Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 7-30

** We were "internet-less" from Friday around lunch-time until Monday afternoon and I couldn't get this post to load with my phone. But, better late than never...**
dry grazing conditions

We’ve reached that point in the summer where the lack of rain and the profusion of weeds become overwhelming. And, the bugs….oh, my word…the BUGS! 

harlequin beetles

Everywhere you look something is not going quite like it should. The age-old combination of work and worry makes for more than a few testy conversations. There are more than a few uncertainties that demand some sort of resolution that seems just out of reach.

the honeysuckle smells so good

The Boss thinks we should be ever hopeful. I think we need to be realistic. And, that brings us back to tense and testy...

The heat made outdoor work miserable. However, the truth of the adage “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” is unescapable on our miniscule operation. So, we kept plugging away.
the leaves on the birch tree look like lace
...thanks to the Japanese beetles

...hoping against hope that rain would come...

When it looked possible, we headed out to do harvest any and all vegetables that would be negatively impacted by the potential wind and torrential downpours that come with summer storms.

A check of the tomatoes revealed that not only were they not ripening with any speed, (read…it was a stretch to find anything to harvest) there was obviously a problem with the fruit.
doesn't look too tasty,
does it?

Blossom end-rot is an indicator of a calcium deficiency. It generally shows up early in the season when the plants are stressed by too much water and cool temperatures. Imagine my surprise to find that it can also occur when the plants experience too LITTLE water and HOT temperatures. Simply watering more wouldn’t resolve the problem, the plants needed more calcium. (and magnesium to aid in the mineral uptake)

I stood in the garden, googling the plant symptoms and solutions, and I was happy to find that a few Tums at the base of each plant could potentially resolve the problem. (I wasn't eager to make an emergency trip to town) With an eye on the sky, I spent the next hour on my hands and knees administering Tums and Epsom salts to the tomato plants. We hoped that drip tape would take the nutrients down toward the roots and that the next flush of fruits would be healthy. A good rain would help with mineral uptake as well. But, my hurried efforts were in vain as the storm simply evaporated.
never expected this to be a gardening tool!

All week we watched rain chances dissipate as storms hit the mountains. The county to the north seemed to be getting all the rain. I’m here to tell you that “rain-envy” is a real thing. Tense and testy seemed to be the pervasive and prevailing mood combo throughout the area.

But, there was good news among the heat and humidity. We could actually find success despite the drought. (I’m trying to be hopeful…seriously, Boss!)

The corn is tasseling and it won’t be long until it ripens.
corn tassels

Wind carries the pollen

to the silks
to make corn on the cob

The potatoes are actually sprouting! That does seem a miracle, since they have absolutely no irrigation on them whatsoever.
potato sprouts

And, the puny lambs we put in the barn for special care and consideration have gained a bit of weight.
She actually looks a little better now

Considering that I figured they both would die...more than once...their survival is noteworthy.
When we worked the lambs in anticipation of hauling the last batch to the processor’s, it was obvious that two weren’t doing well. They were about ¼ the weight of the rest! Lest you think I am exaggerating, they weighed 36.4 and 37.6 respectively. The lambs that we hauled weighed well over 100#.

You may wonder why the difference. There are always a couple that are “challenged”. In this case, it was an orphan and the last lamb born. Despite the fact that I am a pretty good “lamb-mom”, milk replacer just doesn’t nourish lambs as well as true mother’s milk. And, those late-in-the-season lambs never seem to thrive like the early ones. Sadly, these small animals tend to be magnets for parasites and disease, rarely thriving and quite often dying.

We had hoped by putting them in the barn and giving them a little TLC, we would get them on the road to recovery. Or, at the very least, if they died, we would be able to dispose of the corpses easily.
After ten days of close supervision, one had gained nearly four pounds and the other had gained two. It looks as if they are recovering from the anemia brought on by the parasitic overload. I’d like to see them weigh 50 pounds before I return them to the stresses of the field. But, that looks to be a slow process. And, any real success remains to be seen. At this point, we’ll stick with the status quo and just wait and hope they continue to grow.

It seemed that every single rain storm was going around us. Until late Friday. Then, it poured.

And, poured some more.
(no hail or wind, thankfully)

I thought I could use a rainy afternoon to do some filing...
Remy had other ideas!

Rain on Saturday morning is NOT a good thing. but, when it ends a drought and ushers in some cooler weather (and they promise that the weather pattern is changing) we cannot complain. Actually, I suppose we shouldn't complain anyway, but we are human.

everything was soggy on Saturday morning

However, we have moisture and cooler temperatures… (no matter how short-lived that combination may be)
It looks (and feels) like September

So, I hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will “visit” us again soon.


  1. Tums! Well, I guess that makes sense if calcium is lacking. I hope the rain helped your crops. Have a good week! -Jenn

  2. Gosh Barbara, your post just brings home to us how precarious life is for those whose living depends upon the land. Best of luck with those two lambs.

  3. Well, Sunday and yesterday were spectacular here in MD. Humidity at 34% on Sunday. And now I know the difference between Abundant Sunshine and just Regular Ol' Sunny from experience (as forecasted by The Weather Channel.) Sunday sunshine was abundant. Monday it was sunny. Maybe it has to do with the humidity. Oh well, back to hot and humid today. Here come the Dog Days.
    xxoo, m & jb