Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 7-16

neighbor's steers deal with the weather..
It’s been daggone hot lately.

I realize this is no real news. 

by standing in the creek

It’s JULY. 

In a Southern State. 
It's hot and hazy
the light is harsh
the grass is dry
it's July in VA!

We should be used to this even though the heat has been extreme with no relief in sight. But, we haven’t even had the record-setting temperatures that we have elsewhere, so I guess we shouldn’t complain. However, coupled with the fact that we haven’t seen any measurable rain in weeks...well, the weather is rapidly becoming a story in and of itself.

It has certainly affected life on the hill this week. And, it’s getting to the point where every conversation elsewhere starts with “get any rain this week?”  That can be a tricky question. If you’ve received rain and you know that your fellow conversationalist has not, you feel bad. It sounds braggartly to claim the life-giving moisture when you know the rest of the county is parched. On the other hand, if you haven’t gotten any rain and you’re watching the crops wither and the animals suffer, you really don’t want to hear about the beautiful showers that someone else has been getting all week. It seems impossible to be jealous of rain, but I can assure you it happens. Particularly in Ag country. But, without talking about the weather, we’ve run out of topics for safe conversation.

Now that we’ve established the fact that it has been hot, (and dry) the stage has been set for telling you just what actually happened around here this week. 

No doubt about it...
there is a fox out back!
(the blue thing is the hoophouse)

After years of hard use, a much-needed repair job
Don't know what this thing is? (me, either)

bush-hogging the middle garden
We're finally going to get the 'taters planted!

It was another “week of the broiler” and we were hoping for a better experience than last time.

ready to haul the broilers

...and so it begins

 (if you don’t this) Processing went off without a hitch and we moved on to other things. We got the entire batch done and in the cooler in less than four hours. Not bad for two old folks.
I think this one's having a "bad hair day"!

Okay, guys...the point of the FIELD pen is to eat grass and get a little exercise...
not just sit there in a big heap

Tuesday, we moved the mid-sized broilers to the field pen. During the move, one chick got a cut on her back. (when I put them in the boxes to move, I sat another bird on top of her...and broilers have sharp toenails) During the summer, open wounds present the perfect opportunity for flystrike. Flystrike is not only gross and disgusting, it can be deadly, so we try to prevent it at all costs. Since it can be next to impossible to bandage livestock, particularly chickens, we use a spray application. Unfortunately, this particular can seemed to take on a mind of its own and spray out everywhere. Thankfully I got some on the chicken! But, I ended up looking like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. I can now personally attest to the fact that this stuff stands up to water (and scrubbing). And, I need to buy a new can...
That certainly didn't go like I intended!

The Boss headed out to a DR appointment while I tackled the zucchini picking and hauled plants to the hoophouse. His appointment granted some peace of mind with the doc saying he thought the problem was easily treated silent reflux. Our friends Joseph and Eva over at  Rockbridge Cider will be happy to know that this doctor is actually prescribing cider vinegar to his patients. That should be good for business!

At the Boss’ prompting, I headed out to see the doc myself. That pain in my neck is back. It now affects my fingers and my head, making it miserable to pick for Market. Besides, we needed some chicken feed, so I could just head over to the Urgent Care in the Draft.

I had tried calling the Spine Clinic. They said I needed to see my family doctor. But, they couldn’t see me until October. Urgent Care could see me, they agreed I had a problem. They even gave it a name.  cervical radiculopathy (a pinched nerve, pain in the neck...see? I told you) . But, they can’t order tests or do anything further. I really needed to follow up with the family doctor. (round and round we go) So, they put me in a soft cervical collar, gave me a prescription for pain, got me a different appointment date and sent me on my way. End of story. Well...not exactly.

When I got home, it was well past choretime. I could see the Boss out feeding the sheep, so I figured I would get started on supper so things wouldn’t be too off-schedule. (I do hate when supper is late)
Maybe it was because I was hot and getting “hangry”. Maybe I was stressed and trying to hurry. Maybe it was wearing that collar...I really don’t know how it happened, but I sliced the end of my thumb. Never one to do things halfway, I laid that thing wide opened.  It was like a geyser. Blood went everywhere (no, not in my supper prep)  I stanched the flow with hydrogen peroxide and a huge wad of toilet paper. You can imagine the Boss’ face when he came in and was faced with the sight of a neck brace and my bloody thumb...(and I’d been fine when I left just a couple of hours prior!)

Long story short, we got the mess cleaned up and supper served with no further incidents. Although, I am beginning to think I shouldn’t slice cabbage with that big white knife anymore. I ended up with stitches in my foot one other time. Did you read this? And, maybe I shouldn’t have worked so hard to get that aerosol bandage stuff off my hand earlier in the day.
not as bad as I thought
(still have tp and cabbage on my hand at this point)

But the story doesn’t end there. The pain medication made my tachycardia act up again. The cardio doc said “no” on continuing the pain medication. That was okay by me. The feeling that my heart is coming out of my chest is not a pleasant one! (however, relief from the neck pain sure would have been nice) And, since it’s about a million degrees and I work outside, that cervical collar only lasted about a day before I decided that completely melting wasn’t a good look on me either. (the doctor wasn’t fully convinced it would solve anything anyway) So, I’m back to square one with my neck. Well, not exactly. They did make that appointment for me. I only have to wait until August now... But, that is sooner than October, and I’ve made it this long so I won’t complain (too much) and, I will be thankful that I cut my left thumb and not my right. Because while it still hurts, at least I’m not fully incapacitated during summer harvest. Now, that would have been bad!

There's plenty to harvest...

cucumber trellis

ripe tomatoes!
it won't be long until the butternut squash are ready!

As the week (and the heat) continued, we got a call from the Post Office. A phonecall that starts out “uh...Miz Womack? Uh...your chicks are here...and...uh...there are some dead ones in the box...uh, I don’t know what you’d want to do about that...” simply cannot be good. It was with much trepidation that I set off to pick up the chicks. And, I guess it says something about me that when I opened the box (inside the Post Office this time) and found 10 dead chicks, I was just relieved that it wasn’t as bad as last time. And, I said so out loud. I didn’t even call the hatchery, I just emailed. We will just make do with a smaller batch of chicks this time. And, pray for cooler weather next month. The survivors are hale and hearty and already growing rapidly.

aren't they cute?
they made themselves a little nest

After watching storm clouds gather and then dissipate repeatedly, it looked like we were finally going to get our turn for some precipitation. Oh, we got some precipitation all right! A half-inch of rain came down in little more than half an hour. The rain was great. The intensity was not. As the Boss did chores, he did a little crop checking. He had just tied up the tomato plants, so they fared well. The broccoli and squash plants had been tossed around a bit, but would be fine. The corn...well, the corn was another story.

It has been a couple of years since we grew sweet corn. I guess I had forgotten the reasons why we stopped. Everyone loves sweet corn. And, I do mean EVERYONE. "Bambi", "Thumper", greedy groundhogs and errant raccoons...all the varmints try to eat it. So, it demands a fair amount of diligence to protect the crop from all those hungry mouths. And, then, there is the weather. While the rain is a blessing, the wind that comes along with it can be a curse. Particularly in the case of sweet corn. Sweet corn isn’t as sturdy as field corn (field corn is a completely different crop used for animal feed, food products and ethanol) The storm flattened our sweet corn crop. (although not as bad as I have seen)

flattened corn

it's really flat!

But, we couldn’t leave it that way. Corn isn’t meant to grow sideways. It’s a matter of physics. The corn tassel drops its pollen down on the silks of the cobs and pollinating the seeds inside, creating...corn on the cob. Vertical growth is a necessity. Not only was the corn flattened, but the rain had come down so hard and fast that everything was a mushy, mucky mess, so we couldn’t go into the corn patch and stand all the corn back up again without doing even more damage. In the past, we have gone through the garden and stood the stalks back up again. By stepping firmly on either side, you can give the plants enough stability to stand proud once more. (until another storm) This is time consuming and doesn’t always work, but at least we know we did all we could. But, we weren’t going to have time to get to it until after Market. 

Thankfully, this variety of corn is a little more sturdy and hardy than the type we’ve grown in the past. Left to its own devices, it returned to an upright position without human intervention!  We can strike that job from the to-do list and get on to something else. Like snapping those beans left over from Market for canning. (looks like we will spend the afternoon on the front porch, putting up beans for winter)
standing corn 7-15

I'm pretty sure it grew overnight!

Speaking of the Market, it was a crazy, busy day downtown. The past couple of weeks have seen huge numbers of folks visiting Staunton and the surrounding area, this results in great sales totals and very few leftovers. (and two tired old farmers)

lots of goodies for Market

lots of vendors at Market
(this is part of the second row)

looking down the sidewalk before opening
sorry, no pics of all the people...
we were TOO busy!
Wait! here are some of the people who made the Market a special place on Saturday.

So, here’s to a little rest and relaxation. (and bean canning)

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 
May the upcoming week be cool...
"cool as the center seed of a cucumber"!
(to borrow a line from Andy Griffith)

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

 Did you see my post yesterday?  It's been TWENTY years since we settled on the hill. Read THIS.

You really need to see the Boss' Market shots from this week. Check them out HERE.


  1. Barbara - I am just so full of admiration for you both - do hope things go well for you this week and also that you get your neck seen to before long.

    1. Thank you, Pat!
      You are always such an encouragement.

  2. I will say an extra prayer for rain (no wind) for you guys! Take care! xoxo

    1. We truly appreciate that!
      Have a wonderful week.

  3. Oh I do hope you get some relief for your neck. It must be very hard to do all that physical labour with a soar neck and all that comes with it. So, there was no more silver liquid bandaid in that can to spray on your thumb? That's quite a nasty cut! Take care of yourself, and I hope you get some gentle rain next time. -Jenn

    1. Thanks, Jenn!
      My thumb has recovered nicely. Tegular bandaids seem to work better on humans. ;) That reminds me, I better buy some today!
      Have a great week!

  4. Barbara - I am just so full of admiration for you both - do hope things go well for you this week and also that you get your neck seen to before long

    ** goldenslot mobile**
    ** สล็อต ออนไลน์ ได้ เงิน จริง**

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Come back and "visit" again soon.