Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grandson Update

  Time for a pictorial grandson update. (I need to do a granddaughter update, but teenage girls are harder to corral for photos than little boys!)

Big brother Jackson - age 9 (almost 10), and little brother Caleb - 7 months. They are great buddies!

The whole family ate out Sunday for Rita's birthday. Caleb fell asleep in Grandma's arms after enjoying some ice cream!

Pretty cute little noggin (Caleb, not me!)

And, hangin' out with Uncle Steve & Auntie Wendy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Frost...but Hangin In There

  As many of you around the country did, we had our first frost last night. About 25-27, depending on where you were. The hybrid poplar trees lost their leaves early but this tree topper is hangin' in there!

  The maple trees are just starting to color up, but this frost should hurry that along.

  Here are some pictures from yesterday...pre-frost. Zinnias, roses and purple sweet potato vine

This bee was very sluggish but eventually flew away.

The loropetalum is blooming nicely.

A brave Stella D'Oro daylily still blooming

The new mailbox

Knock Out roses are still blooming

But this morning, post frost, a different look.

  We are due for another freeze tonight, about the same 25-27. High today 52. Then by next Tuesday we will warm up 25 degrees or more to 75 hi - 55 lo. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Feels like October

  We're having a beautiful 65 degree day after a very foggy beginning.

  You can barely see the cows and bull at the hay rings in the center of the above picture. We haven't had frost yet. Wednesday we had a nice .70" rain. The forecast for the remainder of October calls for highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s. First frost should be sometime between next Tuesday and Halloween, which is just about normal.
  I picked a few peppers today, but the tomatoes have really slowed the ripening process, so we'll likely be picking the green ones off soon. We have eaten tomatoes every day for many weeks and we'll miss them.
  The Canby thornless raspberries should arrive any day. Remember the fiasco last spring when we discovered that the Canby raspberries were actually Japanese Wineberries, so I pulled them out. I am hoping Willis Nursery sends some nice replacement plants so I can give them a good review....otherwise.........!!!
  I fed the first round bale of hay a week ago, so the winter feeding season is underway. We are expecting a new calf in about a month, so life goes on!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Garden Projects

  We are having beautiful Fall weather....high 70s to low 80s. perfect for outdoor projects. With the garden reduced to a few tomatoes and peppers still ripening, there is time for other things.
  I am really happy with the progress of the strawberries in the hugelkultur tires.
  The plants are getting established quickly with large healthy leaves. Just 3 plants in each tire and these were small rooted runners from previous older beds of berries. I have kept all the runners clipped off these new ones. I'm really anxious to see how they yield next year.
  I decided to build a large cold frame/raised bed and use the same hugelkultur method as the strawberry tires. I demolished the old compost bins I had built 3 years ago. They didn't work well....I had moved the compost pile out by the corral and these bins were just a catch all and hard to keep neat. So down they came.
  I had used primarily salvaged materials to build these and was able to salvage about 90% of the material again.The soil is from a 2 x 12 foot raised bed that was on the back side of the compost bins. I'll use it in the new bed.

  I started by marking out a 3.5 x 16 foot space for the new bed. I stripped the sod off it in squares.

  I used it and some of the dirt to make dams that will shunt rain runoff toward the pasture. I have had too much water on the garden in heavy rains.Still work to be done on that project before winter.

  This is the bed after "excavation".

  Now comes the fun part! Adding the hugel mass. I have a pretty good sized woodpile and some of it has turned "punky"...soft and rotting...perfect for the hugel mass.
  You can google "hugelkultur" and read some interesting things about the concept.  I'll post later with the final steps in completing this bed. After building the frame around it, I'll water in a mix of soil, compost and aged manure around the hugel mass and then fill the bed with topsoil and compost. I'm going to divide it into four 4' beds and make removable lids with corrugated panels (recycled from an old greenhouse at Steve and Wendy's place). So I can use it for a cold frame for early starts or late fall crops, but remove the lids in the summer.
  I have enough room here to make 2 more beds this size.........that's a project for another year!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Still here!

  I haven't blogged in several days. It's been a little busy with some doctor and medical things to attend to. In fact, I am having breakfast withdrawal as I write....I have a doctor's appointment at 11:00 AM and they will be taking a blood sample, so no food until noon. What a sacrifice!
  This might be a good time to post recent pictures of the herd. Here is Buster...not the best picture, but he is developing into a good looking herd sire.

  He sired the two calves I sold in August, Baxter and Bogart. He has 5 more calves on the November, January, February, March and April.  Here are the 5 cows / heifers due to calve.

  We have been quite dry for several weeks and have missed many area thunderstorms, but yesterday we got 1 inch of needed rain. Hopefully that will give the grass a little kick and I can delay starting hay feeding by a week or two more.
  The storm front brought in cooler temperatures. Saturday was 89 for a high; probably the warmest day we will have until next April or May. The next 2 weeks are forecast in the 70s with lows in the 40's. The first frost at this point is forecast for Nov. 10, which is quite late. The average first frost date is Oct. 17. So we have a month of beautiful Fall weather to enjoy.