Weaving, Grinning and Calf Babies

First row of florida weave on tomatoes

Woke up to thunderstorms this morning– a mixed blessing. The storms terrify the dogs, which means little sleep for us after the first sound of thunder, but the plants definitely need the water. The last rain we had caused the tomatoes to “jump” in height and they nearly doubled their size and set fruit. Some of the green orbs are now the size of an orange.

Mike worked yesterday installing the first row of florida weave on the plants. With three hundred set-out, it is a time consuming endeavor. Thankfully, the temperatures were in the high 80s, rather than the 90s of last week. Still, it’s hot work in Kentucky’s high humidity and the sun-baked clay soil seems to reflect the heat back on you in the rows.

A neighbor also grows tomatoes using the florida weave, but his plants are set in raised beds under black plastic with drip irrigation. That’s not possible for us. It would be difficult and expensive to pump water from the creek and up the cliff to the spot, so we rely on Mother Nature. It also means that over time, we will have to deal with chopping out weeds between the plants where the cultivator can’t reach. As summer draws on, and we harvest them daily, we won’t even bother with that.

The green beans we put out this year are a bush variety, so no weaving is necessary, but the method worked well for the runners we put out in the kitchen garden in the past. Since it is so inexpensive and easy (in a manner of speaking), I’m thinking it would work for cucumbers, light weight gourds, or any climbing or trailing plant that is not too heavy.

We haven’t been over to see the cattle yet this morning, due to the storm, but it will be interesting to see how the new babies fared in their first storm at their new home. I wonder if Number 20 is still waiting for that truck to come back and take him home, like he has done for the past couple of days. He is about to get a new name. As we drove up the past two days, he lounged comfortably in some tall grass, and I swear, he was grinning when he saw us. I have to admit, I’ve never seen a cow smile. Nor has Mike. When Number 20 is content, though, sure enough, he smiles!

Number 11 is our cry baby. He bawls at everything and if Mike mimics him, carries on a whole conversation in Moo. Actually, he sounds more like a Frenchman pausing between sentences, “Euhhhhh.” Maybe Eleven is bi-lingual! Hey, I told you our cows are smart!

Number 6 is our little Guernsey lady. I call her Sexy Six, for no other reason than she’s a female. She is at this point nothing more than skin and bones. She likes to hang close to Spot, probably because he is now the largest of the babies. He seems to like it too. In fact, he seems to like having room mates other than Sam, who though penned in a different area of the stall always stayed close to Spot except when the older calves went to pasture. Now Spot has his Sexy Six to hang out with and dominate. Of course, this also means that Sexy gets second place at the trough and I suspect she won’t be skin and bones for long.

Well, that about wraps up my rambling for the day. Hope yours is a good one!

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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