May Journal Everybody's BUSY

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Here it is the fourth of May and we're just getting to the journal. Must be spring.

Stan put the cows out for the first time on Friday. We have four first calf heifers that lolligag, not bothering to follow the rest of the herd in. The last two nights, Stan has gotten the cows in, shut the door, we've gotten them all tied up and then he goes heifer chasing. Saturday night, one of our pastors brought their two youngest over to visit the gardens, pick flowers and pick my brain on vegetable gardening. The heifers had managed to get in with the dry cows, so Stan had to chase everybody into the barn. We were just finishing tying up when Mike and the kids got here. I left Stan to put the dry cows back out, unfortunately one of them decided a romp on the wrong side of the fence was in order. Not only did she go over the fence, she decided to go mountain climbing in the haymow. She was up as far as she could go when I got in there. I went up a ladder that was leaned up against the straw and had her headed down when she noticed the little 'lane' between the stacked hay and the scaffolding. I wasn't fast enough to discourage her, so Stan came up from behind and got to her head just in time. Had us both wondering about our language after the fact!

The heifers are all at 'summer camp', the dry cows not due until later in the summer are down the road, the field for the new seeding in plowed, the Ford 8000 is nearly ready for a trial run of it's new transmission and reconditioned radiator. I've got peas and tiny lettuce popping up in the old bathtub. Today, I'm going to cover the 'flat' veg garden with a black tarp and see if I can discourage the weeds. It will get some nicely composted sawdust on it after the tarp treatment and before I plant, which won't be until the first week in June.

Mary, I hope all is going well for you and your DH.

What's going on with the rest of you?

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Everybody around us is busy trying to get ground harrowed and planted, repairing irrigation ditches and lines, moving animals around to wherever there is grass, and dodging rain showers. We haven't had a lot of rain, just enough to make it too wet to work.

Most of you probably know by now that my hubby had a heart attack last week. He spent 5 days in the hospital in Boise after being airlifted from our local hospital ER. Now he is home but very tired. It's going to take a long time for him to regain his strength. Today he had a couple of visitors for about 20 minutes and it just wore him out. There's a row of pill bottles on the dining table, for high blood pressure, colestrol, a blood thinner and a couple more. We are also making diet changes. He's eating 3 small meals and 3 snacks of fruit or something per day. We're watching his salt and fat intake. In a couple of weeks he needs to see the cardiologist, then more of our questions might be answered. I should be making a list so I remember to ask. We have to ask the right questions to get the right answers.

The last time I checked the local paper's website (at least a week ago) there was nothing new on the wolf problem, except that the do gooders in the legislature refused to even hear the rancher's side of the problem and schedule a hearing to see if anything could be done to change the laws. As it stands now, ranchers can't shoot a wolf even if it is caught attacking livestock. Probably some rancher will just shoot, shovel, and shut up to solve the problem and protect his own livelihood.

A week ago I noticed that my peas and onions are up, and some lettuce and radishes. There is probably more by now. We have had a few rain showers that will make the weeds come up, so the first dry day we get I will have to start working with the scuffle hoe. The clay soil just coats the blade and won't let go when it is wet. I don't even like to walk down there when the soil is wet, so if I can't see things from the fence I won't look. I did get my potatoes planted about 10 days ago, and the patch mulched with strawy sheep pen cleanings, but I don't expect to see sprouts for another couple of weeks. The weeds in my flower beds sure look healthy!

Waddy, KY

Gosh! Almost the middle of May already! We've had rain or overcast skies for almost two weeks now. I've got garden up but it's been too wet to get the tractor and cultivators in it so the weeds have been having a field day. I managed to get 150 ft of strawberries planted last week but that's about the extent of planting. If it dries out anytime soon another couple rows of beans and my tomatoes need to get in the ground. The potatoes are looking really good at this point. DH was obsessing over them coming up but I figure we probably got at least 90% germination so there's no complaints from me.

We're still feeding hay. Too many cows and not enough grass. We need to get fence fixed at the hill farm and get the fall freshening herd up there. The spring herd will go as soon as the breeding run is over. We'll only keep the unbred heifers on the main farm for the summer. That will free things up around here.

My nephew is out of school and has started back to work on the house. The tile is almost finished in the kitchen and he'll start on the two bathrooms today with the concrete board. All the ceilings and part of the house is going to have to be repainted where the kerosene heater smoked over the winter. Try to keep it warm so the drywall won't crack and that's what you end up with.... Anyway, I think I can scrub the walls in the utility room and kitchen/family room and hopefully not have to repaint them. It it's not one thing it's another.

Mary, glad to hear DH is coming along. Heart attacks really knock the socks off you. We're glad he's still with us.

Kathleen, I guess when a cow sees a hole and a way to get away from you she's just bound by her mental make up to try to squeeze through it and then be stoopid when they get stuck. As cagey as they can be sometimes the pendulum can quickly swing the opposite direction.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Here's the latest on the wolf problem.

It's still raining lightly, but we have had a lot of rain for this area. Our average monthly total for May should be about 1.42 inches. May is our wettest month. I know that doesn't sound like a lot of rain to most of you, so you have my permission to laugh. Our soil is clay and it just becomes a gooey mess. This rain is soaking in nicely, and the irrigation ditch is delivering plenty of water. Our pond is full, the ditch leading out of it had water almost to the end yesterday, so I need to get my boots and rain jacket on and go to set some tarps in the ditch to divert water over the field.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Wildlife is getting to be a problem all over. We need to put up electric fences to keep deer at bay. They are not native to this area. No deer here when the state was settled in the 1800's.
I was talking to the bee keeper at the market yesterday. He has hives in central MN. He needs to run electric fences around his colonies. To keep out bears! They belong in extreme northern MN.
Is there to much DNR ?

Gardens are all in here. Nice little rain here this forenoon.
Farmers are done with corn planting & well into soybean planting. Don't take long with 24 row planters, which most farmers have. Farms are averaging nearly 3000 acres around here. Very few small operators left. Most are of advanced age, so soon those small farms will go to the big guys too.


Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Bernie, what's in your hoop house? Stan said he should make me one - right, in his spare time!

Stan got the oats in yesterday, orchard grass and reed canary and clover as the seeding it covers. We've had a few nice days, mostly cloudy but mid 60s and breezy. At the moment, he's gone to take his annual bus driver's test. He only drives if there's absolutely no one else to do it, but he likes to keep his license current.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

The waist high trough has strawberry plants in it. They were put in as bare root a couple weeks ago. They are now blooming. These are the same variety as the berries you buy in the super market. They will bear all summer & I am not going to get a backache picking them.
There is also a rain gutter on the horses full of leaf lettuce. Planted in the ground is cabbage, broccoli, Kohlrabi & summer squash.

All looks good!


Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Bernie, I'm impressed! You have such great ideas!!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

The strawberries are a really good idea. My strawberries are in the ground to the east of the 'herb garden' (dandelions are an herb, aren't they?). My raised vegetable bed is almost waist high on me. Stan built it for me so I don't have to bend. Nothing works like it used to!

We're having a lovely rain - it will bring the new seeding on fast.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Took this picture this morning.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Waddy, KY

So you're basically treating these as annuals?

I planted 150 plants back almost 2 weeks ago. It's been raining almost daily since then. I saw them Sunday and they were starting to grow but surely didn't look as good as yours. That gutter deal for the lettuce looks good and I just happen to know where there's some gutter that's not being used. Paul is thinking about a high tunnel for next spring. I'd say that gutter could grow some fine buttercrunch lettuce.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We'll probably dig the plants & store them bare root until next year. A few years ago we had them in the garden. They wintered well but got a disease. They are not very disease resistant.

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

Such a month this May. MaryE, I am keeping you and yours in my thoughts. Take care of yourself. . .

We have had some badly needed rain this last couple of weeks. At one point I thought my coastal was a goner - 8 inches of rain and some very hot sun have turned those dark thoughts. My coastal popped up in a magnificent response to rain and sun.

I still have hay left from the October cutting. I sell it in "ones" or "threes". I like that pace.
I am almost out of squares - have an order in for the first cutting of the year. Before that happens, however, DH and team have to replace the roof on my hay shed. Supposed to have a good chance of rain this weekend. I will take the rain.

Bernie, your gardens are wonderful to view. Such a gift.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

It's looking like a nice day here. Yesterday was just the opposite with rain, hail, snow, wind and intermittent sun. My face got windburned when I was out changing irrigation water. The high temp was 40 and this morning our back porch thermometer said 24. Last week was balmy in comparison.

Here's the latest on the wolf situation.

Waddy, KY

Played hooky from work yesterday to dig daylily orders. It's always harder to dig the mail order plants because you're trying to divide them more carefully and get as much dirt off them and clean them up. I also end up weeding while I'm digging, dividing and sometimes moving plants. Ended up spending 8 hours in the field before I was done. There's not too many times I wish for a hot tub but last night was one of them. Guess I'd better be getting in shape before the bloom season hits.

More rain this morning. I never got the garden cultivated before the rain. It's supposed to rain the rest of the week. At the rate we're going the weeds are going to be sky high. I'll get the hoe out as soon as the top dries and see if I can do a little damage control. In the meantime the groundhogs are mowing my peas. They should be knee tall and blooming and they're just about 4-6 inches. Oh for the time to be able to just sit up there and blow them away as they come out of their holes. I may go against my father's wishes and put a live trap out and take my chances with trapping a skunk anyway. It was a lot of work getting those peas in the ground and I was looking forward to fresh peas....

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I was just talking with one of our neighbors who said he had been fixing fences on a rocky hillside about 2 miles from here last week, and got into a rattlesnake den. He killed 9 with his pistol, 3 more with rocks, and they were still buzzing all around him. At that point he and his very nervous helper retreated. His story gave me the willies! He said that when his grandparents homesteaded near there they almost never saw snakes, but now it is common for him to kill 25-30 every year without going to look for them.

When I related the story to my hubby he loaded up the .22 pistol with shot shells and put it where it is handy to grab if we need it. It won't be long before the snakes will be moving into the pastures and hayfileds if the weather ever gets warm.

Moisture content in the snowfields is almost double the average, so we will have enough irrigation water if the weather doesn't get too hot too soon or for too long and melt the snow too fast. Our ditch company doesn't have a reservior, so we take it as it comes off the mountains, and when the water level gets down to a certain point in the streams the fish and game department says no more irrigation after that. Most years that happens in mid July. The fish need a certain amount to stay healthy and spawn.

I need to check my garden plantings. Probably will need to replant some things. Peas are about an inch tall, onions maybe 4. We have volunteer lettuce and spinach in the part that hasn't been rototilled yet. I let them go to seed just for that reason.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

May 15th and we STILL have corn to plant. 25 acres is bottom ground, but hopefully can get into that next week IF it doesn't rain anymore. Ya, right...........

20 more acres on another farm that we rent; we call it "The RockPile" and that is even wet. Enough, already. By July we probably won't be able to buy rain. Can't win.

Spousal Unit and I are taking a few days away toward the end of the month and were hoping to get the hay made before we left. Now we're just hoping we can get the stupid corn in the ground. Good thing the neighbor plants our beans with his humongous 24 row planter. 10 minutes or so and he is done. LOL Ok, maybe a little longer than that; got about 100 acres or so.

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

Hay cutters, rakers, and balers have been out all week making the first cut of the year. This weekend we are scheduled for a goodly chance of rain, so everyone will benefit. My coastal is not quite there yet, but soon.

I love this time of the year because it is so active!

Thumbnail by MelissahL
Waddy, KY

Busy weekend. Both markets did a brisk business with one of them probably being the busiest that we've ever had for just a regular market. I'll be baking overtime this coming week as our Friday afternoon market starts up this coming weekend and it's sure to be busy as it's a long weekend and the campground should be full.

Yesterday we graduated the second daughter from college at Western KY. It was a 2.5 hr. trip with the market van in order to pick up her bed, dresser, nightstand and desk, a reception in the Ag. Department as she wanted to introduce us to a couple of her favorite professors and then on to the graduation that didn't start until 6:00 EDT. Now why they wanted to graduate a bunch of farm kids at feeding/milking time I sure as heck don't know but that's the way of it. Fortunately she was sitting on the last row and after she shook the University President's hand and got her slip of paper, she slipped out the side exit and we were gone. We'd already sent out half our group after they watched her get the diploma and they went ahead to start feeding. Plus my BIL had 5 cows we had to breed for him on the other side of the county. It was 11:15 before we pulled back into the house. Of course one herd of cows broke the electric fence while we were gone and let themselves into another field. Don't know how they always manage to know when we're going someplace! It was almost 1:00 before we got to bed. Then this morning I forgot to put the alarm on and slept right through the music playing. The start of a fine day!

We had a touch of frost this morning. I hadn't planted the tomatoes yet so I brought them inside just to make sure they weren't burned. I hope the beans and squash that are up and growing didn't take a hit.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

We are back from Iowa Round Up. Had a Great time other than the sleeping quarters. I won't even go into it. We were only 2 hours from home, so came home Saturday night instead of sleeping there another night. I think Iowa ought to down to KY to learn how to set up a camp ground.
Around 60 people attended. Dave called us in the afternoon. He was at East Texas RU.
Lots of food, plants & door prizes. I brought a lot of nice plants home.
Windy here again today. So windy we won't attempt any outside work today.
We hope to get 2 kitchens done this week.
Later next week it will be time to set out all the tender veggies, peppers, eggplant, etc.

Boy, that's getting pretty far south for frost this time of the year. Sure been goofy weather this spring.


Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

We received our much needed rain on Saturday. Huge downpour with lots of thunder and lightening.

Everyone in this part of the world was pretty excited. We had gotten a late frost (I cannot believe I say frost in south east Texas, but that is what the weather folks called it) and that slowed down our growth a bit.

This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a temp of 56 degrees! You gotta love it. Will be 89 by the end of the week.

Time to go and feed the stock.


Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We had a freeze this morning, another forecast for tomorrow morning. Our last frost date is in early June, so we don't even think of putting stuff out until then. I have a lot of tender plants that I bought because I knew if I didn't they would be gone scattered on the front porch and in the back room. It's sunny and cool this morning, and no rain in the forecast all week.

Stan is getting antsy about haying. He's still waiting for a part from Texas for the 8000, but it should be here today. We finished the heavy work on a project in the yard yesterday so he could take the front loader off, just in case he needs the 7610 to chop with.

This message was edited May 18, 2009 2:57 PM

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Kathleen, we were hoping to get our hay made before we leave on our trip, but it ain't gonna happen. Weather has been SO cool, that they hay isn't nearly big enough to even think about making. At least he will have the corn done; is finishing as I type. Came home to fill with spray, nitrogen, seed and went back after eating a bit of lunch to finish the last 8 acres. He said the monitor has been having spaz attacks and wiping itself out, so I guess that will be a repair thing for next year. Never mind we put $300.00 into "fixing" it this season.

We had some scattered frost Sat. night. I notice one of my bouganvilla got nipped. Guess I will take care of all that with the pruners. :>) I had some of my plants out, but not all of them. Wouldn't have made any difference; sure wasn't gonna haul them back into the g'house again.

Overcast and cool (actually, I would call it blasted cold) today. Hmmm.......weatherliars said sunny and 70........boy, did they miss THAT by a country mile. It started sprinkling earlier and I decided I'd better go drive the tractor and fertilizer wagon in the back of the shed. When he came back and started looking around, I said to him "well, it started sprinkling and I drove it in; knew you didn't want wet fertilizer". Clumps like cement if it gets wet. Yuck.

Now, I am off to go yank some rhubarb and make a pie. 2, actually.........1 for DS#2 and 1 for us. Ours will be strawberry-rhubarb. Son is a purist, wants straight rhubarb. I will make a 12 inch deep dish for us, but will take it as a treat tonight for my "after-band-rehersal-treat'' for our half a dozen or so that get together at the little watering hole. Told SU that what is left will be more than enough for us. The 2 of us do not NEED a 12 inch deep dish pie. LOL But I've been waiting a year for I'd better get to it.

Waddy, KY

Ah rhubarb! I've been trying for 4 years to get some to grow down here. 4 years and probably $120 later I still don't have any! My parents had some when I was a kid and I didn't think it was that finicky for them at the time but since then I've decided that if it doesn't like your soil type then just forget it!

We haven't started cutting hay yet but it shouldn't be much longer. This week is the first predicted dry stretch that we've had in several weeks. I suspect we'll see a lot of corn and tobacco go in the ground by the end of the week.

Do the two of you mostly chop your first cuttings for haylage or put it in the bale?

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Spousal Unit is officially DONE planting. Whew!!!!! Now to drag back the loaner 28% tanks, mini-bulk containers, etc. etc. etc. LOL

We chop all hay as haylege......we bag everything. Hay, corn silage, High moisture corn for the cows. WE do dry some for when we have hogs and what we are going to sell later. He does sell a bunch out of the field, so we don't dry that. He won't sell in the spring/summer until he is sure he won't have to go buy back. LOL

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Mowing commences on Friday, chopping on Saturday. Most of first cutting goes in the silo. Stan always bales some for dry cows. Second cutting is about half and half, I think. It's anybody's guess for the rest of the cuttings, depends on how full the haymow and silos are. We occasionally sell some out of the field, have given some away several times to farmers who had a fire, sell some along to Amish neighbors for their horses. Since early on in our farming career when we were down to the last loose scraps in the haymow, we've put up as much as possible. Nice to have a cushion. Good to be able to help out others.

It was chill yesterday, sunny with an icy north wind. I didn't really go outside at all. This morning, no frost, still a bit breezy, but the present temperature of 52 is as warm as it got all day yesterday, so I will be venturing out to do some trimming and weeding. And the plants are going back out - I'm sick of stepping over them!

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Wolf tracks were seen, confirmed by the wildlife biologist, and measured at 5 1/2 inches long less than a mile from our house at a neighbor's irrigation pond. So far we haven't heard of any livestock losses, but most of the cows are out in the hills with their calves for the next several months, so the wolves are probably killing calves. It's not possible to keep track of hundreds of cows with their calves all spread out with hills, trees, brush, creeks, etc. I think the losses will be significant but the numbers won't be known until the cattle are brought back to the ranches for fall grazing on the hayfields. The numbers of cows coming in without calves, compared to average losses, will tell us a lot. And then, the wolves will hang around closer to the ranches.

I helped my neighbor with the sheep shearing a couple of days ago. The shearers had another job to finish before they could move to my neighbor's place, so it was about 3:30 before the first ewe was sheared. They finished before dark and we got the ewes and lambs all together in the pasture, then watched as the lambs never recognize their mothers with their new hairdo's. The ewes keep saying "I'm over here", and the lambs say "who are you? I'm hungry and I want my momma". I was still hearing a few of the confused ones after dark, but by morning everyone was happy.

Waddy, KY

DH and the kids cut hay all last week during the dry spell. Most of it got put up dry but it appeared that some was meant to get wet. Sunday we ended up having a visit from a couple that basically the husband was stopping by to visit before he gets so sick that he can't. He's got maligant melanoma and has been fighting it for several years. He underwent a bone marrow transplant and was doing better but it failed and now this past month the MD's basically told him there was nothing else they can do. They're going to try one more clinic I think in Boston at John Hopkins but it sounds like hope is all they have left. It was sort of funny, they're farmers and they kept saying, don't let up keep you from getting the hay up but you know, in the broad scope of things that hay sort of took the back seat. He's a very nice man.

We got the tomatoes in the ground over the weekend. I thought we were going to get a plastic laying machine but it seems like DH kept putting it off and putting it off. Finally I said that they had to go in the ground plastic or not. I think we're going to try to put it down and just put a little dirt along the edges. Unfortunately more labor intensive but it should work. We'll lay a drip tape under the plastic for irrigation.

It rained about 3 tenths yesterday. Enough I couldn't use the seeder to plant beans but not enough to keep me from using the hoe to plant a couple rows of cucumbers and okra. It seems that once again summer is flying by and I'm not getting anything done.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

To bad we are scattered all over the country. We only use our machine for a couple hours a year. We could share.

Made a fast trip to Albert Lea today,(70 miles one way). Needed some Maple lumber & also stopped for some fertilizer. $24 for a 50 # bag of 19-19-19. I worked in a fertilizer plant years ago, a whole ton was only $30.
No wonder the country so out of whack!

Off to Farmers Market this afternoon.

We hope to plant out peppers & eggplant tomorrow.


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Meant to post a picture.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Waddy, KY

It certainly looks easy enough doesn't it?

Did you get the plastic back up on your high tunnels?


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Part of the frame was bent so we get it together again when we have more time.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Two of our Amish neighbors have put up big hoop houses and are growing strawberries in hanging baskets. That was what got Stan thinking about one - he's probably thinking he could store something in it, too.

We are in the middle of first cutting, but won't be doing much for a couple of days due to weather. Tomorrow, there's a group of highschool ag students coming for part of a field trip. The teacher called last week out of the blue and said the young man who milks for us had mentioned that Stan has some good management practices. Stan said something to Josh about it and he plead innocence, but we have no idea where she would have gotten the idea otherwise. It will be interesting.

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