Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 6-21

ewes grazing on a June afternoon

It’s SUMMER! (well, almost…officially summer begins at 12:38pm…but, close enough) It’s felt like summer for quite some time now and this week was no exception.  It was hot! And humid.

muggy sunrise

I’m fairly certain I sound weather-obsessed.  It comes up in just about every post and quite honestly, weather is a topic of perhaps the vast majority of my conversations. Looking at it that way, I must admit, it does sound like an obsession.  However, weather affects EVERYTHING we do. AND…our only selling opportunity is a 5-hour window in an open-air market. So, yeah, weather is a BIG deal.  And, I can promise, I WILL talk about it again before I end this post.

Other than heat and humidity (and a tropical storm in the offing) this week was one of job alliteration. I’m pretty sure that’s not a real thing, but for this post we will pretend it is.
the hens kept cool by putting their heads UNDER the henhouse

First we had MEATY Monday.

During morning chores we captured all the broilers and hauled them back to the house for processing after breakfast.  We’ve gotten fairly efficient and a couple of hours later we had everything cleaned up and the broilers were chilling in the walk-in cooler.

So, we packed the portable coolers in the back of our vehicle, got a little lunch in town and headed off to the processor’s to pick up the lambs that were now chops and roasts and sausage. As usual, the meat looks great, thanks in no small part to the great team at Gore’s Processing. …and yes, we did have lamb burgers for supper!
broiler ready for packaging and freezing

freezer full of lamb

Tuesday was my TOWN day for running errands. But, before we could do anything---even eat breakfast---we had to move broilers to pasture. This would later prove to be a very good thing.
the chicks are not too  impressed with their outdoor digs

 I also needed to bake a birthday cake for son-in-law #1 so we could deliver that and some awesome bar-be-que (from Sooners in the Draft) as part of our “birthday celebration”.  However, before I could finish the cake, my phone rang and…you guessed it.  The Staunton Post Office was letting me know that there were some chicks waiting for me to TRANSPORT them back to the hill. I hurriedly finished the cake and headed back to town, leaving behind a disastrous kitchen. 
my travel companions

I wonder just how many chicks have lived in the brooder...

With the chicks tucked in the brooder, I cleaned up the birthday cake mess (should have taken pictures of that...there were chocolate cake crumbs, cherries and whipped cream in the oddest places!)  As a testament to our failing senior brain cells, we had two cameras at the occasion and didn’t take even take one picture of the birthday “boy”, his family, or the birthday cake. Sorry, y’all!

a whole lot of supplies have to be hauled out back
just to shear one ram!

Wednesday was WET and WOOLLY. 

Thankfully, not at the same time.  

With soaring temperatures and no relief in sight, we decided it was time to shear Waylon. He needs to be as cool and comfortable as possible during the heat of summer as he will be back in “action” around the first of August.  While he is a wonderful ram and we will both be extremely sad to see him leave the hill, he is also more than a little intimidating.  He’s just SO big. (he probably weighs three hundred pounds)  One of his hooves fills my hand…and he truly hates to have his feet touched.  But, we clipped his wool and his hooves without incident. The heat and humidity meant that the clean-up job was stickier and smellier than usual. I’m here to tell you there’s a very good reason “eau de hot ram wool” cologne is not a popular scent. 
before shearing


freshly shorn and wonderfully cool


With an eye to the weather (again) the Boss decided to make a dump/fuel run. ...and we finally got all the ewe wool out of the barn!  Tropical Storm Bill was due to make an arrival and the predictions were for up to THREE inches of rain.  With the kind of grass growth that would produce, it would be best to be prepared. 

Showers started just as we returned home.  We ended up with about 5/8 inch, although our daughter who lives on the other side of Staunton reported 1.30 inches! (yes, my weather obsession did indeed affect the next generation) But, that was just rain…Tropical storm Bill wasn’t supposed to hit the area until Saturday. Yes, Market day.  Bad weather on Market day is always a concern, particularly when the Boss has music scheduled…

Thursday turned into a day focused on TRACTORS and TRANSPORTATION. The Boss is working on a trade-in deal on the garden tractor.  Honestly I don’t understand all the particulars since I don’t handle the mowing, tilling and tractor-related stuff.  But, he headed out to the local John Deere dealer to talk to the salesman and kick a few tires.

While he was gone, the fella from the Farm Bureau called and reported that the Boss’ special order was in and requested that someone come pick it up.   Again, “not my department”, so I can’t say that the super-duper dog kennel purchase looked exciting to me.  But, I assure you, just wait…the Boss has big plans for that, too, even though it did require yet another TRIP to another TOWN. 
I can assure you that the Boss' plans for these kennel panels have
NOTHING to do with dogs! (stay tuned)
Then, it was FINALLY FRIDAY! 

Good Friday morning from the hill

It always makes me laugh to hear people talk about “dress-down Friday” and the end of the workweek. We never dress UP around here and it’s a toss-up as to whether we work harder on Friday or Saturday. We spent the day preparing for Market, just like we have every Friday for the last 18 years.  The zucchini finally made an appearance this week...and the summer lettuce is coming on...

green and gold zucchini

summer lettuce

baby zucchini
by picking the tiny ones, I can skip picking on Sunday

Next week we will have green beans!

Another “F” for Friday…the FLEA beetles have made their bothersome appearance.  And, just last week, a customer commented on the lack of holes in the arugula. Sadly, the leaves were somewhat hole-y for Satuday’s Market.
flea beetles feasting on arugula

Saturday is always about SALES as we head to the Market.
time to head out to the Market

Everyone was talking about Tropical Storm Bill which was due to make an appearance at any time. The dire predictions were still in force and lots of folks were worried about high winds and flooding. 
However, the weather held for the Market.

our silly sign worked
we sold a couple hundred dollars worth of lamb
Our customers had been waiting patiently for lamb to return to our product line-up, so we had a good sales day and lots of happy people…and it didn’t rain on the musicians!  That makes for a successful Market. Want to see the Boss's Market photos?  Check  this out.

here come the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill

The rains from Tropical Storm Bill arrived after we finished afternoon chores and continued sporadically into the night.  Despite the dire predictions, we only got ¾ inch of rain, although it looked like the places on the other side of the mountain must have seen some big storms and I’m guessing very high totals.

Sunday is a generally a SLOW day around here. We even SLEPT in…until 5:30am. (old habits die hard)

And, that brings us to the end of our alliteration week here on the hill.

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!

beautiful morning after the rain

Thanks for stopping by.  Come “visit” us again real soon!


  1. Alliterative reply: phantastic photographs, perfect produce, terrifying tropicals on the way; luscious lamb.
    Do wish I lived somewhere near that farmers' market.

  2. Like Pat, I too wish I lived near your market. Would buy one of those broilers every week, I think.
    Such a lot going on as usual. Always feel a bit "tuckered" after reading your posts. Holey greens
    says organic to me.


    1. Wish you (and Pat) were nearby. The Market would be so fun if all my internet friends could visit! (not that it's not fun)
      If holey greens say organic...these were "beyond organic". Some of them looked more like swiss cheese! lol

  3. Hi Barbara,
    I just wrote a nice, long comment. BUT I THINK BLOGGER, WHICH HATES ME, MAY HAVE LOST IT. Lemme know, please. Sigh.

    1. Oh, Josephine...I am so sorry, I think you're right and your comment is lost. Sorry Blogger won't play nice with you.
      Thinking of you (oh, and Maureen, of course)