Savage Farming

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Irrigation aggravation

The stupid neighbor woman from the bottom of the hill just came up to clean the filter on her intake. Dumb woman! the filter was clean this morning when I walked the ditch and all she succeeded in doing was dumping about a ton of muck and debris into my pump and irrigation system. The reason she has problems with her irrigation is 1) her system is really old, 20+ years and 2) they leave it open all winter long for frogs and insects to nest in and for leaves and other debris to clog. So instead of solving her own problems right off the bat early in the year she'll just play at fixing it all year long and cause me a world of headache twice a week. Dumb woman!

And to add insult to injury she trespasses and blocks my driveway. Some people are just alive because it's illegal to kill 'em. You'd think she was stupid enough to remove herself from the gene pool, but apparently luck is inheritable.

To spite my frustrations I'll wish you a lovely day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Busy

It was 105.7 monday and 99 yesterday. A few hours off in the hottest part of the day saved my life.

Finally getting the last of the tomatoes tied up. Will also plant 2nd to the last field of corn today. And if there's time put down fertilizer again. Weeds are getting out of hand in a couple of corn fields but somehow we'll muddle through.

Strange dream last night, I dreamt about 2 theatres, both 2 stories tall with an "old west" fashion, lap board painted white (flaking paint) the theatres were on opposite sides of a side street facing the main thoroughfare. The looked almost identical and offered almost exactly the same movies. I was supposed to meet my lady friend there but some other people showed up and distracted me away into some nearby buildings.

Hope your day is cool and pleasant.

Monday, June 26, 2006

103 messing with me

Degrees that is, hot and humid. But my plants seem to be loving it. Especially the melons and tomatoes. Lost some late planted lettuce though.

Here in the dark, quite basement of an old farm house (circa 1943) we can pretend that outside all is fine and dandy. But step out for a minute and the heat closes around you like a fist around a mosquito.

I spent a good part of this afternoon sleeping. Yeeha! did that feel good. Even had a few flickering fluorescences of dreamery, but nothing memorable. It will be several hours still until temp comes down enough to work. Then I'll be shovelling dirt and tamping posts for tieing the tomato wires to. We use a method that we call "controlled sprawl" which isn't quite as good as caging each tomato plant individually but keeps 95 percent of the plants off the ground. Makes for good fertilization and easy picking too.

This heat is super for the corn, especially the warm humid nights. Our first field should be ready about the 20th of July. Probably have corn and squash as our only crops to open with. Tomatoes won't be ready until August 10 or so.

Wishing you a comfy day despite whatever weather you are having.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

My birthday, the happiest day of the year

I just found out that my birthday was the happiest day of 2006. Check it out here.

Mandatory daily entry

Saturday June 24th, 2006
Hot. 100+
Sun very intense. Sizzling feeling on skin even with sunscreen on.
Did much watering, some spraying today.
Trapped between earth and sky like a piece of metal between hammer and anvil. Heat reflecting off the hard clay soil.
I gave an extra little drink to the baby watermelons and cants.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Birthday and corn planting

It's been just a lovely day, if a tad hot in 90+ degrees. As I was planting corn today the spray from the spirnklers would occasionally blow over and deliver a cooling burst. But the corn really loves this heat so I don't mind so much. As a matter of fact just about everything in the fields is loving this stuff. Cantaloupe have set on the first fat little fuzzy fruit, almost the size of a dime. No flowers in the watermelon yet, the males will show in another week or two and the females about a week after that. Tomatoes have also set fruit, some nearing the size of a cherry (except the cherry tomatoes which have just started to flower) Peppers are setting on a few early fruit and eggplants have started flowering. The first male zucchini flowers have already fallen off and a few more are about to open.

Wishing you all as lovely a day as I had a birthday.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Here we go again, Again!

"US sky regulator clips wings of Los Angeles police drone"
In this article we read about the LA police using a tiny, basically almost a toy remote controlled plane to remotely view surface roads and neighborhoods with 2 wireless cameras. A superbly great idea which any fifteen year old with a little lawn mowing money could pull off. And for the 15 year old it would be, if not totally legal, at least no big deal.

But damn those policeman for trying to fight crime without kissing every ass between earth and the heaven of regulatory masturbators. Argh! This sort of thing infuriates me. Some jackass at the FAA actually had to go and make a big issue out of what should just be common sense. How many times a year do the thousands of already in service RC airplanes cause mid-air collisions? I can't recall a single incident.

And of course the privacy tweaks had to weigh in on it too. Like any of us are going to be arrested for having a barbecue in our backyards. This device and those who use it purely intend towards crime control. No one would bother to use it for invasion of privacy.

As long as our society is so susceptible to such inane and inherently self-serving influences we will never see the peace-of-mind which we all know hovers just out of reach.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Howdy, New Jersey

Hey diddle, diddle, to Monmouth Junction. Interesting to note there is also a Monmouth, Oregon. I've only been there once but it was nice. What's it like in NJ ?

Religion and Science

Here is a great article about how religion and science go hand-in-hand.

Super summer to all

In the northern hemisphere anyways. Love you Aussies, so happy winter to you.

I'm so delighted with this season; it is impossible for me to work a longer day today than I did yesterday.

Today the nieces were a great help. They pulled weeds in the melons and tomatoes all morning, something which had been concerning me deeply. Dad and I finished putting down fetilizer through the next field of corn. Only need to put down about a ton more for the last few fields and then in a couple weeks we'll switch to sulfate of ammonia for the earlier plantings.

Tomorrow we'll plant white corn again. Not a new crop for us but one we don't usually bother with. Yellow is just better. But we had so many snobs ask for it last year that we will be providing it this year at a substantially higher price ;-) I just can't wait to hear the howls of indignation from the spoiled "want-ers".

Hoping life is giving you lots of lemons for your lemonade.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

13 hours until solstice

Well, about that long anyways. Getting lots of final details done but some things are going to come in under the wire. Zinnias for instance. Sunflowers we got in last week and gladiolas (finally!) today but the zinnias might be another day or two. I have some plants I could put in but I haven't got a good place for them yet. Plus temps are getting too high for tranplanting. It is just about time for me to get a couple pics of the farms to put up.

Great news! Both of my youngest nieces (one from sis, one from bro) will be coming to help work tomorrow! Finally get the cantaloupe, watermelon and tomato fields weeded. Plus it is so nice to have an excuse to hang out with them.

We also planted our third or fourth to the last corn field today.

Oh, and fair warning, the big 4 zero happens to me this Friday so if I don't post or am particularly grumpy that day, don't be surprised.

Hope happiness and wonder stop by for to visit with you.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Zea-centric thinking

Even as I type this, as you read this, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are being carried by water to the roots of many corn plants. Tomorrow they will start to use these elements to build new chloroplasts. The plants will slowly turn a darker green over the next few days. Their growth will increase dramatically.

That is why dad and I are tired. We spent the day putting down many hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fertilizer. The corn plants will not question this sudden improvement in their fortunes nor will they thank us. They will ruthlessly use this abundance for their own purpose just as I will ruthlessly harvest most if not all their cobs for the delight of my customers.

The tomatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon are also growing very well. I've been using some of my more refined secrets to really push them along and they are about to roll off the green polymulch mounds in which they are planted like a tsunami played back in ultra slow motion. With so many things working in their favor this year the fruit should be particularly sweet, colorful and full of flavor.

Hoping your day is equally so.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's day

To any of you lucky dad sorts. Me and my dad are heading over to my bro's in a few minutes to let the dogs out (bro is away at a softball tournament for his daughter, what a dad...)

Today was another long day of back aching work. Planting more cukes, driving stakes for the tomatoes which are growing so fast that I'm getting really stressed about getting all of them staked in time. Sundry other chores like moving water etc.

One interesting dream last night. Was visiting my old pal Bill Lumen and we went out back of his house (which is actually forested) and he showed me this long, huge two story factory type building which he said I was free to use. That was pretty much it. No idea what catagory to squeeze that into.

Hope you all had a great Father's day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summer breeze

Another long day of hard work.
While setting water this evening I was forced to move with the breeze. It set my mind to flowing even as it struggled with my irrigation. The light of the nearly setting sun was faintly chiffon and the breeze was warm from the southwest. 22 years ago on this day four teenagers named Alice, Guy, Steve and Trina were driving towards the drive-in theatre in a van going to see Ghostbusters. The sky was clear and the air was warm and freedom tasted so sweet.

I spent a good part of today soil surfing on one of our old cultivators. Dad and I had to laugh that it still worked so well after all these years. We had almost forgotten this piece of equipment but it cut down weeds like an old champion. I wish I'd had my PDA with me to record the sound it made because it was a pretty cool combination of steel, rock and earth sounds. Balancing precariously on that bouncing, rattling steel monster is pretty tiring though.

I'll be going out shortly for one last task in the dark, gotta shut off the water we set earlier. This time of year the world begins to take on an unusual quality for me as my cycles and rhythm and algorithms are broken up by necessity. Some afternoons are so hot I have to stay inside and sleep in the middle of the day and then water needs to be controlled late into the night and very early some mornings. Then some days are so critical in work that I can't stop no matter how hot it gets. My routines disintegrate and stresses build which leave me exhausted and exhilarated.

Soon the solstice will come. The great turning point wherein power and potential exceeds the limits of possibility and the cycle of being turns on a celestial dime. Only a few weeks after that point and all propositions become mute. If the job isn't done it won't get done because the crop won't make in time to do any good after that. Getting "laid by" is mostly just a nice idea for me since even when I'm done planting a raft of other jobs like weed control and intensive irrigation will gobble up my every waking hour.

Wishing you a joyful moment of freedom.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chaos-In-Motion

Lubos turned me onto a great blog I haven't seen before. Czech it out:
Chaos-In-Motion

One strange dream to report

Wow, this was a weird one. It started out with me watching a bunch of high school kids swimming down at a place we used to visit called White Rock which is one of the granitic boulders of the Grants Pass pluton that the Rogue River flows over. One of their coaches came by and we started talking. He introduced me to some people who were on a soccer team with him who were optometrists. They showed me some of their equipment and told me they were Mennonites. Then one of them got very angry at me and this is where the dream got really strange because I've never had that gut wrenching sensation of someone being angry like "all up in your face" angry in a dream before. The fella was bald with a uniformly waxy pale skin and wanted to box with me to prove he was right. I agreed to box with him the next morning if he would sit down and listen to what I had to say afterwards (whatever that might have been)

Damn, dreamspace is one weird domain. This dream definitely falls under the heading of processing random memories and impulses. Interestingly though I woke feeling quite peaceful and wholesome after this dream so something must have clicked in my subconscious for it not to disturb me.

Hoping your day is more orderly and sensible but just as wholesome.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dad's feeling better

So of course I am drop-down tired. He got feeling pretty good after lunch and we really hit it until just a little while ago. Lots and lots of weed control done in the corn. Tomorrow we will finish planting the field for just after Labour Day and the big row of sunflowers (I hope) and probably finish doing weed control.

Now I go to clean-up and get some sleep. Wishing you all rest and wellness.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Poor day for dad

Got myself a haircut at Tony's Barber shop this morning. Nice to be a clean-cut conservative again.

Dad had a bit of an ear infection today so he didn't get much done and I say, "Hoorah!" he spent the day resting and recuperating.

I didn't set the world on fire either. So many rain showers blowing through it was hard to get anything cohesive done. Well at least I did some good studying and read a little fiction. I'm going out in just a few minutes and spray the walk-ways around our field of white corn with round-up. Glycine phosphate is good stuff. So safe and effective.

Hope life is treating you well.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dodging Lightning

Riding on the back of the seeder again today I suddenly noticed some tiny drops of rain falling all about me. Look up and behold a dark and fulsome sky. Several clouds hanging in pointed retinue, hinting at spiral forces we seldom see in this part of the world. The thunder finally began to overcome the loud noises of the tractor. Dad and I finished the fifth of ten rows we had hoped to put in and beat a hasty retreat as the first flashes became visible. We covered the seeder and hopped into the car as the rain shower began in earnest. The drive back to farm #1 was a travel into increasing storminess.

Tomorrow will be weed control first off and then back to planting. Hopefully we can get the sunflower and gladiolus in too but I'm learning to restrain my expectations. Dad is busy this instant planting tomato seeds for our last late planting.

I had one particularly weird dream last night, I dreamt I was traveling from corridor to corridor through peoples houses. I'm given to think this was a dream reflection of my experiences with blogging. I'm getting around 20 visitors a day, some random some not and those minds reflect upon and connect upon the doings and not-doings of my daily journeys.

May you all find a tiny gem of wonder hiding in an obvious but overlooked place.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A challenging day

lots of grit, wind, dust, and dissatisfaction today.
Got to farm #2 with a list of jobs, only a few of which actually worked out. It was too windy to spray roundup between the tomato rows. The piece of pipe I took along for hooking up the drip tape on the cukes was too short. I ran out of propane for burning holes in the polymulch. Fortunately the tiller worked real good and I did manage to get some more good weed control done.

Many other things happened but I'm going to bed now, struggle makes me tired.

Wishing you a smooother and more elegant experience.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Halloween initialization

Phase one of Halloween has been completed. Jack-O-Lanterns, Howden's Howdens, Big Maxs, Ghost Riders, Half-Moons, and Savage Creek Farm's Witch-Kissed pumpkins are already absorbing water in the dark, rich, heavy soil on the south side of the Rogue River valley. Planted by the proper phase of the moon with Jupiter's powerful influence in full affect these pumpkins will be especially effective in warding off the undead, unliving spirits and alien influences ;-)

We've also got a dandy crop of winter squash in, which will assure one a fitting survival of the grueling darkness that follows in the months after All-Hallow's Eve.

Tomorrow will hopefully see a cap put on our primary planting season when I put in the lemon and marketmore cucumbers. All that will be left then will be flowers and repeat plantings.

Now I go to rest, wishing you again a delightful moment of unfettered awareness and vigorous thoughts of happiness.

Farming, dinner and dreams

Struggling through another gritty day. About to go out and finally plant pumpkins and winter squash. Just had a delightful dinner thanks to my mother being such a fine cook. Chicken, fried sweet potato and pears with cottage cheese. Healthy and delicious.

Had an interesting dream night before last, wanted to impart it before I forgot. 2 dreams actually both involving mobile homes. The first concerned a family of nice white folks somewhere in Conneticut or Pennsylvania who were struggling to evacuate their mobile home before the oncoming flood. They were cooking taffy on the kitchen stove right up until the last minute. I think the water receded just before it came through their floor but I can't be sure. The other dream was about an old classmate I haven't thought of in years, Charles Barnhart. He was working on some sophisticated drawings which I thought were farming equipment but in retrospect more closely resembled the innards of a electrical power meter. He kept arguing with me that a furrow opener would not go onto it, so that is probably what it was. He was living in a nice mobile home with rich hardwood paneling. It was well lit, lots of windows and smelled like coffee.

Gotta go make pumpkins happen, hope life is treating you well.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Farming Savagery

Swinging blades of steel dripped flesh and gore as the wind howled up streamers of dust.

Plant flesh and green gore but destruction is destruction, especially when I am savaging the horrid horde of weeds which assail my corn plants. Occasionally my blade will slip on a rock and slice through an innocent corn plant; collateral damage but without the price of a few unjustly spent lives I would lose the whole crop.

Along the fence I have deployed weapons of mass destruction to wipe away the horde which so offends my senses. Already their heads droop as the chemicals eat away at their inner functions.

The chosen ones are protected by my vigilance and poly-mulch. The first planting of melons has begun to burdgeon and clumps of new growth swell the field. Soon tendrils will quest for open space and spread their grasping feelers towards new domains beyond even the safe region of polymulch. Tomatoes have started to flower and I feel an imminence which drives me towards new efforts: I must soon stake these tomatoes or risk their collapse. Sprawled tomatoes produce poorly.

Meanwhile, I hear the rustling of customers in the back of my mind. Every time I go to town I run into someone who asks "how's the corn doing?" or "when will the tomatoes be ready?"

Wishing you a fine day and riches of time and attention.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Neighbors house up for sale


Originally they wanted $925,000 for this place. It seems to be a really nice place, 2 stories plus basement 3 bed, 2 bath on 7+ acres with out buildings, lots of fruit trees. Quite country living only 3 miles from major freeway access 3 nearby cities. And of course the coolest neighbor in the world who grows most excellent watermelon right next door! Now they are asking $895,000 but I still think they might have a hard time getting it. My hopes are that some smart single lady will sell her microsoft stock and decide to chase her dream of living in the country to write her book, but I'm used to not getting what I hope for. I'd gladly settle on some cool little family or some groovy early retirement couple.

Watermelon, zucchini and other happy cucurbits

This morning I spent spraying fence lines and roadways at farm #2 with round-up. Got done around 10:00 and came back to plant the last row of specialty melons which I didn't get done last evening.

After lunch Dad got my old blue truck running today and after a visit from the Bro we went over to farm #2 (only about 2 miles down the road) and planted red and yellow triploid (seedless) watermelon and a bunch of zucchini, yellow crookneck and white scallop (patty pan) summer squashes. Dad also prepped the row we'll plant to cucumbers tomorrow morning. Main season planting will almost be finished then. All we'll have left is beans, pumpkins, winter squash and 4 big corn plantings. Oh yeah, and the late tomato and cucumber plantings. Ok, so we'll call it half finished then already.

I'm tired and my back is sore so I will wish you all fine days and sweet dreams.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

All's well 'tween earth and sky

Dad and I just got through putting in another acre of melons. 9 types of cantaloupe and 7 types of watermelon. Oh I just can't wait. Gotta run back out when it cools down a bit and put in one more row of mixed specialty melons: casaba, crenshaw, some asians and a few more european melons if I can find the dang seed.

The sky has been criss-crossed with lovely clouds as the day drifted by. Unfortunately that didn't really keep things cool. Warm soil helps those delightful little melon seeds to quicken and raise up their nodding heads.

Dreamt about a big earthquake last night. Dreamt it split the face off the mountain across from our second farm. Hmmm... ominous. Was really cool being able to see inside the mountain though. That's the sort of thing I love about dreams.

Popsicles, oh you save me! I dread and cherish the upcoming heat of summer. My craving for melons have taken on torturous proportions.

Mom gets back from Kansas tonight around 8:30. Sparky will be sooooo happy he'll just about burst.

Wishing you a sweet dream of freedom and a fine day of rewarding efforts.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Soil Surfin' Safari

Oh what another wonderful day of spending my life force near unto exhaustion.

Did a bunch more equipment tinkering this morning then went over to cultivate the corn field. Dad and Bro had rebuilt the cultivator with some tricky new bits and so we weren't too sure how good it would work. Turned out it needed a little extra weight on board to get it to bite in to the correct depth, so I hopped on top and road the thing around the field for a couple of hours.

This re-introduced me to a sport I haven't practiced in quite a few years: soil surfin. It was fun but quite tiring, moving in synch with machine and earth. A number of times in the last 18 years of farming some piece of equipment has required extra weight or a functional operator on the back so it wasn't exactly a new experience but definitely unique. Rock and soil and steel clashing and thrashing against each other produce an indescribable motion. Probably a lot more dangerous than I think or know but what the hey, you only go around once and if the corn tastes especially good this year all the better.

And to make the whole thing a safari, there was even some wild animal action. No I'm not typing about Sparky chasing us around the field, although that was happening too. The really cool part today was watching the ground rush by beneath my feet. At one point, before thought or action could've done anything, a kill-deer nest zipped by into the maw of the weed and earth shredding machine. Miraculously the nest had been placed in just exactly the one tiny spot where it would negotiate the cutting, shredding equipment I was riding like a bronco. Looking back I could see the two tiny brown speckled eggs sitting undisturbed in their nest.

Wishing you an equal moment of grace.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dodging raindrops

Lots of little showers blowing through again today. The ground is too wet to do any of the planting I was planning on so it has been a make-work day. Lots of clean-up, sorting, sifting and shifting.

Yesterday dad planted onions while I fed miracle grow to my melon transplants. That took most of the day after some equipment tinkering in the morning. Funny how seemingly trivial jobs can consume entire swaths of time from your day.

This warm, damp weather has the mosquitos swarming like we seldom see them in southern Oregon. Deet is my cologne of choice 2 or 3 times a day. Global warming is transforming my little corner of the world into a tropical jungle. Now if I can just find a good supplier for banana plants.

Wishing you a day of mystery and freedom.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Why?


And 1 more thing. This is OUR internet. We, America, invented it and made it happen (with integrated circuits and computers which we also created) we're just letting the rest of the world use it. I think it's about time we start getting a little credit for all the good things we do as well as the blanket of blame and threats that get laid on everyone of us each time there's a traffic accident or someone stubs their toe on a street curb that our soldiers helped put in at a risk to their lives or some idiot races a checkpoint hoping to make the evening news for Allah.