Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer's Here

We had some nice, cool, low-humidity days last week. Now, it's heating up again. There's a big fire nearby and one in North Carolina which have kept a smoky smell in the air a lot of the time. I wish it would rain hard and put them out.

I see that the apricot tree is loaded and that the fruit is already turning color. It will be wonderful to can a bunch and make apricot preserves.

We had some visitors to the farm who got a little tour. They checked out goats and cows up close and personal. I've put up some pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is Till Eulenspiegel* About?

Last night, we had to rescue yet another set of goat twins and their mother from the top of the hill. It ain't over till it's over, evidently. Mother and sons are fine and in the maternity barn, which may never be empty again.

I was surprised by the amount of red raspberries to be picked this morning and asparagus have been popping out of the ground since we got a little rain two days ago. Even the area which my husband bush hogged has yielded new spears.

This morning, I checked on cabbages in the garden. They are heading up nicely. As I went through the seed-grown row, what did my wandering eyes see: a cauliflower plant? Yep. It was all headed out. Just one. What are the statistical chances of ONE cauliflower seed getting into a packet of cabbage seed?

Well, I was happy to pick it. It will add it to the broccoli that I'm planning on blanching and freezing this afternoon.

*the merry prankster

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cherries 'n Berries

This morning, I picked another pint of red raspberries and popped them directly into the freezer. The heat was oppressive outside.

Last night, after recovering from the farmers' market in the 98 degrees and high humidity, I raked hay until it got too dark to see what I was doing. We continue to cut, rake, and bale during this dry period, but I don't know how much longer we can take the heat. It's like August weather, not June. Oh, well you make hay while the sun shines, I guess.

The first black cherries are also ready to pick. I decided to dry cherries this year and the first batch turned out just right.

On Friday, I picked loads of lavender and chamomile to dry. The house smelled great.

I cut down all the spinach, knowing that it will bolt in the heat. There is plenty of chard and kale. Broccoli is still producing and the first beets were pulled. I see blooms on the cucumber plants. Squash plants poked up and will benefit from the hot weather to get a good start. Tomato plants are also developing quickly.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


When I rake the mowed hay into windrows, I have to pay attention. It's not one of those totally mindless jobs that would allow me to think about something else.

Because we live in a hilly region, and our hay fields are not the vast expanses of flat land that may exist elsewhere, it is a matter of safety to concentrate and think ahead. Sometimes, I think my face must reflect all that concentrating. I'm surprised smoke doesn't come out of my ears. One false move could mean a tractor accident and serious injury.

You want to make wide turns and not wait until the last minute. Direction is important since you're either going to rake two rows toward the middle or combine two narrow rows into one so that the baler can make fewer passes.

I think about the patterns I want to make. A maze is pretty neat, especially if I can plan how to leave myself an exit path. Otherwise, it's just riding around and around until you get dizzy. The sun does a good enough job at that.

Now, when I look at Grant Wood's paintings of haying patterns, I have a new appreciation and I'll bet he spent some time on a tractor doing much the same things I do when raking.

Wood was very interested in pattern in the graphic painting of his later years. He was also a clever satirist. There is much below the surface of his paintings. He was not the simple fellow he sometimes led the public to believe he was.