Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday, monday

Spent the morning in Medford picking up fertilizers and other chemicals, drip tape, groceries etc.

Got home around noon, after lunch helped dad put down lime for the watermelon field. Watered the remaining lettuce plants and mowed until supper time. Lovely alternating balmy and cool evening breezes. Dad ran the cultivator and drag through the field we had just limed.

Grapes are just starting to bud up their flowers. Should be open in a couple weeks, probably not long after this next rainy spell clears out. Gonna have to spray the apples for scab and coddling moth around then too. Doesn't matter what any one says, when push comes to shove people will buy ten times as many sprayed apples as they will unsprayed. I dare any organics-only person to contradict me.

Will be putting in tomato rows tomorrow and that is an involved process! Hopefully I'll remember to bring my camera along so I can show y'all a pic of our equipment and methods.

Wishing you a playful spring night.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bonfire of time

Today went by so fast and it seems like I got so little done. Some spraying, worked on the pump, tank and lines for the foliar feed applicator. Mowed and sprayed weeds in the vineyard. Feels like I was mostly busy but haven't got highly visible results to show for it. Lots of mental struggle today, looking for parts, arranging things etc. which is always difficult to measure while still being taxing.

Dad on the other hand made huge showing with the small ripper and the new chain-link drag I welded up a couple days ago. He also ran the field plane around what will be the tomato field so land work is totally falling into place.

We have a couple days of showers coming Tue.-Thur. which has caused us to postpone planting corn. Will spend a little of tomorrow and/or Monday calibrating the new fertilizer drops in the white corn field. We use a different seeder for that but the fertilizer can still go down first.

It's a pleasantly balmy spring evening. That special yellow color which I love so much has started to return to the sunlight which shines down our valley each evening now. Hard to be too down when such beauty abounds.

A happy night to you and yours.


After painstakingly constructing our expensive 7+ foot deer fence we expected and were having no predation on our broccoli, cauliflower and other greens. But last night the small doe and perhaps another deer managed to find an opening they could get through. In short order they devoured about 600$ worth of plants and the labor that it took to put them in and tend to them.

No doubt those environmentalists are chortling in glee at yet another example of nature exacting its tole on man. Stupid farmers trying to impose their will on mother nature, we don't need them we can just get our food from the all-organic grocery store.

It would be so easy to blame myself for this because I wasn't more careful in tending to the fence. It would be equally easy to sit up tonight and gut shoot every deer in the neighborhood; but of course I would never do such a barbaric thing. I will make another attempt to remedy the fence and hopefully will be able to at least keep the deer out of the grapes for the rest of the season. Unfortunately it is now too late to do anything about early greens and salads. Will re-till that field and plant it to artichokes or something else.

Take care and stay alert; there's a lot of things out there waiting to take a bite.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Done at last!

As Professor Hofstader's law says "It always takes longer than you think it will, even if you take into account Hofstader's law" If you ever get a chance to read Godel, Escher Bach: An eternal golden braid I challenge you to do so. It's a bit heavy but some brilliant thinking.

Tada! the glorious improved corn seeder with fertilizer applicators and additive drops:

Will beginning seeding tomorrow afternoon after getting fertilizer at the local Grange Co-op. Whoa! filled the truck with gas in Rogue River today, $3.21 a gallon. Gonna make the fertilizer drops extra valuable as they save one whole set of trips through the field.

Happiness to you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another day of welding

Almost, almost I say! done with the fertilizer attachment. Only two small parts to finish attaching in the morning and then, Fini!

Really kinda hoping it will rain a bunch tonight and so take the pressure off. Only 30% chance as of last night. No idea what the current status is. Probably going to sleep before I find out. Oh well, might just have to call on one of the fifty little gods. (Anyone theologically minded please don't take me so literally!)

Have a delightful day/evening/night/morning.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Scramble, scramble

Weather has turned good and we are in a tizzy trying to get the last bits of cutting and welding done for the corn seeder. Should be ready to field test tomorrow afternoon. Man! this agricultural design can be as mind bending as software engineering. So many different intentions working together towards a single purpose all having to mesh perfectly and move in the correct manner and synchronization.

Saw a big osprey or small eagle fly over today as I was exiting the greenhouse. My glasses were still foggy so I couldn't pin the variety down any closer. Looked really cool though.

The big deer fence is finally a success. Had one interloper that lost quite a bit of hair to the barb wire so we stretched one more length of smooth wire at the top to reach 7+ feet. No new incursions since. The cabbage will be safe.

Wishing you all a smooth, mellow night and a venturous day.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mixed day

Sort of like a soft-serve ice cream cone with vanilla on top and chocolate on the bottom.

The day started with soil prep at farm#2. Once the equipment was hooked up to the tractor I left dad running the new harrow while I ran to town and bought parts for the fertilizer spreader. After all the errands were done I ran back to farm#1 and planted crookneck and zucchini. The rain really started to pick up just as I finished with that so I ran back over to farm#2 and got dad who fortunately had just finished. Now the corn ground is all ready for planting within the next week whenever the ground dries out enough.

After lunch we ran over to bro's welding shop and I laid down some heavy tracks. Also got a chance to play with a plasma cutter which he had picked up on sale. Very, very fun. Can't wait to cut out some truly groovy stuff.

Now having pizza for dinner before turning in.

Wishing you all a stream of productive, rewarding moments and refreshingly blissful interludes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Seeder progress

Spent the whole day welding and boy are my arms tired. Looks like we'll have the new fertilizer drops built in time for our first planting of corn. What a labor saver that will be.

Good night everyone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Day of discomforts

Constantly changing air pressure makes me ache. Bruised my lower back when standing up too soon and accidentally hit a metal loop on the hoist. Minor head cold and/or allergy sniffling, sneezing, aching etc. Sinuses changing size with the different waves of air pressure blowing through with the storm pushing against my wisdom teeth, unnngghhh. Working on cold concrete while wind and rain lash the tin roof of the welding shop. Small, burning sparks of metal embedding themselves in my clothes and skin. Nothing good on the radio.

But the storm was lovely. Dark grays and blue, sublime white and misty shear.

Tired and sore, I wish the world a lovely night and virtuous day.

Planting onions in the rain

Got just shy of a thousand feet of onion planted yesterday afternoon. Showers blew in as we were finishing the last two rows of reds. Nothing makes me feel quite so alive as working in the rain.

Going back to bro's welding shop this morning to work on the fertilizer drops for the corn seeder. Couple of hours there then we'll come back for planting broccoli, cauliflower and some other plants which should be safe now that the deer fence is complete.

Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rainy Saturday

Delightful spring rains! supposed to persist until about afternoon, gotta love it.

A hummingbird was sitting on the floor next to a shelf in my bedroom yesterday afternoon. I hurriedly gathered it up and carried it outside before the cat could get it. I think it came in through an open window. Black cat, sleeping on the bed, never even noticed. I carried the poor thing towards one of our hummingbird feeders but he flung out his wings half way there, changing from the dull green when I found it to iridescent orange and took flight towards one of the flowering apple trees.

A day of equal freedom to you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Work, then more work

Finally had a chance to take a pic of our new "harrow" or whatever you care to name it. Now we're working on a fertilizer spreader to mount ahead of the corn seeder. Pre-fertilizing will be a huge advantage in labor, time and weed control.

Well, I'm tired so going to sleep now. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rae Ann writes again

The vicious momma has some funny and thought provoking things to say about the recent "Imus in the morning" racial slur controversy.

I'm a Hoe: Updates of Past Stories

Busy, busy

The new cultivator/ripper/drag device worked great on its test run. All my welds held. Unfortunately the ground is too wet for us to just immediately put it to use but when it is time to plant corn it'll be really nice to have it.

After we got through with the test run we just spent the day cleaning up the shop. Was a lot easier with the equipment moved out so we did a thorough job of it.

My good friend Steve spent a chunk of yesterday evening chatting with me. We've been out of touch for about 2 or 3 months so it was a pleasant interlude. He is thinking of selling his house and buying a small farm to raise grapes and hops on. Another interesting alternative as to the future I might choose after mom and dad sell the farm.

Wishing you a night fraught with adventurous dreams and a day fraught with sublime mundanities.

Monday, April 09, 2007


No reason for that title, just felt liking being different.

Showery sort of day all day, spent the morning welding and painting equipment then came back to farm#1 to finish putting up some fence gates. We made the mistake of putting out some early plants before the last 3 gates were finished and the deer finally took notice and gobbled a bunch of them down. Fortunately we hadn't put in terribly much yet but it was still really aggravating. The state claims ownership of the animals but won't pay for the damage they do, help me to control them or allow me to shoot them at need. My only option is to bleed off money and time of my own to construct obdurate fences against them.

Tomorrow we'll be testing the new ripper so wish me luck; it's all made from my own welds so no one else to blame if it falls apart.

Have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

I'm not a very religious person but I love holidays. Lots of pagan trappings to this spring right of passage but I don't care. Bunnies, colored eggs and chocolate; who could argue with that?

Been too busy farming to blog lately. Yesterday we put in about 200 mixed cabbage and lettuce plants. Will probably do about 500 more today or tomorrow. Also getting lots more welding experience in while working on the boom'd sprayer and the ripper/drag for soil prep. Just what I need, another alternative occupation should I decide to stop farming.

This is one of the most beautiful Easter mornings that I have seen since I was a kid. The sunlight was slanting in beneath a few eastern clouds with an amazing pastel color highlighting all the flowering trees. A sublime perfume fills the air combining with the other elements of natural beauty to envelope my every sense in wonder.

Have a very happy day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


This morning got a late start because of the flu I'm still struggling with. Dizzy, dizzy when I first get up in the morning. But my head cleared after breakfast and we sidled over to my brothers welding shop to work on the ripper/dragger. Got another couple of good hours of welding experience in, pipe welding today.

Then came home for lunch and several hours of chores, a trip into Rogue River, etc. after 3:00 I gave dad a brake from plowing our new field at (technically) farm #3.

Now there is a fascinating experience not many people get in the modern world. A steel plow churning and turning earth under and over. The deep rumble of rock, soil and stone. The hissing, ripping, shredding sound of dirt and root-mat being torn up and flipped over. All overlaid with the deep rhythmic throb of a diesel engine. This is a power that hearkens back to ancient Sumeria when the first farmer turned land to create a new circumstance for his people.

I was plowing the field which used to belong to a good friend, Byron. He passed away last winter after we had already made arrangements to plant his field with corn. As luck would have it his grandson bought the land and we were fortunate enough to get a second chance. It made me a little sad that he wasn't there to see this day of turned earth but I know that at some level of existence, he was there.

Wishing you a night of pleasant dreams and a day of thrilling discoveries.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Good Monday's work

Today started out frosty which made me fear for the recently transplanted lettuce but they weathered the threat just fine.

Spent the morning and early noon welding on the ripper dad and I are constructing. I really enjoy that welding even though it is a bit uncomfortable of a chore. We're over half done on that job, 2 or 3 more days and we'll be able to try it out.

After lunch dad worked the cornfields at farm#2 while I finished prepping the onion, beet and turnip beds. Would've got the beets in already but that stupid little seeder got jammed and I had to spend the time fixing it. By then the day was just about done, will seed in the morning.

Had a brief jaunt into the library to return my books. All Jackson county libraries will be closing on April 7th for an indefinite period because the federal government refuses to pay its property taxes. Wonder if we can report them to a credit agency? Wendy, one of the many nice ladies at the Rogue River library who will soon be unemployed, told me that many people think it isn't going to actually happen. One lady upon being told they were closing on April 7th said "I've heard the stories..." as if it is some kind of urban legend. And apparently most people in the county think along the same lines. It will be vastly amusing (and distressing) to watch the ripples of domino effect spread from this event. Mark your calendars world, everyone has seen what happens when Bugs Bunny flicks a pebble down the slope of a snowy mountain.

Wishing you all a fine and felicitous day.