Random Ramblings

Mike got about 50 acres done yesterday and still has more to go in preparing to plant the soybeans. It will take him another three days or so of sitting on the tractor at least eight hours/day. He told me last night when he got in that Frick and Frack came running to the sound of the tractor and literally kicked up their heels at the sight of it. Maybe their previous owner fed their mothers and the rest of the herd that way. The rest of the cows thought it too hot to move from the shade of the feed shed. Yep, rainy sweater weather one day and sunny 90s the next…typical.

While Mike was on the tractor, I did a little grocery shopping (we don’t grow coffee) and mowed. I came across a snake in the higher grass and shrieked! As an automatic reflex I pulled my legs up before realizing 1) the snake was only about a foot long and smaller around that my pinkie finger, and 2) duh, I was sitting on a mower…what’s the snake going to do, jump up and get me?!  I laughed at myself as he slithered into the shelter of the canopy of trees, reminding myself that critters like him are why we mow. Kentucky is home to timber rattlers and cotton mouths, but rarely are they seen on this farm. I want to keep it that way. They have acres and acres of woodlands and creeks to inhabit, they don’t need “my” yard!

It was fun driving by the big palladium windows of the house and watching Fritz and Eddie watching me. With each round, their ears perked and I swear they gave me big goofy grins, as though they wished I would take them for a r-i-d-e. We spell that word around here, because they LOVE it and just the mention gets them so excited they can hardly contain themselves. They like to r-i-d-e in Mike’s t-r-u-c-k especially…they don’t care where or for how long. It could just be from the house to the greenhouse and they’re content for the rest of the day. I’m kind of like that myself…I blame my parents, who used to take us for a Sunday drive almost every weekend of my life back when gas was 25 cents a gallon. I guess today, in a manner of speaking,  I’m getting my r-i-d-e on that mower going around and around and around.

Part of the mowing is in the asparagus patch. We set out several hundred plants a few years ago in rows with enough space to mow between. This keeps us from having to keep the patch weeded, now that its established. Chopping out rows the length of a football field was not much fun in the summer heat.  But here it is nearly June 1 and its time to let the asparagus reach maturity so we can have another bumper crop next year. All the bending and picking can be saved for the other veggies and fruits.

We have a fine little crop of strawberries to pick today and I might surprise Mike and make some frozen yogurt from them. Not much of a surprise, if he reads this blog, mind you, but it just seems fitting. Should not take too long to pick since there is only a hundred plants. I may also hike out to the garden and get some shots of the tomato plants we put out to use on the blog. There are so many varieties I can’t remember them all, but there are slicers, juicers, saucers, heirlooms, pink ones, orange ones, black ones, even yellow fuzzy peach tomatoes. (Those are my favorite for making juice, it never fails to surprise someone when presented with a lemon yellow tomato juice.)

With so many row-planted, I’m sure the home gardeners are wondering how we “cage” them. We don’t. We drive stakes into the ground every few feet  along the length of the row, then weave bailing twine in and out of the young plants and the stakes in a method called the Florida Weave. As the plants grow taller, the weave is extended higher. The method allows for easier picking, since the plants are not sprawled across the ground and keeps the fruit off the moist soil where insects and rot would ruin them, and tobacco sticks are cheap upright supports around here. You can find several good sites online with pictures and drawings on how to do the weave. Just google it, or here is a site I found that is loaded with information on growing tomatoes: http://www.hightunnels.org/ForGrowers/WarmSeasonVegetables/warmseasonvegtomprod.htm

hightunnels.org graphic for staking tomatoes

Well, it is six a.m….time for another cup of coffee before taking care of business. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
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