Tag Archives: farm work

Chores and a senior body

After two days of fence building, fence moving, laying cardboard and spoiled hay, digging weed amaranth with its deep tap root, weeding and mulching the blueberries, and trying to break up the hard section of the garden where this aging gardener foolishly drove the tractor when the ground was wet; today this body is groaning.  It was going to be a day off, but . . .  Granddaughter had the opportunity to go to preschool on her usual day off since the school will be closed Thursday, Friday, and Monday, and Jim had an appointment that I wanted to go to with him, we took her to preschool.  The appointment which should have been quick, took hours of mostly waiting around, dealing with a trainee, and finally with the professional who was very difficult to understand through her accent.  We left with just enough time to go to the post office and back to pick up granddaughter from school.

Once home, a decision was made to do what I thought was to be a fairly low energy job of collecting rocks that have bloomed to the surface during the winter and to pry out some that have protruded enough above the surface of the yard and fields that the brush hog scrapes the top of them.  This dulls the mowing blades and makes a horrible noise.   The first one to be tackled was one of the ones that just stuck up a bit too far and looked to be an easy job.  The pry bar easily went under the edge of the rock and with my weight on the bar the rock moved, but didn’t come out.  After digging under the lead edge, the tractor bucket was employed to lift it out.  Well, instead, it lifted the front wheels of the tractor off the ground.  I am a persistent old cuss and once I start something, I want it done, so more digging to get to another angle under the rock.  It finally popped up on end.

Big Rock1It seems this rock is a misplaced monolith from Stonehenge that was buried at about a 30º angle and the tractor was fighting against this.  It straightened out in the hole, but then protruded about 14 inches instead of 6.  More pushing, some digging, and the monolith finally came out of the hole.

Big Rock 2Note the bucket on the tractor is 5 feet wide.  With Jim’s help driving the tractor and me guiding , we finally managed to get it in the bucket and I think it might have been right on the weight limit edge for the hydraulics of tractor.  The monster was dropped off the cliff edge down into a rock fall in the sink hole.  Needless to say, no more rocks were tackled this afternoon, other to sit on the rocks that had been piled near the edge from moving the rock pile in the yard a few weeks ago and with Jim’s efforts too, we tossed that pile over the edge also.

Little birds

On a fun note, these little guys are some of the tiny birds that visit the feeder each day.  There is an assortment of Tufted Titmice, sparrows, wrens, finches, and Juncos that visit.  I haven’t seen but a couple of chickadees, my favorite of the little birds.  Some of the birds fly to the feeder, some sit on the deck surface and catch what gets tossed down. Such fun to watch them and they no longer fly away as soon as they spot someone in the window or door watching them.

 

 

Today, I really feel like a farmer

Over the weekend, I built a brooder nesting box for Momma Broody and set it in front of her nesting box in the coop.  I put food and water in it for her as she had reached a point where she wasn’t leaving her nest at all.  Last night, I heard peeping and picked her up to see that two of the eggs were pipping, so this morning, I moved her nest into the new nesting box, put her in the nest and relocated her to the chicken tractor.  This evening, we checked and this is what we found.

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The first two tiny chicks.  She is being such a good Mom.  We hope that she will end up with a reasonable size brood from the 10 eggs that were under her.

Right after moving her this morning, I left to drive an hour west to help a spinner friend with a herd of Alpaca, with her annual shearing.  Daughter and granddaughter wanted to come see and followed in daughter’s car.  As it turned out, I was the only helper that showed up, so Daughter and granddaughter got to help for a couple hours too.

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We loved on puppies, their Anatolean Shepherds were allowed to have a litter this year and they still have 3 of the 6 puppies, now 6 months old.  The male is going to his new home soon and the remaining 2 females will move to their new farm as soon as their fencing is done.  They will double the acreage for their animals.

Eric, the shearer; Robert, his helper; Janis and John, the owners, and I worked until 6:30 p.m., shearing and bagging fleece for 29 animals.  Bart, the two week old Cria was the last one of the day.  As he was being done, the second gully washer started and we all were confined to the closed barn for about 20 minutes, watching the paddocks become lakes, before we could move the remaining bags of fleece to the house, clean up and I headed home.  It was an educational event, and I left dirty, tired, and thankful that daughter came home at noon and prepared our delicious dinner.

It was a great day.

Independence Day

Today the USA will celebrate with cookouts and fireworks. Today would be my Mom’s 90th birthday, though she died 27 years ago. She celebrated on that date and always said that was her birth date, but she wasn’t really sure. She was adopted as an infant after the death of her parents in a time where records weren’t kept as a they are now. She knew she was born in Pennsylvania and knew her birth name, but when she went to get a birth certificate for a
Passport, there were no records. Her baptismal certificate said July 4, so that is when she celebrated.

One of our neighbors was a Greek immigrant who had become fairly successful upon coming to America and he too celebrated his birthday on July 4th as he had no idea when his real birthdate was and he wanted to celebrate with the country that took him in and made him a successful businessman.  His sons held a huge neighborhood cookout with a spitted lamb, burgers, hotdogs, pot luck side dishes.  They had a pool and we spent the day swimming and eating then shooting fireworks over the river.

Last night, I brought eldest son and his family home with me for the weekend and eldest grandson will be spending most of the summer with us.  We had some fencing to do, 2 gates to hang, a small wall to construct around the top of the culvert and tomorrow to put 8 chickens in freezer camp.

Plans changed some this morning when a neighbor’s dog got in the cull pen and killed 2 of the hens. We spent a good portion of today reconfiguring pens, hanging two gates and setting poles for more electric fencing around the chickens and the garden. Tomorrow we will have 2 less hens to kill.

Tonight we feasted on steak, corn and peas and came into town to watch fireworks.

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Happy birthday Mom, Papu, & USA.

Farm Life as Summer Approaches

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The 90 hp behemoth at work.  There are 47 bales done and they are working to beat the rain on the lower field.  He will bale by headlights tonight.  The hay is beautiful and thick.  That tractor always amazes me, our little tractor is only 28 hp.  It would pull the tetter or the hayrake, but the sickle bar and round baler require too much power.  We can easily mow with a 5 foot brush hog, power a post hole auger and if we could figure out how to use it, pull the small plow we store in the barn. I am not a short woman and my chin would rest on the top of the back tires of that beast.

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Bales in the morning sun.

Jeff has equipment that is modern with CD players and A/C and equipment that is older than my kids.  It is always fun when he is working here as he brings one tractor, then another, a hayrake, a tetter, generally he doesn’t trade out the equipment, he just changes tractors for the next job.

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In the midst of the chaos, today I found a new wildflower/weed in the front yard which is green, but seems to be more wildflowers/weeds than grass.

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This afternoon when I went to pick peas for dinner, I realized that there were still garlic scapes in the garden.  I harvested as many as I could hold with the egg basket full of eggs and peas.  I was able to make 7 half cup jars of garlic scape pesto and blended the other half of the scapes with olive oil to make a garlicky paste that I dropped in 2 Tbs. plops on foil to freeze for use as fresh garlic in sauces.

I was hoping to get some peas in the freezer for winter, but we are enjoying them fresh so much it is hard to put any away.  Peas picked, shelled and cooked within half an hour are a whole different vegetable than even “fresh” peas from the Farmers’ Market.

It has been a productive day on our mountain farm.