Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Lunch and Fall Garden

  It is definitely Fall, even though daytime highs are in the 80s and lows 50s and 60s. I love this time of year. Nearly pumpkin pie time! Three days ago Rita whipped up this fine lunch....a big pot of vegetable soup, using many homegrown veggies, and a pan of yummy muffins!

  We should get tomatoes all the way up to first frost, which may be 2-4 weeks away. Also have a few sweet peppers coming on as well as okra, but the cucumbers are all done. 
  I have lost at least a couple of weeks of outdoor project time recently. I was "down in the back" for about 10 days and then last Tuesday I had minor outpatient surgery which claimed a couple of days. So it was fun today to get outside and get a few things done. I finally seeded 3 beds to crimson clover as a winter cover crop. I fully intended to get the seeding done this year by early September, but.....

  These 3 beds will be in onions and sweet corn next year. I also mulched the strawberries. This is bark mulch I get free for the hauling from the county. They tub grind all the tree trimmings from the city and county and Davey Tree and anyone else can drop off trimmings and even trees that have been taken down. Every March, the public can get the "good stuff" which has been ground twice and piled to heat over the winter. I hauled several loads last March to mulch the flower and shrub beds and hauled some to our kids as well. Next March I want to stockpile more of it to use as garden mulch. Here is what I dug into today to mulch the strawberries.

  Here are my new strawberry beds....Hugelberries. This is a special way of growing strawberries that I am trying. I can't give you all the details because it is from Herrick Kimball's book. Herrick was my introduction to agrarian blogging and I have the utmost respect for him. He is self employed now and I highly recommend his book. You can read about the strawberry method as well as find out about his book here:  strawberries-of-largest-finest-quality

  I have 6 tire beds in now, 2 Chandler, 2 Sweet Charlie and 2 Quinault. They look really good so far. If they are as successful as I expect, I will take all the others out and finish this row with more tires.
  Many more projects to complete this Fall. With October just around the corner, I'd better get busy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tennessee Fall Crop Tour

  I took a quick tour around the neighborhood this morning to check the progress of local crops. Some corn has already been combined and much more is ready. (Please ignore the date on the camera hasn't been set yet).  We need rain badly; this creek is nearly dry.....might get some rain tonight.

  Soybeans are at various stages. These double cropped beans are showing signs of drought stress.

 Some hay still being baled, but most of it is low quality.

Cattle still grazing pastures, which need rain.

Our new road is now all striped and very nicely done!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

He Likes Ice Cream !

  I like ice cream.  Always have. The only thing better than ice cream is more ice cream. Somewhere we have a picture of me giving Jackson (now 9 years old) his first ice cream at the Oregon Dairy Women's booth at the Oregon State Fair when he was less than a year old. Friday I introduced Caleb (almost 6 months old) to an ice cream bar. He loved it! That's my boy!

Love those Popeye forearms!

  Now just lay back and savor the experience!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chickens at Risk

  Yesterday morning this is what I saw at the chicken coop.

And this:

  I immediately counted noses (or beaks) and all 9 hens were accounted for.

  I was trying to figure out what the invader might be. The holes in the wire were about 36"-42" off the ground, so that rules out most smaller predators.
  I patched the holes and filled the dugout area with concrete. Last night after dark, I went out to turn on a yard light and turn the radio in the nearby shop to an all night talk station, with volume turned up. As I approached the area, a big dog lazily loped away. Looked like some kind of collie, shepherd type mix. I assume this was the culprit. This morning, all was well and no more signs of tampering.
  Don't get me started on dogs in the country! Everyone out here has dogs, many have coon dogs penned up, and they are NOISY at night. We keep the furnace fan on manual at night for background noise so we can sleep. And then there are always the dogs who roam freely at night, leaving there poopy calling cards in the yard. Less than a mile from the house is a road sign that touts the county's leash law. Yeah, right!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Winding down Summer

  Hot and dry. That is us recently. Mid 90s all this week and not a drop of rain in 3 weeks and very little if any in the forecast. We have been watering what garden remains as well as young trees and shrubs. The maple in the front yard is turning colors already.

  We used to have 2 trees like this maple in the front yard but lost one to wind this summer. I chose the best sprout and tied it to the remaining trunk. I keep all the other suckers trimmed off. We'll see if it gets enough root down to survive.

   We planted several hybrid Poplar shade trees because of their fast growth. The downside is that they are susceptible to fungus and such and are losing leaves early. Messy!

  The garden is down to tomatoes, okra and cucumbers. I pulled the summer squash and very little sweet corn remains. The tomatoes look really good and we are picking daily.

Husky cherry tomato

Big Boy


  This is the sorry remaining corn. You will remember that all of my late season corn blew over in the wind. I left it all and have been harvesting a little. The ears are small but tasty. I cut down one bunch an hour ago and fed to the cows. I salvaged just 4 small ears from it, so I just finished them off a little bit ago. My always dieting wife declined so I had to eat them all! I wet a paper towel so it is very soggy, roll the ear in it and microwave for a couple minutes per ear, depending on the size. Butter, salt and yumm!!

  There are maybe a half dozen nubbins on this little patch and then that's it. I need to remember for next year that the Peaches and Cream variety, which I really like and will replant, matures before the silk really looks mature. So it is easy to let it go too long. 
  This heat makes working outside a pain. Just as well, as I tweaked my back while string trimming last Friday and haven't recovered. Very sore and cramping muscles. 
  I hope the end of summer is treating ya'll well.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Road Finished, But............

  They have finished paving the road and it is wider and very nice. Just waiting for the striping.

Looking south

Looking north

    But....the mailbox was knocked down. Not by the road crew, but by a neighbor hauling hay after dark!
When I put the new one up, I'll move it back a little!

  He came to the door the other night about 9:00 PM to fess up. It is mostly plastic and is destroyed. We had quite a time finding this one so may take awhile to find a replacement. 
  We are having warm Fall weather, as many of you are. Definitely a different feel in the air. But it is dry. August was a little below average precip and we have had nothing for over 2 weeks. Accuweather is not predicting much for the rest of September. We are watering things that we haven't needed to water all summer. 
  Garden work is mostly cleaning up beds, spreading manure and compost, rototilling and weed control. I will be seeding some crimson clover as a winter cover crop soon. We are enjoying the last of the sweet corn . It is corn that was blown down in earlier storms and many of the ears are smaller than normal, but it is delicious. Mostly Kandy Korn and Peaches & Cream. Still getting some good tomatoes and cucumbers as well as okra and peppers.