Friday, May 31, 2013

Start out your day relaxed!

Sure it is Friday.  Yes the weekend is coming.  Of course there are still a million things to get done - there always are!  But my suggestion to all of you running in the rat race and going 40 different directions is this. . .

RELAX!!!  Start your day out just relaxing.  Have a cup of coffee or your favorite morning beverage outside on your patio - on the deck for me - or your front porch.  Heck even do it in your comfy robe or favorite lounging clothes or better yet in your sleeping clothes. 

Out here on the farm I get up, throw on an old pair of lounge capris, let the cats out, grab my coffee and just go listen to the morning chorus in the trees, listen to the wind whistle through the pine trees and the cedar trees, listen to the pheasants cackle.  The cats will come and strike up a conversation sometimes, just reporting that all is well on the farm mostly.  Some will follow my lead or am I following theirs of just relaxing on the deck.  After my first cup of coffee I might be inclined to refill it for my last cup of coffee for the day and slip on my flip flops and go take a walk around to check on the garden plots. 

So far no sign of life above the ground but I bet with all the showers we have had that those little seeds are working double time under their blanket of dirt setting up their strong roots for an excellent start to growing above the dirt and then producing an abundance of their yummy fruit for me to pick.  I can't wait until I can start getting some solar pickles going in the jars!

So start your day out relaxed and ease into it.  You will find you have a better day, can handle the chaos of the day and even be able to smile or even laugh at some of the other crazy people that don't know the secrets of how to start the day on the farm. . . .

Have a great weekend everyone,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Getting dirty is so much fun!!!

I love the feel of freshly tilled dirt on my bare feet.  Memorial day morning I left my flip flops at the garden gate entrance and stepped inside with my bare feet.  The warm dirt was like a snuggle sock all around my feet.  Green beans in hand, I got them all scattered into 6 rows, raked over and ready for the sprinkler.  There are not many places on the farm where a person can go barefoot because of goat head stickers, rocks, and other things that are painful when you step on them.  But the garden dirt is the best place to go barefoot and play in the dirt.  Talk about your specialized pedicure. . . . gives mud treatment a whole new meaning.  Hopefully there will be little green plants popping up through the dirt by this time next week!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Just a small garden. . . .

those were my instructions !

Today Jim and I built fence around the west plot.  We have a gate yet to build but the elements are all ready for assembly and we will do that next weekend.  Soaker hose is down and the layout is ready for planting

After lunch today, I got 7 tomato plants set in the west plot.  In the east plot there will be 4 cherry tomato plants in between the sugar pies and the lumier (ghost) pumpkins.  The final 2 cherry tomato plants are snuggled at the south end of the chocolate pumpkin patch with their friend - Gigantic Jalepeno - no stick!  The pickle cucs are in, the slicers are in and so are the yummy slicers called Bush Cucumbers.  Those will have to be protected once they emerge because the rabbits seem to think that is a nice treat.  I will have the west plot rabbit proofed - I HOPE!!! - when we get the gate made. 

Tomorrow morning the green beans will go in.  I just got to hot being out in the sun today and had enough.  Still trying to cool off and stop sweating 3 hours later, but I blame the humidity, not me working hard.

Next Saturday will be planting of the squash and pumpkins unless dad gets the squash in this week.  There will be gadzukes!, regular zucchini and yellow saffron summer squash.  I think later in July I may be making weekly trips to the farmer's market in town with my abundant crops.

So while the warm dirt and the fresh soaking of water helps the seeds get going this week, it is a wait and see game.  Pictures to come once there is something other than dirt to photograph!

Friday, May 24, 2013

What is this?  A bug on the farm?  Say it isn't so!  The good news is that this bug won't stay around for long.

I don't know what the true name of this bug is but around here we call them June bugs and they show up generally in late May to let us know that June is just around the corner.

So what is the story with these June bugs?  They only seem to show up at night, after dark.  They lounge on the deck under the outside lights as if they were sunbathing, much of the time on their backs for some reason.  Tonight I have the outside light on the west deck on because of storms to the west.  I was not surprised to see 10 June bugs scattered about the deck laying around like they owned the deck.  The cats have been known to play with the June bugs.  They have a hard shell that makes a popping noise when they land on something hard - like the deck boards.  They also have a buzzing sound when they are in flight.  Tomorrow morning I will likely have June bug carcasses to sweep off the deck and then they will crunch under foot. 

I need to work on a fun children's story with these bugs as the main character.  I am sure I could come up with something.  In the meantime, stay out of the light and they won't bother you.  They fly like drunk drivers with no apparent course or meaning, just get to the light and bask in its glow.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A little history of this patch of the prairie

Four generations ago my paternal great-grandfather acquired this quarter of a section in Driftwood township from the Shuler family who homesteaded here.  My grandfather Lou was raised on this farm, then he in turn raised his family on this same quarter of ground where my dad was the youngest of 5 children.  When grandpa Lou passed away, dad inherited the farm and we moved here.  I grew up here as well.  My dad is still alive and kicking but I live here now too, in my own house, located in what I knew as a kid as the garden.  Believe me, this was no small garden patch from my childhood.  My dad has told me that the area just west of where my house sits is what used to be the cattle trail where the cows would come up out of the pasture to the water tank.

Funny how some things maintain skeletons of their previous uses even on a wheat farm that has changed so much in appearance since my family first moved in.  There used to be a barn where the grain bins and a storage shed now sits with a corral.  There used to be a pig pen where now we have a windbreak.  There used to not be so many cedar trees creating the wind break - want to guess how excited I was about having to water those little trees every few days when I was a kid by hauling buckets of water from the nearest hydrant which seemed like it was a mile away.  Today I am so glad dad made me do that because I love this windbreak and can't imagine trying to live here without it today.

What is most amazing about this little patch of prairie is the night sky.  As a child I can remember laying out on the buffalo grass with my sister looking up at the stars.  We knew the Milky Way and it was so vivid in the summer sky.  We had a game we would play where we would try to find our own constellations along with the established ones. 

A similar game played in the summertime during the day was watching the clouds drift by and finding fun shapes within them, like bunnies and alligator snouts.  As a child I would spend countless hours playing outside on a blanket or in dad's old Army tent with my sister.  We would dress up the dogs, our dolls, have tea parties, make mud pies, had lots of picnics, chase fireflies, read books, color, and squeal when a bug crawled onto the blanket!

Those same games I played as a I child I still do today - I watch the clouds; now in a more scientific and weather related way.  I sit out on the deck and enjoy the fresh air.  I don't dress up the cats or the dogs but they are quite content to lounge nearby.  I even still go out at night and look at the stars. 

I wish I had known about meteor showers back then.  Now when I get done working at the computer in mid August and providing all the storms have cleared out, I grab my bottle of wine and one of the lounge chairs from the deck and go sit out in the middle of the driveway watching the night sky for meteors.  I don't use anything fancy like a telescope, just the naked eye because there is no light pollution.  Check back in August for a report on the Perseid meteor shower to see how many meteors I count.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome to the farm!

It is spring time on the farm.  The pheasants cackle in the windbreak day and night.  The morning chorus (of birds) has had their early morning practice and are in full symphony now.  Who needs to listen to car noises and neighborhood dogs barking and sirens and kids screaming and all that city noise?  Not me, I love to just take my coffee out on the deck and listen to my surroundings - sounds of nature - the turkeys gobble in the distance, meadowlarks sing their song so distinct.  The only arguments I hear are when one bird doesn't like what another bird says or does or won't share the dogs water bowl for the morning shower and cleaning of the feathers.

Our mockingbird has once again returned to the farm after a very quiet winter.  It is always fun to sit out on the deck and listen for him singing through his songs, wondering if he has learned any new tunes or if his repertoire is the tried and true calls he has done for so many years.  The real challenge lies in listening so carefully so you can pinpoint which tree he is in and then trying to find him.  Usually he is easy to spot once you narrow the location down, because he is always at the very top as if he is demanding all the other birds pay attention to his solos!

Spring storms have been rolling by in the sky. The picture in the background looks out over dad's field to the south of the homestead.  We have no-till wheat there this year, although with the drought it doesn't look like the green velvety carpet that it should at this point.  So many people have already turned their cows out into their wheat field or sprayed it so it could be disked under and maybe replanted in the fall.  Dad is hoping his wheat produces enough to have seed wheat for the fall planting of the northern side of the section.

The wind continues to blow, as it always does out here on the prairie.  The direction decides what the day will bring - South wind is usually accompanied with hot, dry air.  North wind cools things down a bit.  Winds out of the East generally mean we might get lucky and get a little moisture very soon.  West wind is a mystery, not sure what it means but it is generally short lived and maybe more transitional as the direction shifts from south to north and back again.

The cats love to go outside for the day, lay in the sunshine, roll in the dirt and buffalo grass.  They play hide and seek among the pampas grass and iris leaves and sometimes the cheat grass if I have not mowed recently -- which reminds me, it is time to do that activity once again.

Garden planting is on the agenda.  Rains on the weekend when I am home to plant make it difficult to finish tilling the garden plots and getting the seeds in.  Pumpkin patches have been chosen and those patches will be planted in the early part of June so pumpkins are ready for Halloween season.

                            ** Nancy