Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall-back activities

After the skunk incident, which passed without too much lingering skunk smell, it was a good weekend for getting things done, cold air but relatively dry weather. 

I plugged away at the long "honey-do" list I've been listing and re-listing since fall began. The number of things that simply must get taken care of between now and the first serious snow seems staggering sometimes. The hurricane didn't help much, and neither are the various rodent tribes that are invading the house and barn to find nice places to spend the winter. But the list gets shorter each weekend, and I do believe we could have a couple feet fall and stay tomorrow and live to fight another day.

You can see the dogs, now allowed in the garden area, playing in the top left of this photo (click to enlarge). I began putting the garden to bed a few weeks ago when the onions were pulled. I harvest each section, then pull the stalks and till. Too much tilling is bad for soil nutrients, but we add so much in the way of soil amendments from our giant compost piles, I'm more interested in the quality of tilth and in killing weeds and weed seeds than I am worried about nitrate loss. My feeling is that the material we add contains such relative slow-release sources of nitrogen, it probably doesn't evaporate as fast as, say, anhydrous ammonia does.

Bentley was put in with the ewes and promptly went to work, with, however little seeming success. The ewes don't like to stand still for him, and why should they? He's such a stranger to them, living alone in his private pen/fortress most of the year.

Aimee did manage to catch a shot of this momentary engagement with young Ritzpah. (Where does she get these names?) Fleeting success, because the ewe promptly lay down after this, but fleeting is all it seems to take with sheep. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Winter storage of farm equipment is a problem around here. We could use more storage sheds and so on, but I'm waiting for the time and money to build my big new four-season workshop, the one with the overhead crane and the two-post car/truck lift. The glass greenhouse is already full of truck and lumber for the winter, including the grain crib recently dismantled form the barn. I decided the Troy-Bilt tiller could go in the new greenhouse, once I pulled all the tomato plants. On my to-do list is to take the ad-hoc storm lashings used during Hurricane Sandy down, and replace them with purpose built proper lashings, with decent, deeply pounded re-bar tent pegs.

The small tiller needs a new fuel line, but when I can get one fitted, I'll till up the soil in here and put in some kale starts and seed, and some spinach seed for the spring. There will still be room for some equipment in the middle aisle, even if there are seeds in both beds (along the sides). On the right hand side, you can see all the wasted Juliet- and Green Zebra-variety tomatoes, this despite me picking at least two gallons a week for three-four weeks now, and roasting them down. That's a couple of rather leggy kale plants on the left that were growing among the tomatoes.

We had an awful lot of very nice tomatoes this year, which sort of makes up for the blight we've had in previous years. I think we know how to beat the blight now, at least in years when the weather cooperates.

Anyway, the extra hour of time I had to meself this morning, thanks to putting the clocks back Sunday, has now evaporated, and I must get up and go to work. At least I don't have to worry (much) about the pre-winter "to-do" list.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

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