Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Winter Projects Underway

The summer season is way too busy to work on house-building projects, so each winter there's a list of things to do during the funky weather.  One of the projects is flooring. 

A friend of a friend had oak tongue and groove flooring left over from a project and he wanted it out of his storage so I was so kind to take it off his hands :)  I measured and calculated and "oh my goodness" it was enough to do the bedroom and maybe the closet.  He even loaned me the nailer and gave me nails. 

I've helped on two hardwood flooring projects, did the upstairs floor out of 2x6 pine on my own, but never have I had to actually hit that monster nailer thingee by myself.  I got the first two rows down by drilling and nailing with finish nails and then it was time to drag out the yellow monster (nailer thingee that is). 

After about 15 rows of boards I've gotten just a teeny bit better.  I'm still having to pull nails out that didn't go in far enough and drive others in all the way with a hammer and a nail set.  I hate to admit it, but these manual floor nailers are a guy tool.  I'll get through the floor but I'm not calling for an inspector!


After the nailer from you-know-where comes the floor sanders from you-know-where.  I think I'll ask for help with them.  Stay warm!


Summer Showers

It's been exceptionally hot and dry here this summer.  I've been able to irrigate most all the gardens except for the corn, sweet potatoes and assorted winter squash and melons, but even with regular irrigation, it "ain't like Mother Nature" did it. 

Yesterday, last night, and this morning we were fortunate enough to have showers in Crab Orchard.  The rain gauge this morning measured 2.1" of rain--Yippee!  Summer showers are welcome!!

There's another kind of summer shower that's welcome.  You know, when you've been out all day long, gotten drenched with sweat a few times and dried, then sprayed insect repellant, smeared sunscreen on at least 2 times, then sweated some more?  When I finally decide that I can't stand myself any longer, I head for the shower, and I use that as my excuse to "clock out" for the day :)


There's nothing like home grown veggies, and water hoses

Happy Mother's Day!  I went to visit my mom and dad, sisters, brother in laws, nephews, etc., today and we had a wonderful picnic on an absolutely gorgeous spring day. 

There is a bumper crop of bibb lettuce at the farm this year, so I picked a bag for each sister and my parents.  I don't listen to the news, don't have tv, so when I handed them the lettuce and they laughed and jokingly said "does it have e-coli on it", I said "of course not, I grew it and I know how it was grown and picked".   Then they told me about the e-coli recall from several major grocery stores involving fresh green veggies. 

It's getting to be a scary place out there, depending on folks we don't know to provide our food.  I don't grow everything I eat, but if I could, I would.

Yesterday I planted the tomato plants; around 320 of them, assorted heirloom varieties, and several "mainstream" varieties that produce well, taste good, or have good qualities to them.  The garden prep went well, manure spreading, post installation, wire stringing, planting.....then came the watering in of the plants.  I think the initial watering in of a freshly planted plant is as important as colostrum is to a human or animal when it's first born.

Anyway, the garden I planted the tomatoes in is in an area where there is irrigation pipe to the general area for drip tape, but to do the first watering I have to drag water hoses around. 

I don't think there's anyone around who hates water hoses as badly as I do.  I bought 2 that are supposed to be "kink free" but they still kink, although it's easier to get the kink out than a regular water hose.  I had them hooked together and couldn't quite reach the last 1/4 of the beds (you know the story).

A few years ago my son (college, okay) gave me a waterhose during one of his moves.  He said he didn't need it anymore.  It looked like a college kid water hose (cheap), but I took it anyway, being the great mom that I am :)

I haven't used the hose much but I do remember looking at it oddly as it doesn't hang in nice round loops, but rather in a strange accordian fashion. 

Back to the tomatoes.  I needed just a little bit more water hose to get to the end of the beds I had planted so I got the college kid water hose out.  Oh my gosh----it is the water hose from hell.....kink is not the word.  AFTER I had convinced it to straighten out straight (about 15 minutes of messing with it),  I had to hold it gently in my arms to keep it from kinking just from holding the nozzle at the end to spray the plants.  It was worse than worst!  I honestly think I could have carried water in 5-gallon buckets faster than I got that hose to work, but it became a challenge, know what I mean? 

It did not get thrown away though.  I'm somewhat of a packrat of things that might be useful in another life.  I left it laying in the garden, so I know where it is, and it will serve another useful purpose, but I promise it will never have water running through it again!


Somewhere over the rainbows....

 Yes, I said over the "rainbows".  Saturday was a very unsettled day around here as far as the weather was concerned.  The weather folks were predicting strong storms, lots of rain, thunder, lightning, hail....so we were all "on our toes" so to speak, and spent most of the afternoon battening down the hatches. 

The rain came, the wind blew, but we missed the bullet on that one, thank goodness.  I know that counties west of us were hit by tornadoes and strong storms, but we just got some rain and a little wind, and about 7:00 that evening the sky began to look a lot lighter so I went out to see what was going on, and I saw not one, but two rainbows!  That's the first time I've ever seen a double header, so I grabbed the camera to share the view.  It was much better in person, though :)


Irrigation, please

With today being April Fool's Day I kept trying to come up with some kind of April Fool's joke, but was just too busy with springtime chores!  This weather has been so awesome for getting crops going that it's hard to stop.  I did play an April Fool's joke on myself, though.

Each fall I have to remove the irrigation pump from the pond to keep it from freezing, drain the lines, yadda, yadda, and each spring I reverse the cycle.  Today was the day.  Everything was going just great.  Got the pump reinstalled on the end of the little floating dock that it is attached to, got the wiring redone, plumbing reconnected, and even had to install a new breaker in the electrical panel.  Everything was working just great, but there was a small drip coming from the pipe that connected from the pump to the pressure tank that needed tightening up. 

Channel locks in hand, I proceeded to turn the fitting--ever so slowly and carefully, mind you, but evidently the clamp on the black pipe coming in wasn't real happy, so it let go and I got to see just how much water can be pushed from a well pump with nothing attached to it!  I was drenched from head to toe in seconds!  It sort of felt good though, once I caught my breath.  Then I had to run to the breaker box in soaking wet overalls to shut the pump off.

Clamp tightened, overalls eventually dried out, sprinklers ran for a little while, I think I survived April Fool's Day just fine!


New Wintertime tradition

This past winter I celebrated the Winter Solstice with what I hope to be a new tradition:  canning tomatoes.  Yep, that's right.  I love December 21, just because to me it's hope during the dead of winter that warmer weather is on the way as the days begin to get a tad bit longer each day.  During the summer frenzy of picking and packing CSA shares, the extra tomatoes that aren't really pretty get thrown into big bags and tossed into the freezer.  When I have a few minutes to spare, such as in the winter, I take them out of the freezer, pop them into hot water for a few minutes, and the skin slips off really nice.  They are still too frozen to cut up into chunks, but a half hour or so in the sink will get them to a decent "mushy" stage so they can be chunked up, put in the pot, then canned.  It's kind of a "deja vu" of summer on a dreary winter day.
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