visit family out of the country.. I think it would be better for me to just come and get her one day. She will love it here and my one very lonely male and her can make as much loud screaching guniea noises as they want..

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