Monday, June 8, 2009

A Drenching Rain. . .

. . .Came this weekend, with cool, cool temps in the 50s. The heat is back on in the house, hard to believe. Emily is out of school for the summer and is an enthusiastic gardener, so on Friday, her first day off, she and I finished putting in the vegetable garden, at a leisurely pace, like this:
Peppers and tomatoes in, weeds pulled, beets thinned and replanted; let's take a break and pet sheep.
Bottle babies fed, let's put in two rows of peas. Now beans.
Emily loves to weed and putz. Thin kohlrabi, see if we can replant the little ones in a new row! More carrots in, too.
Husband's home. Now let's have dinner. Home-grown chicken that stewed in the crock pot all afternoon, with potatoes and carrots added, gravy made on the stove, umm-mm. Howard will help us pound in fenceposts to prop up a cute picket fence section to let cucumbers crawl UP on, to save room. How about zucchini over here, yellow squash there?
Take in chicken eggs, refill ducks' water.
Finish putting in a long row of wax beans.
Water vegetable garden, admire its orderliness and our hard work.
All Done!
Then the rain came while we slept Friday night. A soaking, quiet rain from the middle of the night throughout Saturday. Perfect.
Sunday, we three unloaded a hay wagon filled last weekend when it was dry. Our next-door neighbor is baling the hay from our land for us this year, so unloading was the easy part we had to do. We unloaded 80 bales last Sunday and moved a new wagon-full into the hay shed, and got around to unloading it this Sunday. 50 degree weather for unloading hay: it never happens. It's always 90 degrees, and at the top of the barn, where the hay is going, it's 100!
This was a blessing, and so nice to see and smell a big wall of that sweet alfalfa/grass hay that will carry over our sheep next winter.
We'll need to put up as much, again, and more, but we're on our way.
I saw another neighbor cutting hay last week and asked him if he wanted to cut and keep the meadow grass hay I have on about 3 acres, along with our ditch hay. He said he'd sure like that-- and I asked if he'd trade us for some time with his bobcat, cleaning out my sheep's lean-to. He agreed. I am so happy! These neighborly trades are just the best, feel-good arrangements when they work.
In order to get the entire north meadow free for haying, I next had to empty an over-large pasture that had two rams in it. My big-horned guys, the only two I have. Four other small-or-no-horns rams were in another pasture for their own protection.

I quickly made a butcher date for one of the horned yearling rams, July, and found two buyers for the meat. . . I took July in this morning, and tonight found me salting his hide for tanning. My husband was working nearby, and I said, "If you'd have told me 7 years ago that I'd be fleshing out a hide thrown over a fence, here, like it was just normal, I don't know if I'd believed it".
He smiled and kept an eye on the last big-horned ram, who found his place in the social order of the new pasture peaceably. Big horns = Top ram.
The sun came out just then, after 3 cloudy, cool days. I'm looking forward to summer and what our gardens will grow.

I'll close with pictures of Finnsheep, Lassi and Eino the ram lamb. Lassi lost her only (first) baby this spring, a crying shame. A pretty ewe with bolder splashes of her light brown color-- piebald, they call it in Finns. Lassi's gone on to be the nice auntie to all the lambs this spring. We really like her, but she is shy of us.


Sharrie said...

I like your way of getting a garden going. I work like that sometimes, too. You had real good timing with both the hay and the garden.

Becky Utecht said...

We got a good soaking rain too, we really needed that. My onions have popped up again. Now I can't wait for things to warm up a little. Nice work getting that ram in to the butcher so quickly!

Candy Taft said...

I think you need to come to Anniversary Grove and teach us how to garden in your leisurely way. It sounds so wonderful. By the time I get back, if Hubby doesn't keep it up, I'll have some major weeds to get through.

Terri D. said...

I am still working on finishing our garden plantings. I am teaching my retired mother how to garden. She is hooked! I love your description of "a day in the life" of a shepherdess/farmer. I, too, wouldn't have imagined that I would ever be fleshing out hides! And, as a side note, I can't wait until Eino comes to live with us!