Monday, August 31, 2015

Let It Rain, Baby!

It didn't end up being nearly close to the totals we were promised.  But at this point, we'll take ANY amount of rain we can get!!
Hope there is more on the way this week....

Corny As All Get Out

 1000 - Picked and ready to husk
 1015 - husked and ready to process
 1035 - processed and cooling
1100 - bagged and in the freezer

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bounty from the Garden

Just a few examples of late
 'Sapomiel' melon, 'That's Delicious!' corn, 'Oxheart' tomato (sliced below) and 'Li'l Sweet' cantaloupe

About Time

Not that you'd notice this afternoon, when it's approaching 90 yet again. 
Now if only that rainfall total would start moving upwards.....

Halloween Came Early

Gerry sports his Halloween costume a bit early

Weaning Day

The time had come.  I got lucky in that the day I chose to wean, last Friday, was one of the few days it wasn't approaching the 90 degree mark.
Dr. Vanegas and his crew spent a few hours in the afternoon with the weaning chores, Shots and health certs for the travelers, tattoos for all, Bang's for the heifers.  Add a preg check on Lilly's mom Nellie and Beau's bad eye, and it was an afternoon that deserved some peace and quiet for the evening.  Yep, like that was gonna happen!  It took a little while for the momma cows to realize their bags were full to bursting and there were no young'uns around to help out, and then the moofest began.
Next week we say goodbye to Cy and Cassie, and the following week, Nellie and Lilly hit the road for Bend and Three Sisters Ranch
 They don't know it yet.  Cy, Gerry, Cassie and Lilly (not weaned)
Lilly chows down before the fun starts

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Garden - Midsummer is the Hardest Season

Midsummer gardens here in Western Oregon, in the middle of a hot, extremely dry summer, tend to be time suckers.  A local garden writer touched every gardener's nerve with her story in the paper last week about watering.  Usually a therapeutic, calming chore that we usually looked forward to doing, this summer it has been one of those chores that most everyone desperately wished could somehow be skipped, or at least put off.  Not enjoyable any more, it's now drudgery, a necessity to ensure the bare survival of the garden residents.  It seems I spend my time moving the sprinkler head, set at very low, from one Japanese maple to the next in an unending ballet of survival.  Then there are the soaker hoses woven in amongst the rhodies, hellebores and the 'dry' garden on the west side of the house as well as the roses by the garage/shop and the one that encircles the giant Western red cedar tree in the front yard.  Thankfully Dale installed the drip system a few years ago on the timer for the hanging baskets that surround the gazebo.  Add to that the actual water wanding done daily on three areas, one very small, two very large, and I no longer wonder why I'm not feeling much like I'm enjoying gardening as much as I have for the past 8 years here.
But, we get by.  The pay off is that the melons are simply divine, and the first 'Sapomiels', for the first time ever, have been not only harvested but enjoyed by many.  I took a few to work and everyone who tasted them just raved about how sweet they are.  The tomatoes - plenty of vines and fruit, but in spite of all my supplementing with calcium in many forms, the 'Roma' and 'Oxheart' still had blossom end on the early ones.  The 'Costoluto Genovese' however, had zero problems.  The orange bell peppers and the orange big banana peppers have been sweet and crunchy, the 'Li'l Sweet' cantaloupes have garnered massive praise from everyone lucky enough to take some home, and the vines are STILL producing.  Thus far, I've picked 5 'Kakai' pumpkins; 3 went home with Mickey (along with the 2 Navajo-Churro ewes she actually came out for ) and two are waiting for me to plumb their depths for their hull-less seeds to roast.  In AUGUST.  Luckily, there are plenty of baby pumpkins on the vine that might make October, altho I doubt it.  The first ears of 'That's Delicious!' corn are in the fridge awaiting tonight's dinner.  The corn has had an interesting season, with ears not as robust, somewhat slim, but with 4 or more ears per stalk, which is unusual. 
Most of the hanging baskets are well past their prime and ready to be refreshed for fall.  Some are still doing well.  Many of the succulents bloomed like mad this summer.  The snaps are still going strong, and even some of the pansies are still surprisingly not looking bad at all for how late in the season it is for them.  I picked up three fab penstemons at Jerry's a few weeks ago; not sure where I'm going to plant them this fall, but I'm sure I'll find a spot.
And the heat bakes on.  Looks like another few days in the 90's again this week, no rain in sight as usual.  Been listening to and watching the weather guessers predicting a larger than normal El Nino this winter, but they also said that last year.  Didn't happen.  Nature will do what it does, regardless of what mankind THINKS it should do.
But nature, if you're inclined to listen, we sure could use some cooler days and rain....
 Midsummer overview
 Happy 'maters and peppers
 Grandpa and grandkid 'Kakai' pumpkins
 Corn forest
 Peppers, and peppers and tomatoes oh my!

 A sweet little begonia, ultra hardy, can take 20 degrees and come back like this
 'Honeycrisp' apple, ripe for the picking a month early
 Begonias lovin' the weather
 Above and below, another super hardy begonia.  It lives outside year 'round.  It has fab velvety red undersides to the big matte green leaves and sugar pink little blossoms

 Gaura, queen of the summer garden
 The sweet peas don't know they should be done for the season
 Absolutely lovely geranium 'Appleblossom'

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Heat Wave II

This one meant business.  Eugene set 3 consecutive records in a row this past week.  We cracked the triple digit barrier for the first time on Thursday, and again on Friday
 Hottest this year at the ranch - a full 20 degrees above average
 Some awesome sunrises.....
 ....and sunsets are the result
And then, today, it actually looks like it might rain, which would be so welcome, you have no idea how welcome!

Blue (and Pink) Moon

Between the intense heatwave, and all the fires to our south, the sunrises and sunsets have been pretty spectacular as of late.
Technically, this series of moonshots was taken the day before the official 'blue moon'

Pumpkins in July?

The first ones will never make it to mid-August, let alone October.
But there are baby pumpkins forming as I type....