Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 10-12

The first frost of the year signals that it’s time to get serious about those preparations for winter. (yeah, I know, I don’t really want to think about it either) But, the clock is ticking and before you know it…

With that thought in mind, the next to last batch of broilers made it to the freezer this week.  We transported the LAST broilers of 2014 to their home in the back field. 
catching broilers

hauling broilers

plucking broilers

cleaning up after processing broilers

And, we said a little prayer that the weather will hold until the first week of November so we can get them processed and in the freezer. Since we do all the processing ourselves, in the backyard, I am absolutely serious about praying about the weather.  We are gambling that the weather won’t be cold and miserable for that final processing day. Even if it is miserable, we will have to muddle through and get the job done.  We’re just hoping that doesn’t happen.
last batch of broilers in the brooder

broilers outside

After the broiler processing and relocation, the next job was to clean the brooder.  I didn’t realize we had a brooder cleaning team!  Ellie and Gus hopped right up in the brooder to sniff around and eat the little “tidbits” they found. Just in case you didn’t know…farm dogs are gross, but we love ‘em anyway. 
When the dogs got done with the brooder, the Boss set to work.  I knew that he was going to do a thorough cleaning, but I really didn’t expect that the brooder would be halfway demolished when I got back from my work in the hoophouse.  But, the wooden sides were starting to show signs of age and he decided to go ahead and rip them out and replace them before the layer chicks arrive.

So, a trip to Lowe’s is the first order of business for the new week.  The layer chicks are scheduled to arrive on Friday!

After struggling through a long and dusty August and September…it seems October is going to make up for any rain deficit.  In the past 10 days, we have had 3 inches of rain! 3 inches!  We certainly can’t complain about any sort of drought now. Although, we are still short for the year and you never fuss about rain. (well, you’re not supposed to) The rain is too late to help much of the garden, but it was time for the squash, tomatoes and beans to end anyway.  There are still broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and turnips producing in the gardens. …and the fall potatoes are still in the ground.

The rain softened the ground nicely and the Boss is hoping to get the seed garlic planted this week.  The seed stock arrived last week and looks nice. By planting the garlic now, we will have fresh garlic for sale in July.

Since the wet weather precluded a lot of outdoor work, I spent a lot of time in the hoophouses and greenhouse.  There is always something to start, plant, weed or harvest.  The damp earth and lush green plants make for a nice oasis no matter what the weather is outside. When I am not completely overwhelmed by weeds, I love to spend time in the hoophouses.

In one of my many trips to the hoophouse, I encountered this Wheel Bug. Otherwise known as the Assassin Beetle, these are some of the creepiest looking bugs out there. We have seen them on the farm for years, but this season there seem to be multitudes of them. Recently, I have heard all sorts of horror stories about them. There has been a great deal of news coverage concerning their bite and the diseases they carry. 

The problem bug is actually the “kissing bug” Triatoma   a different member of the family. Read more here.  The wheel bug   Arilus cristatus is actually one of the good guys, feeding on Japanese beetles, aphids and tent caterpillars.  I wonder if they enjoy eating stink bugs.  We certainly have more than enough of those! They use their long proboscis to penetrate their prey and suck the blood.  However, they are not aggressive toward humans and shouldn’t be feared…just respected. (and avoided) 
they are creepy looking

...and this one is only 1/2 inch long!

 Like all the other creepy creatures: snakes, spiders…bats…they actually serve a purpose in the natural world. Personally, I'm all for anything that will eat pests.  Okay, I’m done with my public service announcement for the day.

The rain continued to be a story throughout the week, making Friday’s harvest day more than a little soggy and Saturday’s Market…well, it was WET!  …and cold. …and dark.  Honestly, no one had much hope for any sort of sales when the Market officially opened at 7am.  But, one of the local bands provided Dixieland music which was the perfect antidote to the dismal weather.  Many of the customers commented on the cheery atmosphere and I saw more than one person dancing along through the puddles! And, sales were surprisingly good.

7am at the Market
the streetlight went off minutes later
(and it was DARK)

After hours and hours of standing in the cold and wet, it was SO good to get back home where it was warm and dry.  Even if it was nearly time to go back outdoors and do afternoon chores.

With more rain in the forecast for today, it looks like the perfect day to catch up on some inside jobs and make the most of the opportunity by watching the movie Farmland.  This documentary was made by the award winning James Moll and has a lot of folks talking about Agriculture.  It looks like it runs counter to a lot of those other films that make some farmers out to be the bad guys, so I have high hopes for it.  If you want to watch it, it’s free all this month on Hulu.  Here’s the link.

There are more chances of rain forecast for the upcoming week, so all those pressing end-of-season jobs may get put off for a while longer.  The potatoes are waiting, the garlic is waiting…and hoophouse #2 needs a new skin. The brooder HAS to get finished and all the garden clean-up needs to be done.  But, first we have to go pick up the lamb chops! This week is either going to be very busy and successful or frustratingly re-worked and re-scheduled. We’ll have to wait and see. Like the Boss always says, “we’ll be flying by the seat of our pants!” (no, I don’t know what it means either…but, it is funny!)

Here are just a few shots that didn't really fit, but they were so pretty, I thought you should see them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Hope you have a Happy Sunday!

Come back and visit us again real soon!


  1. I get tired just reading of your busy life Barbara. I hope your market continues all year round - I would miss seeing the photo each week.

  2. Hi Barbara!
    1. Pretty frost limned leaf. Reminds me of a teenie-weenie watermelon slice.
    2. Layer chicks. What kind of frosting goes best on them?
    3. Wheel bugs. Had them bad last year because the oak worm caterpillars were dropping like rain around here. This year only saw a handful. I was Fervently praying they wouldn't be around this year because I panic when I see one. I am so afraid they will hurt Josephine if she paws at them.
    4. Think I might check out Farmland this evening. I like films like that. Saw a Fabulous documentary about the singer Bobby McFerrin yesterday. We were visiting brother and his wife down in Leesburg.
    5. Re: seat of pants flying. From a Sydney Morning Herald article: before advanced instruments, pilots would have use the feel and slide of the seat to tell how the plane was moving. Ah-ha! Learned me something new today. Had to dig around a little to find the origin. Happy Flying, dear!

    1. We watched Farmland yesterday afternoon. It was the BEST movie I have seen about farming (and yes, I have seen most of them) It was very balanced and had a positive message. I don't think most folks think about the people behind the food they are eating. The cinematography was great!
      Thanks for the info on "pants flying". The aviation reference makes sense as all the Womack men were crazy for airplanes back in the day.
      Have a wonderful week! (don't set any phones on fire---you have to tell the story---seriously!)