Thursday, May 31, 2007

Difficult Thursday

Started early and rocky after only 5.5 hours of sleep. Then pushed about 65 pounds of sprayer up and down about 4.5 miles of corn row until after 12:30. Weeds should die wonderfully.

After lunch retrieved the big sprayer for some cosmetic repair work and refitting. Should work a lot better now. Needed it at the old farm for weed control around the roads and etc.

Took a two hours break during the hottest part of the day, between 3 and 5. Got to about 94 degrees here today. Scorching, the blazing sun has arrived. A few weeks early at that but the tomatoes seem to be loving it. Supposed to cool down mondayish which will be a good time to get the last of our pepper and cabbage plants in. Tomorrow if all goes well beans and squash will get planted.

This evening I mowed a huge patch of weeds and cover from the northern most, lowest patch of terrain here at the old farm. Chased a couple of yearling deer out of there while I was at it. Lots of people think deer are special animals, but to me they are just a gianormous long-legged rat, desperately in need of eradication. There was alot of traffic on the driveway after I got them out of that region so there's some hope that with the cover gone and them chased several fields over from where they had been that maybe at least for tonight they might stop crashing through my fence. We've got a plan to augment the fence with several hundred feet of polyester fiber mesh called "Deer-X" which should keep them once again constrained.

Very tired. Wish you all the best, peace, happiness and pleasant dreams. Good night.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Water Wednesday

Set sprinklers at farm#4 this morning. That's next door to farm#3 which is across the fence from farm#2 which sort of makes it all the same place but let's try to keep things straight here.

Then mom and dad ran errands in town while I moved sprinklers at the old farm(#1) I also replaced the filter on the tomato drip system and ran a few more of my minor experiments. Ran some silicon solar cells through my ball-mill thus reducing them to a fine flake. Will be tinkering with that as part of a coating for some intricate ceramics I will be working on this winter, I hope.

After lunch dad and I put the finishing touches on the sprayer which I have dubbed "Scorpion" due to its appearance during an early stage of its development. Sort of looks like a land-speed record baby carriage now, but who cares as long as it kills weeds.

Lots of damned mexican bean beetles (also called the cucumber beetle) flying around the melon patch this evening. Will have to do something about that as soon as the ground dries out enough to drive on.

Going to bed soon, early to rise and all that. Hope you all have a refreshing and restful night.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Corn Seed Tuesday

Spent the morning planting corn at farm#2, also put some driptape on the gladiolas there too.

Came home around noon to help my delightful niece, Randi, with her homework for a web-design class she's taking at SOSU. Javascript was giving her a little trouble and did me too for about 5 minutes. It's been about 3 years since I did any sort of serious javascript design and I had to discuss the methods and techniques with her until my brain got on the right track. Then I could show her what need to be done for her current, almost the last, assignment. The funny part was that when I fixed the code she was working on, it still didn't work. I was baffled until I took a moment to stare at the code she had written. There was an "l" where and "I" was supposed to be. Man! those three pixels difference can kill ya!

This afternoon dad and I nearly finished our new "scorpion" sprayer for killing weeds between the rows of corn. This will reduce our need for pesticides and improve the quality of the corn.

Dinner time! Have a great evening.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Boatnik weekend

For those who haven't had the pleasure, it is Boatnik weekend in the illustrious city of Grants Pass. This is a recreational event which culminates in a jetboat race on the wild Rogue River. I am, as every spring demands, too busy to attend.

Today we were spraying pre-emergent weeds in the most recent corn field when a PVC elbow on the roller pump suddenly blew apart. What a mess! So just about an entire day got used up in repair work instead of the things we had planned. Pretty typical struggle for our farming operation.

Got to see Bro today, he's just back from a 21 day stint of welding at some place called "Wheelerbrator", I think. He has to work again tomorrow and then the company is giving everyone Memorial Day off because they don't want to pay holiday pay. They've already screwed up the entire crews weekend and now they want to be chincy? What a bunch of jerks.

Speaking of jerks, saw some ass in a two-tone blue van with a big American flag wheel cover on Rogue River swerving and weaving, driving 35 miles per hour; obviously drunk as a skunk. Didn't get close enough to get his license and even if I did with no Federal O&C funds there aren't any cops to call anyways. Hope he doesn't kill anyone but his self.

Gotta go water some plants. Y'all have a fine Memorial Day weekend...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Water in the ditch !!

There's water in the ditch,
there's water in the ditch
there's water in the ditch!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Death of a link

For a bit over a year now I have been enjoying the rants and meandering thoughts of a delightful gentleman from egypt. At the right, further down this page you'll see his link "Rantings of a Sandmonkey" I am saddened to announce that "Sam" as many of his readers call him will no longer be blogging with us. He has been so threatened and harassed by agents of conformity within Aegypt that he had to quit for fear of his and his family's safety.

I used to think Egypt was just a lot of sand and bloody, murderous barbaric muslims. Then Sam enchanted me with stories of his friends, family and current affairs of Egypt. I was particularly amused by the story of his father telling him to smoke some hash before he went to a wedding he was dreading. His mother said "You better not!!" I just had to laugh. It was so, human.

But now, I'm forced to return to my original view of Egypt: Bloody, barbaric muslims.

No greater disservice could have been done to the spirit of Egypt than depriving the world of the voice and views of this one smart, kind, caring and wholesome individual. Good luck, Sandmonkey.

Corn Tuesday

For another couple of weeks our Tuesdays will continue to be dominated by corn planting and then in early-mid June we will split our plantings into 2 smaller fields twice a week. This allows better accommodation to the warm days of August and to the added demand showing up around Labor Day.

Earlier today we also planted 2 more rows of tomatoes, bring the total in rows up to about 650 or so. Here's the pics of the rows I promised earlier (will show with tomatoes when they're all in...) :

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday sprinkles

A lovely little shower is settling the dust outside, giving the air that sweet-spicy perfume.

Dad and I will be planting tomatoes as soon as this shower passes. Still no water in the ditch but we'll risk the extra labor of having to hand water for a while to get the plants in before they get too lanky. This morning we were up shoveling on the settling pond we are putting in for the drip system and it was so quiet I could hardly believe it. Just a few crickets and once in a rare while a car on the freeway.

This afternoon we'll be heading up to Glendale to my sister's for a little celebration of mom and dad's 50th anniversary. Their anniversary is actually Wednesday but this is the only window of opportunity we could all get together and my brother will still have to miss it because he's out of town on a welding job. Cole's is a great place for him to work and I'm sure they'd have given him the time off but he just couldn't afford to miss the hours.

Hope you all have a lovely, peaceful day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Corn status: Good

The corn shoots are popping up all over the place and not a single sign of burning so far. So groovy.

Dad and I finished pulling the agmulch and driptape for our tomatoes this morning. 10 rows about 240 feet long should accommodate about a thousand tomato plants or more. Will seriously try to get a pic to show you by tomorrow morning.

Other good news: The water is running at Charley's place (farm#2) so today we had sprinklers going. What a delight that is, seeing rainbows and water in the air. We are supposed to have water in the irrigation ditch already but so far the Grants Pass Irrigation District is doing its usual poor job and slacking on us. Those idiots think everyone in the district just raises hay and apples and that nobody needs the water yet except for their lawns which can wait. I wish I could apply the sort of angst I am experiencing to the people who are the cause of our water woes. The Oregon Water Resources Commission, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Patagonia, Sierra Club and assorted land developers would all be writhing in agony while I clapped and laughed like a young boy seeing his first clown.

Ooops waxed a bit vicious there. Sorry about that to my gentle readership. I'm sure you can relate though.

Have a fun day of red and white checkered table cloth, barbecue and watermelon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Corn and partially tomatoes

Did a bunch of grunt and shovel work early this morning then ran into Grange Co-op to get fertilizer. Got there a little too early so we (dad and I) went exploring up Dowell Road. Lovely little area back there.

Got back and moved the tractor over to farm#2 where we planted corn seed. This time with the few modifications we had made the seeder and fertilizer drops worked super. 16 rows of corn planted and the first field showed its first sprouts today. So far everything looks healthy, keeping fingers crossed for when the corn gets into the subsoiled fertilizer. If no burning is apparent all will be ultra-super.

This evening we have been re-ripping the tomato rows. Were going to put down plastic but the soil was still too hard. The duckfoot rippers are doing a wonderful job of pulverizing and loosening the ground. Probably wont get anymore tractor work done tonight, too tired and supper is weighing me down.

A lovely little bird a little smaller than a bluejay has been serenading the neighborhood for several days now. A cheerful warbling call that is melodious and fluid. I've spotted it a few times and I'm almost certain it is an evening grosbeak.

Whew! it was hot today. Going from lower 70s to 86 in a few short days makes the body a little susceptible especially beneath the stern and staring sun. Not yet a blazing sun but giving us a little taste of the whip to forewarn.

Early tomorrow morning I will be spraying fruit trees. Think fond thoughts for me while I suffer the discomforts of protective gear.

Wishing you all cool water and deep shade.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

The most ubiquitous title in the blogosphere today.

Started the day out spraying for pre-emergent weeds in our first corn field. Got a pretty good start on the day even though we usually resist work on Sundays. Just couldn't take the risk of not getting that job done. While we were at it one of the local osprey put on a short acrobatics show for us, hunting mice or small birds in our field no doubt.

Wrapped everything up at farm#2 by about 10:30 and hoofed it for home to take mom out for dinner. Did some shopping first, getting the last of our equipment (I hope) for the season. Then we went over to the Tin-Tin buffet in Medford. Our first visit and despite the one bad review I had from a customer at the fruit stand they had some really good food. All of it was freshly produced and kept quite hot. They could've had more spices for my taste but mom and dad loved it and I was not disappointed by any of the numerous dishes I tried, sesame chicken, General Tso's chicken, coconut shrimp, egg rolls, chicken and broccoli, barbecue boneless spareribs, vegetable lomein, the list goes on and on. I only managed to try a small percentage of all their dishes.

I've taken the rest of Sunday off to recover and meditate a bit. Had a sort of falling out with an old friend over some of George Carlin's acerbic wit. A matter of illegal immigrants and gasoline prices. There was a time when this sort of thing would've shook me up, but I just am too old and don't have the energy to get offended or excited anymore. I figure 30 years is an unusually long time for a friendship and we had a really fun run of it, no reason to expect something like that to go on forever.

Wishing you all, and your mothers, a fine and mellow evening.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cantaloupe Friday, cucumber Saturday

Yesterday we planted hills of cantaloupe pretty much all day. Dad and I were thoroughly tired by the end of the day and we still had to go out and take some measurement with the laser after supper. Doing a land moving project at the old farm and have to get those elevations just right. Man! were there ever the mosquitoes last night and that skintastic OFF product with picaridin didn't hardly protect at all. I hate DEET, it irritates my bronchitis but at least it keeps the damned little buggers away.

Today we'll finish planting the cantaloupe and get started on cucumbers.

Yay! Saturday is pizza night.

Wishing you all wellness and happy surprises.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Watermelon Thursday

Woke up with a crook in my neck and a crimp in my shoulder and pectoral muscles. Probably from spraying yesterday, an unusual posture and lengthy exertion can lead to such affects. Naproxen didn't do the job so after a while I took an acetaminophen and that finally seemed to loosen up some tissue. Was really quite painful until then.

Today was another day of unnecessary struggle. But we finally got the first watermelon in the ground. Four 360 foot rows. Had to dig mounds and put water in them before planting because the field has gotten too dry. Of course we were supposed to have water in the ditch several days ago but thanks to the bunglers who run things we're probably still weeks away.

The day itself was quite lovely, the shadows cast in bright spring sunlight were sharp and clear. Dark green trees and lush grasses decorate the landscape. Soil is warm to the touch. But despite this natural grandeur I was reminded again today that our farming days are numbered in a somewhat more countable region. Dad will be turning 70 this summer and I'm no spring chicken anymore myself. Spring is a time for hope, optimism and enthusiasm but the bright sun hides few truths.

Wishing you all a spiritually uplifting day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Sorry I haven't posted lately, I know how lonely the blogosphere can become without me ;-)

My modem apparently died, unbeknownst to me. So I've had no internet service for about 4-5 days now. Since work has been raging like crazy I didn't have time to look into it. Today mom ran an errand for me and stopped at Charter and they came through with a new, smaller modem (for a price of course) a little tinkerin' on the phone with technical services and the thing is up and running fine.

On the subject of work: Corn is in the ground! 44 new rows of 4 kinds of corn are already swelling with incipient moisture. We put it in yesterday beneath the blazing sun. Wind blew grit, fertilizer and dust over me all day long as I followed the seeder checking for jams or skips in the assorted menagerie of devices on our seeder. Walked over a mile and a half trailing that balky apparatus. But we got a bunch of more bugs hammered out and with just a few more tweaks the rest of the corn season should be a blast to plant.

I dropped dad off this morning to do some more land work at farm#2. While I was there I quick stuck in assorted sunflower seeds at the end of each corn row. This seed is third generation restarts from a field of mixed types we planted about 4 years ago so there is great variety in the flowers that are produced.

Gotta get back to work soon. Hope you are all doing well and happy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The last two leisurely days

Going over to bro's shop this morning to put the finishing touches on our pre-emerg sprayer. Slight overcast makes it seem another cool spring day with no pressure or deep concerns. But the waters can be deceiving....

Monday the whole mess will come unraveled as the temps approach the high 80s. All our major crops must go in this week!

On a somber note, my best wishes and prayers go out to the folk in Kansas who have suffered devastation this morning. I have relatives scattered all over the mid-West and my family has a long history in Kansas, especially the city of Montezuma, Garden city and Dodge city areas. Greensburg is just around the corner from them. So this disaster is making me very apprehensive.

Like my dad says, "Take care of your work and the rest of your life will take care of itself"

A lovely and beneficial day to everyone.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dreadful anticipations

Oh no, the weather is getting good again. That means less blogging and more back aching work. Was too tired to type last night after working on a bunch of more welding. But here's at least one of the pictures I promised the other day. This is the 14 gallon spray rig I'll be using on the fruit trees shortly:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A day of vicissitudes

The assorted changes and alternate courses that one's experiences might suddenly take.

Started the morning with am entertaining breakfast with Del. Proceeded directly to a hair cut next door to the diner. Rain was profuse by the time I left there.

Got home in time to turn around and go back to get plants with mom. Brought home about 400+ assorted pepper and tomato plants.

Had lunch and went directly to Bro's welding shop to work on a trailer for one of the new spray rigs (pics tomorrow) we were using some scrap steal which had paint on it so by the time I was done welding, burning paint fumes had made me nauseas and given me a headache.

Got home and had dinner. Lovely, lovely, lovely post rainstorm landscapes greeted me on an evening walk after super. The verdant hills made vivid and glorious by a shining golden spring's sunset light. Got many pictures some of which I'll share tomorrow too. Saw a dang stellar blue jay steal some poor birds baby from the nest. It is difficult to dispassionately watch nature play out her some times cruel designs perhaps because I delude myself into often thinking I am not caught up in the same design, subject to the same vicious forces.

Despite that unsubtle truth, let me wish you a fine and fortuitous evening.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tomato fertilizer Tuesday

Put down a new blend of fertilizer for our tomatos. We used to run out lime, triple 16 and calcium nitrate but this year we went with lime, 11-52-0, muriate of potassium and calcium nitrate. This allowed us to lower the amount of nitrogens relative to the amount of calcium and potash while still providing plenty of nitrogen and nitrates in particular which are a better source than ammonium. We ran a couple of control rows using the old formula to see if the incident of blossom end rot goes down with this new combo.

Dad picked up 720 tomato plants this morning from his friend David James at Greenleaf industries. Great place to pick up some garden plants if you happen to live in southern Oregon.

Now enjoying some chicken soup while the rains gently sweep the countryside clean of dust. I love the smell of a spring rain, don't you?

Delightful night-full.