Monday, June 26, 2017

Breathing room

This is my current earworm:

There have been a number of excellent songs like this that have been getting me through a most difficult year; I've shared some of them here. I know without a doubt that songs that praise God send the devil packing . . . or at least make him back up a few strides to give me some breathing room.

We're all breathing easier now that a three-day heat wave has been broken by a more normal Pacific NW weather pattern. The stiff coast breeze yesterday evening blew through all the windows and doors we had to keep closed, and we had our usual pleasant sleeping temperatures once again.

He wasn't this pleasant about helping stack all that hay....  ;-)

Yesterday's major task was putting 210 bales of first-cutting grass hay from our favorite supplier into the barn. We still have some of last year's assorted hay to use up (beyond the pole at the far end), but we'll need more – hopefully some green, leafy third-cutting from the same supplier. I'd also like to get some alfalfa for my rams and wethers. After losing another one (Benny) to urinary calculi, I'm looking ways to prevent this painful – and for us, 100% fatal – condition, and Sara at Punkin's Patch sent me a couple articles by Dr. Kennedy at Pipestone Vet saying to feed alfalfa to boys, and NOT give any mineral mix that contains phosphorus. (Nightcap should be in good shape, because I was giving him some soaked alfalfa pellets along with Bramble.) I am also wracking my brain on how to manage my sheep now that the foxtail makes the pastures dangerous for fleece and flock. The ewes and lambs can't stay locked up in the fold; I don't want to risk injury to either ram by putting them together (especially since Nightcap is nine years old); and worry about parasite load is giving me occasional nightmares. Sigh. Unless I can solve some/all of these problems (and I haven't had any real lightbulb moments), it would be irresponsible to breed again.

The intense heat may have fried our remaining strawberry crop, but all the garden starts and row crops loved it (with copious amounts of water, of course). Yesterday we went to the graduation party of a brand new veterinarian, a young man who worked for Rick over a decade ago. He and his wife live on her family's CSA farm, and she gave me a tour. Talk about a GARDEN! Every CSA box includes a bouquet of flowers, a bouquet of fresh herbs, veggies AND fruit (right now, various kinds of blackberries and raspberries; later blueberries, apples, figs, persimmons, pears, Asian pears....) It was impressive and inspiring, as her husband has always been to us as a hard worker full of integrity. Rick would have loved to have Scott work for him upon graduation, but there just isn't enough work in his practice for two vets.

I need to get ready to take my car to the dealer for a major repair, so sayonara for now. I'll leave you with some flower photos taken inside and out.
A leaky hose keeps the New York asters watered along with the garden

A new calibrachoa to enjoy all summer

First anniversary orchid buds are getting bigger

Second anniversary orchid's full and gorgeous spray

My "grandma" daylily, from the Kansas homestead

My large lemon daylily


thecrazysheeplady said...

A barn full of hay is a huge relief...even if I'm still not so sure about that whole alfalfa thing... Of course, clover is the hay I had trouble with a couple years ago... More research in order.

C-ingspots said...

Wow Michelle, I am so sorry! You have been getting hit really hard with too many sad. Benny is the only one of your sheep that I got to meet, and it seems all too soon. :(

I didn't realize that Scott had graduated from vet school. Seems like too soon again. Has it really been 10 years since he worked here?

What is a CSA farm?

Theresa said...

Can that foxtail field be plowed out and a winter crop put it in place of the foxtails?
Oat hay? Something? Won't help you this year, but maybe for next....

Susan said...

Glad you're getting some relief, even if it's just from the weather. That is really nice hay. I'm with Theresa - can the foxtail be mowed? I don't know what your set-up is like, but it might be worthwhile if it fixes the problem next year. I bet it helps a bit, to be surrounded by such beautiful flowers. Hang in there - hope the car repair was less than feared. xoxoxo

Retired Knitter said...

I can't imagine what it is like to have a number of your sheep family. I recently lost one cat and it was hard. You are such a good sheep-mom! And all that hay puts some perspective on what it takes to keep your sheep. It is a boat-load of work!

Diane said...

The yearly events that I've attended about sheep nutrition always talked about NOT giving alfalfa to rams because of that very issue, urinary calculi. A basic first cutting is good enough for the boys.
I would recommend mowing the foxtail, even if you mow with the deck up so as just to knock off the heads so other grasses can grow. ...just my thoughts.

Michelle said...

Kinda sounds like the salt thing, huh Sara? Who do you listen to???

It WAS too soon, Lorie; Benny was only three years old. :'-( And Scott started working for Rick at least 12 years ago, because he's been married for 11. CSA=Community Supported Agriculture. I thought you joined one in the past and got weekly boxes; that's what Anna's family farm does.

Theresa, if we plowed it, the foxtail would just be resown. The seed heads continued to mature after Rick mowed them, plus more seed heads were produced. I'm afraid the only way to eradicate it is to spray, and not only is that expensive, it's poisonous. :-(

Susan, the car cost about what they estimated – a lot.

Yes, RK, it's a lot of work, but very enjoyable work . . . most of the time.

I know, Diane, that's what I thought I'd heard. But grass hay is all my boys have ever gotten and I've lost FOUR to urinary calculi, so I am open to other ideas.