Not much happened here on the hill in the past 7 days. We’ve reached that point in the summer where it seems like we’re just going through the motions, getting through the day(s)…waiting for the rain.
Since we can’t do anything about the rain, more specifically the lack thereof, it’s best to keep focused on the things we can do.
One of those things was for the Boss to cut up the big cherry limb that had fallen along the property line during one of those rainstorms that are now dim and distant memories.
Now tree removal is not a generally priority job around here. For instance, out front you can still see the remains of a white pine that twisted off in the Derecho 6 years ago. And, it’s probably going to stay right there (at least for the foreseeable future)
However, as fate would have it, while the big limb missed falling on hoophouse #2,
|from this angle it looks like a disaster...|
but, it was a big mess
|part of the broken tree|
|really glad the vine all over the tree was Virginia Creeper|
and NOT poison ivy!
A little sidenote here…the wild cherry can be poisonous to livestock. The leaves can be consumed while they are green without incident. However, when the leaves are wilted, they release cyanide and have been known to be fatal to cattle, horses and other livestock. So, while it would have made the job easier to have the sheep do a little defoliating first, that would have been most unwise.
|lambchops "on the hoof"|
But, before any tree trimming could happen, we needed a new chain for the chainsaw. Of course, that meant a quick trip to town. Which wasn’t so quick because the chain is an odd size and Lowe’s didn’t have it in stock. So, we headed off to another home improvement center in another town...
Mission accomplished. When we pulled in the driveway, the Boss exclaimed, “well, look at this!” At first, I didn’t see what THIS was. There along the fence was a tiny fawn, trying desperately to escape us. No, wait…there were two fawns!
|I only got one quick shot before it darted off|
They were running frantically back and forth, crashing into each other and banging into the fence. Gus came galloping up to the top of the driveway to see what the commotion was. At the precise moment he reached the gate, one of the fawns shot through the woven wire fence (I told you they were tiny…the squares are just 4 inches square). I was certain we were going to see Gus have a meal of fresh venison… But, that tiny creature took one look at Gus lumbering toward him/her and sailed right over the fence into the front paddock! The other baby bolted out the driveway when I opened the car door, and that was the end of that excitement.
While I will be the first to agree that deer are beautiful (and I really didn’t want Gus to lunch on the fawn), I am not a “bambi lover” either. In this part of the world they are becoming a serious problem. They cause incredible amounts of crop damage, often carry disease that can affect livestock and are the source of countless vehicular incidents. (read about deer in VA)Co-existence is a big issue and the state has a lot of regulations for their control and management. I would call them a nuisance, but that term is reserved for other species.
Like the groundhog.
Which leads me to our next wildlife story of the week…
I could have sworn I heard the “weet!” of a whistle-pig (did you read this one?) as I left for town on Monday morning, but I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. There were places to go and things to do before it got unbearably hot.
|Gus wasn't paying attention at this point|
With my errands completed and lunch finished, I was heading out to do some work in the garden when I noticed Karma staring intently at the tree in the back yard. Come to think of it, she had been focused on that tree since I got home. Suddenly, she started circling and barking and then she tried to “climb” the tree. At first I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary as I scanned the tree.
|all four feet off the ground|
Wait…right there in the crotch of the tree…what’s that?
|do YOU see it?|
Karma had treed a groundhog!
Then, Gus decided he wanted in on the action and much hilarity ensued.
|Gus tries to climb the tree|
Now, the only solution to the situation was to get the Boss (and his pistol) and have him dispatch the blasted creature. Please understand that groundhogs are considered a nuisance species and the fewer of them around the better.
When the beast fell from the tree, Gus thought he had a prize. He grabbed it and ran off.
Not so fast, buddy! Karma worked a long time to get that groundhog (I’ll be willing to bet that it was in the tree when I left for town and I did indeed hear it whistle) so she wasn’t giving up without a fight. And, she was triumphant!
|Not so fast, Gus!|
She took her trophy off to the orchard where she enjoyed a little “groundhog al fresco”. (I do hope that method of disposal met with all ordinances) Which, for the record, she did NOT share with Gus. He really needs to work on his speed if he wants to dine on wildlife. That was twice he missed out in the course of two days.
|Karma wins in the end|
Most of the time we’re not watching wildlife adventures and our life is pretty much the same old routine. And, that’s good.
|rows and rows of fall potatoes|
|you can't use rotten potatoes for seed|
|mowing in anticipation of planting potatoes|
(see the dust cloud?)
|the wax beans are ready!|
|planting potatoes is back-breaking|
|aphids on zucchini blossoms|
|time to move the broilers outside|
|catching the broilers|
|Karma and I stand guard for escapee broilers|
|Angus heard the lawnmower coming and wasn't taking any chances|
he hid behind the tree until we left the broiler field
|working the ewes|
|this might be the extent of the peach harvest|
|but, the tomatoes are looking GREAT!|
But, it always surprises me when other people notice our predictability.
Wednesday morning, I got a phone call from the Post Office. The chicks were waiting for me.
Picking up the chicks can be a daunting task. (okay, daunting may be too strong a word) You have to go to the back dock, where all the mail is delivered. Sometimes, it is chaotic with lots of big trucks coming and going, employees scurrying around, boxes flying through the air as the mail is sorted and sent off with the carriers. All the signs say “NO unauthorized personnel past this point” might have something to do with the feeling that you really shouldn’t be there. The first time I went, I had no idea where to go or what to do. And, I couldn’t find any “authorized personnel” anywhere. I tentatively made my way inside, fully expecting to be reprimanded somewhere along the way.
But, that was a long time ago. I've been going to the Post Office on a monthly basis during the summer for years now. This time, I pulled up to the dock and walked through the door without giving it a second thought. I greeted a couple of employees before someone recognized me. He waved from across the sorting room.
“Oh, hey! Got your chicks right over there!”
We walked back to the dock, where the box of chicks was sitting on the holding rack. We talked for a few minutes and I headed back. “see ya next time!”
|heading home with my little chickies|
It wasn’t until I was nearly halfway home that I realized I hadn’t ever shown any identification or even said my name. Predictable…yep, that’s me.
|putting another batch of broilers in the brooder|
If that wasn’t evidence enough, after we made our all-too-often-dump-run, we stopped at our regular after-the-dump-run-lunch spot. The waiter greeted us with “Hey, guys! I’ll be right there with your sweet tea!” I’m pretty sure he could have even placed our lunch order for us. (we may need to shake things up a little at some point)
But, that’s one of the great things about living in a small town. People know you. They remember you. They look out for you. And, while we have made some changes over the years, the knowledge that folks know and care make us feel good.
|another pretty Market morning|
And, that’s why lots of folks enjoy the Farmers’ Market. That feeling of community and connectivity makes Saturday Markets special. I know that's why I like it. In many ways, the Market is the highlight of our week. With National Farmers’ Market week fast approaching, I hope to write a few posts to commemorate our 20 years as vendors.
|pretty produce at the Market!|
the peppers are from Ulmer's Mountain View Farm
and the gladiolas are from Flower Fields in Raphine
But, for now…
Have a Happy Sunday!
Thanks for stopping by! Come back and “visit” again soon .
...and know that we’re one day closer to rain.
|another hot sunrise|
on the hill
Want to "visit" the Market virtually? Click HERE.