Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 7-20

Summertime is in full swing!  You can’t look anywhere without seeing something that needs to be picked, planted or processed (and I’m doing my best to ignore all the weeds…).

canning on the front porch
I am glad to report that progress is indeed being made. We got that flat of culled tomatoes transformed into pizza sauce and we canned off the leftover green beans last Sunday afternoon. Three enormous cucumbers and some onions became two kinds of relish. We still need to make pickles and can some tomatoes and squash…and make tomato sauce.  But, all in due time.
pickle and onion relish

The focus of this week seemed to be meat. 

Monday, we processed broilers, again. 
Should I write a blog about broiler processing?

I lost track of which batch number that was. Four? Five? Six? I guess it doesn't matter. Because they’re done and in the freezer, waiting for sale at the Market.  

Then, we hauled lambs to the processor’s to be turned into lamb chops and the like.
evidence of my truly glamorous life
yes, that is sheep poo on my jeans

We took a side trip to a supply warehouse to pick up a gigantic roll of row cover. It’s always interesting to take a little fieldtrip. It’s amazing to me how very different farming looks in just the next county!  There are a lot of Mennonite farms, dairies and poultry houses in R'ham County…and corn, lots and lots of corn
Rockingham farms

Silver Lake
swans and CORN

when we got back from our "fieldtrip"
I was in the bean patch...AGAIN
It was raining in R'ham, but we missed the showers...again.  So guess what I did when we got back?

Wednesday, while the Boss cleaned and rearranged the barn, I planted and mulched in the last planting of squash and cucumbers. This should assure that we have fresh cucurbits until the first frost, at least.  

Then, it was off to harvest onions.   …no, wait!

from big mess...

First, the drying garlic had to be moved to the shop for further processing. It was rather unceremoniously dumped in a big heap on a sheet of plywood.  I know it looks like a big mess, but once the Boss trims off the dead leaves, it is beautiful and ready for sale.  
garlic ready for sale

Then, it was really time to harvest the onions.

I’ve written about onion harvest before. Did you read this one?  This year wasn’t much different…a lot of hand work in the bright sunshine, a lot of trips to the barn, and fans blowing 24/7. Although, there were lots more onions!  We tried a couple of new varieties that look like they did quite well, but the proof will be in the eating. There are definitely onion recipes on the menu for this week.

The onions had to get out of the garden because…well, they’re ready.  But, we also needed to make room for the hundreds and hundreds of fall brassica plants that are waiting in the trailer in the backyard. They’ve been sitting there for quite some time and finally made it to the top of the job list.  That will be our primary focus in the upcoming week.

Sometimes it seems like this place is just one big juggling act. 

The “pool chickies” finally moved from the brooder to the field pen.  They did not seem impressed.  But, look how big they’ve gotten!

And, they needed to move because broiler batch #(whatever) was arriving on Thursday. 
When I got to the Post Office, there was an enormous chick box waiting for me.  I must say, I worried all the way home that perhaps there were way too many chicks again. (that did happen once this season---we got nearly double our order---yikes!)  Thankfully, the order was right and Gus “helped” me get the chicks tucked into the brooder.  Chicks and lambs are some of the few things that he never tries to eat.  He’s always very gentle and careful of the babies.
if you were the size of a marshmallow
the sight of GUS would be unnerving

Speaking of Gus, it was his first birthday this week.  When I posted his “baby” picture on Facebook, there were a couple of requests for a current photo.  So, below are some shots for comparison. 
Gus' first day on the farm
happy Gus

Magnificent Gus

Gus eating a cucumber
I also thought it would be nice to take a photo of both dogs. How hard could that be?  In true “sibling” fashion, they were totally uncooperative and I ended up with this…a horrible shot…but, it is truly hilarious.
it looks like they're singing
(in reality, they were trying to bite each other)

In sheep news, we’re one week closer to “the big day”.  Around August 1st, we turn the ram in with the ewes. (it’s possible to have Christmas lambs) Waylon seems to sense the change in the weather and gets particularly anxious this time of year.  The Boss bush-hogged the ram paddock so we can actually see him (Waylon) again. This also cuts down on the rabbits that seem to freak Waylon out just a little.  Just two more weeks, buddy…two more weeks! 
just waiting...

Unfortunately, we did lose one of the sick lambs.  After a week of trying absolutely everything I could think of, she finally succumbed.  While this is a costly bummer, it is not like losing a pet. (and I’m pretty sure the other one will be fine) It did help me to make a decision about the ewes, though.  We’ll be taking three to the stockyard in the near future and that means I don’t have to pick and choose between the pretty ewe lambs we have been considering holding back.  I get to keep all of them! (now I’m looking forward to next year’s breeding season)

we've been so busy at the Market
I haven't had a chance to take pics of anything but our stand
(I haven't even seen anything but our stand!)
The highlight of the week is always the Market.  This season has been truly amazing!  We set a record for the season (and quite possibly all-time---I need to check my records).  I don’t think I have ever seen so many people at the Market, we were swamped nearly all morning.   But, the best part of Saturday…IT RAINED! It is getting desperately dry here on the hill (and elsewhere) so any moisture, no matter how little, is greatly appreciated.  We’re still praying for more rain, though.

But, the corn is tasseling and the butternut squash patch is threatening to take over Mbrook despite the dry conditions. The potato crop looks to be one of our best ever!

it's just a sea of green leaves
it looks like a bumper crop in the making!

Honestly, in some ways it is easier to garden when it’s dry and we have to control the irrigation. 

 That does not, however, apply to the entire farm, particularly the grazing paddocks.  They are getting dry and crunchy…and the fall potato patch looks like the dusty surface of the moon. 

              So, seriously…pray for rain!

Dry, dry fall potato garden

Well, that was pretty much what happened this week on the hill.

Hope you’re having a very
Happy Sunday!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Please come back and visit us again real soon.


  1. Barbara, I just find the amount of work you both do each week absolutely amazing - I take my hat off to you both. Each week your market stall shows just how busy you have been. How i wish I could turn up one day and take my pick of some of your produce.

    1. Thanks, Pat! ...and I wish you could turn up one day at the Market, too.

  2. I hope you get rain, anywhere but here :)

    1. Thanks, Kellie!
      I know that many folks elsewhere would like some drier weather! It's gotten to the point where every single conversation starts with "oh is SO dry!" of "We need some rain, dontcha know?"'s depressing.

  3. That's wonderful to hear you've been having such a productive market season... congrats! Your produce looks great. I've never heard of pickle relish... that sounds delicious!

    1. Thanks, Caitlin!
      I think calling it "pickle relish" is a southern thing. It differentiates relish made from cucumbers from onion relish, tomato relish, chow-chow... It tastes a lot like sweet pickles (chopped up fine). Works great to flavor coleslaw, devilled eggs and that kind of thing.
      If it's summertime, we're always putting something up for winter. Maybe I should post some recipes...