Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 8-20

We have reached THAT point in the summer season.

Do you know what I mean?

THAT point has no specific definition. It certainly doesn’t have a definite date. There is nothing precise about its occurrence. But, it does happen every year, without fail.

THAT point is when it all seems overwhelming. The heat, the humidity, the bugs, the weeds, the ongoing projects, the yet to be figured-out projects, plans for the future, the worries of the world, the odd and random…all seem to converge upon us at once.

In other words, it’s August.

While August can be more than a little overwhelming in oh, so many ways. Although, it’s got a whole lot going for it, too. Did you read this? We'll go with that since we are trying for positive thinking this summer.

Currently, I’m struggling with the whole “positive thinking” thing. It’s taking some monumental effort on my part to keep from melting into a puddle that is both overheated and overwhelmed. But, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read about that.


making a wish
The week started off with MrB’s #2 birthday bash. I cannot believe that the grandsons are TWO years old. Sometimes, it seems like their own moms were just little, bitty babies. However, time marches onward.

Everyone seemed to have a great time!

Back on the hill, it was back to work.

look closely,
there's a faint rainbow upper right corner
(didn't even see it when I took the shot)

While rain is wonderful and we depend upon it for everything we have and do, sometimes it would be nice if we had control of the timing and the amounts. (not really…it would just be one more responsibility and one more area for potential errors) We continue to feel the effects of last week’s big rains. …and we had more this week.
another day
another storm

this one just made a few sprinkles

Heat and humidity always cause issues…the same issues. 

another scorcher

dew on everything

it stays wet until noon

Since we have come to expect this, we can act quickly when we see bottlejaw in the lamb flock and we know exactly what to do with a whole bunch of cracked tomatoes.  

tomatoes in the freezer
The tomatoes were blanched, peeled, chopped and frozen for winter-time use/sales. The hens had a feast of skins and seeds and over-ripe tomatoes. Nothing went to waste.
hens' tomato feast

see his fat face?
We turned our attention to the lamb flock. Fortunately, just one lamb has been affected with bottlejaw. Bottlejaw is brought on by a parasite. One of the symptoms is a swollen jaw (like the mumps in humans) hence, the name. Sometimes the animal’s entire face swells. This year any infections have been most persistent and taken several treatments to cure. So, all week we kept an eye on the ailing lamb. Since his appetite has never suffered, we are not terribly worried about him. Although he is a sheep…and they are notorious for dying for “no apparent” reason…so we will remain vigilant.

We had the whole crew over for B’s B-day supper. But, there is no photographic evidence of this event at all. That’s my fault. I got focused on frying chicken and making biscuits and laughing at the grandsons’ antics. Even without pictures, I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time. And, I know they got plenty to eat!

While it seems that summer is always the same thing…harvesting and heat and some kind of vegetable processing on a constant repeat…
grazing sheep

another foggy August morning

grazing lambs


August on the farm

sometimes things get changed up just a little…

Case in point  

Thursday I headed to the chiropractor’s office. He’s been working on getting rid of my persistent headache brought on by my neck issues. Every time he fixes it, I manage to do something else to make it hurt. I’m sure he finds this perplexing. There is no way to explain the odd things that occur in my very un-conventional day-to-day life. I'm not even going to try.

When I returned, there was a four-wheeler parked directly in the middle of the lane. But, no driver. I didn’t see him anywhere. As I peered down the lane, I thought I saw part of the “cow-chasing team” and wait…was that a steer in the weeds by the edge of the lane? I couldn’t tell and I couldn’t stop because there was oncoming traffic.

I went down the road, turned around and tried again. Yep. I saw a couple guys in the lane. And, at least one cow.
these guys just look like trouble

There was only one thing to do. Park the car, turn on the flashers…and lend a hand.

As I hurried down the hill, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had chosen to wear boots and not flip-flops for my trip to town. (bare-foot cattle herding once was enough---did you read about my last encounter with these steers? )

There were two escapee steers and two very hot and irritated neighbors engaged in a battle of wills. In the middle of the lane. Apparently, this had been going on for quite some time and I arrived in time for the grand finale.

The cattle-chasers were getting weary when one steer suddenly bolted and ran the opposite direction.
 Not a good thing.

The steer headed directly at me as I approached the bridge.

This was the moment of truth. If I let him get by me, it could be disastrous. Vehicles and steers don’t mix at all well. Hamburger in the middle of the road on a hot day would be disgusting.

I stomped my foot, waved my arms and hollered at the steer. He looked rather quizzical and then turned around and galloped over to meet his cronies.  The other escapee must have decided it was too hot for such nonsense, so he ambled back to the field as well. We whistled and pushed and drove them up the hill into a more secure paddock.

Crisis resolved.  

And, I can claim to be an honorary member of the "Mbrk cattle-chasing team"! 

Apparently, a big buck (deer) got caught under the bridge, destroying the fence and losing his life in the struggle. The steers saw this opportunity and took a little fieldtrip. The Boss and I apparently missed their visit to our field earlier in the day. A round-up had ensued.  Then, as neighbor was working to fix the fence, the steers escaped again to find respite from the heat in the shade nearby. These steers are nothing if not persistent.

Everything got repaired and I didn’t see any more escapees when I headed out later to take Remy to the vet. 

they're waiting for us!
After the warm welcome at the vet where everyone told her how beautiful she was and had to hear the story of her rescue (read this),  she proceeded to behave in the most awful manner. She growled, she hissed, she even tried to bite and claw the doctor. Ordinarily she is the nicest cat ever. (she even tolerates the grandsons…to a point) But, she did not like those shots, not one bit! Then, she yowled all the way home. Not a fun trip.

Remy's TV watching position
(TLWomack photo)

But, she’s safely vaccinated and incredibly healthy…and back to her usual routine.

And, we were back to our regular routine of preparing for Market. This week there were grapes and pears to pick. And, it was time to harvest CORN as well!
the net worked
We beat the deer!



cool morning sky at chore time

It was a great Market day!
heading out to Market

Market sunrise

pretty yellow beans

"Bodacious" corn

grapes at the Market

couldn't fit it all in the frame!

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday!

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

May YOUR week bring YOU this much joy!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 8-13

“life rolls rolls on…”

 Little Big Town’s lyrics were stuck in my head as the week began.

It really didn’t matter how worried and out of sorts we felt (did you read last week's post?) "Life rolls on" and there were things to do. There is often no time like the present and some jobs cannot wait until we are in the mood to do them. 

Such was the case for nearly everything on the week’s to-do list.

Monday was broiler processing day, regardless of the weather. We had momentarily considered changing up when Sunday’s review of the weather showed a good chance of rain. But, that would have meant more than a little logistical juggling. Much of the week could NOT be re-scheduled. And, how bad could the rain be, anyway?

2.25 inches of much-needed rain

I must admit, we had some serious second thoughts when we got ready to begin. But, by then we were committed. In preparation for processing, the broiler’s feed had been removed Sunday afternoon, the scalder was full of water and everything stood at the ready.

It took a little soggy teamwork, but we got the batch done in record time. (we just get faster and faster) It looked like the week was off to a good start.

even a rain-suit didn't keep him dry!

Ironically, the rain ended just as we finished and we were able to get to the rest of the regular Monday jobs in the afternoon.

While I was doing afternoon chores, I got the phonecall that changed everything. Did you read THIS? Neither one of us could believe that news. The whole experience seemed more than a little surreal. Now, we will have to wait and see what happens at the Boss’ scan at the end of October. But, for now, we can relax...and get back to work. I realize that sounds more than a little oxymoronic.

Tuesday’s to-do list was fairly full.

broiler at field pen

First, the broilers needed to go in the field pen so we would be ready for the chicks arriving later in the week. We needed to get them situated in the field pen before we could focus on the bigger job.
catching broilers is my job
I have no idea what these guys are doing

August means it is time to start working on Project Lambchop for the following year. 

Working on “project lambchop” means that the ram (in this case, Angus) needs to be turned in with the ewe flock. However, it is not simply a matter of opening the gate. (although I suppose you could use that approach) A little advance preparation provides the best outcome.

Before we could let Angus have his way with the ladies, there were a few other things that needed our attention.

off to the stockyard
First, we needed to get rid of the ewes that we weren’t going to breed this season. There were just three to cull. One was ancient, one hadn’t bred at all, and the third one lost her babies two seasons in a row (and she is wild and unmanageable). Since we’re not running a charity ward for “hayburners”, the culled ewes would head to the stockyard. And, it HAD to be done on Tuesday, because the sale barn is only opened on Tuesdays and Fridays. And, they would rather have the sheep for the Tuesday sale, because Fridays are big cattle days. (and they’re not terribly fond of sheep anyway)
pretty ewe

We ran all the ewes to the barn, sorted out the ones to haul and de-wormed the rest. This will assure that they are as healthy as possible as breeding season starts. The next step in the breeding process would have to wait until we returned from town.

ready for Project Lambchop 2018

A quick trip to the stockyard went off without a hitch. That’s always a good thing! One part of the project completed, we made guesses about just how much the “old hay-burners” might bring. It’s never a whole lot, but it beats paying to feed them. We wouldn’t know for certain until we got the check from the stockyard.

at the stockyard

The next part of the project was to get Angus ready for the big intro.  He was outfitted with his marking harness and de-wormed. 

I think he knows something's up

he's so handsome!

ram marker

THEN we opened the gate.

hello, ladies!

Project Lambchop 2018 was underway!

...and that was pretty anti-climactic.

We left any future lambchop production in Angus’ capable hooves. He knows what to do and when to do it, so we could check another project off the list and go back to harvesting zucchini (and other stuff).

hilling potatoes
Eventually it dried out enough for the Boss to get the tractor in the garden. By tilling and hilling the potatoes, he keeps the weed pressure down (at least a little) and allows the tubers room to grow under each plant. They will be ready for harvest sometime in October.

The rain really made a big difference in the garden. Check out these beans!
Tuesday morning

Tuesday afternoon
(yep, the SAME day)

Wednesday morning

Friday morning
They will be ready to pick by mid-September

For the first time in many years, we haven’t had great lettuce production. Between the heat and the bugs...and my ongoing neck pain, the greens have suffered greatly. (read...there is NO lettuce) And, while our customers are getting more than a little anxious, I must admit, it is nice not to spend the entire day bent in half picking lettuce leaves.

Since I wasn’t picking lettuce and the Boss needed diesel fuel before he could get back to mowing, we decided to head out in the middle of a Friday and have a “lunch-date”. While this may seem unremarkable to most folks, it’s nearly un-heard of around here. We generally spend all day Friday picking and processing. (I must say, I could get used to the change!)

stockyard check
On our way out, we picked up the mail which included the check from the stockyard for the culled ewes. Before opening the envelope, the Boss likes to guess the amount. He made his guess. I peeked inside. WOW!

Uh, you were wrong.

He figured he guessed too high. (not) 

Once, years ago, we took a poor, pathetic sheep to the stockyard and got a whopping $9. I kid you not. $9.  That experience is always in the back of our minds as we haul sheep to the sale.

This check was for more than nine dollars. A whole lot more than nine dollars! We got nearly a dollar a pound for old culled ewes.  That was nearly THREE times what we had anticipated when we dropped the old ewes at the stockyard. What a great surprise! It was nearly enough to cover the monthly feed bill. Which, coincidentally, arrived in the same mail delivery.

Still rejoicing about the “big check”, we stopped by Subway to pick up lunch. (lunch dates around here are never fancy) More rejoicing when we found we had accumulated enough points for a FREE lunch!

All in all, a pretty good Friday!

We had kept our eyes on the weather all week...

those foggy August mornings continue

grey day

Saturday sunrise at Sam's

As the ground slowly absorbed Monday’s torrents, it was still pretty soggy. And, every day held the chance for more rainfall...the forecast did not look good for Saturday’s Market.

lots of veggies
...and tomatoes are back!
Other than a few sprinkles, the weather held, the people came. And, we had a great day. (even without lettuce) There were a lot of hugs and much rejoicing with our customer-friends over the good news from early in the week. I am not exaggerating when I say that the love and support we get from the Market truly keeps us going. These folks are the best…the absolute best.

If you can’t get to the Market, at least you can visit virtually… Click HERE for the Boss’ photos for the week. 

You know, this was probably the best week we have had here on the hill in quite some time!

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” real soon.

And, THANK YOU for the outpouring of love and kindness. 
Y’all are awesome!
the monarchs are here
on their way to Mexico
P.S. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t make some mention of the events that took place in Charlottesville yesterday. Sadly, our beautiful state made worldwide news, and not in a good way. Read this. 

I find everything about this deeply disturbing. My family goes way back in Virginia history. Nearly 400 years. Those names in the family tree appear in history books and on landmarks all around the area. For better or worse, Virginia wouldn’t be what it is without those names.  The fact that there are people who use the past to promote their continued current agenda of racism, bigotry and hatred simply breaks my heart. 

I have no idea how this should be addressed. I have no idea if the divisiveness and troubles of society can be resolved. But, I think we can start here. 

I leave you with "Pray for Peace" by Reba McEntire.

Thanks for reading!