Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 8-3

Can you believe it’s August?  

It doesn’t seem possible that so much of the summer has just slipped by already.  It also doesn’t even remotely feel like August…it was only 48* here two mornings during the past week.  Generally, we are facing record-setting heat.  This year, the low temperatures are flirting with, if not breaking, record lows.  It’s not just here, either.  The three big airports in the DC area all broke records for low overnight temperatures for the month of July. Weird weather continues to make news across the country.

The cool weather means that the gardens have hit that late summer slump about a month early.  Those green tomatoes from last week are still green…and zucchini production is nearly non-existent. (that does seem truly unbelievable).  But, amazingly, the peppers and okra are starting to produce.  The succession plantings of beans, cucumbers and squash are nearly ready, but everything seems to be in slow motion. If it would warm up some, and we’d get some rain…the gardens (and the pastures) would be unstoppable.
Here's hopin'...
Tiny Brussels Sprouts

Okra loves the heat
I have no idea how it is getting ripe this year!

yellow wax beans

This has been one of those weeks that really can’t be captured in photos.  We went and picked up the latest cuts of lamb.  But, a SUV load of coolers full of meat doesn’t make for nice shots…and although I’m pretty sure we were the only folks tooling down the interstate with a load of frozen lamb meat in the vehicle…nobody would have ever known.  But, it is nice to have more lamb available, because sales have been pretty steady this season.  We came home to an enormous box of recipe booklets from the American Lamb Board.  The board publishes some beautiful materials to encourage the eating of lamb and we’re happy to utilize this great resource.
I am doing my best to increase American lamb consumption

We spent some time putting up beans and tomatoes for winter.  But, again…not a real “picture worthy” activity.  Sometimes, I feel just slightly selfish when we spend time (and use a lot of farm products) for our own use.  Then, I remember, that is why we started doing the whole homestead thing in the first place! We wanted to eat well.  Selling to others was just one of the positive outcomes to growing more and more.

The Boss is in charge of the canning process
Open flame, pressure cooker and propane...
he can HAVE that job!

The rest of the week really didn’t yield many pictures, either. We hauled sheep, went to the dump and kept up with the general maintenance jobs around here.  The Boss did some mowing, but it really doesn’t look much different.  I cut the furballs from behind Gus’ ear, but you certainly can’t tell.  And, we picked and packed and went to Market, but all the veggies are gone…

We did change out the gate behind the barn. Correction, the Boss changed it…I just assisted.  The ewes did all they could to “help” as well.  There “help” consisted of standing around complaining and sticking their noses where they didn’t belong…and then completely freaking out for no reason and galloping away.  (the new gate is really scary looking---if, that is, you’re a sheep)

new gate being put to the test

no hope for this gate
"Ya gonna open this thing, or what?"

The old one was completely shot…4,000+ pounds of anxious, hungry sheep pushing against it finally broke the welds.  The ewes are completely convinced that they are quite literally starving to death between feedings and jostle each other around, slam against the gate and occasionally jump up in the air and fly over it to get to the small amount of grain they eat each day. We really have had "flying" this. It always makes me think of the running of the bulls…just a slightly smaller, calmer, woollier version. It was important to get that job done before Waylon joins the flock for his yearly job.  (I don’t want to spoil the surprise…but, it IS the first of August---)

clean, empty greenhouse
look quick, this doesn't happen often!
When I went to start some more seeds for fall planting, it was evident that something of the rodent persuasion had made its home in the greenhouse.  There were huge holes in the ground and lots of chewed up plastic. (no, Gus can’t get in there…so I couldn’t blame him)  I could have sworn I saw some kind of critter out of the corner of my eye as I walked by the other day, but I thought I was imagining things.  Oh, bother!  There was no point in starting seeds if there might be mice (or worse) in the house, so I spent some quality time cleaning and organizing.  It looks real nice now and the Boss set some mousetraps as the first line of attack. Here’s what happens when mice get in the greenhouse. Read this.  I haven’t caught anything so far, but look at the seedlings!

Squeekie did her part to provide a little excitement to an otherwise uneventful week.  As I walked out the back door, I thought I’d stepped into the set of one of those crime shows.  She looked dead.  She was unresponsive.  Just about the time I was thinking we needed to make a little chalk outline and investigate…she woke up.  Once she was awake, she decided that I owed her some cat cookies for the disruption.


Seriously, can't a girl take a nap around here?

So...I'm awake.

Friday, we woke to rain…glorious rain.  You could hear the entire farm breathe a sigh of relief.  However, it was very short-lived and we had bright sunshine by afternoon. I was more than a little bummed by the change of weather, but, we’ll take what we can get. Even if it is just a tenth of an inch of rain.

The Market was amazing (again).  This week we had the Executive Chef from Mary Baldwin College (located right in Staunton) doing a cooking demonstration.  Cooking demonstrations seem to be a great fit for the Market, but I am always surprised how few folks seem to stop and watch and learn.  It must be disappointing to the chef. He did use some of our veggies and the dish he made looked quite tasty.

Speaking of the Farmers’ Market…August 3-9 is Farmers’ Market week.  I hope to write something about the Market each day for this entire time. (hope is the keyword here)  The Farmers’ Market is very near and dear to my heart and it’s a great experience for those on both sides of the table.  If you have any questions you’d like to see answered…now’s your chance.  Let me know if you would like to hear about a specific topic.

I apologize if today’s entry seems hurried and disjointed.  The Boss and I set off on an early morning “adventure” that included the possibility of eating out for breakfast (a very rare occurrence) and was sure to involve a "little Drama".  (Toughchick just read that sentence and did the “oh mama!" eyeroll). 

It was weird to milk something SO small
Since the kids are all off to a housewarming party at a friend's new dairy (have fun with Katie & David, y'all!), I volunteered (or was drafted) to milk the tiny goats in the Draft. Everyone behaved, I was fairly successful and the Boss did get some breakfast. ...and now we're back on the hill, ready to do our regular Sunday stuff...
Meet "Drama Queen" - otherwise known as "DQ"
she's actually a nice little milker
(and I did NOT make up her name)

Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Have a Happy Sunday!

Hope you’ll come back again real soon!


  1. Hey Farmer Lady!
    The expression of The Squeekster looking for the cookie is Classic Cat. She DID look like she had shuffled off there for a while.
    And re: you "milking" the goat. Looks more like you're getting a froth on your latte to me! LOL!

  2. Of course I will be back again real soon Barbara -just as soon as your next post. I find your farm life absolutely fascinating and love reading abouit that market.