19 May 2012

Puttin' Up Hay

Since we moved from our old place, one thing I've missed is putting up hay.  I remedied that a couple of days ago when I helped some neighbors get some hay up and in the barn.  The weather has been pretty well prefect for haying--clear, bright days, low humidity, very warm temps, and cool nights.  There has been a lot of hay made during the past two or three weeks.  On Thursday afternoon, I went over and helped some friends put some good mixed hay in the barn.  It was cut from an old alfalfa field and they plan to pasture the horses on it after this cutting of hay.  There is a good mix of remnant alfalfa, some orchard grass and bit of clover and other plant varieties.  Good hay.  As we worked, the owner and a friend worked on the baler, which had developed a 'hiccup'  and had quit tying bales.  We went ahead and got a good load put on, then walked out behind the horse drawn wagon.  We loaded the jeep full of kids and headed down the road to the barn where we'd stack the hay.  It was soon off loaded and even the small kids pitched in.  In no time, we had it emptied and the horses were nibbling the leavings on the wagon.  Then it was back to the field and another load.  This finished the chore, until the baler could be repaired and put back in action.

I like putting up hay.  It is good, honest work...a lot like cutting firewood or digging postholes!

12 May 2012

Gardening, etc.

I picked up a roll of short poultry netting yesterday at the Orscheln store.  Got it put up around the pole beans to keep the rabbits from nibbling the plants.  Moved the tomato cages to their regular and prescribed duty of serving in a valuable support role (literally) for the tomato plants.

We have a pair of persistent Robins.  They insisted on building again this year right on top of my motion-activated floodlight located just over the walk-in door of the shop.  I put up with them until they got their first brood up and out of the nest.  Then I removed the nest.  In no time, they were back and trying to start another nest.  I thwarted their attempts for a couple of days, but came home one afternoon to find that in just that one day, the pair had pretty well constructed an entire nest of grass and mud.  OK, OK!  One more brood and that's it!  I'll just keep an eye out as I go into the shop.  Oh, I also have to keep the grass 'trimmed' from in front of the sensor eye.  Otherwise, the light is on half the night as the wind blows the grass around!

The second nest built by our persistent robins.

Our young blueberry bushes are beginning to bear.

Late this afternoon, I went over and helped a friend and his son-in-law in getting some hay baled.  Before I had to leave, we had moved several implements to get to the baler, greased it up, made some adjustments, took it out to the field, attached the power head, moved the team of six big Belgians, made a couple of rounds, checking bales, etc.  I had to leave as the neighbor was headed back out to the field with his pair of horses to rake some more.  Believe it or not, I'll miss not getting to help throw the bales onto the wagon and into the barn.  Oh well, there is more hay do get in, the season is young.

10 May 2012

Snappers and goats

I took my Snapper mower over to the neighborhood small engine shop for a couple of repairs that were beyond my level of expertise.  While there, the owner's young daughter came out carrying a small stainless steel bucket.  She asked her daddy if he wanted her to milk the goat.  He told her to wait a second and he'd do it.  So, I naturally asked if I could go along and watch.

We headed through the barn lot where the cross-bred doe was making a pretty good ruckus.  I think she was feeling ready to be milked.  We entered the barn and she ran in through the low access door and hopped right up on the milking stand.  In just a minute, the goat was munching on sweet feed and my friend was milking away, rapidly putting the rich milk in the bucket.  He and his wife have five girls and three boys and he says this goat puts out enough milk for all of them.  His wife also makes yogurt with any extra.  I asked his daughter what the goat's name was.  "Nanny", she replied simply.  Hmm, easy enough.  Next, I had to ask if I could 'try my hand at it'.  So I grabbed on and pinched and squeezed, a squeezed and pinched but could only get one badly aimed squirt to shoot out onto my friend's little boy.  They laughed and he proceeded to show me how to sort of roll my squeeze down towards the end of the teat.  I'd like to say I figured it out and soon had the  rich goat's milk streaming into the bucket, but nope, I didn't.  I couldn't get the rhythm down. I tried again, with similar results.  So, humbled, I left it to him.  Maybe, when I pick up my mower, I'll time my visit so I can ask to try again!

Great Weather, Gardening, and a new (old) book!

The weather has been great the past few days and it looks to continue for a few more.  Temps have been in the 70-degree range in the afternoon and in the upper 40's at night!!  Fabulous for Southern Indiana.  We'll be begging for days like this come July and August!  But for now, we'll sleep with the windows open and enjoy the weather we're blessed with.

 The past couple of evenings were spent on scrounging expeditions.  You know, good bean poles aren't that easy to find any more.  I prefer sassafras, about an inch to inch and a quarter in diameter at the base.  When found in a fencerow, they are usually tall and as straight---well, as a beanpole!  We found enough of the saplings and once home, I sharpened the base end of each one.  I stuck the beans, four hills at a time, one pole to a hill.  Then I gathered the four poles just above head high and tied them securely together in tipi fashion.  Then on to the next four.  Somewhere in the early plantings, I lost track of a couple of hills of beans that didn't come up and replaced them with tomato plants, so I have fourteen hills of Kentucky Blue pole beans.  Once the poles were all in place, I laid tomato cages on their sides around the perimeter of the plantings to keep the neighborhood cottontail rabbits from nipping the young plants.  Once the plants get going a bit and climbing up the poles, they don't usually bother the older leaves near the base.

I am also adding a shot of our compost bin.  It is another of those do-it-yourself projects that I like.  It is simply made from old, used concrete blocks that are loose stacked.  I stacked them on their sides to allow for more air movement.  Note too, that the holes in the blocks at the front of the bin allow me to place some short poles to help contain the contents of the bin.  All of our vegetable scraps go in the pile as well as old straw, and other trimmings.

Finally, in today's post is a photo of an old book I recently located.  It is titled "Early American History--1492-1789--Political, Social, and Economic"  It was published way back in 1938 and was written by one of my great uncles, Jennings Bryan Sanders.  I never really knew 'Uncle Jennings', as my dad called him, but our family was very proud of him and held him in high regard.  He earned a Ph.D. and was, at one time, president of a college in Tennessee.  I guess you could say he was the scholar in our family.  He wrote several books including a couple about the Continental Congress.  Apparently, I came by my interest in Revolutionary War History naturally.

03 May 2012

More gardening!

Wow, summer like temps yesterday and today...upper 80's to around 90.  I replaced a pepper plant and a tomato plant that ended up not making it through the hailstorm last Saturday evening.  Considering the storm, that isn't too bad a casualty count.  Talked with my neighbor who was doing the same thing, and offered him my left over Roma tomato plants.  I also urged him to make use of our rows of lettuce, we can't keep up with them.  A feller can eat only so many salads!

This afternoon, I also transplanted a 'pup' from our aloe vera plant.  As soon as it takes root, I'll try to find a new home for it.

I simply used an old table fork to lift the 'pup' from the soil.

Once the new plant takes root, I'll find it a new home.
This evening, we went up to Bloomington and moved most of Darling Daughter's stuff home from I.U. for the summer.  She has one final exam tomorrow, then will head home with what's left.