MaryE's blog

2022 #127 Cleaning the garlic (finally)
Posted on Sep 8, 2022 6:35 PM

I put it off. I knew it would be disappointing. And it is.

I have about 14 pounds of decent sized garlic boxed and ready to sell, and have my seed stock saved and labeled. Tonight I will contact my primary buyer to let her know what I have. Tomorrow I need to contact somebody at the co-op to see if I can sell the smaller bulbs there. They have done a lot of reorganizing and bringing in new people so I really don't know anybody there anymore. That feels strange because I was very involved there for about 10 years. In addition to those two places to sell garlic, I have a couple of private customers that need to be contacted.

Our weather has finally become a few degrees cooler. Today reached about 80 and was actually quite comfortable. I set up a place to sort and clean garlic in the woodshed out of the wind on the sheltered side of the shop. Yesterday I tried working in the usual spot on the other end where there is a nice table, but after about half an hour the wind came up and I was getting debris in my nose and eyes. Today I accomplished more and at least have a box ready to sell and more of it sorted.

Earlier this week I went to the county extension office to inquire about getting a soil test. I came home with a list of testing labs and not much else. Maybe a simple soil test from the farm store would tell me if I have a terrible imbalance, or if not then I might have a herbicide problem as I had originally suspected before it dawned on me that I might have added too much compost. Having never done the soil test thing I only know that those basic easily obtained kits will test for N, P and K. Maybe more? I don't know.

Rumor has it that we might actually get some moisture next week!

[ Permalink | no comments ]

2022 #126 Rabbit brush and smoke
Posted on Sep 2, 2022 12:50 PM

The rabbit brush in the sage-brushy rangeland and along our roads is starting to bloom. Rabbit brush blooming is a sure sign of the changing of seasons even if our temperatures are still setting records. Bloom time might be triggered by the days becoming shorter. It's nice to see some dots of gold amongst the pale bluish green of the sagebrush and the gold-brown grass. I should try to identify it and learn if it is related to the sagebrush which I suspect because it stays green no matter how dry the ground is. Sagebrush roots go down 20 feet or more so I think this probably does as well.

A few days ago our official weather station's heat record for the date was broken by 6 degrees. Of 9 reporting stations in our general area of eastern Oregon and western Idaho 7 broke heat records for August 31. We had a wee bit of relief for a day and now are at the start of another heat wave.

Now it is fire season. There are several north and east of us, one big one in southwest Oregon was big enough to be covered on national news! and the smoky smell in the air will be with us for a while no matter which way the wind brings it or takes it. There seems to be an endless supply. Yesterday our interstate was closed due to fires so a lot of people were stranded. This area doesn't have alternate routes for big trucks or a lot of traffic because of so many mountains. Our views of the mountains have been very limited to non existent in the past few days.

This morning while the air was relatively cool I turned the compost pile again and added about half of our stunted, half dry cornstalks, plus the usual melon rinds, corn cobs and etc from the kitchen waste bucket. Compost pile turning is about a once a week event to keep the pile actively working. Water is added as I go and I give it a shower every couple of days.

The fuel company sent their truck to pump out our tank and replace the gas with what was originally in it. Go back to blog 125 if you missed the goofy mix up story.

[ Permalink | 6 comments ]

2022 #125 Gas mix-up
Posted on Aug 26, 2022 5:56 PM

Farms and ranches use a lot of fuel for tractors and other equipment. We have two fuel tanks on our place and contract with a local fuel distributer to refill them as needed. It's more convenient than filling jugs in town and more economical as well. So we had about half of a 200-250 gallon tank full when a new fuel company driver made the mistake and filled our non-ethanol premium tank with regular gas with 10% ethanol. The company will come next week, pump out the tank and refill it with the right product. No charge! The misplaced delivery belonged about a mile down our road, the driver was new, not familiar with the area and did not read the address sign at the end of our driveway. It's one of those prominently located signs to aid emergency responders and is on the driver's side of the driveway. This company is not even the one we buy from! Apparently the neighbor called to ask why his fuel had not been delivered.

If you have gas powered, small engine equipment such as lawn mowers, chain saws, or rototillers, you have most likely had problems with poorly running or non running engines. The ethanol is bad for them. Since ethanol gas came along we have spent a lot of money having small engines repaired. And now we don't buy gas with ethanol, not even for our car and 40+ year old pickup that do not run well on the regular gas anyhow. The pickup did fine until ethanol was added to regular gas. The car is hard to start, produces blackish exhaust and gets bad mileage on it. I think the only people benefiting from ethanol are the farmers who grow the corn that goes into it. Come on, government, corn is food!

I finally did get that patch of green grass mowed a few days ago. I turned part of the compost pile, mowed a couple of strips going up the hill with the empty mower bag and back down to the pile, so I had about half a bag of fresh clippings every time. Pushing the mower is work enough with the bag empty. The whole pile now has alternate layers of old material and fresh clippings along with more coffee grounds and corn cobs, etc, and was watered as I went along. The soil thermometer was pushed down with the probe about a foot into it, and within 24 hours the needle was over way past the numbers. I'm guessing at least 125 degrees.

A few days ago I dug up one hill of potatoes. I scrubbed them and cooked them in a steamer basket. They were beyond good!

This morning I disposed of packrat #4 that was lured into the trap by some fresh grapes. I also removed a bull snake (aggressive but not venomous) from our basement stairwell. I got him with a grabber tool that is often used to reach things when somebody is disabled. I got it when having my first hip replacement. The snake wound himself around the tool and was transported to a now dry irrigation ditch near the road, about 300 ft from the house. Hopefully that is far enough so he won't find his way back. Packrat and snake were not found together, just in case you wondered Smiling just happened to be on the same morning.

[ Permalink | no comments ]

2022 #124 Packrats!
Posted on Aug 17, 2022 6:49 PM

A week or more ago I saw a packrat in a shed and saw evidence (droppings) in the feed room of the hay shed. I set the live catch trap and kept checking it daily. No catch. The dry combination of corn, oats and barley that I give my horse as a treat didn't entice any packrats but mice have found it tasty and aren't large enough to spring the trap. Even if they had, they could squeeze through the wires of the cage. I've been thinking for a while that one of the smaller traps might be good to have so we bought one at the farm store on senior discount day. It's a shiny thing and packrats like shiny things. It also takes up less space than the big trap. And so I set it, baited it with pieces of apple and hoped to catch a packrat.

So far I have trapped two. The first was a male, the second a female so I know I have eliminated one potential litter. One of the advantages of the smaller trap is that it is much easier to submerge in water to kill the packrat. Some people would feel sorry for the critter but I do not and have no desire to relocate packrats. Their end is quick and there is no mess. Now the trap is reset and I hope to catch all that we have wandering around here.

This morning I re-piled the compost pile and added kitchen scraps and some paper to it. I completely forgot to mow that patch of green grass and add that to the various layers. That's a job for another day as this day was already getting hot when I finished re-piling it and I wasn't about to do it again.

The grasshoppers have eaten all the leaves off the potato plants so I might as well dig them up to see what developed underground while I still have stubs of stems to mark the rows. So far the grasshoppers have not eaten the corn plants. That and the grape leaves are the last green plants in the garden. The rhubarb is only a few bare stems. When my horse walks through his pasture there is a cloud of grasshoppers several feet ahead of him. Information about them says their life cycle is about a year. The females lay eggs in the soil that overwinter and hatch in the spring. We need a cold winter to kill a lot of them off before they hatch. This year we had a mild winter followed by a cooler than normal and wetter than normal spring which allowed them to get a good start before the weather became hot and dry. This infestation is the worst we have seen.

Speaking of hot, this afternoon our porch thermometer registered 112. Thank God for the newly installed air conditioner! The house is comfortable in the heat of summer after 29 years of living here! In the meantime, some things did help us to have a somewhat cooler house, one being that all of the old, single pane windows were replaced about 20 years ago with double pane, gas filled, and slightly tinted modern windows, and the other being that we installed an exhaust fan in the attic to work with our prevailing wind to pull cooler air from the north end of the house and push it out a vent on the south end. Most days if we have any wind it moves from north to south so some days the fan has help. Occasionally the wind comes from the other direction and doesn't help at all.

The sticky traps I bought are catching a lot of wasps! They are enclosed by a lattice type plastic cage that keeps birds out, aren't ugly and would look just fine on someone's nice patio. We have three of them collecting wasps now and have 2 more in reserve if these fill up or become not so sticky to be effective. One trap is 3 weeks old, still effective as when it was hung up. I know these are catching a lot of wasps from nests I cannot see or cannot reach with spray.

[ Permalink | no comments ]

2022 #123 Big storm missed us!
Posted on Aug 13, 2022 6:20 AM

Two days ago areas just north and east of us had golf ball sized hail, strong wind and lightning all at the same time. Pictures showed smashed windshields, wind damage, broken windows in buildings, etc. All the typical damage you'd see with a tornado. Those are rare in our area but they do happen. Thank God all we got was our normal type of wind and between 2 and 3 tenths of an inch of rain in about 10 minutes. The air smells different in the summer when we get rain after a long dry spell. I stood on the back sidewalk and inhaled deeply several times, just enjoying the damp, fresh smelling air.

Yesterday I got busy with a manure fork to stir up the big pile of grass and weeds and get it combined into what actually looks more like a compost pile. Much of what had been green, yellow and brown is now gray and black. That state of decomposition hasn't discouraged the mice. I saw one confused little guy run out to find a safer hiding place. Mice have eaten a lot of the weed seeds. While I worked I heard thunder. It was getting closer so I came to the house. We got a few big raindrops before the storm passed us. Very unimpressive!

Grasshoppers are hopping everywhere we walk or drive and are munching on everything green. They and the box elder bugs have destroyed most of my garden. The only plants that still look pretty good are the potatoes, onions and corn. Even bugs seem to have their preferences! I need to start pulling up what is left of the vegies to add to the compost pile. We don't have the usual numbers of starlings eating grasshoppers this year. Everything goes in cycles.

[ Permalink | no comments ]

» View MaryE's profile

Member Login:

( No account? Join now! )

Today's site banner is by RootedInDirt and is called "Tulips"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.