Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 10-19

after the rains there are mushrooms everywhere!

You know the expression “better be careful what you wish for…you might just get it!” ?  Well, I can attest to the truth of the statement.

The Boss has been saying we needed a week of rain for weeks, no…months.  We finally got it. Oh boy, we got it. Since October 3rd, we have had nearly 5 inches of rain.  That’s more than the months of July, August and September combined!  (you could even add part of June!) While we really needed the moisture, I must admit…I was beginning to feel like Mrs. Noah.  And, the rain and subsequent mud totally changed our plans for the week.  But…whatcha gonna do? Just re-work the plan.  We'll try again this week to get all of last week's outdoor work done!

Monday’s soggy weather didn’t interfere with our trip to pick up the lamb chops. This batch is particularly delicious looking (but, I say that every time). 

not a pretty day for a road trip

I may have disturbed more than one person when I pointed out that there were cool, quiet lambs in the back of my vehicle on the return trip. Sorry about that.

this is how we haul lambs in my car
However, this is supposed to be the destiny of the lambs raised here on the hill.  They are meant to be lamb chops. Very delicious lamb chops.  But, I can assure everyone that they are treated with care from farm to freezer. Not only do we treat them well here on the hill, our processing company has won awards for their practices. All this effort makes for some very tasty meat.

By Tuesday/Wednesday, the rains were torrential.  But, that gave me a chance to make some headway on the sales receipts and clear some of the mountain of paperwork off my desk.  I still have “miles to go before I sleep” (not that I’m really giving up sleeping, but you get the picture). At least I can see the top of my desk again (in places anyway).

The moisture is wonderful, but there is a down-side. All the dark, rainy days dramatically slowed growth in the hoophouses. Since the temperatures are cooling and the shadows are lengthening, it seemed the perfect time to get the shadecloth off of the hoophouses. Usually we wait a little longer for this annual event and you should READ THIS to understand the importance of this activity.  But no time like the present…  Hopefully everything will start growing better with more light. Now, we will just have to keep an eye on the daytime temperatures and make sure everything stays well-watered.

the "before" shot

ready to remove the shadecloth

the Boss spends a lot of time
"waitin' on a woman"

pulling off the shadecloth

shadecloth removed

folding the shadecloth for storage

hauling the shadecloth

the hoophouse looks brighter already

Here's a story my kids will appreciate. (they think mama's just a little "tetched") 

In between rain storms the dogs started barking furiously at something across the road.  There was obviously something over there, you could see it moving about in the middle of the big open field. 

See the white thing in the middle of that field?
The dogs were doing their "alert, alert" bark

 Having recently seen the eagle, I was hoping for another sighting.  However, it was too far away to see clearly, so I got my camera.  Zooming in didn't help much.  Eighty shots later and some serious cropping on the computer and it became clear that it was a BALLOON! ...and the dogs were still barking at it. 
Nope, no bird
Definitely a balloon
Yes, I had been balloon-watching. Sad, but true.  I'm not a big fan of balloons. When balloons escape, or are released, they become a hazard to farm animals and wildlife. We once found one in the front field that had floated here from the other side of West Virginia! But, enough about balloons. And, yes, I realize that this story does serve as evidence to my total lack of productivity.

The Boss only got to one of his many jobs before the rains started.  But, thankfully it was the brooder job. And he got done. Just. In. Time. It began raining just as he got done. But he did indeed finish. Our brooder is the true embodiment of “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle” (and will be a part of the November blogging challenge--- check this out) This new incarnation is pretty cool and I was so glad he got it done and was ready when the Post Office called on Friday.

When I got to the Post Office, my first thought was that I wouldn’t be able to park because someone must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.
the truck is bigger than the Post Office
no, really!
 (the Boss’ suggestion would have been take a couple left turns, come on up the hill and put that load in the cooler!) However, the general store probably wouldn’t have appreciated that. Yes, there is a tiny store in Mbrook.  It sells essentials and sandwiches and pizza. And, if the Heineken truck is any indication, they must sell beer, too. (I’ve only been there to buy ice in an “emergency” situations)  Beer trucks aside, I picked up the chicks and took them home to the newly re-furbished brooder. 
chicks in a box

layer chick
isn't she CUTE?

They were all cold and sleepy and didn’t fuss too much as I gave them a drink and tucked them under the hover with the help of my ever-watchful assistant.
Helper Gus on chick patrol
Gus attempted to climb in the brooder along with me. He is such a help! (not)  He didn’t bother anything and even saved one chick from falling out the door.  With all the chicks accounted for, I closed the door to allow the warmth to build. A short time later, the brooder was a flurry of activity as little chicks scratched and ate and fluttered all around. While it may seem hard to believe, these little girls will start laying eggs just in time for the 2015 Market!
getting warm under the hover

And, just like that…it was time to prep for Saturday’s Market again. The weeks are getting progressively shorter, I am sure. I heard somewhere that this sensation is a true indicator of old-age…but, let’s not even go there.

looking back as I pulled out of the drive at 6:30am
the lights are the house, the brooder and Mbrook
It was DARK and breezy at opening time. A lot of vendors were missing. You can tell it's late in the season when only the die-hard vendors show up on a regular basis. There are fewer late season customers too, since the draw of sweet corn and vine-ripened tomatoes is a thing of the past. (reminder to townsfolk: the Market runs until the week before T'giving!) But, once the sun came up and the townspeople got going with their day, the traffic at the Market picked up. There was music, too, and that always makes the Market better.  This week we had a new performer who played great guitar and had an amazing voice (other performers even said so).  Here’s hoping the Boss can get him back for next season.
at 7am opening
boy, am I glad for that street light!

it's looking a little sparse at the Market

the sunrise lit up the trees at the Market

Despite the dark start and the chilly breeze, it was another great Market.  Thanks, Staunton!
 the end of the Market day

And, that my friends, was the week on the hill.

Hope you're having a Happy Sunday!

glorious weather after the rains

Thanks for stopping by for our little weekly visit.  Please come back again soon!


  1. One thing you have to learn very quickly when you are a livestock farmer (as we are too) is that you should be proud of the way you give your animals the very best quality of life, but you cannot be sentimental about their deaths, providing you give them the best possible death too. After all, if we didn't eat lamb chops there would be no lambs would there.

    1. You're so right, Pat! I wish you could come talk to some of the folks who shop the Market. They just don't "get it".

  2. The chicks are adorable, your photos are lovely, and your header is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Linda!
      I hope you'll come visit us again.
      Have a wonderful day!