This was a week where the reality of hope struck hard. The major "money makers" that we planned to get done were pushed aside by other tasks we we did not know even existed as the week started. A "money maker" is a task or effort that has a positive return on investment. It is something we do that will help pay the bills in time or reduce expense. Hope and reality are individually very different concepts. One recognizes where you are today and the other is the reason you keep on doing what you do.
We have not been able to cut hay. The days are hot , but the humidity is high and the cutting crew is bogged down on the job before us. The grass continues to get taller and deeper and a bit past its prime. It will still make good hay, and lots of it, if we get to it in a few days.
Fencing took a back seat to a hundred other things. All that got done was installing one gate. The hogs have taken a vacation, so we saw no new pasture damage this past week. For certain, fence is a priority. We need to get barb wire up by the cabins so we can graze our steers, heifers and a a few cow/calf pairs on the lush grass there. They have eaten the paddocks down where they are now and it needs time to re-grow.
One more day of work will get us completely across the blueberry patch pulling vines and woody undergrowth. We have weed trimmed almost half of the field as the second step after that. Next is to apply a weed and grass herbicide licensed for blueberries and then mulch all the rows. I hate to use the herbicide, but until the plants get six feet tall and can sustain themselves, we have to limit competition. All of the blueberry and blackberry plants were fertilized this week using water soluble fertilizer in the drip irrigation lines. This also did not go without difficulty. the high priced injector pump we recently bought started to give us trouble half way through the process. Apparently we needed more water volume to make it function properly. With a bit of adjusting the zones to be fertilized we increased the flow and finally finished.
I did a row by row check of all the blueberry plants and we need to replace 116 plants late in the fall or early winter. I have located plants very close to the size that we will be replacing. This is about 3% of the total plants we have. When we started in 2005, after the drought, we had to replace 20 %. I don't think you ever stop doing this. We had a very nice four foot plant break off at its base last week for no apparent reason.
We were blessed with a full week in the cabins and bunkhouse. This also means making the effort to ensure all is perfect for our farm stay guests. The rain of a few weeks ago had washed out one end of the bocce court. We have packed this off with hard clay and replaced the sand, so it is ready to play on again. Bocce
is perhaps the oldest game know to man. One of our guests this weekend is 101 years young. He wanted to get away and do some fishing.
We were in luck and were able to get two bushel baskets of sweet corn Friday. Creaming corn is a tradition on the farm and normally we raise our own. This year the heavy rain messed up our crop and we only got a few bags off our patch. l will do a blog on creamed corn.
We found time to tattoo the ears of the heifers we weaned a few weeks ago. Now that the numbers are set, I can register them. Those that were dehorned healed well.
I already wrote in a blog about the cat in the fan belts of our work truck. We still need to get one belt off and twisted correct and put on a third. It is time to get the live trap out and catch some cats and move them along to other barns on the place where they forage for their own food.
Javier suddenly had the itch to roast a goat yesterday evening. He took one from the Rocky Branch Grass Ranch and started his fire about 6:00 pm. That is a late start, but before midnight he had some good roasted meat.
What will next week bring? I hope we finish the weed and grass work in the berry patch and get a lot of the mulching done. We will use all the mulch we have before buying more and hopefully have enough on hand to cover all the rows. Again, fencing is a priority, but we shall see how everything else goes.