Shades of Ireland

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I have not forgotten about this blog! I have just been overwhelmed with life events for the past couple of weeks.

Seth and I had a marvelous time at the 4-H National Shooting Sports Invitational but it is taking me a bit longer to get things somewhat back to normal. I came home to a garden in full swing, baseball games, temperatures near 100 degrees and my mother holding down the fort for me.

I have to make a trip to Tulsa to get my Mom tot he airport tomorrow and then...... I have more grren beans to can!!

I promise to post a full post with pictures in the next few days.......

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can't Take the Heat......

Get out of the kitchen! That old saying has a new meaning for me. The outside temperatures have already passed the point of being hot. In order for Charlie to sleep comfortably during the day (since he works the night shift), we have already turned the air conditioner on for this year. It just about kills me to hear it kick on and we keep the thermostat above 80 degrees...... that is all the comfort I am willing to give him. If it is too cool, it makes it very difficult for the rest of us to work outside, come inside for a bit and then go back outside to do more work.

One of my rules of the house is that once the AC is turned on, the clothes dryer goes off. There is no way that I am paying for the AC to cool down a house we are deliberately heating up.....A good portion of our day is spent hauling clothes back and forth to be line dried. Cooking in the kitchen is just about as bad. The stove that came with this house has almost ZERO insulation and it is pretty unbearable to use the oven. I have been using the crock pots quite a bit but you just can't bake cookies in one of those......

Luckily, I still have my old stove. It was a pretty pricey item when I bought it but it is set to run on natural gas. This house uses propane and there is some sort of valve that has to be changed out to make it work. After nearly two years, I am about to get my "good" stove hooked up. It has been stored at the barn and the guys brought it over for me to clean up. As soon as I get that done, I am hauling it into town for a repairman to change the valves. It has much more insulation and I am hoping it will make cooking more bearable.

Earlier today, I heard the sound of a large tractor nearby and went to investigate. Our Farmer/Neighbor was no till planting soybeans in to the wheat stubble!! Yippee!!! Now we need a little rain to get those little guys to germinate.

Time to call my hay guy and begin ordering cow feed for next winter...... seems like we just got done feeding out the last of it!! We are so pleased at how well our pastures have recovered from the drought last year. As a precaution, we are undergrazing it and it looks like it has paid off. We are making plans to graze a portion of it "intensely" and then let it rest and grow. We are hoping that will give us "standing hay"stockpiled for winter and reduce the number of bales we have to feed.

After replacing the starter on Hammer twice, Neil was able to get a little weed mowing done in the pastures. Then the front tires began to take turns going flat...... He finally reached the point of not being able to repair them any more. We have two new tires and a new rim on order for this week.

My green beans are coming in! I have a big batch cooked up for meals but it looks like I will officially begin the canning season tomorrow. Since it will take a few days to get the new stove installed in the kitchen, I will be doing most of the actual work with the pressure canner over in the barn kitchen. I am planning to do the prep work, and getting the beans in the hot jars at the house and hauling it over to use the stove over there.

All this is going on while Seth and I are getting ready for his trip this weekend. I am trying to trim down the chores as much as possible so that crew left at home will not have such a hard time. My mom will be flying in on Friday to act as supervisor.

One of those chores I am eliminating is taking care of this guy......

Remember him? He has just about tripled in size since he arrived but unfortunately, his brain function has not..... This is the last of the bottle babies for this year. His owner has agreed to take him back a bit early since I will be gone for a week.

My friend will be taking another round of chemo on Wednesday and we really do not believe that she will be any where near able to take care of her goats by the weekend. Another friend has agreed to take those two girls and milk them until I get back.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Giving Me The Eye!

This crazy milk cow!

I took this picture of her this afternoon while she was standing in her stanchion eating during milking. Please notice the rather intent way that she is looking at me........

When I milk her, I not only leave her head gate open, but I also leave the large barn door wide open. It gives us light, air and an occasional breeze. This also means that the evening/afternoon sun is glaring right on us. It is so bright that I wear my sunglasses while I am sitting down there with the machine.

Queen Holly does not like my sunglasses!! She spends most of the time in the barn using her tail to try and knock them off of my face. If I push them up on top of my head, she likes it even less and very vigorously slaps at them! I can take them off and she settles right down. Goofy thing!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Feels Like Summer

I don't mean just by the weather. It is very warm these days but the flow of my days seem alot like summer. The road is very busy with grain trucks hauling the wheat harvest to town. I just came in from chores and it is almost dark. I can see the lights from the combines still at work across the fields. My neighbor was raking hay and just stopped for the night at about the same time that I did......

The corn across the road is tall and tasseled out...... very early.  When I wander out to check cows, I am able to pick enough black berries to call it breakfast-on-the-go.

This is a heifer I call "Buffy"-- because when she was a baby she was very ugly and resembled a buffalo. She has improved with puberty. This evening she was cooling off in the pond.

This little bantam hen has made herself a nest in the pink horse bucket. We found her earlier this week and I moved it to a safer pen. I have no idea if or when she might hatch out her chicks......

These are my boarders. One of them has CAE so I keep them totally separate from my herd and they have to be hand milked. Normally, they live in a small town and they seem to be really enjoying this country life with lots of grazing...... My friend is improving but she is still weak from the chemo. She is scheduled for her next round on Wednesday. I am afraid that it is going to be quite some time before she is able to have them back home......

As you can see, the new starter worked for Hammer. Neil has begun to mow the weediest parts of our pasture. It is very slow going because the brush hog is really just a bit too big for this tractor and the pasture is FULL of stumps. We have tried to walk over it and mark them but there are still a few surprises in the tall grass and weeds. Neil say that at this rate, we should have the whole pastured mowed in about a year.......

Seth has been practicing for his muzzle loader competition and getting very discouraged. The more he practiced, the worse he shot. We finally decided that he has just worn the rifling out of the barrel of his favorite gun. It is probably 25 years old and well used before we bought it. Seth has calculated that he has probably shot over 1500 rounds out of it in the last two years.  Charlie used it before him. We made a trip to the local hunting shop just to see if they might have one..... usually they don't. Very few people use a traditional muzzle loader anymore. Imagine our surprise when the owner grinned and pulled out a beautiful rifle from the back room....... Needless to say, we brought it home and Seth is a very happy young man.......


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Garden Goodies

I am pretty darn proud of my root crops..... probably because I have never had very much luck growing either of these. Picked a big handful of green beans and three jalepeno peppers, too.

Our wheat averaged 52 bushels to the acre. Considering how late it was planted, we are thrilled! The bad news is that we have had a little rain almost every day since it was combined. That means that we will not be baling any of the stubble for wheat straw. It has already begun to mold. Another farmer has promised to try and get his wheat straw baled so that we can get about 200 bales. I need this for animal bedding and to mulch the garden. In a pinch or a cold storm, livestock will eat it, too.

Our cattle are looking amazing. Even the old cows are slick and fat. I am watching for a few calves to be born in June. We are all bouncing idea around about cross fencing and rotational grazing.

The poor tractor, Hammer, has finally just stopped. Tapping on the starter will not convince it to crank. We bought a new (rebuilt) starter that took two days to arrive. With great anticipation, Neil and Adam put it on and....... absolutely nothing! After much detective work, help from a neighbor and several phone calls to other mechanic types, they determined that the new starter has a wire short. Back to the parts store and now we are waiting for another one to arrive on Wednesday.

The boys are home and we are almost back to our routine!