Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 5-31

 Even Gus and Ellie work as a team 
Can you believe it’s already the end of May?

You wouldn’t believe how many times I heard that exclamation at yesterday’s Market.

Tomorrow IS the first of JUNE…and it’s starting to look (and feel) like Summer around here. The planting work is in high gear, and it won’t be too long until we’re harvesting like crazy, too.

With the shearing out of the way, (did you read this?)  it was time to get back to our regular routine…

setting up irrigation in upper gardens

I always feel just a little bit bad when I head off to town for the feed run, leaving the Boss working here on the hill.  But, as he says, somebody’s got to do it. And, since he’s not a big fan of town and/or grocery shopping, the task falls to me. 

Because, TEAMWORK keeps this place going.

I really like seeing what has changed along my route since the last time I was out.

lots and lots of HAY
This week, it was evident that hay season is in full swing.  During the next few weeks, enormous amounts of hay will be carefully harvested and stored for the upcoming winter months. Our “order” has been placed and we will be waiting for that call from our hay guy.

Back home on the hill, the planting continued…
newly transplanted okra

While I was gone to town, the Boss got the okra seedlings transplanted.  We have had so much trouble with corn root maggots eating the seeds in the past that we are trying transplants this year. I know, who would think that a pest with CORN in their name would eat the okra seeds?  Apparently, they’re not too picky and will eat just about any seeds. We have had problems with them in the early plantings of beans, too.
hauling pepper plants to garden

With the threat of thunderstorms looming, we decided to get the peppers planted and get everything mulched before planting the tomatoes. That way, we could protect the tomatoes in case of severe weather. We mulch as many plantings as we can to conserve moisture and keep down the weed pressure, using the aged, waste hay from the sheep’s winter in the barn. And, despite the amazing amounts of waste, there’s never enough.

After delivering the mulch to the beds, the Boss headed off to other jobs, leaving me to finish up.  Again, teamwork.  He does the heavy stuff and operates machinery, I get the hand jobs that require some level of finesse. Our division of labor has kept things running on a somewhat even keel for years and years now.
mulching okra

bush-hogging the front paddocks
While the neighbors are haying, the Boss is bush-hogging and mowing.  For the most part, the sheep take care of the grass.  But, during the early flush of Spring/Summer, even the ewes’ endless appetites can’t keep up with the growth.  As prey animals, the sheep do not graze well when the grass is tall (they need to be able to see what’s around them) and they can end up with eye problems from the grass poking them repeatedly. So pasture maintenance is important. Our property is not conducive to hay harvest…too many hills and rocks…(and we don’t have the equipment) so, the Boss mows. He deemed the front flowerbed a lost cause and bushhogged it, too. But, he did pick a pretty bouquet for me first!  It makes me a little sad to give up the flowerbed, but…you just can’t do everything.
the bouquet IS pretty
and I must admit, the front yard looks much better!

Signs of summer are beginning to appear…finally. 

It’s time for garlic scapes! 

one of our customers calls these
Hardneck garlic sends up a seedstalk just prior to harvest time.  If left to its own devices, this will eventually turn into a flower and make seeds. Since we are looking to harvest the bulb and not seeds, it is important to direct the plant’s growth back into the bulb.  So, the seed stalk is cut off.  However, this is not a waste product.  Not at all!  Garlic scapes can be used like scallions, giving a little crunch and garlic taste to all sorts of dishes.  Years ago, nobody knew what they were, and you couldn’t give the things away.  Now, we have customers requesting them weeks in advance.  They’re only available for a limited time, so they have become a much sought-after late Spring delicacy.  Read more about scapes here. (there even are some recipes)
LOTS of scapes

baby cauliflower
For all my lamenting over the broccoli crop, there are signs of some beautiful crowns out there…and the early cauliflower looks to be the nicest ever.  The leaves are tight around the little heads, protecting them from the harsh sun and will keep them bright white and also prevent “ricing”.  When cauliflower is exposed to harsh weather, the heads will separate (ricing) and get a purple tinge to them. This doesn’t affect the taste in any way, but they won’t well since they aren’t pristine.  But, it doesn’t look like that will be a problem this year.
Now, THAT's what a baby broccoli should look like!

nothin' like fresh puddle water to drink!

Friday afternoon brought a huge, unexpected thunderstorm.  While I’m pretty sure the local hay guys weren’t real happy, we really needed the rain. It was getting a little dusty around here.  We measured 1 ¼ inches of rain in the gauge in just over an hour. We won’t need to irrigate for a couple of days at least. 

one quick shot before sales begin for the day

After the rain, it was a beautiful Market day. (the humidity didn’t build until later in the afternoon) Good music, lots of folks...that makes a good market.  Check out this week's  photos on Facebook.

Those garlic scapes certainly didn’t last long!  I’ll have to head out and harvest the rest real soon.
It was hard to keep the basket full

The upcoming week will see us finally getting the tomatoes in the garden. Even though the bad weather missed us, the tomato plants are still sitting on the trailer. Because…well, there are never enough hours in the day.    Yes, tomato planting is a top priority…otherwise, we might end up harvesting tomatoes from the utility trailer! (nope, not a good idea since we need the trailer for other things)
there are little tomatoes on the plants

The first load of lambs will be heading out to the processor this week, too. That means that we’ll have lamb chops (and all the other cuts) for the Market in about two weeks.  Good timing!  The freezer is just about empty.

…and that was the week on the hill.

Thanks for stopping by!

Hope you have a Happy Sunday!

I know the multi-flora rose is a nuisance plant to farmers everywhere...
but, it's so pretty...and smells so good!

Come back and “visit” us again real soon.


  1. Just love reading what you have been up to on the farm all week Barbara - so very different from our farm and so interesting - the farmer stood and read it over my shoulder - was amazed at the amount of rain and also your comment that it meant not irrigating for a couple of days. The weather is still cool here and that amount of rain in a day would mean no irrigation for at least a fortnight. Shearing time is nowhere near yet and in our little veggie garden peas and broad beans are just poking through the ground. Very cool and windy today.

    1. It has been quite warm and windy of late, and we haven't had any measurable rainfall in at least two weeks, so it was very dry before the rain. Great for haying, bad for gardening.
      It's always so interesting to read about other operations in other locations!