Another rainy day

But at least it isn’t snow. My two year memory for today on Facebook was a good amount of snow and the dogs playing in it.

The grass needs to be mowed, it is emerald green now and growing so fast you can almost watch it change, but it is too wet, way too wet.

The chicken pen was slick as a sloped ice rink when I went over to lock them up at dark last night. I grabbed a few hands full of the moldy spoiled hay from the big bale near their run and laid down a path to the pop door. This morning in the rain, sheets of the bale were put in the pen to keep it from being so muddy and to make going in to let the hens out a bit safer to my old bones. They get free range time for part of each day, but unlike prior flocks, this group has a few that won’t follow me back to the safely of their pen when I shake a cup of scratch, thus making them a target for our Mastiff to try and chase. He couldn’t catch one even when he was young, and running hurts his hips so he become even more lethargic in the house. Usually the hens are released when the dogs are fed in the afternoon and they stay out until dusk when they wander back to the pen and eventually coop up for the night.

As soon as they are let out, they peck around the hay bale for a while then run straight for the gravel under the cars. Eventually out to the front yard and under the cedar trees across the driveway from the forsythia. When the forsythia and lilacs are fully leafed out, they prefer to shelter there and are really difficult to get out of that place.

The half barrel planted with lettuce, radishes, and Chinese cabbage is showing signs of sprouting. When the sprouts are a little larger, the second one will be planted with lettuce, radishes, and Pak Choy. The third one will get some edible flower seed, dill, and basil, but it must get a bit warmer before that one can be planted. The 4th one is undecided, it has a returning perennial of some sort coming up in it. I want to try to sprout some parsley seed. If successful, it may be planted with more herbs for summer cooking to dry or freeze for next winter.

The area inside the wall that gets so overgrown I think will receive a generous handful of mixed sunflower seed and allowed to grow and bloom until it can be cleared of rocks, weed mat or cardboard put down and covered with leaf mulch to plant as the herb, flower, and dye garden. Today’s exercise was moving more rocks and extending the path from the deck to the stone step that was where the old deck ended. That required heavy lifting and some serious weeding. On the step you can see a pigweed root that somehow I managed to lift from the earth whole, it must be 18″ long.

The grill is always in the way when I mow. Eventually it will have a stone pad inside the wall on which to sit. Today, I just moved rocks, weeded a spot and wrestled it to the inside of the wall. It is not a permanent place and I wouldn’t cook on it at that angle, but it is out of the way. The new part of the path starts at the stone step and comes toward the deck. Those six boulders aren’t the only ones I had to move to do that much.

The mower got gassed up and the tire pumped up and it started. It is running a little rough, hopefully once it is out of the garage and can move some, it will be in better shape. The rain stopped in the afternoon, but it is too wet still.

The little potted rose my love gave me for Valentine’s Day was transplanted to a 10″ pot today now that it finished blooming. It is sitting in a sunny spot by the French doors until it is warm enough to put it on the deck. For some foolish reason, I decided last fall to overwinter,indoors, the begonias that were in the front of the house. One begonia and another pot were in the utility room window, two begonias on the floor by the French doors. I decided today that they were going to have to tough it out outdoors and put them out on the deck and front porch. If a frost is threatened, I will cover them, if they give up, I will plant some seeds in those pots.

Right after lunch, I got some bread started. The last loaf in the freezer is almost gone and since we are eating in 100% of the time, more will soon be needed.

Tomorrow is warmer and drier, maybe I can get the lawn part of the farm mowed. Next piece of equipment to fight with is the weed wacker, my least favorite, but necessary to get around the stone wall and the west side of the house. Maybe I can get it started too.

Olio- 8/6/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

I arrived home yesterday morning, having left son’s house at 6:15 a.m. when he and grandson left to catch the vanpool for son to go to work and grandson to begin another basketball camp hosted by the University coach. We had the vet due at the farm about an hour and a half later. The big guy can no longer load and unload and he needed a couple of vaccines and a snap test. Since she was going to be here, we had her look at the German Shepherd who has a lump on her snout and also needed the snap test done. Both dogs are heartworm free and the cytology on the snout lump showed no infection so we are on watch mode there. The big guy loves most people, doesn’t mind the vet, seeming to enjoy the extra attention. The German Shepherd is skittish as they can be and has to be on a leash and wearing a soft muzzle for most of her exam, but she allowed the attempt to draw fluid from the lump without too much squirming.

After that visit, I felt like I had already done a full day so we went to town to run errands and get lunch only to find that a huge area housing many of the non fast food places were experiencing a power outage that ended up lasting well into the evening. We decided to get a bit farther away from there and stopped at Zaxby’s. The clerk at the counter looked like either a recent retiree or soon to be retiree. After taking our order, he said, “I guess I could give you the senior discount.” We didn’t know they had one and I quipped, we certainly are eligible. He smirked and said, “I bet I have a year or two on you, I will be 61 in September.” Well, I couldn’t resist letting him know that I have more than a decade on him and hubby stating that he was older than I was. That made me feel good for the day.

This morning, we set out to get a newspaper, chicken feed, and dog food, and they were just putting out fresh produce at the community store. I know it isn’t local nor organic, but my tomatoes aren’t doing well, so we purchased a 25 pound box of tomatoes to bring home. After several hours of standing coring, peeling, chopping, cooking, and canning, I no longer feel young. I got about 2/3 of them done, cored the rest and put them in the freezer to finish with some from the garden tomorrow. My water bath canner holds 6 pints or 8 half pints. The first batch was herbed tomato sauce and ended up with 8 pints, so two were packed in wide mouth jars and will go in the freeze, the other 6 were canned. Batch two was pizza sauce and there was enough to fill 9.5 half pint jars, 8 were canned, one will go in the freezer and the remaining quarter pint fit in an open jar of pizza sauce in the freezer to be used first.

The remaining tomatoes will probably be made into spaghetti sauce and a few half pints of it cooked down to more pizza sauce. We do enjoy homemade pizza with my sauce, local mozarella and local Italian sausage.

Daylily season if my favorite flower season. Of the dozen or so varieties, this one, call Sear’s Tower, given to me by a friend, is the last one blooming, the rest finished a couple of weeks ago.

The old timers here, have a saying that every day of August that has fog will produce a snow during winter. I am not superstitious, if it were true we would never get out this winter. This is the 6th of August and we have had dense fog every morning so far.

Once the fog cleared and I was standing at the kitchen sink dealing with tomatoes, I looked out to see a flock of 8 Tom turkeys grazing across the back yard.

The broody Oliver egger won’t give up. I have tried cold water, isolating her from the nesting boxes and other hens for 48 hours and nothing has worked. This is the third time she has become broody this summer, stopping and laying for a week or so then going back to broodiness. I give up. I guess she will give up eventually, I take eggs many times a day so she is sitting on empty nests. I think this fall, I will purchase 4 Buff Orpington chicks if I can get them and raise them over the fall so they will lay next spring and not try to raise more than that, they will provide enough eggs for us. In the spring, a small flock of Freedom Ranger or similar meat birds that grow to full size in only a couple of months will be purchased and raised separately from the egg laying hens. The cost of pasture raised chicken at the farmers’ market, since we have the facilities to raise them, makes it worth our time and effort.