The amazing sky yesterday evening right around 8pm central time. Wish it had a little rain in it. All of southern Illinois has been declared drought disaster area as of this morning.
So, yesterday early afternoon, a neighbor from up the county line dropped in for a visit, some sun tea and a chat. I hadn't seen or spoke with her for a while and the lady brought her 3 young daughters with her. Boy, have those little girls grown since I last saw them! Anyway, they came for a visit with 4 paper sacks of zucchini and 6 plastic grocery sacks of sweet peppers. I did a little cooking, sharing what I know about zucchini and some of the ways it can be prepared. I also broke out the dehydrator and shared some pepper dehydrating techniques. It was a nice visit with an old acquaintance.
The dogs have finally met my little skunk buddy. I've kind of made a farm mascot out of her, she lives in the wooded patch up on the corner of the property and comes around looking for food on occasion. She's pretty friendly and I've even hand fed her a few times. The dogs decided she was fun to mess with last night so I had to call them in. She didn't spray them but she did give a warning shot. I fed her a little cat food to make up for it. The dogs paid me back for ruining their fun, they crapped on the kitchen floor overnight! Bad dogs. Sometimes I wonder who's in charge here, if it's me or if I'm just deluding myself, LOL.
Just a few minutes in the front garden and I found this healthy bounty. The goat chewed tater tire stack is going to be completely turned over in the next day or 2. The harvest shown here is just the top tire the goats pushed over on me. Nice little harvest for this weeks meals. Even with the drought, I made back my seed taters with just this so anything else is a bonus.
Thanks to everyone who comments here, I am grateful you share what's going on in your area with me. I am saddened to read so many are struggling with the heat. With no a/c, I know exactly how you all feel! Today is 25 degrees cooler than this time last week and I've already sweated myself soaked today. I've got plenty of catch up work to do around here. While I'm pretty acclimated to the heat, I still don't like being out in it and working anymore than anybody else does. Being soaked with sweat all day is bad enough without dust and flying dirt sticking to me, LOL
ARG, Mondays scattered showers brought the farm about 4 rain drops! All around me got at least a little but me, I didn't get a spit. That figures. Eh, I'll just keep plugging along I guess. I don't have much choice, LOL
Thank you R.D. I got your note and appreciate your help and words of encouragement. With your help, I've got all this months bills covered and I sold $22 of produce at the farmers market for next months bills. The blackberries have been good sellers but the crop is dead now so I'm going to have to come up with a new cash crop for the market. Maybe the heirloom tomatoes coming on will sell well.
I did a quick walk thru yesterday afternoon in the big garden. The sweet corn is coming along good, still a couple weeks from ready tho. The kidney beans are growing like mad and are covered in pods. That should be an excellent crop and give me a good base for the winter food supply. The banana peppers are showing some heat damage on the fruits but I'm going to cull and clean up the plants so the new fruits coming on will be stronger. The melons are growing like mad with a dozen or so softball sized sugar babys and tons of tiny cantaloupes. Those are always good sellers not to mention a personal favorite or mine. Could be decent enough to carry me at least part way to spring. I'll figure out how to cover the rest when the time comes. I've still got goats and rabbits I can sell.
The heat wave has kind of sort of broke and we lived thru it. Total critter loss, well, it isn't pretty but it stayed to just chickens and rabbits. I'm not totally wiped out but it's close.
The farm is being teased right now with pop up storms that have cooled it off some but no rain yet. I can smell the rain that fell less than a mile from here and it's an even bigger tease.
The onions and garlic have been pulled, they just didn't make it thru the heat wave. no amount of watering in the raised beds helped. Most of the garlic didn't make more than a round bulb with only about a dozen actually making a clove. I would consider the garlic a total loss. Onions did alright, most were smaller than I'd like them to be but none rotted and are drying nicely.
My persistence and watering efforts have paid off in the ground gardens with a pair of eggplants for tomorrows supper. Palm sized and perfect!
The first coming ripe tomatoes are showing the toll of the heat with blossom end rot on them and a couple showing the stress of intermittent water supply. Even with watering them on a regular basis, the heat was sucking it away too quickly and starving the plants of the moisture they need for perfect fruits. Hopefully the cooler days coming will allow me some good fruits for the dinner table.
Itty bitty eggplants! I'm working every night on keeping to garden alive. The old wives tale of not putting your plants to bed with wet feet just isn't swaying me much. The ground is so darn hot by sun down anyway and if I water in the mornings, the plants look scalded all day from the evaporating moisture.
The eggplant is in a row I didn't put the woodchip mulch down on and the weeds are out growing the produce just like they have done every year on me. I plan to do this whole front garden in the back to eden wood chip plan next season. Possibly the bigger gardens too, we'll see.
Not really too much has been going on here on the farm. It's horribly hot and with the brief storms rolling thru, the humidity has now hit us. The evenings were nice as it cooled down until that darn humidity rolled in. Now, even 70F is uncomfortable with the sticky air. I wasn't looking forward to that, the air that you wear. I would have gladly passed on that this season, hot or not. Oh well, the good times never last, LOL.
I'm actually pretty pleased with myself, I've managed to get a couple small side jobs done around the area and I'm just $50 short for my bills for the month. I don't think I'll have too much of a hard time with $50. I've got a couple problems with my little purple farm truck I'm trying to figure out. I think I need a battery and a solinoid. The barneymobile freaked out on me Tuesday afternoon. Always something around here, LOL At least I've managed to keep all the rest of the critters alive thru this nasty heat!
I know you all can't see it but it's raining. Not very hard, just a drizzle but still moisture. This will probably make it horrible humid once the sun comes back out and it's not enough to even knock the dust down. Still, very refreshing and I joined the critters to stand in it with my eyes closed. Cloud cover, damp skin and a nice, light breeze is a nice combination!
So, our meet up yesterday was very nice! Even with the extreme heat, folks truly interested in being more self reliant braved mother natures worst to join us. The Thunder 5 is farther along than I am with a working solar power system and much more in depth animal production. One of the highlights there is the wood mill. A log got milled and turned into a picnic table that was then given away to a participant of the meet up. There was also an entertaining and informative tutorial on making and canning pickles. I especially enjoyed that because I make lousy pickles! I got to be the Chef for the day. I had forgotten how much I hate charcoal cooking, LOL Even tho I fried the heck out of the pork shoulder roasts first thing, a quick, occasional spray with the hose gave me a wonderful, juicy end result on the ham. I also managed to not burn the hamburgers, LOL
Now, the Thunder 5 and the Double M (me) will be working on building up a southern Illinois homesteaders alliance. Built with and around locally grown foods using real homesteading techniques (old fashioned, no chemicals, no feedlot/confinement etc). We will be working to bring as many small farms and homesteads together to provide the clean and healthy foods everyone needs as well as encouraging and promoting a more self sustaining and self reliant lifestyle.
Yes, all of 2013 and part of 2012 are missing from the blog. You can thank Mike H for that. Almost all of those posts were about our great friendship and our partnership in farming. You all know how that turned out!