Wednesday, July 31, 2013

R.I.P - A very sad garden story of life cut short and ripped apart by the Cruel WITCH Mother Nature

 On July 27, 2013 I marveled at the 12 foot tall wild sunflower that was growing at the south end of the deck.  Visible from the dining room picture window, just beginning to sprout the tiny sunflowers that would soon be a colorful addition to the wildcat purple sun shade and the little wildflowers near its base.

I know this plant was approaching 12 feet because I measured it with the tape measure and I know how tall I built the deck up off the ground and how tall the upper cover is.  You cannot see it well in this photo but it actually had grown crooked in the last 3 feet of its height because it was growing around the Shepard's hook that in the winter time holds the seeds for the birds to eat.

There was so much life associated with this wild sunflower. There were insects using it for shelter under its leaves that were easily a snack tray in size.  The birds would sit on it for a rest while they checked for cats.

In the wee morning hours of Wednesday, July 31, 2013, this sunflower and its near by friends in the garden had its life cut down, shredded, left laying in pieces on the ground by a hail storm that started at 2:05 a.m. and was finished with its carnage here on the farm by 2:25 a.m.  This storm dumped 1.25 inches of rain during that same time frame so that anything not cut down, knocked out or shredded was left to drown a slow death in the ensuing shallow lake that covered the ground.

First I heard thunder, that just matter of fact like I registered in my sleep.  Then the rain and the hail started and being covered in steel it is amazing what it takes to hear a storm like this because most rain showers we don't hear in our sleep.  Small hail is generally not even considered while we sleep.  But when you get hail hitting the roof, the sides of the house over an inch in diameter, that makes a person sit up, wake up and say, "what the hell is going on!"  That was me at 2:05 a.m.  I started turning on the outside lights only to see what my worst fear was already forming in my head - HAIL.

What is most amazing is the picture above with the piled up hail - that is the wind and the hail's configuration on the deck off the French doors that is covered above, protected on one side by the house, protected for 75% opposite of the French doors by a heavy gauge vinyl sun shade but mostly open to the north side other than the upright 4x4 posts that support the overhead cover.

As soon as the hail started I send my husband outside to retrieve the solar pickles in 4 glass gallon jars that I had just put out 8 hours earlier to begin their solar processing because he was dressed and had on shoes.  I was the door caddy.  I gave him a bucket to protect his head and a plastic bin to retrieve the jars with.

At 2:25 a.m. the storm had moved on south of us and the rain stopped.  So I got dressed and slipped on some shoes, grabbed a flashlight and went out to survey the damage.  Believe me that the cover of darkness helps to soften the blow of the carnage and destruction that 1 inch hail causes in a pumpkin patch or a garden plot or a flower bed.

Take a walk with me in a virtual before and after photo documentation of the joys of gardening and the agony of loss at the cruel hand of the wicked witch of HAIL.

Remember that 12 foot wild sunflower at the start of this story?  Even it bowed down to the wrath of Mother Nature.
Just a few feet away were what I hoped would be the shining jewels of my pumpkins I would sell in October, the Musquee de Providence, or chocolate colored Heirloom pumpkins.  Just a day ago there beautiful with ornate leaves. . . . . .
There are 2 cherry tomato plants and a jalepeno pepper plant on the end of this pumpkin patch. 

All of the tomato and pepper plants here had veggies setting on and ripening.

 After the hail storm, this is what we have. . . .  (right)

Next on our tour is the ghost pumpkin patch.  These were to be regular sized pumpkins with their ghostly white color that actually turns an eerie shade of blue when it gets cold enough.  They were looking happy and setting on several ghosts.
Now they are truly ghosts of their previous selves.
As we make our way up to the Garden Shed and the East plot we have high hopes of seeing intact cherry tomatoes, sugar pie pumpkins and mystery ornamental pumpkins.  I was hoping they had enough protection from the shed, the hack berry tree and the wind break to come out of this storm with just a few bumps and bruises.  No such luck - before and after. . . . .

My plans were to pick green beans on Wednesday, July 31, in the afternoon when I got home from working at the insurance office.  With what was promising to be a weekly occurrence for the next month or 2.
But now, my plan is to replant and hope to be able to get a few beans in the freezer before the first killing frost.
At 2:30 a.m. I was picking the cucumbers I could see laying among the shattered vines and broken leaves.  Today I replanted the remaining dozen seeds I had in the hopes that by the end of September we have a small crop of sweet burpless and pickle bush cucumbers to enjoy.

3 gallons of solar pickles and maybe a gallon more if I choose to do that or maybe I will just eat the few left in the frig.

Amazingly the tomatoes along the fence edge only suffered minor injuries.  They will be trimmed back and we will watch carefully to see if they can recover and produce some tomatoes, we hope by the end of August at this point.

Our final stop on the garden tour is the squash patch where I have made one mock apple crunch. 

I have 2 zucchini in the house ready for another crunch that was requested to attend the Kersenbrock family reunion on August 11.  I may have to make it and freeze it and then bake it to crisp it back up since there will be no more squash.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scared of heights but you do what you have to do!

WARNING * * * * WARNING * * * * WARNING * * * * *  WARNING * * * * WARNING

DISCLAIMER:  If you are scared of heights or scare easily watching someone do something up high without a safety net or safety harness.    STOP READING NOW and go back to another story.

Time to OVERCOME my fear of HEIGHTS 

Dad gets home and notices that the top of the grain bin is opened.  Now normally that would not be an issue, that is the hole that we put the auger into so that grain drops right inside the bin where it belongs.  However, after harvest is over and we have put all the grain in the bin that we are going to put in there, we remove the auger and cover the top so that birds and more importantly RAIN does not get in and destroy the wheat.  Apparently the lid had not been secured with its piece of wire because there it was, wide open.  The wind had blown it off the top where it was covering the hole.  Good thing one side is on hinges or that lid would be somewhere in the windbreak.

Now here is the tricky part.  Someone has to climb up the little aluminum ladder on the side of the grain bin, about 20 feet straight up and then get over the edge and make their way at a 30 degree angle up another 8 feet to get to the top.  This is something I have never done before.  I am usually not around and not available for anything wheat related because I am allergic to the dust the wheat creates.  But, there is no other choice.  Dad has done this task in the past but as we all know, our parents are getting older and there are some things you just don't have older folks do.  So I go back to my house and get my socks and tenny shoes, and my leather gloves so I can scale the side of the grain bin and go take care of this lid.

I hand mom the camera, said you might as well document this in case I fall and break my neck.  So here I go.  The last thing I say is make sure you have 911 on the speed dial.

Ok, one step, so far so good. . . . you can't see it but there is a 4x4 that the top of this ladder is attached to so there is no gentle slope of the ladder like one would normally have when climbing a ladder.  The rungs are also very narrow, almost like rounded 3/4 inch conduit pipes.  If I did not have my gloves on, we could have gotten a close up of my hands and you would have been able to see the white knuckle phase I was in.

So up I go, up is easier than down I have decided.  I crawled up  to the top and look down in the bin from the auger's point of view.  Yea that will make a person dizzy and a bit woozy.  There have been stories in the past about someone getting caught in a bin in the wheat and basically suffocating to their death because they cannot get back to the surface.  These are wonderful things to think about when one is high up in the air on the top of a grain bin.
Yea let's just get this lid closed and secure the lid with the copper wire that is stuck in my hair by my barett
and get down from here already.  So I take my position so I can swing the lid over (it is behind the top there where you can't see it).  Once I have it covering I have to line up 2 holes to threat the copper wire through and twist tie it to secure.  Thanks for the close up mom, we scared half of our readers!

Now comes the part of any job up high that I absolutely hate.  The coming back down part.  This is where my fear escalates because I have to go down in the same fashion I went up so in essence I am going backwards and although it is rumored that anyone who is a mom has eyes in the back of their heads, this is a fallacy.  Not to mention how scary it is to go over an edge, not being able to see where to place your foot.  But dad is there at the bottom of the ladder coaching me and telling me how much further I have to stretch to get to the next rung.  Again, the white knuckle action is covered up by my leather gloves.  Finally I near the end of my harrowing task and mom captures me on digital film back where I started, one rung from the ground (okay maybe I was 2 rungs from the ground, but the GROUND was very close and falling at this point would have just bruised my ego at best).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The garden is alive!!!!

Last Thursday I picked 4 regular  zucchini.  I was suspicious and now my suspicions are confirmed that I do not have any yellow saffron summer squash.  Now that I have picked the below, I will be contacting Burpee because 2 of my squash seeds have no produced the fruit they are supposed to which means I got the wrong seeds in the correctly marked package.
Today, I picked 1 squash that is supposed to be a gadzuke but is not. . . The yellow squash are not yellow, they are regular zucchini and I have 2 that will be in a mock apple crunch by this time tomorrow.
I also am starting the cucumber explosion.  I picked 3 very nice ones this evening and have picklers that will be ready to go no later than mid week, so I will be making pickles by the weekend. 

The green beans look FABULOUS and are full of buds.  I suspect we will be picking those by the end of the month.  The pumpkin patches look great and so do the tomatoes, just no fruit yet.  Dad's one jalepeno pepper plant has 3 little jalepenos on it now.

Cats speak loud and clear!

Meet a few more of the fur kids.

Here are Chevy, Sien-Zu and Shuey telling me in very clear body language that I am not allowed to leave for days without them.  Not that cats are good travelers and I would never take them on any of my road trips but I think the message was delivered with PURR-fect finese.

Shuey took his turn holding down the bag, but I was not quick enough with the camera to capture that one.  Notice the strategic grouping of the cats.  All points are covered and no one can sneak up on them from any direction.

I know it would appear to be just laying around but that is not the case.  These cats are master's of disguise.  You think they are just lounging when in fact they are high alert, guarding the duffel bag to make sure it stays put or get put back in the closet where it belongs.

Meet Chevy - he got his name because his purr is so loud it sounds like a 357 Chevy motor humming under the hood of a 57 Chevy Bel-Aire.  He is the only long haired cat in the bunch.  When he was born here on the farm there were 19 kittens born that summer, he was the only long-haired one and has all the characteristics of a Maine Coon breed - except he is not tolerant of the wind when it is blowing hard and would prefer to be in the house napping on the back of the couch or on a slick wooden dinning room chair.  He also has been known to stuff himself into a box for napping on regular occasions.

Sien-Zu is one of 3 Siamese looking cats we got out of the 19 kitten summer.  Tassi-cat (from the orange spider ring story) was the first one and then late in the summer we had another litter of kittens (all males) and had 2 all white guys -- Shuey and Sien-Zu.  None of the 3 look exactly alike.  Sien-Zu has colorings of browns on his saddle section.  Course they all have the signature striped tail (seen in picture 1) that they got from their mom - Honey-cat.  Sien-Zu is a good boy, likes to hunt, and nap but is stubborn about coming inside when I say it is time to come in.  He is the one all stretched out in the first picture, which is a usual look for him when napping on the floor.

Now you have met 4 of the 9 cats. . . . I know 9 cats, right?  That is a lot but let me tell you this, on a farm 9 cats is a small number.  Without a barn for them to live in I am able to keep our cat population in check, everyone has been spayed or neutered.  They range in size from 5 pounds to 16 pounds.  Chevy and Shuey are the 2 biggest at 16 pounds. 

Check back for more cat tales. . . . and to meet the other 5 cats on the farm.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Road trip with the dogs (or how to get your interior drool cleansed)

This was the view in the rear view mirror on today's road trip to deliver a half of a beef to my sister.  Mom and dad assured me that Kya, our lab/retriever/chow mix, would lay down eventually.  That happened briefly for about 2 minutes as we drove by a race track along Highway 36 somewhere in eastern Colorado. 

My co-pilot Duncan, who is 13 years old, laid down next to me in his spot in the front seat for all but the last 20 minutes of the trip when it was imperative for him to sit up and smell the fresh air because once we got into town I was able to turn the AC off and put the windows down.  Nothing like 10-15 degrees cooler than at home. 

Only after I rolled the windows down did Kya's big black face disappear out of my rear view mirror only to be replaced in my side mirror. . . . but at least I could see the traffic behind me.

They are finally relaxed, laying down on the cool cement at my sister's house while I quietly enjoy being able to be outside without sweating - it is only 80 or so here.  I am quiet, not the sounds of the city.  That is the only thing I don't like about this patio, location, location, location.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Midnight snake wranging - beginner's class

This is the first snake wrangling 101 of the season with Jim. . . . I have caught probably the same bull snake 2 other times up around the garden, both of those times it was stretched out either in the grass sunning or holed up in the old tires by the garden shed.  When it was sunning, I just chased it into the wind break and made sure it stayed out of my way.

Now let me set this up properly.  The proper attaire for snake wrangling are leather boots, jeans and some type of long extension of yourself like a rake or shovel.  If you watch Animal Planet you would get a sense of what is considered proper attaire.

Now picture this . . . . I am working at the computer which I do in the evenings until I go to bed.  I am in my comfy summer clothes which are a tank top, thin cotton capri pants and flip flops for when I have to walk outside.

My dear husband comes to my office and says "I need your help NOW!"  I look at him like what on earth could you possibly need my help with at this late hour when you are supposed to be heading to work.  So I pretty much ask that same question.  He responds with, "there is a snake by my car that is hissing." 

OK, so out we go, me in my cotton capris and flip flops without a flash light or any kind of light to illuminate the area in question.  Jim says to keep it hissing so I know where it is.  Yea right, not when I am that vulnerable.  I didn't even know which side of the car it was on. . . . He runs into the house and gets a flashlight and his big shotgun because he was going to shoot the snake. 

Once in the spotlight I can clearly see that it has Jim's front passenger tire guarded and the snake was hissing up a storm.  I think Honey-Cat and Miss Kitty had been antagonizing it because it was all kinds of pissed off.  When I finally see it I say no to shooting it, it is just a little bull snake.  We can chase it or toss it towards the stubble field.  So the shotgun was laid aside.  Jim kept it in his sights with the light and I moved the car back to free up the lane to the field and got 2 shovels.  Jim did the flipping and I was spotter and misdirector.  It was coiled up as tight as it could go and took several well timed strikes at the shovel; it was really pissed off.  Jim got a little more brave with each toss. . . The best toss was about 6 feet in length with the snake flying up about 5 feet in the air.  It did not retreat and slither away after being tossed because each time Jim scooped it up in the shovel it was coiled tight, hissing and preparing to strike.

We finally got it into the field and Jim safely off to work.  Maybe that snake has learned its lesson that the yard is no place to be.  Yesterday it was in the same general area and a bird was dive bombing it from the tree.  Course at that time I was not home so by the time Jim got his gun and came back out the snake had run for cover and Jim had no idea where it was.  I think it retreated to the safety of the log by the retaining wall where Jim parked his car today.  Lesson learned, I think.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weeds of Western Kansas - a sampling

DISCLAIMER:  By no means is this a complete list of weeds, nor does this author boast any scientific factuality of name for any weed depicted.  No weeds were harmed in the photographs, although I cannot ensure their safety either.  They are, after all, weeds and weeds are a nuisance and a bother and sometimes they just stink and should be destroyed so that they do not perpetuate their species - that is the rule on the farm.  With that in mind, these are the usual suspects found around the farm.


1.  The fire weed, turns into a tumbleweed eventually and then chases cars and runs into them as it crosses the road to and from depending on the direction of the wind.  Sometimes it gets caught and devoured by the fierce fence. 
Other times it becomes a permanent resident in a wind break.  However, if it is unfortunate enough to try to make its final resting place in my wind break, it can be assured it will be evicted and BURNED in the burn tank at the next purging of the trees.

2.  Devil's Claw - This is apparently a very stinky weed. 
It's roots have some homeopathic properties to them I am told.  It sets on these big seed pods (which I have never seen) and then when it releases the seeds the pods open up and what is left is where we get the name because it looks like a devil's claw.


3.  My foot's personal favorite - the Mexican sandburr or goat-head stickers.  This can lay dormant for years and years, and around here as soon as you dig a new well or move dirt those little pain in the foot stickers will come to life.  They come in on shoes and then it hurts like a son of a gun when you step on them with your bare feet.  Many summers I have spent taking a shovel to these things, piling them up and burning them before they can set on their stickers.  These are found along every country road for miles.  They are transported by the unborn highway gators as they travel down the roads; either picked up or tossed off.  They can grow to be as big in diameter as a small wading pool with pretty little yellow flowers all over them.  Don't be fooled, those are the dangerous parts. 
At the time of this posting, this particular group of Mexican sandburrs still are happily alive at the edge of the drive way. . . . but their time is limited.  As soon as I have a day where I am home and can work on them, I will be dragging out my wading pool and my wagon and picking these plants up and tossing them into the burn tank for the first weed purge of the season. 

This one can't be mowed because it spreads out flat on the ground like a web.  Maybe I should spray it orange and hang it on the house for Halloween!

4.  Amazing to see these used in landscaping in the cities.  I just laugh to think how much people paid to have WEEDS planted in their yards when they are such a nuisance out here on the prairie.  When there is enough moisture during the spring they will sprout tall green spears which bloom succulent white flowers that are all the rage to eat according to the cows and deer.  Otherwise, they are more like a cactus with spindly leaves that are more like needles and if they are older their root balls actually sit on top of the ground.

5.  I hate this stuff.  It is covered on the stems and edges of the leaves in thorny slivers that embed into your hand if you try to pull it without gloves.  It is worse than getting a splinter.  It is prudent to pull these before they get big because their roots seem to rival that of geranium weed roots or dandelion roots, in making their way to China via the most direct root!

6.  The ever changing, most annoying PIG WEED or hybrid pig weed as some farmers are calling it these days.  This thing is becoming resistant to all forms of herbicide and can be found growing in the stubble fields, ditches, gardens, yards, pretty much everywhere. 

This little guy was growing next to the wheat field.  I try to pull them before they get this big in the gardens.  However, it must be known that if you do not get the entire root system or if the plant breaks off at the ground base when you try to pull it, it grows back and shoots up more stems from the base so you get a lovely tree looking pig weed.  If you have read my mowing story from a few days ago try to imagine this weed 4 feet tall - 3 feet wide and 6-8 of these stems, not just one like here. 

7.  Pasture sticker weed - what is it with yellow blooms on the weeds, especially the ones that have stickers associated with them?  This is another one like that.

I call it the pasture sticker weed because it seems to be very prevalent in feed lots and where the cows seem to congregate.  Sometimes it is the only thing growing in those areas and obviously the cows don't eat them.  This is another one you don't want to just reach down and pull with your bare hands or you will be trying to tweeze out invisible slivers that hurt and could fester under your skin.

8.  Fluffy weed.  I really have no idea what this is, whether it blooms or what its purpose is but it grows right along side all the other weeds and can get upwards of 3 feet tall.  The taller the plant, the more fluffly looking the leaves are.

9.  Russian Thistle or Muss Thistle. . . . obviously it blooms.  In the spring when it sets on blooms they are very pretty purple flowers, then as it starts to dry the blooms they start to take on a dandelion look with the seed pods being those spiral fluffs shaped like an umbrella.  The base of the plant where the leaves are is also a bit prickly - almost like a spiney edge to the leaves.  We try to dig these up in the spring in the yard before they get to the flowering stage to cut down on the spread but driving around the county I can assure you that even if we keep our area thistle free, there are plenty of plants out there to keep reseeding themselves for years to come.


I feel like very little needs to be said about this weed.  There is a funny old song written about it.  It is used for medicinal purposed in Colorado and California if properly cultivated.  It grows wild everywhere.  The only good thing about this is apparently IF the cows were to walk into a patch of this weed, it would keep the flies from biting them.  However, I can honestly say that I have never seen a cow standing in the middle of a patch of these weeds - flies or no flies.  It goes by lots of names, none of which I will repeat here!

If you would like to know more about any of the weeds 1-9 highlighted here, just let me know.  I can take some more pictures as some of these stupid things mature and change (like the devil's claw) or show you just how HUGE they get.  But those pictures are per request.

Hope you found this fun and informative.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mowing on the farm - in the style of some weird sporting event

The rules:
1.  Get as much mowing done with one tank of gas as you can.
2.  Extra points for pig weeds taller than the front of the riding mower (50 points)
3.  Points for regular sized pig weeds (10 points), fire weeds (10 points) and ground cover (5 points)
4.  Lose points for running over a stick, hose, snake, weed barrier, carpet, chunk of wood, etc. (-8 points per hit with the blades)
5.  Bonus level includes using the trimmer to clean up the edges of a course for perfect looking area (75 points)

(Read the following commentary like a sports announcer in your head)

Here we are folks, in the prequalifying trials, at the quonset of one wild mower named Nancy.  She is checking tire pressures and gassing up the Husquvarna mower that looks like it has seen better days and a few head on views of small trees.  As she puts the air hose away and tops off the gas we are intrigued by her choice of visor and mowing apparel.  Who are those sponsors any way?  Wrightsville Beach?  Santa Cruz?  Tweety bird?  We never know which sponsor she is mowing with until we see the visor. 

The quonset doors are open, sunlight hits the mower deck and we hear the engine choke to life.  With a quick flick of the wrist, Nancy has that mower inching out of the quonset, mower deck on 6 which is the highest setting.  We know from past trials she likes to mow at a level 4 but we have seen the track today and frankly folks, we doubt that she will be able to maintain that low deck level through the driveway entrance where there are pig weeds as tall as 4 feet or more.  There are several stages to today's trial run.  The driveway entrance looks to be the most challenging so it will be interesting to see if she goes full tilt down the driveway ditch to tackle that stage first.  The other areas on the course today are 3 times around the squash patch with a hose and sprinkler deduction hiding in the tall weeds, an easy 4 passes on the south end of her house, keeping the clippings away from the flowers, navigating around the burn tank and around the east garden twice, and then the freestyle course where she chooses the open area she wants as a bonus round - available today are west of the house around the pumpkin patch, south end of the farm yard around the young pin oak trees or the west windbreak.  Hold on, folks, she is pulling out a surprise from the quonset, could it be?  Is she really going to do a trimmer tag-a long?  Yes she is, there is the trimmer now positioned behind the Husky mower poised to take the long run down the driveway.

4---3----2----1----- and there she goes!  Yes it is the challenge stage first, pulling the trimmer behind the mower with an outstretched arm she is going top speed of 5 mph down the driveway south ditch.  Whoa, what was that, the trimmer hit the hole by the pin oak trees and almost toppled over.  She gets to the edge of the first stage and leaves the trimmer and starts out at a level 4 low deck mowing the short weeds at the edge of the field.  She won't be able to maintain that, she is hitting pig weeds fast.  Oh, she pulls off to the side of the large pig weeds and gets the edge of the road first maintaining her level 4 low deck pace. . . . 2 swings around and we see the mower deck jump to the level 5.  There is a lot of rocking and rolling back and forth across those large pig weeds.  We measured one earlier today that was almost 5 feet tall, do you suppose she will go that far south in the ditch? Let's see.  No she is stopping just this side of that tall pig weed, but she has managed to eliminate several others that were 3-4 feet tall and at least 2 feet in diameter.  She backs up the mower to the edge of the field to get a run at the steep grade leading up to the highway, she checks left and the right, making sure no one is coming from either direction and then goes full throttle and level 4 up the side of the ditch to the edge of the road.  She makes a big swing in the southbound lane of the highway and then heads back down the steep ditch grade.  She is really making those weeds fly.  Wait a minute, how is she going to manage around the culvert?  There is no traction there?  Let's watch and see.  She almost has the main part of the ditch cleared, looking very nice and almost at a manicured level, that should earn some extra points.  She puts the mower at full throttle and heads straight for the trimmer.  I hope that thing starts without a fuss.  She parks the mower in the bottom of the ditch and pulls the string pulley for the trimmer.  Once - twice, yes it roars to life.  She approaches the culvert to asses the best angle to attack those weeds from.  4 quick passes - 1 downhill against gravity and she has that culvert looking like something you see in the city.  Folks she is doing a great job.  She turns off the trimmer, parks it at the edge of the driveway entrance and heads across to the north side with the mower.  There aren't any tall pig weeds here, we suspect the stubble field was sprayed and that helped keep things clearer in this section of the ditch.  5 quick passes and she has the first stage done.  She pulls the mower deck up, grabs the trimmer and full throttle heads back up the driveway to the farm.  I think that was a 350 point stage.  I didn't see a single pig weed bounce back after she left.

Let's take a break and come back to see how these trials end up, right after a word from our sponsors!. . . .

(commercial break - if you want to know more, you have to ask for the next round through the comments option below.  I hope you enjoyed this post! - nancy)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Busy day on the farm

Friday:  Yesterday was mowing around the house and down at the bottom of the road.  Then when I thought I would take a nap, I went out to check in with dad and the harvest progress only to have the wrong shoes and no visor in the 100 degree sunshine, ended up helping him clear the wheat from the tarp to the hopper and into the bin.  My toes were too hot and I knew I had a sunburn starting.  I have so much to get done on Saturday I better get some rest. . . . 

Saturday:  Whew what a day. . . . started out weeding the last of the east garden, got a new soaker hose laid and Jim mulched.  I mowed a bunch around the gardens and have to mow down the side next to the shed so that is on the list for Sunday.  Then Alex and I went to Grandma Edith's house and got all of her boxes in the basement broke down and bundled and in my car, they will go to recycling on Wednesday.  Then I got a bunch of dinner rolls and bread set up to raise for making bierocks later in the afternoon.  79 bierocks later they are in the freezer and Alex will take approximately 70 of them home for late night snacks after work.  Jim helped mom and dad get the new AC put in the dining room window.  Dad and I got the smoked ribs ready for BBQ sauce and in the oven.  I took a few minutes to myself to watch about 1.5 hours of TV then it was bierock production line until Alex and I went to the movie - The Heat - GO SEE IF YOU WANT TO LAUGH!!!!!

3 loads of dishes washed, a load of mowing clothes laundry washed and hung on the line.  Made a new batch of root beer float pie filling and put it in dixie cups with a lot less Cool Whip - very yummy!!!

I think it is time to relax!!!

Tomorrow's schedule includes:  Finishing the mowing, painting the step on the east deck, watering the green beans, mixing up bug spray for the flowers, putting the last of the tomato cages around the cherry tomatoes, and getting my hair colored.  Maybe I will get a nap in the afternoon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wheat Harvest 2013

Many of you know what harvest looks like, but there are people out there that have never been this close to a wheat field, and certainly not this close to a combine in the field.  I tried to take a video but it did not transfer over or at least I have not found it on the computer yet so you get the still shots I was able to get today.  We have about 10 acres still out there but the outer part is still green and needs to mature, dry out and ripen and it is in the way of what is ready to pick so we wait, maybe next week we can finish it up. 

The person you see driving the combine is the son of my dad's friend.  They help us with harvest with their combine and truck, and dad helps them with their harvest until it is all done.  However, dad was the only one with wheat this year so the harvest was short lived but we still had the mandatory breakdown of the combine at least once each day we cut.  I had to even get in the grain bin this morning and level off the bin so the dryer fan could do its job on keeping the wheat from holding moisture.

Enjoy the pictures.

This is what the wheat looks like when it is dumped out of the combine into the truck and into the grain bin.  I guess I should have taken some pictures of the auger and grain bin set up, I will try to remember to do that tomorrow when it is cooler.  9 p.m. and still 90 degrees makes for a very hot day, we were over 100 but then again, you ask anyone in NW Kansas and they will tell you that is typical harvest weather.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spa Day at the Farm . . . . . who needs their skin?

Who would think that slimy, buggy, slithery things needed a spa day but here on the farm, we have that and we don't charge for the treatments.  Just think what those women on the East and West Coasts pay for a full body sloughing treatment.  Here on the farm we have our own version. . . .

Slid out of your skin:  Snakes do it from tip to tail and just leave what they don't want behind.

And if you look like an alien when you emerge from you might be a locust.  This is a rare sighting here, usually we just see the shell that they leave behind but this morning we actually got to see the process as it happened.  It only takes a few minutes for those wings to dry and for the locust to fly off to be in the trees singing to us tonight.

Who needs a mud bath after seeing that?