Monday, June 29, 2015

Oh You Gorgeous Moon

Last night.  Handheld.  Love it

Mighty 'Maters and Other Stuff

It's always a feast this time of year.  Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for breakfast while watering makes for a fine breakfast.  I swore I'd pick and freeze the blueberries this year so I could make blueberry jam and jelly, but as usual, didn't happen.  The strawberries were scheduled for homemade shortcake.  Yeah, like I thought that was ever gonna be the case.

 The hollyhocks are hitting their stride
 Lovely, ethereal gaura
And, the 'maters and peppers.  I started a bunch of tomatoes back in February.  They sat in their six packs, sad and scrawny, until I just said to heck with it, and a few weeks ago I just poked them in the dirt.  They were literally the size of small pieces of straw and I fully expected every one of them to die.
I guess I will be canning tomatoes like a madwoman in a few months.....

Late June Flowers

Late June, and we're trying to survive the brutal (for us) heatwave that's been upon us for over a week now.  A peak of 97 degrees at the ranch on Friday is ridiculous for June, or, for that matter, ANY time up here.  But, the good news is that the tomatoes and melons are absolutely loving it, the peppers look the happiest ever in 8 years of growing them, and the bee girls have never been busier this time of year
 Phlox 'Laura'.  Amazing scent and the picture does not do the electric purple colour justice
 I adore odd petunias!

 Sweetpea 'Erewhon' I think.  So fragrant you can smell it from the back door, probably 200 yards away around a corner
 I did mention I love odd petunias, didn't I?

 Pansies don't seem to know their season is over

Post Surgery Roar

Things are going well with Roar up at OSU.  He had his first bandage change yesterday, and Jorge said that everything looked great, no sign of infection, and it's healing nicely.
Poor guy doesn't get much of a chance to be bored.  EVERYONE has to come by and give him a head rub and feed him apples.  Dr. Steele was there when Carla and I got there today and said there was even an apple marked 'For Roar' in the office.  A young vet student stopped by to see how he was doing and commented that her husband couldn't believe that he was such a nice bull.  Carla knows better, however, and set the young lady's mind at ease by assuring her that yes indeed, Roar was the nicest bull she'd probably ever meet.
We are looking at the next bandage change on Wednesday, with him coming back home probably Thursday if all looks good.
Them hussy's still don't miss him

'Good apple.  Want another.  NOW.'

Monster Melons

June 15th
 June 28th
 Not only did the iffy 'Li'l Sweet' cantaloupe NOT die, but the piece that broke off went ahead and rooted as well.  Here, the 'Sapomiel' happily twines itself thru the pea fence, and up the pea fence, and soon it will be OVER the pea fence and I will have to arm myself with a machete just to get by it

 You can't see them all, but there are 7 'Li'l Sweet' 'lopes in that small patch of picture
And no wonder the melons and pumpkins are deliriously happy.  Unlike us

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Roar Goes Under the Knife at OSU

Several months ago, Roar started showing a bit of favouring of his right rear foot.  I kept an eye on things, and when I saw something that didn't look right, I sent some pix to Jorge at OSU.  He said it was basically the bovine version of a corn between his claws (toes), and we would see how it progressed.  Progress it did, to the point where he was really starting to not want to put much of his 2000 pounds on it.  It was decided that surgery was in order, just as soon as breeding season was finished.
A few weeks ago, we made the first attempt at surgical removal.  The one and only thing that could cause the operation to be aborted was if his massive bulk wouldn't fit in the massive hydraulic squeeze chute at OSU.  And, it didn't.  Jorge tried a few work arounds, but in the end, for the safety of all of the surgical team and Roar, the operation was temporarily put on hold, and back home he came.
Wednesday, we took him back up for his surgery on Thursday morning.  This time, Jorge enlisted the OSU veterinary anesthesia team to put him completely under and monitor him during the procedure.  It was a massive team effort, with students fighting for the chance to be on the surgical team.  It was a perfect blend of teamwork and professionalism that pulled off a very difficult surgery on a massive bovine.  Jorge got as much of the growth out as he could, and in a show of how complex this whole thing was, utilized a drill, wire cutters, screws, screwdrivers and stout wire to protect the surgical site by wiring his claws together in an effort that would have been applauded on 'This Old House'.  The entire procedure was videotaped and I took as many pix as I could without being a pest or in the way, which wasn't many.  One of the techs kindly snapped a shot that I couldn't get for me.
I went to work while he was waking up, took care of a few things then headed back over.  By then, he was up on his feet and looking quite hung over, like he'd been to the mother of all frat parties the past few days and awoke on a different coast.  An hour later, we led him to his stall for the next week, in air conditioned comfort, with young lady vet students all fighting for the chance to be his nurse, even for an hour or two.
One great thing is that the old man got to show a lot of aspiring vet students how easy and docile some breeds of cattle can be.  They all gushed about how wonderful he was, easy going and not nasty at all, even when the vet laid his neck open with a scalpel to put the catheter in.  The word 'cute' kept making the rounds, as well as 'sweet', 'adorable', 'HUGE' and did I mention 'cute'?
We look forward to bring 'Big Daddy' as Kirsten called him, home to his girls again.  Altho, shameless hussies, not a one of them has noticed he's gone
 That's a mound o' meat there.  Jorge in the brown overall, Dr. Steele in the beige
 Sleeping giant
 I believe that may be part of the mass in the hands of the tech with the flashlight, but hard to tell
 He will be so mad I put this picture up
Up and sort of at 'em

Beet It

This is the first year I've grown beets.  I chose the Italian heirloom 'Chiogga' because it's just too cool not to. 
I love pickled beets.  I would eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Sometimes, I do.  So this was my first time pickling my own beets.  Armed with the OSU Master Food Preservation recipe, I tried my first batch.

 Border Collie inspected and approved
 Trimmed and ready to boil
 30 minutes of boiling yielded faded roots.  But they tasted good
 First test jar
 Second batch, freshly picked and washed
 17 minutes of boiling yielded perfect colour and still tasty
Second two jars.  Much better looking than first attempt

Late June in Bloom

Late June.  Breakfast consists of eating blueberries and strawberries and the odd snow pea from the last remaining vine while watering the skyrocketing corn, the wall of blackberries and the ever so sneaky melon patch.
We are at the door of a massive heat wave.  91 today is a degree shy of the 92 we hit on the 8th, but the valley will be pushing triple digits the next two days, meaning we could certainly see mid 90's up here with ease.  The past few days were spent deep watering trees and shrubs so that I can concentrate on keeping the pots of flowers and the garden watered.
It's no wonder you can literally see the melon bed grow
Pollinator heaven and pretty to boot

 I've taken many pounds of beets out of the beet and pansy bed (don't ask - I don't know), yet it doesn't look like I've taken a single one.  Unfortunately, the parsnips didn't come up; there might be 4 out of the 50 I planted that came up but then again, those might just be weeds.  The beets, however, happy as all get out.  It's the old Italian heirloom 'Chiogga'
 The melon patch on June 22nd
 'Kakai', volleyball sized
 Vanilla butterfly weed with a pal
 The melon patch on June 25th
 'Li'l Sweet' cantaloupes
Finally!!  My first 'Sapomiel' melons!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Melon Bed - Mid June

I have a bad feeling about this bed.....

The first baby 'Kakai' pumpkin, June 10

500 Shades of Mowing

After 3 days of trying to get the mowing started by 0530 to get as much done as possible before the 90 degree heat hit - thanks, Mom Nature, we're done with summer now, let's just segue right into late fall - the heat wave broke and mowing became a lot more fun and a lot less exhausting.  By then, I was starting on the south pasture, having done as much as I wanted to do with the big north pasture.
It's kinda of relaxing, once you get once around the fenceline and can quit worrying about snagging the fence with the mower.  Not that I'VE ever done that.  I just rip high voltage wire off of power poles with the front forks (only once).  Dale's in charge of snagging the fence with the rear wheel on the big brush hog. 
The air was crisp, cool and clean (except whenever I hit a gopher mound or when the day heated up and the pollen released), the barn swallows dogged me, relentlessly dive bombing the insects the mower flushed, the hawks hovered gracefully overhead, waiting to see if I mangled a rodent or snake.  The sky was absolute blue, and the smell of freshly cut bentgrass was, as always, intoxicating.
It's a chore mostly, but sometimes, it's not
 The Legacy  Oregon White Oak in the south pasture
 Looking NE towards Nusbaum's pond (the bright sliver near centre)
 I get it, Pony.  There are days those sheep make me feel like that
 The cows enjoy the freshly mown north pasture in the early morning cool

The homestead.  There is a house in them thar trees, somewhere