Permanent Hay

My memory pictures all show the hay either down and baled by now or at least in the processes. It is tall, wet, probably full of ticks, so I won’t venture into it. I can’t get to my berry patches to check on them. It should be about time for the Wineberries. The forecast doesn’t look good for them to come any time soon to mow and bale. We have 40 to 90% chance of thunderstorms every day as far as the weather app will take me. Yesterday the rain held off until late afternoon.

We had two packages to mail and a pick up from Tractor Supply of critter feeds and stopped by Southern States to check their seed stock. They rarely have more than a couple of people at a time in there during weekdays. I found two packages of hybrid sweet corn with a 78 day maturation window, which should give us a harvest well before the first frost. It seems odd to think of first frost when we haven’t even hit the summer highs and the garden isn’t producing anything but peas yet, but as a gardener, I have to think ahead. I am doing a germination test on the other corn before I send the seed company a letter. Two packets of seed won’t break the bank, but it is still about $8. Because it wasn’t raining when we got home, I pushed the wheel barrow with my spade , hoe, and rake over to the garden area. The spade and wheel barrow were wheeled around to the area where I changed the configuration of the chicken run and I dug two earthworm filled barrows of the richest black composted soil and dumped them on the freshly weeded and lightly disturbed patch where the corn should have sprouted weeks ago but didn’t. I was careful to avoid the sunflowers that did come up along the edge and left the two stalks of Silver Queen that did sprout and raked in the compost and replanted corn for the third time. The new seed. While I was at it, I replanted the two hills of Seminole pumpkins that also either didn’t come up or got eaten. Now to wait 7 to 14 days to see if the block of corn takes this time. The block is 11-12 feet by 4+ feet, 6 rows 27 inches apart, so if it will come up, it is the ideal arrangement to actually get some corn from the patch. It may be too late to plant the climbing beans because the corn has to be a foot or so tall before you plant the beans. I think as far as three sisters, it won’t be this year, but if we get corn and a few pumpkins, I will be happy. I had hardly gotten back in the house when the daily deluge began, so at least it got a good watering in.

The only area still unplanted is the old mint bed. It still lacks a box or border and as it is in an area of the garden where there is a significant slope, it needs something to hold the soil. The mint is continuing to pop up in and around that area and I continue to fight with it. I want to terrace that spot, but don’t want to purchase blocks. Huck’s coop, the failed A framed chicken tractor that we finally set on a cedar raft set on rocks for chick raising, has deteriorated beyond repair unless we removed each bottom board one at a time and replaced it, a job beyond my skills alone. And a wind storm a year or so ago ripped the hinged half of the top off. I am thinking about going out with the cordless drill/driver and taking the metal roof and plastic side panels off, carefully removing the hardware cloth to save for another project. I will salvage any of the good wood, burn the rotted wood, and use the larger rocks as my retaining wall for the terraced area. The smaller rocks that we put around the inside edge to hold in the layer of soil over the cedar post raft will have to be loaded in the tractor and hauled to a rock pile if the hay ever gets mowed so I can get to one.

After dinner prep as it continued to thunderstorm, I returned to my spindles to finish the Peacock braid of Falklands wool that I have spent the first half of June spinning. I had done the purples and blues with the teals and greens what I was currently working on. I did finish spinning it, took my final check in and scale picture for the Spin Along side.

Between the 4 ounce braid, the gray sample yarn, some Jacob for my rare breed credit, and the last of the wine colored wool for my shawl, I ended up with 166.17 grams (5.861 ounces). It was wound into a ply ball and plied on my wheel last night, but I haven’t measured it out to see how much yardage it is. The Peacock yarn is going to be the yoke of a sweater with the gray Shetland below and on the sleeves. A sweater entirely spun by me, almost entirely on Turkish spindles. The purples and blues are almost 300 yards. The July Spin Along side can be done the way the first half of the year, with 4 check ins and a final scale picture showing at least 25 grams spun, or we can participate in a Tour de Fleece that usually occurs when Tour de France happens. Since it isn’t happening this year, we are going to do the Tour de Fleece as a scavenger hunt beginning a week from tomorrow, the day the race should begin if it could. Each day an item will be posted, you try to find the item in and around your home and take a picture of it with your spindle on which you have spun at least 1 gram of fiber. One gram of fiber is not much, the neater green cop/turtle in the above picture is about 25 grams, so the amount that is normally needed for a whole month. It should be fun and at the end, the finishers, who found at least 20 of the items and spun daily will be entered for prizes that various spinners have contributed, including the generous donation of several spindles by the Jenkins. All of the wool spun during the competition has to be done on Jenkins spindles, this is the Jenkins group after all. My two spindles are empty and I purchased a 3 ounces of Bam Huey (a bamboo, merino blend) to use for the challenge.

These are my two favorite spindles.

Be safe out there. Please wear your mask for my protection, I wear mine for yours.


I have enjoyed watching the Finch care for her nest of 4 tiny mouths to feed. Once they hatched, I quit looking for a while so she could care for them. Over the weekend, I peeked again and instead of large gapeing mouths popping up, there were little feathered birds with proportional heads and big black beady eyes looking back at me.

It is amazing how quickly they go from awkward disproportioned nearly naked bodies to little feathered well proportioned birds. In the midst of the nasty weather this week, chilly, gray, and periodic heavy, heavy rain, she fledged these 4 little creatures out into the world. The nest is empty, the hanging pot can again be watered.

I know that the birdhouses by the garden have supported two nests of Tree Swallows and one nest of Eastern Bluebirds, the Barberry bush had the nest of Caroline Wrens, and these little finches. I think a Hummingbird has a nest in the breezeway garden, one flies from there to the feeder and back often, but I haven’t attempted to find it in the rain.

One of the wonders of spring is watching the nests of baby birds, the tiny rabbits kits, and the fawns. I discovered this year that something, probably the deer like Sunflower shoots. There were dozens in the walled garden under the feeders and everyone of them has been clipped off just above the primary leaves. I haven’t been weed wacking in there to let them grow. I guess it will get mowed down as soon as it dries up. I will then put down cardboard, move some rocks to the back side of the wall and start filling it with leaf mulch or compost. And still no corn. Two packages of seed from the feed store and both seem to be bad even though they were packaged for 2020. It is probably too late to try to find corn seed elsewhere and plant it now, though we have about 4 months til first frost.

The Weather Backstep

The past three days have felt more like early spring. Gray and rainy, highs in the low 60’s (mid teens celcius). No walks, no garden time, just hunkered down inside in long sleeves, long pants, and socks, all of which had been put away clean a few weeks ago until fall.

I go out to do chores, to drop packages of stuff I am selling to minimize, stuff that has life in it, but not being used. On our way to the post office drop box, we saw our first fawn. Doe and fawn were standing in the middle of our gravel road. Mom seemed unsure how to proceed, fawn was confused about the big brown animal on 4 wheels that made loud noise. Mom finally veered to the left, over a wire fence. Junior couldn’t manage the fence and seemed even more confused, finally turning the other way into the tall wet uncut hay field. I’m sure Mom went looking for Junior as soon as we passed on to the main road. And of course, I didn’t get a picture.

This time of year, the Iris have all faded, the summer flowers are all blooming. I especially love the Day Lilies. They are in a bed that runs down the east side of the garage and a few in the back of the garage. The tall “Ditch” lily is from my Dad’s gardens. He loved Zinneas and the tall orange wild type day lily. When we bought this farm, the prior owner had a herd of miniature horses on it and prior to her, it had been used for grazing cows. As a result, the top of the property was pretty void of much vegetation except some grasses and multiflora roses with some cedar trees scattered around and the run off creek that flows in a slight diagonal across part of the north edge of the property. That area is much too rocky to hay and without the horses or cows grazing on the vegetation, many volunteer trees and a few we planted have grown up. Along the creek, I planted a few clusters of the lilies and we planted 4 River Birches. The creek has divided and spread the lilies over quite a good length of it’s run and the Birches have gotten tall. After my Dad passed away, the following spring, I went up and dug a small amount of the lilies and brought them down to the house to add to the others. They are the tallest currently in that bed, but there is a yellow one that will be taller later in the summer. Currently 6 different cultivars are blooming and the bed is getting full, crowding out the Autumn Joy and the Coral Bells tucked between them. In another year or so, I will have to divide them. The Iris already need to be divided behind the garage.

The grass desperately needs mowing and edging, but it has to stop raining and dry up some before that can be done.

Time is being spent spinning on my spindles and knitting on my shawl. I am trying not to be competitive in the Spin Along which only requires 20 grams of spinning a month. By the time I finish the Peacock braid and take the Jacob off the spindle, I will have probably 140 grams. It adds up when I am not in the garden.

In desperation for something new to read last month when the library was only doing curbside delivery and everything I wanted to read had a hold on it, I downloaded an E-book from the monthly Amazon list. I have chosen from the monthly options before and been happy with the selection, discovering new to me authors. This one was about a serial killer who found his female victims on the World of Warcraft game. Well, I’m not a gamer, so the settings and terminology were foreign to me, the story line predictable and the ending making me want to write a review on Goodreads suggesting the author go back to writing school. No, I’m not going to do that, nor am I going to out the author or title here, but I felt like I had wasted several hours of my time on it. The library has reopened to check out books, I placed a hold on one a friend recommended and it became available yesterday, so masked and hand sanitized, I went in and picked it up and left. We will see how this one goes.

Stay safe everyone.