Welcome to my Farm Journal.     

I know that I am the most fortunate person alive. Not only do I have a truly wonderful family, but I am blessed to live where our old family home, every old barn and building, every inch of the very land is as much a part of me as my skin, and as vital to me, as the air I breathe.  I get to see and do so many things that many people never experience, and this is my humble attempt to share. I only wish I had thought to do this many years ago.

 

March 31, 2010 Been awhile since I took time to update my journal. Maybe I can be industrious enough to keep it up, this time.  Everything is getting green after a long cold, wet winter. Sugarsnaps are coming up in the garden, the second wave of daffodils are blooming, not much sign of azaleas blooming, yet, but the camillias are beautiful.  Been busy planting azaleas and daffodils in the woods trail. Not much going on in the barn, Susie is dry, and only one doe, Vegas, has kidded, a beautiful black & tan doe kid. One nigerian has kidded, a cutie, a blue eyed, black & white doe. 8 chicken eggs and 1 duck egg, today.

May 19, 2007 Today was a good day, even though  I got a late start. I had to pick Becky up at 1:00 a.m., and I am getting too old for such late hours :o) When I went to the barn, I was greeted by a bunch of growling kittens. Buster kitten had a field rat, almost as large as he is, and was trying to defend his catch from the other kittens. He is going to be a good mouser, like his mother.

 Papa and I inspected his cuttings that he is rooting, rode out to look at the cabbage in the field, enjoyed a short visit with Aunt Faye and Uncle Russell, then started setting out sweet potato plants. A beautiful day to creep along on a tractor, listening to the steady click of the planter. T.R. is across the field putting out fertilizer. Headed down the row, I can see the cows, they have a visitor today. A large white cowbird is in the field, and the cows did not like it. They kept chasing it, looking for all the world, like children chasing a butterfly, but it is pretty persistent, and they finally leave it alone.

 Headed up the row, I watch the goats in the pasture. The youngest little buck is so full of himself. He runs up behind the grown goats and tries to leap on their back, until they butt him away, He seems determined to aggravate the very breath out of  them. The rest of the baby goats play "King of the Mountain" on an old wire spindle. Baby goats are just born happy, and are a joy to watch play.

 After dinner, Becky took over driving for Papa, and I worked in my flower garden, putting out mulch and doing some much needed trimming and weeding. I noticed a pair of jays are pretty busy in one of the crepe myrtles. On closer inspection, I see they are building a nest, and I watch their progress through the afternoon.

 

May 20, 2007 Another beautiful day. The late spring is finally arrived. Thank goodness, when I went to the barn this morning, I had no surprises from the kittens. I am getting a little leery opening the feed room door, as their gifts can be a little unnerving. So far, in addition to yesterdays field rat, they have drug in a squirrel, 5 mice, 2 baby opossums, and a snake. Yep, they're going to be good hunters.

We turned the goats and Suzy in the same pasture as the horses for the day. The horses think it is great fun to herd them all around the pasture. I was worried to start with, but we could tell it was in fun, not malice.  To see a Jersey dairy cow run, is pretty funny, as they are not graceful at all. I think the horses might think so, too.

There was beautiful black bird with white markings that sat on the fence by the water trough in the goat pasture. I have never seen one before. I will try to identify it in T.R.'s bird book. The blue birds are all back at their boxes. I like to catch them sitting near the boxes, so I can peek in and see the beautiful tiny blue eggs.

May 21, 2007  Back to work, not much farming today. After work, carried fundraiser tickets to Richlands for the drawing, (Our farrier's daughter has cancer) and bought 1000 lbs. of cow feed and 250 lbs of goat feed.

One of the little goats got into the garden, and pretty much ate all the cabbage plants, and one of the pepper plants. She also nipped the tops out of some of sweet corn just coming up, but I think the corn will recover.  T.R. put up another strand of wire to keep them out. A quiet, uneventful milking, 2 1/2 gallons of milk, and 6 eggs.

Found that the black bird I saw was a King bird. I hope it stays around.

May 23, 2007  Joy! Got home from work to discover the goats been exploring their new pasture, and found a way out. Looks like they spent most of the day devouring the garden, and part of the sweet potato field, and corn fields. T.R. is pretty disgusted right now, and I am trying hard not to be.

The little "yeller" kitten, haven't found a name for him yet, is learning how to drink milk while I am milking Susannah. He is so funny, because milk is dripping down his little face but he keeps trying. When I stop sending milk his way, he sits there and patiently "washes" his face by licking his paw and rubbing it over his face. I love to watch kittens do that.

May 24, 2007  Papa and Mama went to Greenville and bought his new dump trailer today. He is so excited. While there, he picked up fence posts and fence for me to fence in the back of the field by the creek. We are going to put the goats, a.k.a. the Clean Up Crew, to clean up the brush and vines so we can dig a pond. The rest of the area will be pasture for the cows.

The sweet potatoes need rain, bad. They look pretty sad, right now. 

A little over 2 gallons of milk tonight and 7 eggs. The kitten is getting better at drinking milk as I squirt it at him. He's a fast learner! Buster kitten tried it to, from watching the other kitten. This is too much fun, but I know that I am creating a problem, because Susie is patient with the kittens, I know she won't be with 2 grown cats sitting under her feet waiting for milk.

May 25, 2007  When I got off work, went to Richlands to pick up nitrogen for the corn. Bought 1200 lbs. While I was there, I couldn't resist stopping by "The Flower Patch" to see if they had anything new. The folks that own it are so nice, and I always run into somebody I know. Got some more dahlias and some more dianthus to fill in some empty areas around the bird bath. Also found a beautiful foliage plant that I am not familiar with. I like to mix different colors and shapes of leaves, because it makes the garden much more interesting.

 I also picked up some steaks and the rest of the fixings for a steak supper. It is Mama and Papa's 49th wedding anniversary. I am glad I did this. We sat and talked for hours, and we wouldn't have done this if we had gone out to eat. Papa was in one of his reminiscing moods, and we laughed the whole night. A wonderful day.

May 26, 2007  T.R. put out nitrogen to the corn and I finished the fencing. I would have been finished a lot earlier, but I was distracted by the privet hedge growing along the creek. It is so ugly and smells so bad, I started cutting and dragging out the ones that I could cut with the clippers that I had with me. I cut several clear paths to the edge of the creek. We moved the goats to their new home away from home. It will take them a few days to adjust to not coming to the barn at night.

I have not seen the Kingbird again, but there are the most cardinals this year, I have ever seen. The crows, which are usually a big problem when the crops start coming up, have not been a problem at all this year. That is good for our corn and peanuts, but very sad. West Nile virus has taken a very bad toll on the crow population.

May 27, 2007  The corn is laid by, sweet potatoes planted, and cotton is coming up, all we need is rain! Papa's Irish potatoes are blooming and it won't be too long before it is time to dig them.

Today I started training Pansy to stand on the milking stand and be milked. She did fairly well, until her feed ran out, and her patience ended there! It is a good thing I was almost through milking, but she did not do bad at all, for her first time. The kittens all gathered around the base of the milking stand to watch and wait for their share of milk. About 2 1/2 gallons of cows milk, 1/2 gallon of goats milk and 4 eggs this afternoon.

Irish Potatoes in bloom
May 29, 2007   This afternoon I thinned out the bushel gourds, as had come up way too thick. I hate to waste plants, so I tried transplanting them. We'll have to wait and see if the transplants survive. The plants are pretty large to transplant, but I'll see. There is going to be a bumper crop of gourds, weather permitting. I planted the bushel gourds, and dipper gourds to use for demonstrations during the field trips. I hope there are some really large ones.

A little over 2 gallons of milk, and 1/2 gallon of goats milk, 5 eggs. One of the hens has been setting for a couple of weeks, so we will hopefully have bitties in about another week.

Hen "setting" on eggs to hatch
May 30, 2007   After work, T.R. is still working on the house, and I started weeding the garden.

1/2 gallon of goats milk, and 2 1/2 gallons of cows milk. 6 eggs. Pansy is still a little impatient being milked, but she'll settle down into the routine soon.

I was coming to the house after feeding up and milking, and got to sit on the steps and watch the full moon brighten my favorite time of day. This time of year it is too light to see the moon come up, it surprises you just at twilight. While I sat and enjoyed the cool breeze, a mocking bird was busy showing off all of his songs, in the dogwood tree at the end of the kitchen.

The last full moon in May

My new camera has an awesome zoom!
May 31, 2007   Becky and I finished weeding the garden. I watered my clematis in the flower  garden. They are new plants and a little sparse, but are trying to put on a show

June 1, 2007   Coming up the road after work, I see Smudge, the mama cat carrying something across the field. She has caught a rabbit for her kittens to play with. Later on, I see her across the field, headed into the woods. I wonder what she will bring back to the barn this time.

I saw a pair of  blue birds sitting on one of the bird boxes this afternoon. This is the first sign I have seen of them nesting in the bluebird boxes this year. Usually all of the boxes are full. Maybe it is because of the late spring.

Pansy is milking just fine. She is still a little hesitant to jump up on the milking stand, but once up there, she stands for milking just fine. Almost 2 1/2 gallons cows milk, a little over 1/2 gallon goats milk and 5 eggs. Another hen is setting!

June 2, 2007   T.R. is at his mamas, working on her house, and Becky is at the beach with friends, so Papa and I are left to our own devises. Sometimes not a good thing J Papa is the king of recycling, and his old corn crib is falling down, so we use the side shelter from the corn crib to build a lean-to shelter for the goats in the temporary pasture. Goats hate to get wet, and there was no place for them to get out of the rain. This has not been a problem, as we have not had rain in weeks, but with tropical storm Barry on his way, they really need a shelter. The shelter turned out nicely, and didn't cost a penny, except a little time and work.

We planted 2 rows of popcorn in the far field beside the last rows of sweet potatoes, and we planted 2 rows of sugarcane in the field beside the Irish potatoes. I am so excited about the sugarcane. I remember every one talking about when Papa Roy used to plant sugarcane and make syrup. I have tried to find seeds or slips to plant for 5 or 6 years now, and a few weeks ago Papa met a gentleman that still plants cane and makes syrup. He generously sent the seeds with planting instructions.

Rain set in about 4:00. I am so thankful. you can almost see the corn in the field perking up in front of your eyes!

June 3, 2007   Coming from the barn this morning I see 2 mockingbirds in a pure commotion in one of the azalea bushes. Directly they fly off, just chattering. The bush is still shaking, and I watch to see what is  there. I figure a chicken snake is after their nest, but imagine my surprise to see 2 ears appear through the branches! Then a whole head pops up and looks around. I laughed so hard. Jigsaw, the tabby cat is in the azalea bush.
June 4, 2007   Papa and I built a new outhouse! I am so thrilled. The old outhouse that was here was damaged by the hurricanes in 1996, and I have wanted to replace it, but never got the chance until now. The original one at Aunt Betties house is still standing, and we measured that one as a pattern. It looks great, all we have to do now is build a cement base for it to sit on, and put the roof on. It looks very much like the original, and really will when the wood gets weathered.

The garden looks good, except 2 tomato vines look as if they are getting that virus. The pepper plants that got nibbled on buy the goats are starting to come back out. Maybe they will make it, afterall.

Every one is milking good, and the hens are still setting.

June 11, 2007   The herbicide did not work well in the cotton, so we started chopping weeds this afternoon. We got 7 rows done before we had to stop and feed up and milk, and get supper cooked. It was not so bad, I'm just thankful we don't have acres to chop.
June 12, 2007   Andi and Dylan are here for a day or two, so Papa took advantage of the extra help, and dug a few rows of potatoes. All children should get to dig potatoes, just ask Becky! The potatoes are pretty, just not a very big crop, there just has not been enough rain. There will be plenty for us, and plenty for Papa to share with friends, neighbors and family. This time of year he keeps everyone supplied with cabbage and new potatoes. Soon he will add squash and corn to his rounds.
June 15, 2007   Hallelujah! I am out of work for the summer! This is wonderful!!!! Had 30 4-H'ers for a field trip, that went well. We milked a goat, made butter, dug potatoes, made quilt squares, and made whirligigs. Boy, this would be heavenly to be able to do field trips all of the time, and not have to work public work. The work is a lot harder, a lot longer days, and the pay checks are kind of sad,  but it is sure is easier to get up in the morning!
June 16, 2007   I finished chopping the cotton patch today, TR planted the peanuts, and cultivated the back field of cotton. This afternoon, I started trimming the azaleas. I have a war with the honeysuckle vines and briars that grow in the azaleas every year. It is a challenge to get the shrubs trimmed, and see how many briar roots I can dig up.
June 18, 2007   We had our first corn of the season. Ambrosia, the best corn ever grown. This time of year we have fresh corn and garden vegetables nearly every meal. The only thing missing, right now is tomatoes. I don't think they will ever get ripe, this year. It is hard not to pick some green ones and have fried green tomatoes. It is hard to beat fresh cabbage, fresh corn, new potatoes, cucumbers and squash for supper.
June 19, 2007   Today I put up a picket fence from the corner of the goat pasture, across the chicken yard, to make a neat square around the old brick well, where farm visitors see the chicken house and dairy goats. It was quite a job, by myself. Becky helped me get the line level set, then left with Mama to go to town. Getting the first section level and positioned the way I wanted it took the longest. After the first one was down, it got a little easier, except digging the post holes. Pecan tree roots everywhere, so I had to get an axe to cut some of the roots, so I could dig the holes to set the posts. It was 94 degrees today, and it felt like 194. There was very little breeze. Summer is finally here! The fence looks great, and it is amazing how different the area looks. I am so tickled with the way it turned out.

A reporter came to interview Papa about the Christmas tree farm, and she took a little tour of our farm, too. She was a very nice lady, we enjoyed talking to her, and showing her around. Papa sent her off with a "mess" of fresh corn and new potatoes.

June 20, 2007   Rain this afternoon! Boy, do we still need rain, but thankful for what we do get. TR got the calves loaded to carry to the market, on Thurday. He is going to sell all of the beef cows, and start a herd of Red Polls. This trip he will carry the 4 oldest calves.

Susannah visited Earl to be bred, this afternoon. She should find in March, this coming year. Boy, are we off schedule this year. This will be her last visit with Earl. She will make a commotion when she sees old Earl loaded in the trailer. I dread that.

June 22, 2007   Papa, Becky and I walked over the sweet potatoes, to pull any weeds that have come up. The vines are running now, and you can't cultivate them with the tractor, now. It was not too bad, except one field. The back field was not bad, and the one closest to the Christmas trees was really clean. I am glad we saved that one for last, and got the worst one first.
June 25, 2007   Put up corn today. The weather was not too hot, and so it was not a bad job at all. There are 42 quarts of corn in the freezer for us to enjoy over the next year. That is about half what we usually put in the freezer, but we didn't use as much last year, and I gave a lot of last years away, so I am resisting temptation to put up more.

I started drying off Susannah today. I am so sad to stop milking this early, but I have not got time to make cheese, or use up all of the milk, So it is for the best. She can have a nice long rest this year, and I can move her around to pastures that have better grass than the one she is in. My favorite time of day is the time I spend in the barn with her, and it will be nine months before she freshens again. I will miss that time with her, terribly.

June 28, 2007   Papa, Ivy, Becky and I went to Mr. Thompson's to get a load of hay. It was not too terribly hot, and there was a good breeze, so it was not as bad as it has been at times in that hay field.

The garden is looking great, and boy, are there some gourd vines. They are blooming, and if each bloom makes a gourd, there will be a barn full of gourds. I have no idea what I will do with them all, but it sure is fun to watch them get larger and larger. The sunflowers are extra impressive, also

Trying to get ahead of everything in the garden, and all of the animals extra water. We are going to spend the weekend in Sneads Ferry. It is Becky's 16th birthday and we're trying to take a day or two off. Of course I will come home every day to milk and check everyones feed and water. I don't mind, because I would stress out if I didn't :o)

July 1, 2007   Happy Sweet Sixteen, Becky! We Love YOU!
July 6, 2007   Got our 1st tomato from the garden! There is just nothing like a garden grown tomato. I wait all year for that first tomato. The sweet corn T.R. planted in the garden for our 4-H field trips started coming off today. It is pretty good, but just not Ambrosia, our favorite corn. The cucumbers, squash and peppers and okra are out-doing themselves, this year.

T.R. sprayed the peanuts, and fertilized the sweet potatoes. I moved 3 trailer loads of mulch, enough to cover the daffodil beds. I need to move about 8 or 10 more loads, but I may have to wait until they bring another couple of dump truck loads so I will have enough. I am trying to get a good layer under all of the azaleas in the flower garden, and in all of the perennial beds. This is a never-ending task, as our hot, humid climate causes the mulch to breakdown pretty quickly. And sometimes tending to my flower garden is a lot more fun than working in the field.

July 12, 2007   Field trips most of the week, and they have all gone well. Today, while I was talking to the children during the field trip, I heard a hawk scream near by. I looked around just in time to see the hawk swoop down into the chicken yard after a bittie.  The kids all saw it, too. Thank goodness, he didn't catch one of my bitties, but it was exciting for the kids to see, as most of them have never seen a chicken hawk, let alone see one hunting. He lit in a pine tree in plain view and watched the chicken yard for about 5 minutes. Becky went into the chicken yard, and he got discouraged and flew off. The children thought it was really great, and took turns "watching out" in case the hawk returned. What a great impromptu opportunity!

T.R. took off a load of cows to the market. The cow pastures are looking a little empty.

July 13, 2007   Papa's Salvage crew! Becky and I went with Papa and Mr. R.V. to Jakes "after a load of lumber" is what Papa told Becky and I. HA HA- Jake was tearing down an ENTIRE house! and we are salvaging the lumber. Oh my goodness. Was it a hot day, to boot. We hauled 6 truck loads, and 6 20 ft trailer loads. We got started about 8:30, and it was almost 8:30 p.m. when we got the last unloaded that we are going to unload. Boy, will we all sleep good tonight. A good day's hard work, and a lot of beautiful lumber. I know there is at least enough to build one nice barn, and possibly two. Papa and R.V. will go after the last load tomorrow.
July 15, 2007   Second Sunday!  We met Lucille and Peggy at Hollands to eat, then we all went back to Lucilles to visit. T.R., Peggy and Terry singing all afternoon. I enjoy these Sundays so much.
July 19, 2007  Old Earl, the bull and Kate out oldest cow are off to the market. We will never have such a good natured bull, again. We all hate to see him go, but like T.R. says, raising cattle is a business. Still, I would not have been surprised at all, to see Earl still in the trailer, when T.R and Becky get home. I think T.R. hates to sell him almost as much as I do.  
 
 
 
 
 

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