Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Summer! But the Livin' Is Anything But Easy

Everything seems to come at once on the farm, especially this time of year when the weather has finally warmed.

With the garden tilled... and retilled... and retilled... I wanted to plant on Sunday. But the peacock is at large and cannot be corralled because his pen is housing turkeys, with whom he will do battle. The peacock loves when I plant the garden. He goes right along behind unplanting it. Last year I eventually put netting over the entire garden to keep him out... after he'd eaten all the watermelon seeds and most of the squash.

We took the netting down over winter to keep snow from destroying it. This year, the garden is on the opposite side of our two-sided garden/chicken yard. (One year the chickens eat up all the insects and fertilize one side while we garden on the other side. Next year the situation is reversed.) So this year I needed to put net-fastening nails all along the top of the garden fence where no netting had been last year. I also had to prune back the over-exuberant apple tree and various ornamental vines that crawl over the chicken house and fig tree and hang into the garden. Then Johnny helped me stretch the netting over the whole thing. At last I was able to safely plant corn, beans, melons, and more.

A crow sat in a nearby tree and complained the entire time I planted my summer garden seeds. Numerous birds flew over the netting, circled, and then flew off. I'm sure they're all disgusted. I, on the other hand, am mightily pleased.

But I had no time to sit around and admire the planted rows, safe below the netting high above. A neighbor will soon be cutting two of our fields for hay. It's been many years since I've had few enough animals eating grass to allow some of it to be cut for hay. It will be nice to have our own hay again, full of birdsfoot trefoil which is the goats' favorite food. But the big flatbed hay trailer we need for hauling the bales out of the field has been full of barkdust for months, waiting for me to renew our barkdust paths with it.

It's a lot of work shoveling barkdust into a wheelbarrow and dumping it along our long, long paths from barn to house to shop. And I hate using a noisy, smelly tractor. So today I used the EZ-Go electric golf cart we bought used (very used) a few months ago. It is blissfully quiet. All I could hear were bird songs... and a baby goat crying because the others were out grazing and he didn't have the smarts to follow them. Then McCoy dog howled because the kid was crying. The goats eventually ran back into the barn, but later went out and the whole scenario happened again: kid cried/dog howled/goats ran back/goats wandered out/kid cried/dog howled/etc. But other than that, it was quiet.

That little golf cart has been a blessing for Johnny while he was unable to walk very far without pain. And I've used it to haul off my garden weedings. Unloading it is a snap. I put three empty feed sacks in the bottom, pile my weedings or barkdust or whatever on top, then pull the sacks out when I get to my destination. The sacks slip right out of the plastic bed with no effort at all.

Johnny took photos of me loading up the EZ-Go to prove he wasn't violating his post-surgery restrictions by doing it. So I took a photo of the new milk room cabinets he painted while I shoveled bark dust. The cabinet man is coming Thursday to install the counter top and cabinets. The trim needed to get painted before then. As I said, everything happens at once around here.

The paths are renewed but there is still a lot of bark dust on the hay trailer. The rest will get piled in a heap to be used for future goat pen renewals when I get around to cleaning goat pens. Hay can't be cut until we have four good days of no rain in the forecast so I still have time to unload the rest of the bark dust. And then will be the challenge of bringing in the hay. Never a dull moment on the farm.

1 comment:

  1. Glad that you got the garden tilled, netted and sown :) Mine is in now up here at Rock Creek Andalusians, and with a bit of luck and a BUNCH of sun I will get some food out of it. That is a monster load of bark dust (I sort of helped Johnny tie down the tarps at the sale)so you be careful, OK?