Sunday, September 26, 2010


When I heard the rain beating down on the roof in the middle of the night, it was with a profound sense of relief. The land will heal now. Grass will grow again and the cattle will have something to eat besides precious hay bales meant for the dead of winter. The springs and wells will replenish themselves and the constant worry over water for the animals can recede somewhat.

I'm still recovering from several hours at the Farmers' Market, where I prepared apples for baking on the grill and oversaw making "apple piggies." It was much hotter than I anticipated and it really caught up with me by 2 p.m.

In the meantime, back on the farm, husband managed to get the square baler fixed and his Saturday helper helped him get the bales on the trailer and into the barn for stacking. Our new set-up, where hay elevators are now under roofing and placed in openings into the lofts is working well. The helper then stacked the hay neatly in the loft. We have more hay to cut if there is a dry spell later on in October.

Today, supposedly the temperature will plunge into the sixties and we'll have more seasonal weather all of a sudden.

Last week, it rained hard for less than ten minutes. I got soaked and so did the entire goat herd. We were pretty happy for the seven or eight minutes despite our sogginess.

Now, we're looking for days of rain. Hurrah!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Fall

'Uneventful. Hot, humid, with a chance of rain that won't materialize. All is dry. The trees have started to change color.

The pond in the pasture, which had overflowed its banks and taken over a lot of the field in the Spring is now nearly a mudhole. When I let the geese out of their night shelter, I noticed something moving in the middle of the pond. Looking closer, it was a giant snapping turtle with smaller ones on its back. Turtle Island?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Early this morning, I watched several large flocks of birds against a pale pink sky. They were traveling toward the NW. I am not sure where they are going. I noticed the first large group yesterday morning.

The pale pink sky is "bluing up" but there is a thick cloud cover. My eyes are hurting, so I think it is going to rain. None of the forecasts are calling for rain and we haven't had any in the past two weeks, despite predictions for rain over the weekend.

There should be a special forecast run by old people with arthritis and dry eye syndrome. We could keep statistics on accuracy and challenge the meteorologists on TV.

I've used up all the wine making vessels available to me for the present. There are standard wines from Concord and Merlot grapes; experimental wines, like peach and white peach champagne; and crazy wines, like yellow tomato with ginger and lemon.

I've made yellow tomato jam, hot and sweet and there are still tons of yellow pear tomatoes needing to be picked. I was going to label the jars "Toe-Jam" but then I reconsidered. The purple Cherokee are also coming on strong enough that I've been dicing and freezing them. -- Don't make me pull out the quart canning jars!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


The goldenrod is blooming. Blue morning glory is climbing over fences and old trees. Cooler temperatures make it a little more pleasant working outdoors, although we're still flirting with 90 degrees for highs this week. The drought has done some damage to fruit trees and garden plants, although some things seem to have loved the hot dry weather: yellow pear tomatoes and the dreaded stickweed.

Each morning, I'm cutting down the stickweed that has invaded the berry and asparagus beds. I'm hoping that by not allowing it to go to seed, I'll get it under control. But the tough, firmly planted roots tell me otherwise. I may need to establish new beds elsewhere.

We're making hay this week. I'll rake later this morning and hopefully we'll make square bales.

Winemaking continues. I've now got five carboys bubbling along in the basement. All the white peaches are processed and the yellow tomatoes are next.

I peeled and sliced some of the apples I picked yesterday morning. We had "fried apples" for dinner, which were delicious.

This year's giant magnus opus hornet nest is on the end of the greenhouse. Luckily, I noticed it just before leaning the ladder on it to pick apples. Tragedy averted.

The chickens are getting all the peels and pulp plus some damaged chard and the Cherokee Purple tomatoes which are bug infested. We're still picking enough undamaged tomatoes to have nice sandwiches and salads -- storing up the Vitamin C for the coming winter.