Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Well Dang! The Farm Report 03-30-2022

 Well Dang!

The Farm Report

Or words to that effect....! I've been enjoying Joyce's Greenhouse so much that this year I decided way back at Thanksgiving time that I would start the greenhouse heater early and enjoy life a little more in the artificial climate it provides. So I did. February 1, I started the heater; just enough to keep it from freezing at night, but still. Heat was on!

I had acquiesced to the fact that it was entirely my fault that oil prices had skyrocketed. Kind of like when you buy a brand new snow blower - and then it doesn't snow for 3 years. Well, once I was committed to keeping the greenhouse frost free, I was committed. Oil shot up! I was committed though.

To help make myself feel better, I bought a brand new state of the art digital thermostat to control the greenhouse heater. Accurate to within one tenth of one degree! the advertising said. Like heck!!! I went in one very cold morning and what you've been looking at in these pics is what I saw. Yep. You're right. Those are ice crystals in all my water pans. Ice! Me: Not Happy At All. "Well, Dang!" I said. Actually, that is not what I said at all. But I won't tell you just exactly what I said because it would make you think less of me if you really knew what I said. Your guest script will be pretty close though. "*&%$#@#$$%%!"

This pic was taken 'pre-failure.' I wanted to be able to show you the loads of strawberry blossoms that were setting on the hydroponic strawberry plants. LOADS! of 'em.

But now this is what I have to show you. Wilted over, sad strawberries.

And their little blossoms have turned black inside. Frozen off.... Well Dang!

They have recovered and are re-blooming now, but....

It got so cold in there it even stunned the peas and the radishes.

I didn't think peas could be zapped by a freeze. It turns out, they can.

The spinach did better, but it even said, "No, Thank You!" to the cold.

New thermostat installed, and we're back on the program.

Trouble comes in threes, they say. 

It was a very cold morning, and Miss Kitty and I wanted a fire in the stove. I loaded it up just like every other morning of the winter world, and lit it off. Plumes of thick black smoke started coming into the shop room. Well, Dang! - again. 

Every fall, I have to take down the stove chimney pipe and clean out the birds nests that have accumulated over the summer. It is a passing of the seasons ritual. I don't like doing it, but I have always felt good that at least once a year, I take the stove apart to clean and inspect for wear and tear.

I have never had to clean the pipes in mid winter though. Until now. So, up on a tall ladder (my ceilings are 14-feet in the air) and apart comes the pipes.

This is what it looks like when the chimney is clean and you hold your phone camera directly underneath the tube. You WANT to see that bright light up there at the end of the tunnel.

Roast bird, anybody? I had hesitated to show you this pic, but well, dang! You need to know what I'm fighting out here. The birds fill the chimney tube with grass and whatever to make a nest. That all slides down into the chimney tube because my chimney is usually clean - and slick. So then they add even more grass; repeat ad nauseum. I can't say I'm happy this starling 'bought the farm,' as they say. I can't say I'm sad about it, either.

I should have put a bird proof screen on the outside chimney cap years ago. Now I have one! And for all my worry wart friends and family out there: No! That is not me up on the roof. Good friend, good neighbor and good farmer Sterling helped me out on this one. Thanks Sterling!

Somewhere in those numbers and letters is a DOT code that will tell you the age of this tire on my trailer is about 24 years old. Why is that important? Well, Dang! Trailer tires don't wear out, 'they say' - they rot out. Another fun fact I proved while using the trailer to go get the 14 foot rental ladder so I could fix my stove. Flat....

All fixed now with a brand new tire. Rental ladder delivered back safely. I'm warm and Miss Kitty is purrrrring in the shop.

For you Little House on the Prairie fans, it is grass fire season here. Burning off the grass and little trees on the terraces is an annual event. Prairie fires are real, and they are scary! They burn like you can't imagine. Laura Ingles Wilder was not exaggerating about them in her stories.

In the Good News department, I've potted up some new Caroline red raspberries to set out later. I really like using these fabric pots to start things. The plants seem to like them, too.

Cup half full or half empty? These coleus have made a great start, but half the pot damped off. Fingers crossed we'll have nice plants later on.

This is our favorite all time sweet corn. It is wonderful. Sweet, and it actually tastes like corn.

As you can see, it is expensive, too!

I've started several flats of Ambrosia sweet corn for an early start. We're hoping for sweet corn by the Fourth of July. This year, I'm following Charles Downing's system of planting in clumps. I have 3 kernels of sweet corn in each of the plug spaces which will make a 3-stock clump in the garden row. Stay tuned.

What do you do with an old Crock Pot? They just never wear out, and they won't quit. Sweet potatoes love heat. They will produce 'slips' if you can put the mama potato where it is warm and moist. So...me thinks to me self. An old crock pot full of damp sand and....

...and a digital temperature controller to keep them from cooking. I'll bet this works, and I'll bet I wish I'd thought of it years ago. That Crock Pot was a wedding present we received 51 years ago. It still works. It will never die. It owes us nothing. It may be our new secret weapon to get sweet potato slips!

Ron, Rudy and Annie Oakley all in a Ranger. All in ANNIE'S Ranger to be more precise. Rudy is a German Shorthair pointer pup. He's under Ron's arm wishing he was somewhere else. Annie is wishing Rudy was someplace else, too. She's in her seat secured by her 'No Jump' jerk strap. Annie's look says it all. "What does he think he's doing in MY Ranger?" It ends up being sort of a clown show, but we all get in and away we go. We all have fun doing it, too. Annie supervises.

Well Dang! It has been a long hard week out here on Oakdale Farm. And to make matters worse, O.J. moved in on Annie's couch and the new fleece spread I bought to protect the couch. Annie wasn't pleased about that. After O.J. had accomplished his mission to annoy the bejabbers out of Miss Annie O, he slowly and very deliberately got down and left.

Annie moved right in and just collapsed. It was like she was saying, "Sheesh! What a week, Tim. I'm exhausted." She got her fav pillow in the right spot and just chilled out for a nap. I hope you can do that too. Other than that, life is good here at Oakdale Farm - until the next thing goes FFFFUUTTTT! Then I'll say, "Well Dang!" and deal with it. Cheers!


  1. Well, Darrel here. I see they will also be inscribing your tombstone with "Darn" as well. Isn't it amazing just how much stuff can go wrong in a few weeks. You know though, I always feel better after I read what you do out there by yourself. Wife says, Chin up and move on... I really try to listen to that!

  2. Well, darn! If it ain't one thing, it's a'nuther! Life sure would be boring if it all went the way we expected it to go. If we can only keep learning (and remembering!) as we go along, we should stay ahead of the game. (Could I please borrow Sterling in order to keep my husband off our roof?)

    I tried to access this post when you first put it up, but had the same problem some of us have been having. Darn. Then my week got kinda crazy and I just today pulled out the info you provided on how to get around the glitch when I thought to give it another try the usual way and . . . shazam! No trouble, everything worked just slick. Phew. Crossing fingers it stays that way.

  3. You've confirmed for me, things do go south in 3's! At least everything is fixed and all is in good working order. Before putting a screen on the chimney, I had a wood duck stuck inside the chimney. With some effort, the duck was rescued and released. Growing in the green house using hydroponics sounds outstanding. The corn on the 4th will be delicious. The look on Annie's face says, "No this is not at all correct." She knows the couch and Ranger are hers. I hope you gave her a special treat for going along with all these interlopers!

    1. I have wood ducks here, too! They are gorgeous, and fun - but not in a chimney!

      Hydroponic growing is very easy (mostly) and fun. My son get me started; otherwise, I'd have never given it a try. Plants love it.

      I give Annie special treats and attention for being a happy good sport. I'm not one to have a grouchy dog around the place. Annie is pushy, but she's happy and always happy to have friends come to the farm - and everybody is just a friend she hasn't met yet as far as she cares. Cheers!


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