Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 7-10

This week was all about the unexpected.

this soggy daylily was the only bright spot on Monday
Monday was an unexpected wash-out. And, I do mean wash-out. Some localities saw inches and inches of rain and flooding was an issue again. Here on the hill it was just grey and soggy…and the ‘tater diggin’ job got postponed indefinitely.
the grass is amazing for this time of year
because of all the moisture

The excess moisture and the heat are beginning to cause real issues. We have yet to harvest the first tomato and we are already seeing blight in the tomato plants. The Boss treated all the plants with copper sulfate and that should keep the disease somewhat under control so we can actually have a harvest. The blight doesn’t affect the fruit per se, but it does cause the plants to drop lots of leaves and that weakens the plants and makes the fruit susceptible to scald. (that's like sunburn...and it causes the fruit to rot easily) We will have to continue to monitor (and treat the plants if necessary) to keep the plants as healthy as possible for the rest of the season. Some research may be in order.

 Every year we try something new to improve our growing practices and productivity.

tiny cuke on the trellis
This year is no exception and we are training the cucumbers up on trellises in order to avoid the issues that hard, heavy rains and excess moisture cause when the plants are allowed to spread out over the ground. While setting up the trellis and training the plants add a fair amount of work to the crop, we can cut down on the number of lost cucumbers…those affected by disease and those overlooked when the plants spread beyond their boundaries. This was the first week of cucumber harvest and they are looking beautiful!
beautiful cucumber

While lots of things are doing great, the peaches are not.
this is SO sad!

The entire Valley is going to have a peach shortage due to the unseasonably cold weather early this year. That will mean a big loss to the local economy. Personally, I had great hopes that we would have something to harvest (I was going to be happy with just one pie). However, it doesn’t look like that will happen, either. The hard rains followed by hot, hot weather damaged the nearly ripe fruit, making the fruit the perfect feast for the Japanese beetles. Bummer!

And, then there are the shallots and onions...

When you see “flowers” on the allium family, it is not a good thing. This seedstalk forms a hard center of the onions and renders them virtually unusable. I’m not real sure why this happened. I would say weather…but, all the onions didn’t do it. And a couple varieties were worse than others. So, I’m stymied.

Now, you understand the thinking behind the expression…”there’s always next year!”

the flowers do make for good photos

But, in keeping with our theme of the unexpected…

There is no way I could have expected the Boss to tell me that there was a kitten under the henhouse. Seeing a rat would be expected. (they hang out and eat spilled feed and cracked eggs) but, how a kitten (a fairly small kitten) managed to get here at all is somewhat unbelievable. In addition to the distance, there is electric fence around the chicken run and the dogs generally eat any small creatures that wander into the yard.

But, there it was, mewing away underneath the henhouse, its little pink tongue showing with each complaint. The hens didn’t bother it, but it certainly couldn't stay in the chicken pen.

Eventually, hunger won out and it took its place at the feeder, eating layer pellets like that is what nature intended tiny kitties to eat.

It wasn’t difficult to catch it. I had a few false attempts with the “chicken catching net” before I baited the rat trap with cat food.

I’m pretty sure that the Boss never expected to end up with a kitten when he told me years ago that I could keep a cat if it showed up here on the hill. That’s how we got “miss kitty”. Did you read THIS? 
no longer a resident of the henhouse
Remy is my new office "helper"

But…like I said…the week was all about the un-expected!

Some of the unexpected wasn’t so good. As a matter of fact, it was really bad. During Friday morning chores, I noted that one of the lambs was acting oddly. She showed signs of parasitic overload and we were due to administer de-wormer soon. (we had planned on the first of the week) Since we were in the midst of harvest day, we decided to wait to work the lambs until afternoon. That, however, was too late. By the time we went to round up the lambs right after lunch…she was gone. In just a few short hours, she lost the fight and died.  We rounded up the rest of the lambs, administered the de-wormer and as of right now…everyone else is fine. So much for our spotless shepherding record for this year. I hate to have losses, but they go with the job.

green beans by the handful
On a happier note, the green bean crop is amazing! By the time we picked 80#, we decided to leave the rest for later (we need to do some canning for ourselves for winter). We never expected to sell anywhere near that many anyway…then, again…that’s been the theme this week.

one of these days I'll get a better shot...

Saturday’s market was crazy busy. We had another great sales day. It certainly took long enough to get things rolling this year, but, we’re going now. Here's the link to this week's photos.

It looks like we’re going to spend part of the day in the bean patch. And, then part of the day sitting on the front porch…snapping beans for canning. While it seems hard to believe right now, Winter will be here before you know it!

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!

Come back and “visit” us again real soon.


  1. A kitten who eats chicken feed! Who knew? She's adorable. I'm glad you are keeping her. -Jenn

    1. She must have really been hungry!
      Thanks for commenting, Jenn.

  2. I am very sorry that you lost a lamb and that the weather has ruined some of your crops. The bright spot of the week was finding your new kitten. She was obviously meant to live with you.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.
      She is a sweet little kitten.

  3. Green beans are my No. 1 favorite fresh-from-the-garden vegetable. When they
    still have that slightly fuzzy feel, one knows they are the real deal. Such
    a sweet kitten...odd that the chickens weren't disturbed by having a feline
    in their midst.

    1. I thought about your comments as we ate green beans for supper last night. SO good!
      The chickens don't seem to mind the barn cats at all. Occasionally, the cats will venture into the chicken yard in pursuit of mice, so I suppose the hens are used to felines.

  4. We farmers are all the same - you win some, you lose some.
    Welcome to Miss Kitty.

  5. Welcome to the newest member on the farm.... and what a cutie!!
    Your sunrise/sunset photos are just stunning!!