Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Plowing through the to-do lists

My current favorite hot drink dispenser just happens to be...

...uncannily appropriate for this post!

Like every property owner, we have long mental lists of "things that need to be done." Let me clarify that: Rick and I have separate lists; we each think that our list is the most critical; and we each want the other's help on our projects. Cue the conflict. (Just kidding! Mostly....)

When you add in the rapidly approaching rainy season, Rick's secretary scheduling a week's vacation on short notice (guess who's the presumptive substitute), and an out-of-town trip (on which Rick insisted I join him), Getting Things Done becomes paramount. I'll spare you the timeline and most of the logistical challenges and just share some progress.

Rick was determined to get our manure pile dispersed before the wet season set in. Seemed counterproductive to me since most of it wasn't well composted, and our ancient mature spreader and our little Kubota both seemed to agree. But Rick managed to repair the spreader and rented a tractor to git 'er done. In the bit of time left over on the tractor rental, we removed enough of the embarrassingly deep hay pack (which he also insisted in spreading on the pasture) from the Sheep Sheraton so I can actually open and close the gate, while the ewes enjoyed their first pasture outing in months. (We went from relatively clear to very foggy pretty quickly that morning.)

a manure pile no more

trying not to covet

the neighbors' new house looms

Of course when you have livestock, the manure starts piling up again immediately:

You may recall that last winter our roof started to leak over the garage. We got three estimates in short order, and then . . . nothing. Rick wouldn't make a decision all spring, summer, and into fall, and I couldn't very well make one without him. He finally decided to have one more contractor, a client, out to look at it recently, and was told it didn't really need to be replaced, just repaired and maintained better. Mind you, all four of the contractors who looked at it gave us different causes for the problem, so I'm not at all confident that this last one knows better than the first three, but he did prompt Rick to get up there and do some long-neglected work. Let's just pray we're not being penny-wise but pound-foolish!

Our garden hasn't been a big contributor to our larder this year, unfortunately. My tomato plants are just starting to recover from what appeared to be herbicide carryover; I doubt all the blossoms and small green fruit now appearing will have time to mature. I need to check under the black plastic to see if my experimental sweet potato patch produced anything; looks like I'll have a total of three small Red Kuri winter squash. My most recent vegetable harvest included three different varieties of eggplant, two varieties of peppers, and two varieties of summer squash; I roasted all of them along with a big Walla Walla Sweet onion and a tired store-bought sweet potato.

The apple trees have produced well this year, with less pest damage than usual. These two buckets were emptied, filled, and emptied again,

resulting in 14 quarts of apple pie filling and 14 quarts of applesauce.

first batch of homemade apple pie filling (mostly used for apple crisp)

NO broken jars and NO unsealed jars this year – a first!
Since I'm almost out of regular mouth jars and wide mouth lids and have plenty of pints of apple butter, I might be done canning for the year. The dehydrator might see some use yet, though....

Last winter the south side of our wood shed failed, sending firewood tumbling out into the rain (we still had plenty under cover). This summer, the north side of the shed started to give way. Rick has wanted to replace the whole thing for years, but the main supports and roof are still good and there are higher priorities for any available funds, so he's been working on rebuilding it. Once that's done, we have a trailer load of oak to split and stack.

The henhouse was getting rank, so the girls got 'clean sheets' recently – along with a whole watermelon. They usually just get the rinds, but for the first time I picked a bad one, and I mean a BAD one. I hope they repay us in eggs; their production has really dropped off the last couple months.

one of our blue Wyandottes is out of frame

Who is going to wash windows???

Don't worry; it's not all work and no play around here. Poppy and I go to agility class once a week (over soon, sadly) and Stella and I get weekly lessons (plus near daily work on our own). I still twiddle my spindles when I can and even have a project on the needles plus another one to start ASAP.

But don't call me "busy as a bee;" this is spider season and their webs are everywhere, it seems. I think they are beautiful – I just don't like to find them with my face. 🙄

That's it for now from . . .


Sharrie Brockhaus said...

It was good to hear your voice the other Sunday night. Now I have a voice to connect to the person in sheep in Oregon that I follow on a blog.

Michelle said...

I'd much rather be heard than seen, Sharrie! 😉

Mama Pea said...

A very interesting post that carried the feeling of fall all the way through it. Yep, I think we're all in the same boat regarding trying to get all those pesky little (or big!) chores done while the decent weather still holds. Sorry to hear your garden didn't produce as you would have wished. (Do you find you don't have to cook in as big a quantity now that your strapping boy isn't at your table?) But you certainly are wealthy in apples! Except for our yummy Chestnut crab apples, ours are still on the trees for a while yet.

Retired Knitter said...

So I am not one of your "country girl" readers - because I never considered (not for one moment) exactly what you did with all the poop!! hahaha!

Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm said...

I like those mugs and have the coasters and placemats to go with them. When next I return to Ireland, I'm buying mugs as well.
The To-Do List...is never finished but I whittle it down a little daily, usually, at the neglect of doing something else. This week I've moved 4 chairs, 2 bookcases, 2 dressers and think I'm done. I did have help on the bookcases and dressers and we did use a dolly so it was "manageable". Sorta. Today sees me putting everything back to rights and hoping I don't run out of time.
That JD sure looks nice; I had to leave mine at the last farm (part of the package) but I have a Yanmar now. No complaints especially as it has A.C. (NEEDED in this part of Virginia!) and heat so that means a cab to keep off all elements.
God is good!
Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

Jeannej said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog...as I always do!

I surely wouldn't make a good farmer, and I admire all who do it!

I'm glad you got a good apple crop! Let me know when to come for dessert! 😀 I know i it's not going to happen, but wouldn't it be fun!!??

Fall is certainly in the air! We have had m morning temps in the mid forties. Now we need rain!

Fran said...

Love the mug, it does seem appropriate. Fall chore line up can be daunting, especially when you can't agree on priority. We need to stain our garage again, but hubby has a bad back, I don't want to tote and put up scaffolding alone. Son 1 was going to get the rest of the house and garage stained this summer, but then COVID happened. My chicken coop needs repair and staining or painting, the garden cleaned up for fall/winter. The areas of the farm that aren't hayed and are too thick/rough for the riding mower need mowing but we haven't replaced the brush hog. The tractor you rented is a newer version of mine, I love it for what I do with it. I have a bucket and blade. Need a new brush hog. Hope the rainy season douses all of the remaining fires and you have a better year next year.

A :-) said...

My tall windows need attention, too . . .

Michelle said...

Mama Pea, Brian wasn't eating much at home all last summer, so my cooking hasn't changed dramatically.

Elaine, it IS one of those things that isn't shown in bucolic scenes. 😉

I just have this one mug, Sandra, and can't remember where I bought it; wish it had been in Ireland!!!

Wish I COULD have you over for dessert, Jeanne!

Too bad we aren't neighbors, Fran. Maybe we could do some sharing, since you have the better tractor and we have a great brush hog.

Michelle said...

I'm thinking I need to buy some tools to help with our tall ones, A. I don't fancy putting up a ladder on a second-story deck!