Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Painting At Last - Partly Done

Started May 20

First, it is raining a gentle rain this morning after getting 1/4 inch late yesterday evening.  I was up a little later this morning, 4:30 AM.  DH was up right after and got the first pot of coffee going.

I moved  to the dining room porch where the swing is to enjoy the morning.  So far, not a single car or truck has gone by.  All I could hear was a few birds singing.  I love the country silence.  DH joined me and I reminded him that is why we live in the country.

This looking east from the swing.


I finally got the rest of the garden plants in.  Tilled and prepped 5 short rows for the sweet corn.  I wish now I had planted it, but the sun was getting hot and I was getting tired.

I also hoed out the onion rows between the plants;  sprayed gly-4 around the edges of some beds to try to control Bermuda Grass.  I know it is a lost cause but I keep trying.  I treated my surviving 4 roses with a systemic treatment for everything.  Something  had already eaten the leaves leaving only a skeleton behind.
I hope the rains will wash the treatment into the soil.

Last planting will be more pole beans (Fortex) and sweet corn (Bodacious) and then the war will begin on weeds surrounding everything.


DH reported back this morning after checking the herd that a baby was born dead.  That is part of farm life; it doesn't happen often thank goodness but it is part farming.

I have been trying for over  a year to get someone to paint our outbuildings and things kept falling through the cracks.  We finally found someone and the day he showed up to begin the job, he  told us his painter had quit!!!  I reminded him I had $700 worth of paint in the garage and he assured me he and his FIL would finish the job.  They came the next three days and worked until it got really too hot, around 2 pm.  There is still some left to do but he has another job to finish first that he took on before us.  I get really tired of hiring people and having them act like they are doing me a favor to "squeeze" in my job between all their other work!  He came, he saw the work and he told me his charges ($20 per hours) and we hired him.  I don't consider that a favor.  At least what he has done seems to be quality work.

Milk Parlor:

Garage  Doors:

and the well house; he is to rebuild the cover for the pump later.

and now here is the not so good part:  He didn't use any drop cloths....no paint on ground but tons of old paint from pressure cleaning before painting,

This is the prepped front of the smokehouse,

and this is what is in my flower bed,


Our  granddaughter is begging  me to let her paint it red!  The more I think about it the more I am thinking I will let her paint just this south  wall and then do an Amish symbol  on the peak.  Have  I lost my mind?

To excuse  them,  they lost their true painter.....so this isn't his expertise, he is a journeyman electrician and does service calls in the afternoons when he finishes other work.  Note:   he also broadly interpreted my telling him to remove or trim anything that was in their way of painting.  He cut to the ground my lilacs along the east shed wall behind the well  house!  I take part of the blame for that error.  

I am going to have some guttering replaced on part of the buildings.  I want to have everything ship shape at one time.

Other good news is it began raining late yesterday afternoon and in a period of an hour or so we had two inches of rain!  Unbelievable.  Of course, the the hayfields are very tall and will be laying on the ground now.....been there; done that before.   We all needed this rain badly.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A New Week Starting

and it is warm at last!  I have great plans to finally get my garden in......but we know how plans oft go astray.  Only time will tell.


Things are looking very summery here.  Lots of things blooming:  iris, peonies, clematis, a gaillardia, kerria japonica, nepeta Walker's Low, lineria, lamiums, poppies getting close.

This is the Well  house Bed,


I didn't crop this photo because the background showed DH.  I showed him the picture and told him I always had either the cats or him  in most of my photos.  I love catching him that way.

Two more iris are blooming, this is Bride's Halo (amid the cheatgrass out by the front ditch) I plan to move her since  I can no longer maintain the ditch.

and another ditch resident to be moved.  I don't know the name, but I love the soft colors of this one,

This is the Light Pole Bed,

The oriental poppies are just past peak,


and this is Ilene's gifted gaillardia; it is just to the left of the white salvia

Garden and Orchard

The cold snap didn't hurt the strawberries.  This will be the first year in a long while that we have had our own strawberries.  Our KC  granddaughter (15) wants to come down to pick!  We will see how that pans out.....

The Tyson pear tree has a few fruit.  If they make it to harvest, something got them last year, it will be our first year to taste them.

Albemarle Pippin apple, same as the Tyson Pear, a first.

All the fruit trees are due to be sprayed and I hope to get that done today (after planting the garden so it is iffy if I get it done).

Our granddaughter(19) got in late yesterday so begins the summer.

I got a new mirror for her room to cover the open shuttered window that is between the bedroom and the living room. This house is filled  with these strange things!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More Rain - Cows and Flowers

We have had a little more rain and some very unseasonably cool temperatures.  I think this is what the oldtimers  call 'blackberry winter'.  My blackberries are in bloom and it is 41° outside.  I didn't plant tomatoes or peppers and they are back under the lights on the back porch.


We had an old  cow with 'curly' toes (needing trimming badly) up to sell, but DH noticed she was bagging up so he turned her back to the field.  The next day she returned to the barn lot and had a baby, a bull calf.  I guess she felt safe out of the rain there since she had been up for some time.

She is still too thin which is another reason we had her up feeding her some grain and having hay near so she wouldn't have to graze.

The other really dark, almost black calf, belongs to Jewel the Jersey heifer.  She seems to get darker weekly.

This is Willow and her fat and getting pretty sassy baby,

He has tiny scurs so I hate to pass that gene  along but he is so fine, I think I will keep him as a herdsire.  I am sure he is out of Willow's two year old son which is why the red gene  seems dominant.  That would make him .75 Milking Shorthorn which is a very good thing, only .25 Black Angus.

I had to include this one.  They were in the back barn lot where Willow and calf were:


I think I am down to just this one white salvia,

Walmart  had two varieties for just $3 or $4 the other day.  I intend to go back today and pick up some.  They are a very carefree, long-lasting perennial here.

I need to rename this new bed The Iris Border:

This iris is actually a very rust or cinnamon brown,  obviously my camera does not recognize this shade!

I had to throw this one in here since  it  is directly related to my living on the farm:

This was taken on last milk  day.  I lost control of the hose during clean-up.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rain at Last

It wasn't a lot, but it was a lovely, gentle and slow  rain, 3/4 inch total.  I think more is predicted over the next several days.  The cooler temperatures are a delight also.

Of course, the grass needs mowing again....We finally picked up the last of the debris from the yard.  I think we had 4 loads.  There is still some chain saw work to do but it will have to wait until I can actually get some planting done.

Another iris is blooming.  I think this one is Swingtown:

and this one next to the garage, Stairway to Heaven
and my only red one,

It is now Sunday, Mother's Day so Happy Mother's Day to all who qualify.  I am cooking dinner for my MIL.

I have a few more  iris opened and the first peony, a dark pink or rose single.  The singles are my favorites because rain doesn't knock them into the ground (should we luck out and get another rain).

We both mowed yesterday afternoon.  It is kind of fun as we pass each other in various parts of the yard,  DH rides the big yellow one and I stick with my Gravely.  We can do the yard and orchard in under two hours now.  He  does the orchard now.  I have been the mowing person for most of our married life.  I guess that is why I get so much pleasure seeing him on one  now!  He has a good excuse; he worked long hours and often traveled and I was a stay-at-home Mom (remember those women?) so I did most at home chores.  I often ponder that but that is another story and probably not for publication........

BTW, we had success at last and caught a huge ground hog with a live trap baited with an apple.  We will reset it.  I bet there is a second one out there.  We found another huge hole by the cellar where the tree was blown down by a tornado a few years ago and left a huge pile or mound of earth.  I could see fresh diggings.
May set one there too. 

I need to trim but it is such a job and I haven't managed to squeeze it in yet. 

It is hot again here and very windy  but we do have chances of more rain over several days. 

Blackberries are blooming.  I never got them cleaned out and my "helpers'" didn't get the Elm saplings cut so it will be like a jungle trying to pick anything.  Sort of like picking wild ones if you have ever done that! Our family used to make an event of that.  Two maiden aunts, my grandma, Mom and we three girls, my aunt and sometimes by aunt by marriage would all dress up in the awfullest garb you can imagine.  Long sleeves, pants, long socks, hats.  It was to keep chiggers and ticks off.  There was no spray to use.  Also saved us from those vicious briars!  I may have a picture somewhere.

We finally got some large limbs drug out of the garden they did cut and just leave and a huge brush pile they were going to burn.........I get made every time I go back there.  A valuable lesson was learned with this project that wasn't!

I have small strawberries showing.  I am getting excited.  It has been a few years since we have had our own.

Company is coming next  weekend.......................Sis and BIL for a couple of days but they will stay in a motel since our GD is also moving down that weekend.  Our house is not really laid out for that many guests.
Especially of different ages.  GD will be with us all summer.  I may lay in a supply of wine..................

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First Week of May on the Farm

First and foremost:  It has been way hotter than normal and way too dry!  We have decided not to waste $5,000 worth of fertilizer and just hope for more rain so we can have a decent cutting of hay.  We are lucky we have almost 150 bales left so if we get half of last year's harvest we will be OK.

I have been working on getting  the yard back in order and have been moving very slowly.

I have planted one dogwood (l to go); one red locust; one crabapple; 2 lilacs and two hyacinth beans.
The hyacinth beans are already blooming.  I put one on each end (east and west) of the garden fence.
The ground is so dry I am running the sprinkler on the lawn where I want to put the second dogwood.

I planted a very short row of filet pole beans (white seeded; not like I did last year) I found the tag and it was Fortex which was a wonderful bean that got up to l0 inches long and still was very tender and stringless.  I will definitely order some for next year.

I tilled the west garden strip  again and managed to plant three tomatoes before I decided it was too wet under the heavy mulch so I pulled it back (the mulch) and will let it dry some before planting again.  That is the best advertising for mulch that I know! 

The strawberries are blooming nicely and should be safe from frost now.

I am sorting through my seed stash (remember I lost my new order of seeds!) to see what I will use  this year.

Blooming now:

The iris are just starting and the peonies are budded out.

This one is Spiced Custard:

and this I call:  Ugly for obvious reasons,

Fragrant Lilac:

More are budded out but these are the early ones in my garden.

Some Clematis are beginning to bloom:

This is the Annabelle Bed and the clematis on the left is this one:

There is a clump of Blueberry Bliss iris in front, Annabelle hydrangea in the middle and two dark purple clematis on the right end of the red panel.

and this is my favorite lunaria (money plant).  It is a self-seeded variegated one.  If if looks like it is in a cage, that's because it is.  It came up there and since that is inside the chicken yard, it worked out well.  There is one more on this side of the fence.  I hope to remember to collect seeds.

This is a clematis on the garden fence:

and these are my prize romaine  lettuces that volunteered this year.  I have already harvested one.  I failed to get any lettuce planted so we will have to really appreciate these few.  I may try some seeds under the hoop with a shade cloth over.

The snowball bush is now in its white phase:


The AC went out yesterday (a 90° day!).  The house is just now started to get too warm.  Serviceman was called and promises within two days,  he will be here.......I think the temperatures are supposed to drop about 10-12 degrees which will help.


Already mentioned  the hay and fertilizer situation.

We are taking more calves in to sell today and should be going back for the check shortly.  Thankfully, beef prices are still extremely good.

This is the group when we got them up to wean:

Talked (again) to our hay man and jack of all trades about having some outbuildings painted and he thinks he has a  man free who can do it.......I may have to call him again.................

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Hiatus Is Over (mostly)

This is the view from where I sit at the computer.....things are getting very green.

(Hiatus refers to the long time between posts)

I hope things have settled  down here for a bit. We have had more company over the weekend. It is not definite; l9  year-old granddaughter will be staying with us this summer.  She wanted a break from her normal summer jobs and will be taking care of a neighbor's 8 month old son...just around the corner from us.  Another one of those "it's a small world" stories.

Not much has been happening either on the farm or in the house.  It has been much colder than usual and very windy.  Outside work has been kept at a minimum for me.

DH, of course, has normal cow chores.  Nothing has been done about fertilizer for the hay fields and ,as late as it is, maybe we won't be fertilizing this year.  The cows have grazed the hay fields since last May so they have been depositing natural fertilizer all along.

I did finally get 4 bunches of Candy onions planted.  I watered heavily afterwards and they have greened up nicely. They were sure sorry looking when I put them in, the tiniest I have ever received from Dixondale.

We have  finally ,over the period since  I last posted, received about l inch of rain.  We are still way behind.

Orchard:  peach trees (2) have bloomed and dropped blooms - ready for another spray
                apple trees (2) have also bloomed and need spraying

I still need to prune back the blackberries but will wait until it warms up.


The early dark blue/purple iris from the neighbor (aka Lisenby Iris) is starting  to bloom and I see buds on some other early ones.


A few money plants are blooming.  There aren't as many as in other years.  I do have two variegated ones left that I really like.

The daffodils are about finished.  The May ones (rustled from a ditch) are in their glory now.  I like their simplicicty.  I see they are still blooming in that same ditch.

I have managed to clean several beds and pruned all the clematis. We had a trailer load of debris  that my assistant hauled off the same day which set a new record for tidiness for us.

 I began the Edward Gloucher abelia pruning a couple of days ago and still need to top it back some.  I wish it were in another place...I need to try to propagate it.  You can't see here, but it does have some green tips showing.  Lots more debris to remove after the pruning.

I was worried the  poppies  weren't returning.......checked recently and found a lot of them.  The  should be thinned ruthlessly (the hardest thing for me to do!) so the blooms will be large.  I am always afraid I will remove a special color.....

Here is  another pleasant surprise.  I have been growing golden agastache from seeds from Kris for a couple of years now and it never self seeded.....this year after the worst winter in years look what I have!

See those tiny yellow seedlings to the left of the mother plant?  There are equally as many on the other side!  I will transplanting lots here and there for color and fillers.

The snowball bush by the back  door is in its green stage.  I sprayed it with dormant oil so I hope the aphids won't be so bad this year. Once you see them it is almost too late for control because the leaf curls so tightly around them.