Whew! What a week.
I must say that events of this week have left me (not to mention the rest of the world) shocked, saddened and disheartened. The actions and reactions of people both at home and abroad have been unfathomable.
However, I’m pretty sure you don’t check in with the happenings of the hill to hear me philosophize about world events…or my own personal “issues”.
So, I won’t.
The week on the hill was...well, a Summer week on the hill. It was busy, it was hot, it was productive and it was successful. And, I’m quite happy it’s behind us.
Monday morning was broiler processing day for June. Now, I don’t know how many batches of broilers we have done over the years. There have been a lot. We’ve got this thing down-pat. It’s almost like some sort of dance where we each know our part and we go through the motions with little debate and discussion. We can get the entire job (from chicken catching to yard cleanup) done in a couple of hours. It’s definitely not the most pleasant of jobs here on the hill, but it is a necessary one if we want to eat and sell chicken.
All was going well. The chickens were caught, the processing shed was tidied and ready to go. We headed in for breakfast.
When the Boss headed back out the door, he found that it was a good thing it wasn’t a long breakfast break. The hydrostat in the scalder had shorted out and flames were travelling up the side, melting the insulation and licking around the edges of the plywood top.
|fire damage to scalder|
He quickly put out the fire (too bad I missed that shot) and had started to assess the damage before I even walked out the backdoor.
|not the way to start processing day!|
We certainly were not going to start processing broilers right after breakfast like we had planned. And, for a tense few minutes it looked like we weren’t going to process at all. Or we would have to postpone the job until someone made a trip to town…
Thankfully, the Boss is SO handy and can fix so many things. He was able to rewire and get us back on track without a trip to town or a huge delay. YAY for the Boss!
Despite the unexpected excitement and the acrid smell of melted insulation and plastic lingering in the air, we still got the project completed prior to lunch and managed to salvage the day. …and the chickens are all in the freezer! (just in time, we were nearly sold out...again!)
Later, Tbone, Blondie and Mr. B came over for supper. As we talked and ate, I thought I heard a lot of commotion from the lamb paddock. But, the conversation required my full attention, so I did not head out to check (like I usually do).
After the kids headed back home, I went out to check gates and secure things for the night. The lambs seemed particularly jumpy and noisy, requiring further investigation. The first thing I do whenever there is an “issue” with the lambs is to count heads. We were missing a fair number, so I headed out to hunt for them. Before I could get to the paddock, I noticed that the electro-net gate was opened. No. It wasn’t opened. It wasn’t even there. It was complete gone. That couldn’t be good! It also meant that the missing lambs could be anywhere on the front half of the farm. I really didn’t feel like a hike down the front hill after a long day. But, thankfully, I could see lambs further down the hill in the tall grass. When I called they came.
But, we were still missing one.
Oh…there she is!
But, what in the world?
Somehow, one ewe lamb had gotten hung up in the electo-net and was now wearing the gate. It was indeed a sight to behold! She was thoroughly tangled in the wire, it was cutting into her wool and hobbling her. She couldn’t even stand upright. And, of course, this was terrifying to all the other lambs who would shriek in terror and run off when she would get anywhere close to them. And, as a flock animal, she needed to be with them. This explained the commotion during suppertime.
Since she still had a gate post attached to her electro-net ensemble, I was able to grab that and subdue her so that I could use my Leatherman and cut all the netting off her. She was none the worse for wear after her adventure. But, we will be needing a new gate!
|when she ran, she stepped on the net and down she went|
|she was tangled in at least 8 feet of net|
**Electro-net is a wonderful invention that I love and hate equally. It’s a fairly inexpensive fencing option that we use quite a bit. One of these days I’ll have to do a post on it.**
|for the record she is FINE|
and she wasn't getting shocked...the fence was turned off
(which probably allowed the incident in the first place)
With the lamb “crisis” solved, it was time to end the day and move on to other things. (thankfully)
On Tuesday, the broccoli/cauliflower harvest began in earnest. But, I really didn’t expect it to take hours…
Last year’s crop was a dismal failure. I think we harvested something like 25 pounds. The weeds and bugs were beyond description. Really. It was horribly depressing and the Boss finally just bush-hogged the whole thing because we couldn’t stand looking at it.
This year is a completely different story!
The plants are gorgeous. The weeds manageable. And, the bug damage minimal. (and for the record…we did everything the same all-natural way we always have)
By Thursday we had harvested nearly 300#! And, there is much more. Wowee!
On Wednesday, the Boss decided to tackle a critical job that neither of us was looking forward to…getting Angus shorn. I can’t imagine that ram shearing ranks as anyone’s favorite farm job. Rams are big and strong and somewhat unpredictable.…the wool is greasy and smelly. And, Angus in particular has been known to have an “attitude problem”.
|and, we're done!|
|He knows he's handsome!|
But, he behaved himself in an exemplary manner. He was shorn without incident. He even had his hooves clipped, de-wormer and vaccine administered. And he is handsome! It is amazing how he filled out in the past year.
|look how LONG he is and that WIDE top|
he passes these traits to his offspring
Just six weeks until he joins the ewe flock to work on the lamb chop crop of 2017!
The rest of the week was more of the same old, same old. The Boss harvested the garlic, we planted some more, weeded some, seeded some and put up cauliflower for Winter Sales. The beans and squash are blooming. The Boss cleaned out the brooder and the next batch of chicks arrived.
|storm comin' in|
Thursday evening, we were in for a big storm. After our experience with the Derecho, I get concerned any time I hear the term “straight line winds”. There is little you can do to prepare for such a storm and nothing you can to do avoid it. So, you worry and pray…and watch the radar on your phone.
The pictures of the lightning and double rainbow north of here were really cool, but, the reports of hail, downed trees and power outages were not. We were thankful for the rain (nearly an inch) and the fact that all the wild weather split in half as it came over North Mountain and we avoided any damage.
|after the storm|
Definitely something to be a part of "thankful Thursday".
On to harvest day…and preparation for Market…more picking and packing...
Market day was gorgeous. The air was clear and cool. The customers were in a buying mood and the music was lively. It was a great day.
|another great day|
Here's a link to some pictures. https://www.facebook.com/stauntonfarmersmkt/photos/pcb.10154030710816141/10154030710681141/?type=3&theater
|aren't these beautiful?|
One of our customer-friends brought us a box of his hand-crafted chocolates as a gift. They are the most beautiful candies I have ever seen and I don’t know if I can bring myself to eat them. They are truly works of art. You can check them out here. I think we should try to convince him to become an addition to the Market!
…and, now it’s time to rest, relax and re-group prior to another busy week of Summer. (and maybe make a birthday cake...)
Have a Happy Sunday!
|Here's to a new week!|
Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” us again real soon.