Friday, July 1, 2022

Summer on the Farm: The Farm Report

The Farm Report 

Summer on the Farm

I'm trying to stay semi-caught up. It has been busy out here! This is the view to the Southwest from the Oakdale Farm Front Porch.

That long white thing out there is a 'horizontal silo' bag. We're big on cover cropping in my corner of the world. The guys across the road cut their cereal rye (often planted by an 'air tractor' airplane in the fall before the corn is picked) just as the grain heads were getting ready to mature. Then they chopped it into silage and blew it into this bag for storage. The cows will like it later on. They were planting soy beans right behind the chopper. Neat!

Now I've got my eye on that plastic. It is a one-way material as I understand it. Could this be a new 'tarp garden covering?'

Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley! She's officially a 3-year old now. It shows; she's so much calmer and easier to live with. They're a great breed, but Oh Boy Oh Boy! do they have high energy and a HUGE need for running off steam outdoors - EVERY day.

I'm still workin' on the storm damage. I'm really missing not having my front porch ceiling fan, too. 

I've taken it all down and it is in the shop for repairs. This is about the 4th time this fan didn't make it all the way through the winter. I'm going to rewire it this time so it is easy to just unplug and lift off the moorings for winter. I'm more stubborn than brilliant, but I'm beginning to get the message....

Oh Sure! Now you'll sprout for me!!!

After trying all winter to sprout sweet potatoes for slips, with limited luck, I bought one from the store to - wait for it - EAT. Laying on my kitchen table in wait, this happened. Of course.

So we broke off the new little slips and put them in a pot of water. The very next day; repeat, the very next day, this is what the roots looked like. Give 'em heat and you can't stop 'em from growing. Cold? Nope.

For the first time in about 20 years - since I lived in Wisconsin where I grew champion hybrid tea roses - I have a winner system!

It looks like this: Hybrid tea roses in 10 gallon grow bags. One per customer. The bags are sitting inside tires with the top rim cut out. I put a piece of plastic down inside the tire underneath the bag. It works like an old fashioned waterbed liner. Roses take a lot of water. Then, if you look closely down the middle, you'll see my drip irrigation main line. There are little side drippers going off to each bag. That whole shebang is on a battery operated timer. Bingo! Roses! This fall after freeze up, I'm going to haul the roses inside the greenhouse for their long nap.

Typically, we went from cold and wet to by-God HOT and dry. The garden is marching along though. I just set up the sprinkler system you can see in the background yesterday, and today it is raining. Of course.

Spuds galore!

You can't beat new potatoes about the size of a golf ball and a pot of peas in white sauce - with more butter than Julia Child would have used. You've gotta die from something.

And speaking of dying! This is the Greenhouse July 4  Sweetcorn row. Those plants are the ones I started from seed in March inside the greenhouse in plug flats. That yellow stuff is the electric fence wire protecting them. Try stealing my sweetcorn, and you might die!

Laser/Taser/Sparkifier/Shockeroo. Call it what you want, but this is the only way I can have sweetcorn here for myself - instead of the raccoons and the coyotes and Annie! SHE was going in and getting ears from MY sweetcorn patch, too.

Better living through electricity, I say!

It isn't hard to hook up. Red Hot to the 'hot' wire, black to the ground rod - which is also the corner post. 

Do Not Touch - or even think about peeing on the fence wire!

This is the Oakdale Farm nod to Ukraine. I planted some hard Durham Spring Wheat last April. It will be ready to harvest in a few weeks. It will be delicious in this winter's bread and baked stuff.

I want to do a whole blog to show you how I cut and harvest the grain. I've figured out a way to thresh it that is cheap, easy, and very effective. It involves electricity and motors. Stay tuned.

I've mentioned my shop cat, 'Miss Kitty' before. She's not very much in love with an audience. She's reclusive. Like me? She and Annie spend the nights together in the shop. Annie adores her and thinks she needs full time protection and care.

'Could I have a little privacy here?'

'I'm trying to clean myself.'

Miss Kitty has black feet. I've never seen this before, but she has black on the bottoms of her feet; all four of them. 

Outside, in the smoker, I've been making Summer Sausage. It turned out really good!

And for the bug fans out there. While I was waiting for the smoker to come up to temp and get busy, I sat down on my front bench for a little break. I kept seeing all these little tiny bugs. Eventually, I got my specs out and took a good look. Great Caesar's Ghost! They were little tiny praying mantis bugs. Must have been a nest of 'em underneath the bench. There were hundreds of them. Biggie size the pic and you'll see that they look just like they do when they're big - only this day, they weren't.

"Is there anything dumber than a dog?" said O.J. She never learns.

Annie wants to be O.J.'s friend in the worst way. That's how she'll be his friend, too - in the worst way!

It was like he was saying to himself, 'First, we need to get her head around square where I can really bop her when I'm ready.

'That's right, Annie.'

'Now I'll just make her think I love her - NOT.'

'Then I'll just hop over here to get on the other side because I'm right handed and a roundhouse blow behind the ear is always a good thing. That's right, Annie. Nice and square to the jaw.'

Annie is 3 now. She's played - or has been played - by this game before. A lot! See those ears? She smelled a rat!!!

'Did you see that, Tim? He was going to swat me, wasn't he!?'

Yes, Annie, he was.

But it is summer officially, so nobody gets too worked up. O.J. especially.

One thing you can learn from an old survivor Tomcat is this: When it is hot, just go slow and make yourself as long as you possibly can. Summer will pass, then times will be better.

Happy Fourth of July, and Cheers until next time, from Oakdale Farm.


  1. Nice to see another post in short order from you! I just took deliver on some electric net fencing so the sheep can graze the driveway. They and Poppy will probably think me rude, the first time noses touch it.

    1. It must be a primeval gene operating, but it is entertaining to see or at least think about that first 'touch' and the following reactions! Cheers

  2. Interesting: an outdoor fan, something you would never see here in The Netherlands. Luckily we have the wind from the sea :-)

  3. Where I live, it gets jungle steamy hot and miserable. Usually we have high winds, but on those 'Sauna Days' with not a breath of air, the gnats and 'no-see-ums' get really annoying. The fan is the answer - so is the AC unit inside.... Cheers

  4. Believe it or not I did pee on an electric fence ONCE.


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