Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring day on the farm.

It's evening on the first day of 80 degree weather in 2010. Our forsythia is blooming. Everyone's forsythia is blooming, so this seems silly to mention, but ours almost never blooms so I'm enjoying it.

I cut up ten pounds of seed potatoes, five of Kennebec and five of Yukon Gold. I bought three bunches of onion plants and spinach, beet, snap pea, and carrot seeds.

The henbit has taken over my raised beds which is a blessing and a curse. It is a curse because until I get it out of there it will keep the beds too wet to work with. It is a blessing because I really need a lot of green material to mix with the pile of straw that is waiting to be composted. The henbit will be perfect. Chuck sharpened the two field hoes for me tonight so tomorrow I can easily scrape the henbit off the top of the beds and carry it over to compost. The beds will dry out and be ready for other growing things soon.

There are five beds I got turned under in the fall that are already ready to plant. One will get peas, spinach, beets, broccoli and onions. Three will be saved for corn, because they had beans in them last year and I want to see how corn does with all that nitrogen that the beans leave in the soil. The last one will get potatoes.

Chuck bought a manure spreader yesterday. It is a flail type, which makes me laugh every time I say it. This reveals my baser self. How does a flail type manure spreader work? There is a rotating drive which runs down the center of the spreader. Attached to that drive are short chains that have paddles attached to the ends. When the spreader is full, you pull it to the field and turn on the drive and the chains with paddles beat the **** out of the spreader.

Anyway, he needed to try it out immediately upon getting it home. It didn't work. Frustration ensued, followed by a call to the seller. There was a discussion of what could help. Today Chuck tried some of those remedies, and now this is (in his opinion) a much better spreader than any he has used before. It spreads the manure much more evenly over the field.

From so much spreading, combined with a gentle southeast wind, there is definitely a 'farm' smell around here this evening.

In other farm news, we have a recalcitrant sow. Last night we got a call that she was out on Woodlawn, the road that runs along the west edge of our property. Chuck and Wes brought her home. She got out again. And again.

Chuck boarded her into her house for the night, thinking she would calm down and be able to stay home in the morning.

This morning the back was pushed out of that house and the sow is nowhere to be found. We farrow the sows in A-houses because they seem to like a little privacy. This sow wants a lot of privacy. I was worried that she would not come back and we would be introducing a feral herd to our neighborhood. Chuck isn't concerned. She'll come home when she has farrowed and she gets hungry. He will then follow her to her litter, take a trailer over there, and feed her on the trailer a couple of times. After that he will be able to collect her pigs and move the little family back to an A-house. In the meantime, she better stay away from my garden!

The boys had church tonight so we worked late outside. At about 7:30 I was hungry and radioed Chuck to see if he wanted some leftover pizza with me. We thought we'd eat quickly and then go back to work. It was nice to sit together in a quiet house. And then we decided to sit on the porch for a while. And then to look at the garden. And then to walk out to the road and watch the last color disappear from the sky. The coyotes began their yipping and the birds finished their evening calls. There is a lot here to be thankful for.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Luke pics and a video

I wanted to update with a few more current picture of Luke, as well as my boys, since their birthdays were not so very long ago. First of all, Wes, who is now 16, letting Luke try on his Broncos hat.

Next, Tim on his 17th birthday.

Luke helping cook.

Luke watching Veggie Tales.

After eating a chocolate filled Oreo clone...

This is a little video of Luke's excitement about candles. It's time to hide the matches!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Morning Walks

I had to run Wes into town at 8 yesterday morning and decided to bring my dog along and walk in town. The morning was cloudy and dreary, another in a long line of cloudy and dreary days this month.

Mattie and I took the bike path, and were virtually alone. I decided to walk longer than usual and went out two miles before turning back. As I walked a great blue heron glided through the air over the creek. There weren't many geese present this morning, but there was virtually no wind and the water was still and reflective.

As I neared the end of the second mile the song of a cardinal filled the air. I realized that although the sky had not changed, my perspective had. The day seemed beautiful and full of promise.

This morning I woke before sunrise and decided to go again, but here at home instead of in town. The sun wasn't up yet when I left so I headed south instead of my usual westward route, so that I could watch it rise. It was silent. No wind. No cars.

There was a light haze, especially visible near the horizon, so when the sun finally appeared it was a tiny red slash through the blue-gray cover. It always surprises me how fast the sun clears the horizon. The rest of the day it seems to move so slowly, but at the horizon if you look away you'll miss it.

Almost as soon as the sun was fully visible a meadowlark began it's morning songs. A red hawk lifted off from an electrical pole. Blackbirds and more meadowlarks joined in until it was hard to hear individual birds in the chorus.

A coyote couple ran from a freshly green wheat field into the milo stubble on the other side of the road. Fortunately I was the only one who saw them, and my dogs remained calm and ignorant of the chase they missed.

I decided to walk four miles again today, so it took around an hour. The world continued to brighten and the haze took on the sunlight adding a softer brighter ambiance to everything.

This has been a week of being more aware of my need for time spent in prayer. I think I probably always could benefit from having the attitudes that come from a conscious alignment with truth. Sometimes I lose sight of that. This week there has been enough unfamiliar settings where my reactions needed to be wise, that I've sought out that connection with God more intensely. As I walked this morning I caught myself thinking, "I should be praying. I'll need to have prayed later today." That thought was answered with the realization that the walk was in essence a prayer. I''ll find time later to pray specifically for needs I am aware of, but the time spent noticing the goodness of the world around me changed my perspective. It went from a heaviness to a sense that not so much is dependent on me. Things will be OK. Life will not end If I'm not able to figure everything out.