Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 7-13

Here’s a look back at some of what we accomplished this week.  …and all without any serious mishaps. (YAY)

Sunday afternoon, I took on a job I’d been dreading.  Ellie Mae really needed a good brushing and a trim.  The Pyr’s thick, double coat makes for some very uncomfortable canines in the summer months. Hot, sticky weather and copious amount of shedding dog fur don’t make for good times in my book, either…but, since it was cooler and somewhat breezy, we spent a little quality time with the brush and scissors in the shade of the big maple in the backyard. I didn’t take into consideration that the breeze would pick up and dog fur would go drifting all over the Valley. (if you heard reports of snow drifts…it was just me…brushing the dog)  I raked up all the fur, filling a five-gallon bucket (and then some) but looking at Ellie, you’d never even guess she got a haircut!

Monday afternoon, when I got back from the town run and the Boss finished rearranging the barn,  we hauled hay.  There were two kicker wagons for us and we were incredibly glad that Blondie came to help. THANKS BLONDIE! (a kicker wagon is different from a hay wagon in that it has high sides to contain the bales as the baler just flings them up into the wagon…it’s not stacked neatly like it is on a hay wagon…) I didn’t really care what kind of wagon we got as long as we were getting hay. We have nearly 300 bales of hay stacked in the barn, with another load sitting in the hay guy’s shed waiting for us to haul home when we get the chance. We were all glad to get that hot, hard job out of the way! (and the sheep will be glad for the sustenance come winter)
unloading the kicker wagon

the view from the top of the wagon


we even took time for Blondie's felfie

I’ve already chronicled Tuesday’s trip to the zoo.  Did you read it? 

watching the Boss till from the green bean patch
When we got back, the Boss worked on readying the potato garden for planting while I picked and picked and picked.

If I say I’m tired of picking green beans, someone is sure to say I’m complaining….but…well…

I've lost track of how many beans I've picked...
and there are still MORE!

we planted 250# of seed potatoes
red, white and gold
As we planted the potatoes, we prayed for rain.  Okay, who am I kidding?  We’ve been praying for rain for quite some time now.  The soil in the potato garden was just dust and the grazing paddocks are looking pretty pathetic.  Later in the week, we did get a quarter inch…but, that’s just a drop in the bucket as to what we really need. (pun intended) It’s one of those summers where the rains are going all around us.  I visited Toughchick over in Draft (about 15 miles away) on Thursday and was astounded how lush and green everything was. I am definitely suffering from “rain envy” (if there is such a thing).

We took a break Wednesday evening and had supper at Blondie and T-Bone’s since Blondie’s best friend was in town for a couple of days and she wanted to see her “southern family”.  Good food and good times! 
Blondie made a delicious supper

Next time, Katie's David should be here for a photo

Katie's cheesecake was wonderful
While we were visiting here in the Valley, a calf was born on Katie's dairy in Maryland
I'm so excited to have a namesake... "Barbara"

lamb with bottlejaw
note the pale, anemic eyes
Thursday morning started out with a bit of a glitch.  One of the lambs was showing signs of bottlejaw. When lambs (sheep) are infected with a certain type of parasite, their jaw swells up and they look like they have the mumps.  Parasites can kill lambs fairly quickly as the lambs become terribly anemic, so prompt action had to be taken. (there went MY plan for the day) The lambs were corralled, health conditions assessed and medication administered. (we’re still not certain that the sick lambs---there turned out to be two---will indeed recover)

Can I just say something right here?  Medical treatments (herbal/allopathic or both) are necessary on the farm---ANY farm. There are those folks who think that animals should never, ever get any type of medication.  Those folks have apparently never watched an animal die. They couldn’t have…or they would want to do everything they could to bring the animal back to good health and stop the suffering.  When we medicate animals, it is not without careful thought, deliberation and veterinarian advice.  Animals are never treated close to slaughter…there are strict guidelines/rules as to the withdrawal time for any medications.  And medications can be costly, so they must be used judiciously. But, without the medical intervention, the loss of the animal is almost certain. Providing the best care possible for our animals is our responsibility as good stewards.  And, despite our very best efforts sometimes they get sick and need treatment.  Just as caring for yourself and your family occasionally requires treatment and medication, caring for our animals requires the same things.  Farmers/shepherds/ranchers need to have those options. (okay, I’m done)

It stayed foggy until afternoon

As I mentioned above, we actually got some rain on Thursday, so harvest day started out very cool and foggy. (a nice change, actually) This time of year, there is a LOT of stuff to pick, so comfortable weather is a great bonus. …and boy, was there a LOT to pick! We picked and packed ALL day.

I think he's posing

It was another beautiful Market day.

getting up early does have its benefits

like the view on the drive in to town

Can't fit everything in the picture!

some of the first crop of tomatoes
Tomatoes made their first Market appearance this week, and they were GONE by 8:30!  

There were tons of customers, the Boss and I were incredibly busy for nearly the entire Market.  Honestly, those five hours of selling at the Market are the most intense five hours of the week.  All the planting, picking and packing can be hard physical work, but selling at the Market requires a whole different skill set.  While it’s stimulating and educational…and fun…it’s also incredibly challenging mentally (and sometimes physically).  Customer interaction is imperative and you just never know what might happen. It always feels real good to get back to the hill and have lunch (and a big glass of sweet tea).

this big, ugly tomato didn't make the Market cut

And, now, since there is a flat of culled tomatoes (they weren’t nice enough for market) in the middle of the living room floor and a bag of green beans in the cooler, I’m thinking our “relaxing Sunday” might be cut very short today and the canner will be coming out to start its annual duty of preserving Summer’s bounty for the long, cold days of winter that are sure to come.   …and then those cukes should be worked up…and did someone say onion relish?  Uh, oh…we’re almost out of bread, too…

Off to the kitchen!

Looks like it might be time to recall  the little engine that could. (you do remember that story, don't you?)   As you can see, it’s happened before and will happen again…that’s just life on the hill.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!

-image by T Leighton Womack 

Come back and visit us again real soon!


  1. 'I think I can' remember the story of the little engine Barbara. Every week I am totally stunned by the amount of work you both do - and how you seem to enjoy it. And while we are on the subject - how do you get those green beans so straight??? Lovely post as usual - particularly liked to see you all enjoying yourselves out for a meal with friends (and the cheesecake looked to die for)

    1. We really do enjoy our life/work, Pat. It's a good life.
      Aren't those beans great? They are called Provider. We've grown them for years in all sorts of conditions. They also grow in bunches so they are easy to pick!

  2. Great blog! I picked some more blueberries and cut some swiss chard a bit ago. Ate some blackberries off the bush as well. Need to find something else to plant as I have some open space in my garden now. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Thanks, Mark!
      You could plant greens, root crops or maybe some cole crops. Check out Territorial Seed Company's Fall and Winter Catalog, it should give you some good ideas.

  3. Hi Barbara!
    I feel pathetically lazy compared to you. But, after a while, I realized the Lord isn't ASKING me to do hard physical labor. He's asking me to do other stuff.
    PS. Don't know if you read it or not, but Pat over at Weaver has suffered the loss of a neighbor dear to her heart.
    Um, you better watch that lamb now that he nows how to access the Web or the UPS man might be delivering all kinds of odd stuff. "Honey, did YOU order the lamb a Christmas Sweater??"

    1. I'm glad the Good Lord doesn't ask us all to do the same things...wouldn't that be boring?
      I saw that Pat lost a dear friend. That's always hard. I made a little comment and will remember her in my prayers.

  4. Great blog! I picked green beans also last week. My canner and I will be spending some time together today. Our tomatoes are still green, cant wait until they are ready!
    Have a great week!

    1. Thanks, Lori! Hope your canning was successful.
      Doesn't it make you crazy waiting for the first tomatoes of the season? It never seems to last long enough, either. Nothing like fresh tomatoes. mmmm
      Have a good one. :)

  5. Happy to have found this blog! Great stuff! As new property owners, we are inspired!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! ...and for taking the time to comment.
      I hope you'll visit often. Best wishes in your new endeavor.