Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Fall really here?

Geez, it seems like this year has just flown by. September is just about over with. I feel like I've forgotten something, just that nagging feeling like I set my coffee cup down somewhere I shouldn't have. Hmmm, wonder what it is? I've put up a good supply of eats from the garden, the sheep is close to butcher, the chickens are all laying, the rabbits are bred, the feed corn is about ready to be harvested.... ah, I don't know. Maybe this feeling is on me because I haven't planted the wheat yet or finished the corn crib.

Looks like workmans comp won this round, Hubby is going back to work and they've not done a single thing to fix his injury. Isn't that the way it goes? Ah, we'll just deal with it like we always do, one step at a time.

My cheese making is back in full swing now. I've just pulled a wheel of traditional cheddar out of the press and I'll probably make some Colby tonight. Even tho I've been making cheese 3 days a week, there's still none in the fridge when I go to get some! The kids are on it pretty hard. Guess I need to start hiding some in the crisper bin or somewhere if I want a piece for myself!

The corn crib is moving along slower that I had hoped. The pallet wood is harder to work than I remember it ever being. The planks have the little spiral nails in them and they just don't want to give it up. It's going very slow and it's very labor intensive. But, I don't have much choice, I can't find any other free plank wood at the moment. I may end up harvesting the corn and leaving it in old feed sacks until I can get caught up on the crib building. I may not have the crib done enough to hold any corn in time. It's not the building of it, it's just a simple box construction with slat walls with spacing for air movement on a simple frame. The pallets are just whippin me at the moment.

We've lost our window for the last 2 fields of hay to be cut. The rain swept thru here with a bump and a growl, dumped 6" of rain on us with some hail and 70mph winds and now it's in the 40's overnight, 70's during the day. Way too cold to cut hay, it will simply not dry with the temperatures that cold and so much ground moisture. I figure I lost 700 square bales but what can ya do? Too cold is too cold. That'll teach me to loan my equipment out to friends and neighbors...

It looks like winter is coming up on us pretty quick. I've hardly cut any firewood yet, it's on the schedule for this next week right after I get the rest of the round bales moved home. I've still got plenty of trees down around the property line from the inland hurricane we had earlier this year so finding the wood won't be a problem. Just the cutting and stacking and finding the time to do it. The waterway between me and the wood is a bit iffy right now, still full of water from the rain and I know I'll be stuck if I try to drive thru it. Mental note, put a waterway crossing on the list! LOL

I've found a recipe for some home made ice cream and I'll be trying it out in the next couple of days. if it goes well, I'll share the recipe......

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Raining!

It's been raining since some time last night. That's okay tho, the house really needed some cleaning! I've spent the day grinding wheat for bread and making up some sweet cakes with all the eggs I've got in the fridge. Hubby and I got 20 big round bales moved home yesterday, just 36 more to go. It went slower than we thought but it all went smooth so no complaining from me!

I haven't done any more work on the corn crib since it started raining, I need to tho.

Looks like workmans comp is going to make hubby go back to work without doing anything to fix his injury. We kind of figured that would happen. He's a bit aggrevated and I'm a little miffed over the whole thing but he's decided to just tough it out until he can't take it anymore and we'll try again.

We're still behind on our bills, no big surprise there! LOL I have to laugh because if I don't, I'll just cry. It's hard to not worry about it tho. I've already had to dip into the winter stockpile of food, good thing we had a decent garden harvest or I'd really be sweating over it.

Everything here on the farm is in good order and everything is as it should be. I can't wait to get a home computer back, I have so many pictures to share. The tobacco is flowering, new kittens, all the hay, the new chicks, the baby bunnies.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Long lost days

Wow! I've been gone a long time! I hope you all didn't think I forgot ya's.... The hard drive on my home computer finally gave up the ghost. The bugger froze up on me and stayed that way for 3 days. like a dummy, I finally tried to reboot it. Big mistake! I watched it go out on error and continually try to reboot for 4 days before I simply wiped it all out and tried to reload Windows. 6 tries and it finally took the program only to get to the validation key page and there it sits. It won't accept the validation key! Well, it's off the computer guru guy now, have no choice. It'll sit there for a couple of weeks while I catch up on all my overdue bills around here.

Okay, now that that's all out of the way......

Farm update time!!!!

The hay baling finally went my way. All the bugs are worked out of the haybine and 120 acres of hay later, I have 96 5x6 round bales and 600 square bales! Now I can sell a little hay or try to sell some and hopefully catch up on my bills.

I've been collecting the scrap wood around the farm to build the corn crib. I'm just at the bottom framing stage, a couple 2x6's to hold the scrap pieces of plywood I have and a couple short 2x4's pieced together to make the sides. Not real sure where I'm going to get the wood for the walls, perhaps I can get some inferior pallets from the feed mill. They usually have a pile of scrap pallets there for free. I spent part of last night straightening out some nails I can use to hold it all together.

The young chickens I took pictures of this past spring have hit egg laying age! I'm now getting a dozen and a half eggs every day, I'm thrilled! I only ask $1 a dozen for them and I do have 2 customers. Every tiny bit helps.

I'm having some trouble getting my rabbits to cooperate with me after they're summer layoff. I don't breed them during the hot summer months, I feel that it's too hard on them nursing kits when it's so hot. But now that it's starting to cool off, I can't seem to get them back in the swing of things. Maybe I need to change up the feed ration.....

I had the day off yesterday since it was raining, we needed the rain BTW, so I made meatloaf, fried potatoes, corn bread , a loaf of wheat bread and some corn on the cob. Geez, hubby thought he died and went to heaven! We've not had such a good meal in about 3 weeks! Hard to cook a fresh home cooked meal when you are spending 14 hours a day in a hay field.

I also made 2 wheels of cheese while I was slaving away in the kitchen. I made a 3lb wheel of Monterey Jack and a 1 1/2lb wheel of Colby. I am thinking about making some herbed Cheddar tomorrow.

Oh! I almost forgot, we've got a bun in the oven, the goats came into season and we've got a bred nanny goat! I'm so excited, this will be my first baby goat.

Well, since I'm on the Library computer with a time limit, I better get after the rest of my business... I hope I can get my computer fixed quick!

See you all soon.......

Friday, September 11, 2009

Country Reflections

What a beautiful day, wasn't it? I just spent 6 hours today in the hay field. I raked all day. Down and back, down and back. Gives a person lots of time to ponder the world and think. I spent a little time thinking on 9/11. I watched it as it happened on TV, talking to my father whom I called right after the first tower was hit. We sat together, 300 miles apart and watched it unfold from different ends of a phone line. Our world was forever changed on that fateful day......

I got a bit of a break today, the radiator on the tractor had a bunch of grass in it and the farm I am on right now does not have running water. It does have a well but no pressurized water to clean the radiator out so I limped the old John Deere home for a hose out. I needed to put a roll of hay out anyway and I'll rake that small field that I cut the other day on my way back to the big field. A nice break tho as I would have stayed out there until dark.

I should be all done cutting hay by Monday. Then I'm going to build the corn crib(pictures of course). After I get that whipped together, I'll build the layer box for the chicken house and get it installed. I'm hoping it will be a 24 hole box, if I can make it work.

One of my banty hens decided to get a drink out of the horse trough. I don't know why, she had other water easier to get to. She fell in the trough and hubby found her swimming in it. I'm glad she didn't drown but she was pretty tuckered out when he handed her to me, soaking wet and shivering. I hope she doesn't die one me, she's one of my favorites.

Polar Bear the heeler puppy is coming along very nicely, she's already got the "house broke" thing down pat. Now if her bladder would just catch up to her mind! She's got to be the smartest dog I've had in years. She makes all the black labs I've had look like idiots, Good Polar Bear!

Tonite is not a rest up night, even tho I'd like it to be. I'm working on some Monterey Jack and some Colby to go along with the Caraway Cheddar I just pulled out of the press. It smells wonderful and tastes like rye bread.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another Adventure of the day

Heavy dew over night got me a later than I wanted start today on that next field of hay. The haybine was singing like a sewing machine, just doing beautifully. 6 hours into the field the fitting on the brand new hose blew off and covered me with hydraulic oil. This is the second time this season I've been covered in it. What a sticky mess not to mention the time I lost in the field for the day. Of course, the hose is only 3 weeks old and the place I bought it from was closed for the day. That figures, glad I kept the receipt handy tho, I'm sure I'll need it..... I took this picture on the fourth round of the field, it took 9 minutes down the one side. So, 9 hours is all I got to put in on it today. Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow......

Oh, a couple rounds before the hose end blew off, I ran across a skunk. She ran out of the tall grass and I went over her with the tractor, once I passed her, she sprayed and ran back in the grass. I made 3 rounds past her before the hose blew. Goofy skunk! Of course there are always the bunnies that run out and the quail, even a good sized spotted fawn. The circling hawks looking to catch a bunny are beautiful to see overhead as well.

Sometimes when I'm out in the middle of nothing but farm fields as far as the eye can see, I'm a little overwhelmed by a feeling of just plain old freedom. The beauty of being out in the middle of Gods creation, no houses, no cars, no electric lines, it's truly amazing.

More tomorrow night.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009

Happy Holiday to those that celebrate this day. For us here on the farm, it's just another day. We've worked hard all our lives and we just don't have time to skip a day of work when we could be getting something done.

Today, since it's overcast and gloomy, I'll probably work on the corn crib. It's almost time to harvest the feed corn, which I do by hand, row by row, ear by ear. I'm going to build this crib inside the barn along the front wall so I don't lose it to another freak storm(inland hurricane). It's going to be simple construction, just a 2x4 frame and some slats for air movement.

Oh, I forgot to tell you all about Polar Bear. She's a blue heeler puppy, the newest addition to the farm. She's just about 4 weeks old and has spent the last 3 days chewing on my toes. Back in the spring, the milking neighbor worked out a deal for a male heeler so he could breed pups but he didn't want to keep it on his farm. So, he worked out another deal with my daughter to give her the dog and just breed to it. When the day came to go get the dog, the original owner changed his mind. So the neighbor just bred to him instead and promised the daughter a puppy. Polar Bear is the one she chose. The pup appears pretty smart so far which will be a nice change since we always seem to end up with really dumb dogs, LOL.

Ah, the root cellar! We had 3" of rain yesterday, a real gulley washer! The root cellar is now completely full and as you can see from the picture full of duck feathers, the ducks are loving it. Hopefully on next pay, we can rent a pump and get the water out of it so we can get building the root cellar. Guess this was one project we should have gone slower with, waited until we had all the blocks before we dug the hole. Hindsight is 20/20 on this one! At least the ducks are having a good time with it.

Got another gallon worth of tomatoes mashed, they went right into the sauce simmering on the stove. I'm still picking 4 or 5 cantalopes a day and loving every single sweet bite of them. The fall garden will get turned as soon as the rain gets out of the forecast.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Finally a good day!

Okay, the picture was taken with the cell phone so it isn't the greatest but that's a big gooseneck 30' trailer and we got 275 bales on it! Not just once but twice today we loaded that trailer plus another smaller trailer a couple times. All my hay is in the barn and the man that owns the field got his all taken care of by me today as well. It poured rain all around us but the field just got a tiny, light sprinkle! Could not have had better luck today. Of course, I still need to return the trailer I borrowed today plus fix the tire I tore up yesterday on the other borrowed trailer... Finished it all before dark even! The man is very pleased with how the fields look and the bales I made, all is great. Rough time thru it but it worked out good in the end! Sometimes it's not so bad to be a "Murphy"!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another "Murphy" day

If you judged my farming abilities by this one single hay job, you'd think I was a total idiot! This has been the most, by far, craziest, messed up hay job I have ever gotten myself into! The hay is amazing, the fields are in good shape but I have had a major breakdown every single day! First, the bearing cap on the repaired hay rake rod broke in half. I jury rigged it and got back to cutting. Yesterday, that same bearing cap had a high speed come apart and was beyond repair. So, I had to go 65 miles round trip to get another one. Fixed that, cut until dark again for the second day. This morning started out great, raked almost all of it and got to baling by 2pm. Baler worked spectacular! Ran and picked up a borrowed trailer, loaded 75 bales on it and the tire went flat! Big hole in it, probably ran a stob in it. Filled it up with air and tried to limp it to the barn. No go, ruined the tire. So, the rest of the 500 bales is still sitting out in the field for lack of a trailer! Hope tomorrow goes better!!!!!