Tag Archives: weeding

End of Summer Week on the Farm

Summer is winding down.  Grandson that lives with us has returned to school.  Grandson #1 who gets to spend part of each summer on the farm and has been here since the end of July, has only a few more days before I drive him back home for him to also begin school for the year.

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A selfie after he whupped me biking on a local path, made on an old rail grade that traverses two towns.

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Pool time a few times.

 

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Hikes. The first a backpacking hike with his parents and me below this overview for part of the hike and today, a day hike to the overlook, just the two of us. I love the cloud shadows on the ridge across the valley.

Between these outings, an attempt to thwart the invasive plants that threaten to take over our hayfields each fall.  The spring hay is always nice, but the fall mowing is just to take control again.  The Queen Anne’s Lace and daisies are fewer and fewer each year in the hayfields, but the stick weed, an Asian invasive import tries to take over.  As we don’t spray weed killer on our fields, keeping it mowed down is our only defense.

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Though this is only a foot or so tall, some of it in areas that don’t get mowed for hay in the spring, the stickweed is 5 to 6 feet tall and quite intimidating to mow through on our tractor.  From the house, the back of our property doesn’t look very far away, but when we are mowing and look back to the house from the southern most point of the lower hayfield, you realize how large the field really is.

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This has not been a good year for our tomatoes.  Usually, by now, the shelves are filling with jars of pasta sauce and salsa, but not this year.  Most of one variety of tomatoes seem to spoil as soon as they turn red.  The heirloom paste tomatoes are just beginning to turn.  One of the packages of pepper seed must have been mispacked as the seedling developed into a different pepper than was planned.  The cukes and squash are spent.  The pole beans are producing, but Mountaingdad and I seem to be the only ones who like them.  Winter squash are spreading and producing lots of small pumpkins and Burgess Buttercups, twined about the stems of the popcorn plants and the pole beans that will be used as dry beans climbing well above the tops of the corn.  I never did get the lowest beds of the garden re-weeded and mulched and the blueberry bushes are engulfed.  With the cooler days and the end of the summer visitors, perhaps I can get it cleaned up before the garden is totally put to bed for the winter.  I still need to purchase another pound or so of seed garlic to plant in another month or so.  It isn’t too late to buy starts of broccoli and kale and get them in the garden under row cover to keep out the persistent cabbage worms.

The meat chicks are now a week and a half old and they can almost escape from the cattle trough that serves as the brooder.  I have had to put a screen over them already. They foul the straw so quickly that it is having to be changed out every couple of days.  The fencing around the cull coop still needs to be erected within the next 4 weeks, but the arthritis and trigger finger in both ring fingers is making me reluctant to do the weeding and the fencing as both fingers lock up on me and are getting harder and harder to release.  I guess this winter, I will have one hand then the other dealt with. The mature hens are beginning their fall molt and this year’s Americaunas and the Buff Orpington youngs are not laying yet, so egg production is nearly non existent.

This time of the year is bittersweet.  The days and nights are cooler, the trees are fading and will soon color.  The garden winds down.  The orchard is full of apples and Asian Pears that must be processed into sauce and chutney to enjoy later.  It is time for a trip to buy half a dozen or so Bent Mountain cabbages to make into kraut and to store for winter slaws and sautes.

Garden Day

The afternoon had a 60% chance of rain and after lunch it was mostly overcast.  It seemed a good idea to at least attempt to finish getting the garden cleaned up and planted for the season.  Between yesterday’s burn and today’s 4 + hours in the garden, I should have my quota of Vitamin D, however, due to a prior bout of skin cancer, I stay totally covered with a wide brimmed hat, long sleeves and long pants.  Much crawling around on my aging knees and rooting around in the dirt with bare fingers, the weeds are cleared.

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Cleared beds and a ground eye view of the raspberry bed as I inched along that path pulling weeds.  After my efforts, 4 rows of black wax bush beans, 1 row of lemon cucumbers, 1 row of spacemaker cucumbers, a small patch of carrots, and several hills of yellow squash have been planted.  I still need to transplant the pepper and tomato starts and get a thick layer of spoiled hay in the paths to try to keep the weeds down and to get a bit more around the raspberries and grapes.  I still have a space between the garden and the chicken run that is full of tiny stones and some weeds that needs attention, but I gave out and it was dinner prep time.  Wouldn’t you know that the rain chance has diminished to 40% without a shower and the sky has alternately cleared and clouded while I worked.

The chickens love my efforts as I take armloads of weeds and bugs to them to peck through.  Everytime I go to the fence they come running to see what the load contains.  They particularly like when it is full of chickweed or if I dig up a grub or two.  I was rewarded with 7 eggs collected in my hat as I quit for the day.

My hope is to try to stay ahead of the garden this year and not be faced with a later season weeding as I usually have to do.  As soon as the garlic is harvested, a second planting of bush beans and a fall planting of kale and cabbage will be planted in those two beds.  I still haven’t figured out where to plant the pie pumpkins and winter squash, but I am leaning toward putting them near the berries and let them run where they can’t do any harm.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.