Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 9-13

Since I’ve told you about HOLIDAYS here on the hill---

and, I’ve explained to you the issue of "STC"---

…I could probably just type COMBO-DEAL for this week’s walkabout and leave it at that. Because that pretty much describes the week. It was a weird holiday/not a holiday week with more than a few unexpected twists and turns.

Monday started with broiler processing after breakfast. We’ve got this task down to a science and can get the whole thing done in just a couple of hours. It is quite possible that set-up and clean-up take longer than the actual job.  However, by lunchtime all the processed chickens were in the cooler, the mess had been cleaned up and the aprons and towels were all in the washer. 

Gus took it upon himself to help in the clean-up by taking the position of chicken-feather-eater. Honestly, I wasn't aware there was such a position, and I certainly don't want it for myself. So, eat on, Gus!  blech
He loves wet chicken feathers

While the Boss worked on the drainage project at the barn, I headed out to the gardens.  

If you look past the mammoth weeds and the gross and dying tomatoes, you can actually find some delicious stuff coming on for fall harvest.
between late season blight, last week's hail storm and cool nights
the tomatoes are about done

the broccoli is ready!

green beans are coming!

gold zucchini is producing
...and new potatoes...

With the broilers processed and the garden tended, Tuesday was set for my town run.  But, not before we put the chicks out on pasture.  Because according to my emails, our last batch of broilers for 2015 had just hatched and would be in the mail sometime during the day.

last day in the brooder
Nothing untoward happened in the broiler transfer operation.  Oh, except there is this one teeny-tiny broiler. 

big chick, li'l chick
For some reason (he/she probably has some physiological anomaly) it just is not growing like the others. This happens from time to time, there’s nothing we can do to correct the issue and the chick may not survive, but for now it doesn’t seem to have any problems keeping up with the bigger chicks and made itself at home IN the feeder! 
Li'l chick in feeder
doesn't have to fight for a place with the big chicks

While I went to town, the Boss (and Gus) worked to finish the barn project. He put down a rubber membrane, a drainage pipe, and lots of gravel. 

Yes, indeed, a French drain will solve our water problems in the barn! We just needed a rain storm to prove it. The forecast said that would happen in the very near future.

With a little drizzle in the air, the Boss headed to the hoophouses to till so I could plant later in the day when it was raining.  He hoped to get the winter squash harvested as well.  And, I was going to work up the tomatoes and apples and zucchini that were threatening to take over the kitchen…

But, first…we had this little discussion…

You know how kale is SO popular right now?  You know how we seriously cannot keep up with demand? Well…there are some empty beds in the upper garden…we have the seed…it would be best to get the seeds in the ground before any rain…

So, before he tilled in the hoophouses or harvested squash and before I cleaned up or planted…we seeded kale.  Lots and lots of kale.

And, totally threw that day off course…of course.

While we were in for lunch, the Boss got a phone call that changed the course of the afternoon. (How the Boss actually even got this phonecall is still a mystery, since his phone rarely has enough signal here on the hill) The chicks were at the Post Office! Since the chicks had been shipped on Tuesday (due to the Monday holiday) we weren’t really expecting them until Thursday. The brooder was clean, but not ready for habitation. So, forget the harvesting, forget the planting…he headed out to get the brooder ready and then he would start harvesting. I grabbed my keys and headed off to town. I would attempt to salvage my plan for the day upon my return.

batch # 8 looks just like all the other batches

look, he still has his little egg tooth

When I got home, I passed the tractor sitting in the driveway with a load of squash in the bucket. I thought that was a little strange, but the chicks needed to be tucked in the brooder so I didn’t give it much thought.

It was a hot, hot day, so they really needed that little drink as I placed them in the brooder. Some of them stood around drinking for quite a long time. And, I probably stood there watching them for far too long…
thirsty babies

a drink is priority

getting a drink

I guess his feet were hot, too

When I got back to the house (for my own drink of water) I checked in with the Boss. Oddly, he was sitting in the office in the middle of the afternoon. Just sitting.

Apparently, he had hurt his leg somehow (I’m thinking all that gravel spreading) and since every step sent shooting pain through his hip, walking was pretty much out of the question. But, he had been right in the middle of the squash harvest…and he really wanted to get it finished before the rain…so, I turned down the tomato sauce simmering on the stove (it could wait a little while before it got canned), watered all the transplants I was intending to plant in the hoophouse (they could wait a little while, too) and headed out to help him with the squash.

LOT of butternuts
isn't this tiny one cute?

Thankfully, he had gotten most of it done before he hurt himself, so despite the change of plans and the heat, the job was completed and the squash stowed in the shop prior to choretime. And, if it hadn’t been for the broody hens, I really wouldn’t have minded doing his chores as well.
broody hens are mean
this is just before she pecked me

He didn’t want to make a trip to the doctor, so we decided to give it some time and see what happened. Thankfully, with some rest, the heating pad and more than a few Ibuprofen, he was pretty much back on track by the end of the week. 

Just in time for Friday harvest.

Friday started out just a little foggy. That always makes harvest difficult. And, it got foggier. And foggier. When I headed out to work at 7, visibility was about nil.  However, by 9:30, it was beautiful and clear.
the upper garden at 7am

the upper garden at 9:30

Harvest seemed to take forever. When the Boss did the inventory sheet for Saturday’s Market, I saw why…we had a lot of stuff!
a collage for Facebook showing  some of our market offerings on 9-12

But, the forecast wasn’t looking at all favorable. RAIN is one of those four-letter words you shouldn’t use on a Saturday morning during Market season.  When the weatherman uses the word “wash-out”, it’s very concerning.

It was dark and gloomy when the Boss left for Market, but it wasn’t raining. So far, so good.

I felt just a few raindrops as I did chores before leaving to join him at the Market. Still, not a problem.

Once we were set up for sales, the heavens opened. 

as the Market opened...
There would be no need to worry about the vegetables dehydrating during the Market…they were all soaked. At least the canopy was up and we would stay somewhat dry.
well, we didn't have to worry about the cabbage wilting!

With a street festival happening elsewhere in town and the dark, wet day, the Market seemed doomed. But, the band decided to play, lots of customers brought their umbrellas, and eventually the skies cleared.  It was actually a great Market day! Here’s the link to the Boss’ pictures of a very wet Market.

Amazingly, we didn’t get a drop of rain on the hill.
but, check it out...
all that kale I seeded has germinated!

So, now it’s time to re-group. Re-focus.  And, maybe get those apples sauced after all.

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

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


  1. I love the way Barbara that you are always pessimistic when rain is forecast on market day and your fears are always unfounded. You have loyal customers who love your produce.

  2. I'm having a "have to work on my faith" day today (Friday the 18th) and it is bright sunshine! May God grant You sunshine and a Stupendous Market Day tomorrow.
    Hope the Boss's leg be better. I just had my insurance company deny an MRI of my right shoulder. I would deny it too. Nothing wrong with my right shoulder. Need MRI of my LEFT shoulder. Sigh...
    Your loving friends, m & jb

    1. Oh, you are in my thoughts and prayers as you "work on your faith". Hard times indeed.
      Thanks for the good wishes for the Market. I have reached the point in the season where I am kind of tired of the Market (and everything else at the moment) 10 more. Let the countdown begin!
      The Boss' leg is better. Just FYI...this getting old thing...ain't for sissies! Sheesh, there's always something falling apart.
      Gotta love insurance. NOT! Back in another lifetime, I was the insurance co-ordinator for a small hotel company. It was my job to argue with the insurance company over those things they didn't want to pay. Oh, good times! Again, NOT!
      Hope you get it all worked out and resolve the health issue that requires the MRI in the first place.
      Off to feed the sheep.
      Love and prayers from the Valley.