It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Middle Part of Christmas

Before an entire week blows by, I thought I would recount the middle of our Christmas; Day Six through Day Nine. My camera has a hard time finding its way out of its case lately so the only pictures I have for you are of The Fifth Day of Christmas and bringing back the Orange Tractor to the Farm.

The Orange Tractor Returns
So indulge me in a bit of back tracking. Dirt and Mike did a little equipment swap this summer, Mike brought out his back hoe and took our Orange Tractor in. Orange Tractor is an Allis Chalmers 1950 WD. It came to live with us nearly the first year we were here at the farm, it came here in the spring of 1986, from the Huckleberry Mountain range in Eastern Washington where my brother had spent some time raising buffalo.

When we first had the Orange Tractor we were warned that the tricycle type of tractors were dangerous as they tended to roll easily on hills. Not to worry, we farm flat land, low, wet, flat land. Not only is it hard to get parts for a tractor made in 1950 it is extremely hard to find the wheels for the front end, so Orange Tractor has been limping along in one front wheel for a long time.

The back wheels got a treat while in at Mike's. Mike bought Dirt tires for the back wheels and because the wheels were off and tire-less, Mike insisted that Dirt paint them up. Problem is now, the back wheels look new and the rest of the tractor looks old, including the bumper sticker on the cowling (the long upper part of the tractor where the exhaust pipe comes out of). The bumper sticker? ReElect Dan Evans for Governor. Which would mean that the bumper sticker has been there since 1968 or 1972 take your pick. Either way the bumper sticker has been on there a long time and the Orange Tractor is long over due for some tangible love.

I say tangible because trust me it is loved, well loved. The day my brother brought it here and I learned how to drive it I fell in love with my tractor and quite frankly green just didn't matter anymore. Orange was the color to be if you were a tractor. I think quite frankly that I would rather be orange, persimmon really, but orange for ease, than green any day. If like me you are getting weary of hearing about how we ought to be green, rebel against the established nonsense, be orange!

So I feel way better now that my tractor is home, it came home because it has some work to do, it has a lot of work to do, but hopefully Dirt can plan a time where the Orange Tractor can have some more beauty treatment.

Wednesday, the Fifth Day of Christmas found Dirt and Anna shearing some Romney sheep in town and Bet and I down in Sumner at McConkey's and McLendon's Hardware. McConkey's is a warehouse for nursery and greenhouse supply, I needed some sterile soil, a germinating mix, and to chat with the poly film expert about my poly tunnels and the best choices for them, be looking for a post on what I learned, it was pretty fascinating stuff and a real eye opener.

Anna managed to shear most of one ewe, they are big and Anna hasn't been out shearing in a while and wasn't in shearing shape, so her dad finished it up for her. When Bet and I got back up the hill to pick them up Dirt was almost done and his customer was advising him on an accounting program for when we go real this year.

Thursday The Sixth Day of Christmas and New Year's Eve was one of work, Dirt rebuilt one of his creep feeders, I'll post a few pictures of them and tell you all about creep feeders. Bet and I ordered her chicks and poults, and some turken pullets for my silkie rooster and future show girl chickens. We ordered from Welp Hatchery this year because they had everything we were looking for and they are not sold out 'til June like a lot of other hatcheries are already of those said birds we were looking for.

Bet is determined to produce her own meat hybrids and pasture raise them, so we ordered White Laced Red Cornish and Partridge Plymouth Rocks, a rather dark combo for a meat bird, dark pin feathers and all, but we will be marketing to a heartier type of consumer who won't be put off by a few dark pin feathers on the birds.

She also ordered some replacement turkeys for her existing flock, five Narragansett and five Bourbon Reds, her slates are doing just fine, and one new breed, Midget Whites. The Midget Whites guessed it Dear Reader, smaller than most turkeys and therefore a bit more usable for families year 'round and not just a holiday overindulgent roast-a-rama, but they also were named most flavorful turkey followed by the Bourbon Red in a taste test cited somewhere out there in cyberspace the location of which I have forgotten.

After we ordered chicks and poults we went out and measured up the dormant plant storage shed for the possibility of using it in its off season (Feburary to November) for a chick brooder shed. It looks like it will work out just perfectly. Now to find a GQF Digital Sportsman 1502 incubator on Craig's list a little closer than Worley, Idaho, so that Bet can incubate and hatch out birds to provide six families with their all their white meat year 'round, which is her 2010 goal as poultry manager of Vicktory Farm and Gardens.

We spent a little time tidying up a bit around the building and making tentative plans for the surrounding area. But I'm glad I didn't plan too much as I found out on Friday that Dirt has his own set of plans for the area. Not a huge conflict just a little terrain changing and so I get to rethink my plan and perhaps expand it.

Friday the Seventh Day of Christmas and the New Year, found me prepping some germination flats for onion seeds - I am attempting this year to stick to the moon and planet signs for planting and such at the Farm, I'll tell you more about it but for now, suffice it to say that Tipper and Momma Coulter are responsible.

But the bulk of the day, not necessarily in hours but more in enjoyment, was spent at the Bowerman's. It was a great late afternoon and evening, chowing down on a little brisket barbecued (slowly) earlier in the day by Dirt at the Farm, some wonderful beer selections and followed by a lovely pasta dinner and some good hearted fellowship. However, during the afternoon my balloon was burst when Dirt gained support for not playing along with my idea on how to do a second bathroom in an attached solar heated green house on the south side of our house and so I am greenhouseless for yet another year. Or more really, as I am not keen on the idea of having my back yard tore up in August, the suggested date of beginning the revised and "practical" doing of said project. So who knows if it will ever get done and if I will ever move out of the cramped spaces of the laundry room and into a real hot house leaving the laundry room for a revision into a fiber arts shed.

The Eighth Day of Christmas, Saturday, Dirt went to the lumber store for the second creep feeder and while he was in there he purchased, along with more beer,an accounting program. I may not be blogging nearly as much as I would have hoped after the holidays as my computer time will be taken up with paper work and setting up our books. But you have gotten by without my shenanigans before Dear Reader, I am sure you will do just fine without my planned daily postings, no really, I did really think I could get back to daily posting. Perhaps I still will, I do have a lot to record. I just need to learn to write shorter post, today is not one of those learning days however.

Our wonderful friends from the north came down for yet another great day with us. They are so accommodating to our not being able to leave the Farm easily, that it really makes me feel like a schmo when we always seem be the ones to ask them to travel this way for our get togethers. So we spent the day schnick snacking our way to dinner, steaks grilled (quick) by Dirt, the pronounced red meat guru by said northern friends, when the Bowermans joined us for another wonderful but abbreviated beef and brew fest. Yum. We really must figure out how beef can work a little more strongly into the Vicktory Farm and Gardens scope of things, we are running out of Chuck (our last briefly visiting steer) and he wasn't even the provider of the majority of our recent red meat rendezvous.

And now here we are at the Ninth Day of Christmas, Sunday, I have coffee, shortbread and computer and I am looking out my big beautiful new window in my new still-small but wonderful room at work to do. So I'm going to slug down the rest of my coffee and head out soon. Yesterday I had Anna bring in my box of garlic from it's storage place in the well house and my Shandong harvested this fall is already sprouting, so instead of letting it go to waste I am going to go find a bed where I can put it. "Why?" you ask Dear Reader. 'Cause who can have to much garlic growing in one year. Ahhh... two more problems to solve, where to plant garlic, and where to store it next year so I won't loose my eating garlic to early sprouting. Where did I store it before when I didn't have this problem? Ahhh the mysteries of living in Lanny Land.

Hope you don't find too many irritating spelling and grammar mistakes in this post Dear Reader, but I am sure if you do, you will find a clever and tender way of telling me you did.

Hip hip hooray for the coming long days of holiday-less winter, dark and bleak and wet. I am not looking forward to the end of the Christmas holiday season, I for one wish the holiday was longer or at least situated a little farther into the heart of darkness. Yes, I know, the days have turned around, we are on the upswing of longer days and more light, that is if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest, where the sun may very well be behind the iron curtain of grey but you really couldn't bank on it for the amount of light your eyes detect.

Yes, Dear Reader, if you caught a smidgen of winter doldrums and sarcasm you have made it to the end of this post awake. I will go and look at the calendar that tells me yes, we are headed for sunshine and dry land, in spite of my feelings of eternal damp and dark accursedness. My brain clearly is not one of the more evolved ones and I am stuck back in ancient superstitious times where uneducated dolts like myself thought for sure that this, December and January, was indeed the end of my small world and that the evil cloud gods have taken over and they will never let go now that they have gained control. I am going to go out and build a bonfire and see if I can burn them away.

Actually I am going to read a bit of His Word and pray a good while, while I lite that bonfire that I need to have to burn up rotting scrap wood, not the clouds. Please, feel free to comment about my spelling and grammar or the tractor etc. but could you be so kind Dear Reader as to resist telling me what I already know about winter depression made worse by the anniversaries of death and soul abusing events. I know what I ought to be doing nutritionally and in other ways to help my brain snap out of this spot, part emotion and part actual physical chemistry. I promise I will be better in awhile for I have not lost heart, I appear to be troubled on every side, yet I am not distressed; feeling very perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, including making it through these next few months of darkness and remembering.


Daisy said...

Lanny, I hope your bonfire works at burning away those evil cloud gods. I am already tired of the cold temperatures and the seemingly constant darkness too. Spring will get here eventually. I guess I will try to keep my mind and my hands busy to fill the time till it gets here.

I have to tell you I laughed out loud at the line "I just need to learn to write shorter post, today is not one of those learning days however." Your way of commenting about your posts while you are writing them makes me smile.

LindaSueBuhl said...

Not to stir up an entirely new topic when there is a plethora already presented pleasingly in this post. BUT - have you considerd Dexter cattle? I never thought I'd be interested in cows but these animals are good meat making, produce decent amounts of milk and are literally half the size (or less) of standard cattle. Google for 'em and tell me what you think? I didn't find any prices- no doubt they are expensive to get started with but lots of breeders in US should bring prices down.
BTW - exciting about getting serious on this farming thing!