2017-09-20

September is ... August? ...And other Wanderings

September arrives with cool temps and a bit of rain - and then bang!  All is hot and so dry one can hardly spit.  The grasses are withering, the corn drying down fast, beans are turning yellow and lots of folks are not going to get a fourth crop of hay.

I spent the last few days mowing down CRP fields. I can only handle two or three hours getting jarred around in the tractor, and even if I could handle more I wouldn't as it is so dusty that one can hardly breath out there in the fields.  There is an awful crop of Canadian Thistles to deal with though, and I can't let it go any longer.  Canadian thistle use this time of the year to gather energy through their foliage and store it in their roots, which then branch, propagating the damn things so thick one can't walk through them.  I have such a mess....am exploring various options... . One more thing to learn about I guess.

A neighbor who recently purchased an old eight foot flial mower from me stopped by to jaw-jack a bit. I asked him if I could use that mower now and again and he said I would be welcome to. He is looking for a disk sized small enough to pull behind hid JD 3020. Unfortunately, mine is almost 16 feet across and there is no way is tractor will pull it.  Need at least 100 horse for that kind of work. We had a nice time chatting however and he left with a friendly wave and good-bye. Good to have neighbors.

Dan stopped by today to pick up the sheep to take to market. He will get the calves tomorrow or the next day.  Those few animals (eight sheep, one goat, and five or six calves) kept the near small pastures nicely clipped down this year. I hope we can repeat the process next year. It works out nicely. I traded some mechanical work on one of the tractors that Dan knew how to repair for the pasture use this summer. I think I made out pretty good on the deal. To have that work done at the shop would have been close to $1000.00, and I don't need that kind of expense. The replacement part came from another neighbor at a very minimal price too.  Again, good to have neighbors.

I stopped by Lamaar's farm on Monday to see if he might have a mini-excavator, as yet another neighbor hinted at a week or so ago. As it turns out, it is his father-in-law who owns it and a brother-in-law who currently has it. Lamaar figured it would be no problem for me to rent it so I can get the digging done for the foundation of the replacement building I need to get up before November rolls around. Will be a lot less expensive to rent it from those folks than going up town, and probably less pressure to get the whole job done in one day too.  Lamaar and his family are Mennonites, so live a bit differently than us Englishmen. They are generous, friendly, and helpful folk and a joy to engage with or do business with. I have been working with folks in the Amish community all summer and find them to be simply wonderful folk to work with. They are knowledgeable, informed, curious, well educated and do really good quality work. I am, again, fortunate to have the neighbors that I do.

Justin and Ashley stopped down this evening with a full meal for me. Very good and so appreciated. I was really too tired to mess around making anything to eat tonight and out of left-overs. I could have fried up some eggs that Jenna Barr gave me I suppose, but even that seems like too much this evening. Guess I am a bit wore out from the heat.  At any rate, I am eating while noodling along here, and it is much appreciated.

Yesterday, I was driving up Pigeon River Rd. headed toward the farm when a Bald Eagle with a wing span of better than six feet took flight right next to me. That bird was probably less than 20 feet from my open truck window. God! What a sight! It flew along with me for maybe seven or eight seconds, then caught and updraft, veered and disappeared above the truck. That is one beautiful bird...and huge!  There have been plenty of them around recently as there is a lot of road kill to be had. Must have been a banner year for raccoon reproduction because these valley around here are just crawling with them.

Late last week I spent two days cleaning out two stalls of the four-car garage. I have been cleaning on this farm on and off now for ten years...and there is still tons of shit to get rid of. Those folks that went through the depression really did hang on to everything. That said, those two stalls look really good! I feel good about that...

I might have said this before: Farming is not about big jobs, though there are some. Farming is about a million tiny little things that need to get done. You see a loose bolt, go find a wrench and tighten it. You see there is a tool missing, go find it.  You see a tool out of place, go put it away...and do it now or it won't get done. Change the oil and filters, clean the windshields, power-wash the equipment, replace that cracked and weathered board... It goes on and on. It can be frustrating, because no matter where you turn there is something that needs to be done. And they are these little things that don't make a visible difference. Not until one stops taking care of them, and then one has a huge mess. Farming is in the details, not in the big things.  Ninety percent of it is just piddly stuff, but it has to be done. And if one does not have an eye for it, things get pretty bad pretty quick. No matter what you are doing or where you are going on the farm, your eyes have to move, your mind has to make note of things....and one has to constantly re-prioritize. It is a challenge, a process...and the cool thing is that it never ends.