Sorry not to have blogged last Wednesday, but Will had half the township cut down in hay and rain — which had popped up unexpectedly — was in the forecast. So instead of blogging, I hopped on our Ford 660 tractor and began raking hay while Will started round baling. We only had five fields lying down… Then, suddenly, he wasn’t baling — he was stopped! The baler had a very flat big tire. Our local tire shop in Cook was usually pretty busy as it not only services locals but all the Lake Vermilion home owners and tourists with boat trailers, campers, etc. Chances of getting the tire fixed quickly were slim. Luckily, Will had a brand new tire in the storage building which he’d bought on sale a few years back. So saying a quick prayer, I grabbed it while Will pulled off the flat tire. Then I headed for town. At the tire shop, the mechanic told me how busy he was and that he “might” be able to get it later that day. After thinking a bit, he suddenly said “Hang around town. I’ll do it right now.” Happy dance! With the changed tire, I headed for the hay field and soon Will was back baling. We did get a heavy, quick shower, but not much rainfall. Luckily, the next day was hot and dry so we finished up the haying, just ahead of a storm that dropped ¼ inch of rain. Not much, but we don’t like any on our hay.

One of the fields I raced to rake before the storm came.

The gardens are doing well. Even the Sand and Central garden, which had been trampled and munched on by the cows, seems to have recovered pretty well. My electric fence wire and Will’s re-enforced plank/stock panel fence has kept them at bay. Our wonderful Seneca Sunrise sweet corn is especially lovely, many stalks having two and even three ears this year. Our peppers in the hoop houses are great. I counted twelve big Early Red Bell peppers (not red yet) on one small plant! These aren’t traditional bell shaped peppers, but a bit pointed on the bottom. They are oh so flavorful, early, and productive! You ought to see our Dark Red Lollo Rossa lettuce — it stops visitors in their tracks. So deep, volcanic red it’s shocking. We’ll have a big salad this evening, complete with a good sprinkle of Alderman peas, green onions, and sliced radishes.

This Early Red Bell pepper plant has twelve peppers on it so far!
We love our Dark Red Lollo Rossa lettuce. It’s such a showgirl!

Sons, David and Bill are going to North Dakota this coming week for a prairie dog hunt. Bill went last year with his friends and had a good time. Not to be left out, David has built a .223 rifle and has it sighted in. They leave Thursday and I hope the weather will be great so they have a good time. “Catching up,” David is working on his cabin, trying to get more done before they leave. Yesterday he started getting the little triangles on the sides of the shed dormers framed. It’s tricky as there are so many angles. Will and he also started putting up some of the eaves or bird blocking which closes up the space between the rafters, roof sheeting, and top plate. Luckily, one of the pallets David brought home is constructed of 2x10s so he doesn’t have to saw or buy any lumber for that step. He’s feeling under the gun — as we say in Minnesota, “Winter’s coming!”

David is busy framing the little triangle openings on the sides of the shed dormers in his cabin.

—Jackie

12 COMMENTS

  1. May your guys have a wonderful hunt! While cute, and I don’t want to see them eradicated, Prairie Dogs reproduce faster than mice, eat every blade of grass on acres upon acres, and carry the vector that can spread Bubonic Plague. A prairie dog town can grow to hundreds of in a few years. This North Dakotan appreciates their “sacrifice and service”!

    Glad you are getting your hay up, too. As a former “city person”, I was clueless about the real STRESS involved in getting quality (cut at the right time, rainfree, baled at the proper moisture) hay put up. The hay crop in our area is bountiful this year, but getting it down, dry and baled had been a bugger!

    • I agree about the prairie dogs. I recently Googled our old ranch in northeastern New Mexico. When we lived there, a prairie dog town covered the west 20 acres of our 100 acre place, 1/4 mile from the house and outbuildings. Now it’s all the way up to the buildings and garden!! They must not hunt them….

      We’re continuing to get our hay up with no rain. But we would sure like to see some soon as we’re in drought.

  2. Scored a whole box of old BHM at an Amish yard sale for only 2.00! I’ll be set for winter.

  3. Growing, harvesting and using are such rewarding chores ! Even though my old back hurts in the evenings !

    Love your blogs!

  4. This has been a terrible year so far for haying . We’ve had so much rain plus son and husband are building son’s family’s house so the rush has been to get the roof on. So now the roof is on and the first cutting (in July!) is baled and put up. Of course it’s weedy and stemmy but hopefully we’ll get enough rain 😂 to produce a nicer second cutting. It’s never ending and that’s ok!

    • All across the country, folks are having strange, difficult years. If it’s not too much rain and floods, it’s drought. I so wish it could even out!

  5. Such a busy time of year, I am canning and drying berries, jam, etc. My tomatoes are setting on, but slow this year., Lots of peppers, potatoes. I am just amazed at all you do. Just read your book, Starting Over, so enjoyed it. You are a true homesteader and pioneer all in one ! Wish I could have done that when I was younger. I am 77 and keep up a half acre yard, garden and flower beds. The yard is my happy place. Hoping I get some big Bill Beans this year, they along with Amish gold slicer are my favorites.

    • We’re busy but not canning much yet; the late frost got most of our fruit blossoms so no jam, jelly or preserves so far but for rhubarb, which is past now. Good for you! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has a “happy yard”! My tomatoes are also late but coming on, finally. The heat prevented them from setting blooms earlier. Here’s hoping for some huge Bill Bean tomatoes in your garden.

    • I think you’re right. But oh, the rewards when you win! And we win more than we lose or we wouldn’t do it. Maybe…

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