Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 8-31

I’m sorry to say…but, it’s been a pretty boring week here on the hill.

That’s despite two (yes, TWO) trips to the dump, changing the ram marker and the annual delivery of firewood. (thanks, Wes!)
Sissie appears to approve of the new woodpile

But, there is just something about August that makes for dull farm news.   Although, the weather has been unusually nice.
a "little" foggy at 6:30am

same view at 1:30pm

Maybe it’s that the routine has become monotonous---just how many times can I pick beans? ---is it time to get ready for Market again? ---haven’t we canned or frozen everything we need for winter…and then some? Maybe it’s that we feel like we’re in a holding pattern---it’s too soon to process lambs and broilers…the seedstock garlic hasn’t arrived yet (and it’s too early to plant that anyway)…it’s too late to plant anything in the garden. Maybe it’s just time to move on to something else.
MORE beans

chard is STILL going

lambs heading out to pasture

The outdoor growing season is beginning to wind down.  While all the rain last week was wonderful…it also brought out the late season leaf diseases that will spell the end of the squash and tomato crops far before our customers are ready to see them end. …and it’s too late in the season to start any more.  Sad days indeed as we say “so long” to the quintessential crops of summer.

It’s nearly time to move on to the crops of fall.  Broccoli, Cabbage, Winter Squash, Potatoes and Brussels sprouts top the list.  …and speaking of Brussels sprouts…

Despite the whole Brussels sprouts debacle (did you READ this?) we actually have the best looking Brussels sprouts crop ever!  But, the plants needed some attention before we will be able to harvest the sprouts.

Brussels sprout plant before
The plants grow quite tall…about 3 feet…with large leaves extending outward from the plant at regular intervals.  The sprouts grow at the juncture of the leaf and plant.  By removing some of these leaves from the plant, we force the energy into larger sprouts and it allows good air circulation to encourage growth as well. (it also allows us to inspect for pests and pest damage fairly easily) Since our operation is so small, this work is done by hand and the hens get to feast on the bounty of plant waste.  I cooked up some of the odd and random sprouts for supper one night despite the fact that it was a little too early to eat them. (a frost is said to bring out the best taste)  We should be able to offer them for sale at the Market in the relatively near future, which will grant a successful ending to the saga of the Brussels sprouts of ’14.
sprouts on 7-14-14

sprouts on 7-31-14

pulling leaves

sprouts on 8-25-14

sprouts in the pan

two pullet eggs as compared to a regular egg
I guess there is some news after all…we are beginning to see pullet eggs.  You do know what a pullet eggs is, don’t you?  A pullet is a young female chicken.  When they begin to lay eggs (somewhere around 20 weeks of age) the eggs are quite small and the production is rather sporadic.  Hence, "pullet egg". Within about a month, the eggs reach “normal” size and the hen is laying an egg about every 26 hours.  It seems like we’ve had this batch for ages and we were happy to finally see that egg laying has begun.

I love me some 'taters!

And, then the Boss checked on the fall potato crop and look what he found! (Guess what we ate for supper)  Just a couple of weeks and we will be able to take them to Market. 

This week we should know if Waylon has finished his job with the ewes.  By changing marker colors, we will know if any of the ewes didn’t “take” the first go-round.  All the ewes got marked during the first yellow marker timeframe.  I am really hoping we won’t have any re-marks. This post from 2012 explains this whole process a little better. Read this. If everything is a go…we’re looking at a barn FULL of lambs around mid-January. I am really looking forward to this as we have SIX new ewes in the flock this year.  I can’t believe I am going to say this…but, come on, January!

yes...those are baby green beans!
Despite the odd summer weather that is quickly coming to an end, the garden continues to produce…and the Market continues to set records. This week was no exception, despite the fact that we didn’t have any green beans.  (of course, they are ripe now, so I will be heading out to the bean patch later TODAY) The Market is a challenge, physically and mentally, but it’s also a lot of fun and we had great music again this week and that always adds to the experience.   
Opening of Market day

Sarah Lynna performs at the Staunton/Augusta Farmers' Market

end of the day

…and…I guess that does it for the week here on the hill. (See?  I told you it was boring!)

Oh, we did have a couple of "visitors" to the hill this week.  The dogs went crazy for at least a half an hour as they spotted a turkey in the brush across the lane. It finally flew off, much to my relief and the dogs' dismay.
Look close...there IS a turkey!
Then as the Boss grilled for supper, he was joined by a praying mantis.  The mantis even brought it's own meal! Kinda gross, but kinda cool.  Praying mantises (?) have to be my favorite insect.  Did you READ this?

Tomorrow is “flip day” (you know…when you flip that calendar page) as well as Labor day…so maybe we will see some real changes as we move into September. 

The light is already beginning to change

Hope you have a Happy Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by.  Please come visit us again real soon!


  1. It is always a happy sunday when I have read your farming blog Barbara. I always enjoy reading what you have been doing - you both work so hard and with such enthusiasm. Your mention of Waylon reminded me of a story I read in a newspaper about a male guinea pig who escaped from his pen in a childrens' section of a zoo and fathered 100+ babies before he was caught again..

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Pat!
      What a funny story. That must have been one busy (and happy) guinea pig!

  2. Beautiful pictures, and the praying mantis one is awesome!

    1. Thanks, Kellie!
      I just love praying mantises...they seem so friendly! (and they pose for the camera, too)