Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Don't Be Fooled: The Farm Report 11-25-2020

Don't Be Fooled
The Farm Report 11-25-2020

Sometimes, things aren't what they seem to be.

Dogs live in the moment; cats plan ahead. Annie was thinking she was really making progress having O.J. like her the other morning. Like most young girls, she wants to be 'popular.' They were acting like besties, at least that is what Annie thought. Everybody else in the room (me and O.J.) knew differently.

"Oh, O.J." Annie said to herself, "we can be best friends after all."

O.J. responded to Annie's love nuzzles with a purring kitty head bump. It was one of Annie's best mornings so far.

Annie was going into a love trance. O.J. was simply working Annie into position for what was to come next. You could see him working her, and if you've ever been around them, you knew - you just knew! - what was coming next.

Then when all the wheels were in their correct alignment, and using his finest sarcastic stage whisper and all the contempt an old tomcat can muster - and that is A LOT, you could just hear O.J. say to himself under his breath, "You stupid dog." Annie was even beginning to smell a rat when, out of the blue and faster than a speeding bullet ...

O.J. smacked Annie a good un right across the Schnoz.

Annie looked at me like, "What happened, Tim?!"

"Why does he do that to me, do you think?" Annie doesn't get mad or very offended. She just seems to roll with the punches and is a little disappointed. She'll keep trying to befriend the old cuss though. She never gives up! Of course, neither does he for that matter. Maybe Annie's cold nose pushing O.J. in places he would rather not have her cold nose push him might have something to do with his contempt for her - and the urge to get even. It is infinitely entertaining to me though.

This picture doesn't do the sight justice, but it helps explain where I live. One afternoon as I was headed to the timber to cut wood, the skies were crisscrossed with jet trails. Truly, I live at the center of the world where everybody 'flies over' regardless where you're coming from or going to. Fine with me!

My fun ain't everybody's cup of tea. I love to haul in logs to the 'Picnic Point' clearing as Joyce named it, and split it into firewood. And just for the record and to keep things on an even keel, this pic should help you to understand that firewood heating is probably the single most expensive way there is to heat your digs. It takes (joyfully!) a lot of gear and equipment - plus you need a good insurance policy 'just in case.'

Still and all, there isn't much more peaceful to me than to link and split logs in the ebbing light of the evening on a crisp fall/winter day. It is satisfying to me, and the sleep that comes from the exercise is deep and restful - as long as the ibuprofen bottle is kept full.

Annie's version of heaven: A stalk of corn to eat and play with, and a tire rim to 'hula hoop' with when she's of a mind to.

This afternoon on 'Lunch Break' Annie was barking and barking. She's not a barker, so I knew something was up. I suspected coyotes. Nope.

Way down there in the trees this is what she was barking at. He stayed there for over 2 hours. He is the most magnificent bald eagle I think I've ever seen. Perfect! and Huge! He was not intimidated by Annie one dropper full. In fact, he was about the same size as she is, and he kept doing the hawk/eagle binocular vision thing where they move their head back and forth measuring distance before the attack. I really was a little worried he might swoop to give her a lesson, and me a thrill. He didn't.

Me and mine have all decided the best thing this year is to stay home and stay safe. The boiler is full of wood, so I'm warm.

Annie thinks she's a lap dog, but she isn't. Well, she is, but still, she isn't!

I've got my books and my tunes and my entertainment. A fire to keep me warm and nostalgic in the evenings, and I'm fine. I hope you are all fine, too. Right now, let's think about staying safe by staying with our heads down just a little bit longer.  We've come so far. To come out right now would be a little bit, to me, like saying to yourself, "I think that machine gun is almost out of bullets. Maybe we could get out of this trench for a while and be OK." Don't. Please don't. I plan on being around to annoy you for a long time yet - and I need an audience like you to annoy. Eat more turkey, or pizza, or brats.... I haven't decided yet what I'm going to cook Thursday. I'll fix something though. Maybe just popcorn. Who knows? Cheers from Oakdale Farm.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Time for a Change: The Farm Report 11-10-2020

 Time for a Change
The Farm Report 11-10-2020

Well, for one thing, we need to change where we keep things out here on the farm. Much to my chagrin, I discovered the other night that the two cans in the pic look very much the same sitting on the pantry shelf by each other. I also discovered that while they look the same on the outside, what is inside them is altogether different. One is good to make the bread crust 'buttery' and soft when sprayed on the loaf immediately out of the oven, and the other is good to make the furniture extra smooth and polished. Neither can be substituted for the other, however, I learned. Especially when sprayed liberally on your fresh baked bread hot out of the oven. I thought that smelled funny......

Time for other changes too. It is November now and it would be a fool's errand to think the seasons won't change pretty soon now. The garden needs a good clean up and a long winter's nap. But where to start?

Henry Ford knows! I just happen to have (Ahem!) a little 2-bottom plow that fits Henry's 3-point hitch. Henry Ford made the tractors, and Harry Ferguson made the plows. Their names are on each, repsectively. This is a history guy's way to enjoy gardening and old machines at the same time. Old timers always plowed the fields in the fall. It is not the best practice, and we don't do it anymore at Oakdale Farm. In fact, we are a no-til operation here. The soil is better for it, and the harvest results prove it. But hey! I have the stuff and like doing it. A little plowing around in the dirt in my garden does make it cleaner, and that's that. No other justification needed.

Plowing is an art. It is a trick of planning. Do you start in the middle and go out, or do you start on the outside and work your way in? I did the outside and worked to the middle. Annie hunted toads while I plowed. The garden is full of 'em.

After plowing, then what? Well, out to 'implement row' and put on the landscape rake. Henry does it all.

A few times around and all is smoothed and leveled.

Check! Garden done and ready to put to bed. I may plant some oats for a cover crop if the weather holds for me. The Romans figured out the benefit of cover crops. We forgot all about that from about WWII until the 1990's. Gladly, we re-learned and now we're back at it. Cover crops do work to hold nutrients up in the soil for next year, and they add organic stuff, too. All good. Oats freeze off so I don't have to kill anything out next spring with chems or blades.

There's always something more to do in a garden though. The tarp garden will be last. Though it looks a mess, the tarp and frames make it a snap to clean. Stay tuned; we'll get to it.

It has been so dry here. We need a rain. Annie and O.J. are looking out at Walnut creek. It isn't foggy or misty - that is harvest dust in the air so thick it clouds the whole valley. No, I haven't got COVID yet, but I'm hacking and gaging like I might just as well have. 

Of course, there's always water to be found somewhere, and if there is, you'll find Annie Oakley there playing in it! Through all my years with all kinds of dogs, I've never known a dog as in love with water as our Miss Oakley. 

But wait! What's this? Another sign of the things that are changing. I've got the Ranger set up and ready to put on the snow plow at a moment's notice. I know Iowa!

Annie called Shotgun! She'll surely be a big help plowing snow...... not. But she'll want to ride with me anyway. I will have to put her in her Pink Tutu Harness and hook it to that jerk strap you see behind her to keep her from jumping out and trying to herd that snow into place. Yes! she will do that! She seems to like being hooked up though. She seems to know it is her safety harness. She comes right over to me on the seat for me to snap on the hook when it is time.

Blue sky at night; Sailor's delight.... or something like that. It was a pretty evening sky when I was driving Annie around the farm for her last run of the day. I drive the route and she rides with me while we go. Then, when we're back at 'Go' she bails out - after I give her permission - and re-RUNS! the whole path. Then she will settle down for the evening and be nice. Too much energy!

But if you'll use your 'Super Zoom Biggie-fier' and zoom into that pic, this is what I was really seeing. The one on the left is a big doe; the one on the right is a big buck deer. The seasons they are a changing around here - in more ways than one. Deer hunting will be next on the list. I have a story for you on that one, too! But it will have to wait until next time. For now, let's just say that the venison this year will taste a lot like carrots. I don't particularly care for venison, and I'm not a hunter, but I do like my carrots. Grrrrrrrrr. All is well here at Oakdale Farm. Be safe, breathe out, change gently as the seasons pass. All is well; we'll all be OK.