Front Porch Time

I am supposed to be working in the office doing farm accounting work early today so I can get out and then get some real farm work done. We need to set fences braces (in concrete) for a stretch of new fence and clear brush and limbs that have grown into fence we will be rebuilding.

Why am I not doing that? It is just too nice to be on the front porch. I got my coffee a bit after 6:00 a.m. and landed in a rocker. It's about 70 degrees or so and overcast. You can not imagine how cool it feels with the slight breeze across the porch. The chickens and guinea fowl are making their morning wake-up calls and the birds are very loud. The recently weaned calves are still calling for their mom's.

This entire week is supposed to be cool. The temperature will be in the mid to lower 80's every day. How is that for late July in Texas after baking in June? I know there is a chance of rain every day for a week or so, but who cares. The hay is still growing in the meadows and we can cut when it is hot and dry. We all know those days will soon be back.

Political Soap Box
NPR did not have much to say this morning or I was just not interested. The Texas senior senator wants to keep building F-22 planes that the military says it does not need to protect us from India! That says something about how smart he is. Reading the news on the internet was not much better. The crazy lady is leaving office in Alaska to fill her bag with lots of money selling herself and her family. The opposition to the health care plan continue to sound real dumb. With almost 50 million people without health insurance who are getting their care for free off the back of those of us that pay for our own insurance is flat wrong. The system is broke and it needs a fix of some sort. I hope some compromise is reached that is fair to all. To those that have their head in the sand and want nothing is to say they like paying for those that refuse to pay. Governor "Good Hair" Perry in Texas is against any new healthcare plan since Texas has the highest number of persons without insurance and its just fine for them to get free care that the rest of us pay for. This is the same "brilliant" governor that turned down $550 million in federal funds for unemployment and now Texas employers are going to get a $668 million tax increase to cover unemployment shortfalls in Texas. I guess I get tired of politicians that pander to their base at the expense of all of us. They are so focused on themselves they forget they are a public servant representing more that one political segment.

The gardens around the house are in full summer bloom. I especially like the sunflowers that rise at random here and there. We have some on each end of the front porch. Eva has so many different and unique flowering plants it is different each week around here. The Mexican Candle plants have finally got started and will probably be in bloom in the fall. These came from the sale at the Dallas Discovery Garden at Fair Park.

Okay, time for a bowl of cereal and work.

How Time Flies When You are Having Fun

I have been reminded that since this blog started we have never missed a month without writing a blog. So who am I to break this long record of interesting and informative blogs? I am just the humble farmer, rancher, pruner, weed puller, marketer, berry picker, cowboy and so on that has so many hats to wear around I need a new hat rack.

We have just finished the berry season. Ten gallons of blackberries were picked on Friday and will be destined to be jars of jam at some point in the year. The blueberries finished early this year. We are very pleased that every single blueberry and blackberry was picked. We had a great number of pick-your-own pickers and they did a great job cleaning us out. I think we put about 15 quarts of blueberries in the freezer for us and this is not near what I had hoped we would have set aside. One freezer is three-fourths full of blackberries.

Eva made 90 pints of blackberry jam last week.

Figs are rolling in by the gallons now. I had thought the late freeze that knocked the leaves off the fig trees would eliminate any chance of figs this year, but I was wrong. We have had some really huge sweet figs available. They are $3.50 per gallon and we do the picking.

We have weaned the last group of calves, castrated the males and dehorned those that needed it. They are in the paddock next to the home place barn and making lots of noise looking for their mothers. Out at the Rocky Branch Grass Ranch, the moms are making an equal amount of noise wanting their calves back. It is a stressful time.

Eva, Javier, Eva's cousin visiting from Germany and I rounded up the beef steers to weight them and see how close we are on having some of that great Greer Farm grass finished beef for you. It will not be that long and those that have ordered will be soon hearing from us. There is still time to order.

We have started to get ready for a fall garden while we are still surrounded by lots of cucumbers, exotic squashes, tomatoes and other vegetable treats. Eva will be using some of these in her August 8 cooking class which focuses on summer vegetables. A few places remain for this class. There are crocks sitting around the house with future pickles in them.

Fence materials have been ordered so we can start re-fencing pasture that the wild pigs continue to dig up and ruin. One stretch is in heavy forest and 500 feet of bush has already been cleared. That will make nice work in the heat of August.

We are less than half finished pruning out the blackberry canes that produced berries this year. Next week we need to fertilize them and the blueberries. We then start a row-by-row cleaning/wedding exercise to get rid of weeds and any undesirable plants in our berry rows before adding new pine mulch. Incase you wondered, this is all handwork.

All of the flower beds in the display gardens have been cleaned. Eva says they look too clean and have lost their wild look. For the first time in several years, we have a lot of butterflies back on the farm.

So it goes. As the sun comes up we stare out the French doors in our bedroom and wonder which of us is first to get coffee (normally me some time after 5:00 a.m. Then before we know it the kitchen clock is hitting 9:00 p.m. and we are washing the last of dinner dishes. Another long, productive and interesting day on the Greer Farm is finished.

After I get the state hotel tax, sales tax and federal employment taxes calculated and paid this week (late again on the state taxes) I will have more time to write a few blogs in the evening that have pictures and she more in detail what has been going on the past six weeks.

I know time flies and it has been hectic this summer for us. Given any other options, I do not know what else I would rather be doing.