Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nothing Makes a Farmer Feel Richer..

         A barn loft full of sweet hay. To me it's what heaven will smell like. Some bales have wild mint in it. Some have the wild bergamot. And some just have the sweet smell of orchard grass and timothy. Yes, it was a wonderful feeling to finish the hay season last night. Tim worked in the hay field for the last three days and was able to get it dry enough to bale yesterday. So as soon as I got off work, I dashed home, changed clothes and headed to the hay field. Working in the hay field in late August is a completely different feeling than June. The grass has a different feel and smell. The crickets are jumping all over your feet and legs. The cicadas are singing loudly in the trees at the edge of the field. The humidity is much lower. The crows are circling over head, cawing at you. The ironweed is nodding it's huge purple heads when you walk by. But I think the biggest difference is the sense of urgency that you feel. Fall is in the air. You can feel it, you can smell it and you can hear it. You know the animals are depending on you to get this hay for winter feeding. Tired as we were, the feeling of gratefulness was almost overwhelming, when Tim tossed up the last bale. As he closed the huge doors at the end of the barn and latched them down for winter winds and storms, I thanked the Lord for the blessings He has given us. We may be poor, humble farmers but today I feel rich.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Last Days of Summer

        As I am writing this, I can hear the pitter patter of rain drops on the back porch. I have heard this sound all summer. We have had rain nearly every day. In the month of July, we had 26 days of rain. Our pasture is knee deep and lush, not something I have ever said in mid August. The garden is doing the best it has ever done. I am in the middle of canning tomatoes now. The corn is ready to freeze and we have been enjoying the new potatoes. I love the rain and I am not complaining but it has made putting up our hay a great challenge. We need at least 3 and better yet, 4 dry days to get the hay up. Hopefully we have some dry days coming up this week but not today. I can hear the roar of the creek from the kitchen window this morning, as we had thunderstorms during the night.
        The days are getting shorter and the trees in the woods have that "look" about them. The animals have already started putting on their winter coats and I am wondering just what kind of winter follows a summer like this? I can feel fall in the air. Breeding season for the dairy goats will be starting any day now. It will be in the 40's these next few nights and that will put the does in heat. The milk production is starting to drop, as it always does this time of year.
         I was able to enter the "Tour de Fleece" this year, which is a challenge to spin every day that the "Tour de France" is going on. It was so good for me to take on the challenge and because of it, the yarn that is coming off the wheel is getting so much better. There was a time when I wondered if I would ever be able to get the hang of it. I am working on a fleece now from Ruth, who was a black lamb but has lightened up to the most beautiful different shades of gray. I love working with her fleece and I think the yarn is going to be gorgeous. I cannot wait to get the fiber off of  "Knit" and "Purl", our two Angora does born this spring. "Knit" is the lightest dove gray and "Purl" has ringlets of curls hanging. I am looking forward to those fleeces. With our cool, wet summer I have been able to do a whole lot of spinning. I am also looking forward to getting the fiber off our 2 alapacas. We got them after the shearer was here this spring, so they have kept their coats on all summer. I'm glad it had been so cool. It has been a challenge to win their trust but I am making headway. They are such sweet animals.
          Well, I need to get to the garden and pick more tomatoes. Today I am canning chili tomatoes, so I will be hungry for a pot of chili before the day is over. Enjoy these last, few days of summer. It won't be long and we'll be shoveling the white stuff.