It seems like all we’re doing this week is weeding various gardens and haying when the dew is off in the mornings. (Oh yeah, I’ve got to add running to town for haybine parts!) Yep, Will broke and bent some guards and didn’t have any more. The ones he’d ordered online were the wrong ones. So, in the morning, I went to town for my twice-a-year permanent to tame my fuzzy, crazy hair. Then, when I got home, I had to turn around and make another run to town for haybine guards and bolts. After all, it’s only a 45-minute drive, one way…

As the weather’s been fantastic, Will has hay down everywhere, hoping to get it all put up before possible rain tomorrow. While he was cutting one field, he had Charis square bale hay in another field. He had been round baling it but the weight left ruts in the damp field that he didn’t like. When he went to see how many bales she’d gotten, he was shocked to see tons of bales, everywhere! There were about 200 bales or so, out in that field where he had been expecting, maybe, 75! The joke is on him.

Jason, putting a bale on the hay elevator, headed for the loft.

Today, with the help of Charis and our good friend, Jason, those bales are all being picked up on the hay wagon, brought home, one load at a time, and put into the barn loft. Jason is unloading and Charis and Will are up in the barn, stacking bales. Whew! I’m in charge of keeping them all fed and hydrated as, with my bad knees, I’m not much good help with the hay at present. Hopefully, they can get them all up today so Will can round bale the fields he has cut tomorrow, before rain comes.

Charis and Will are in the mow, stacking the bales after they come off the elevator.

Last night, when I was putting the ducks to bed, locked safely in their coop, the wolves were howling, and the moon was full. Very pretty. But I was stopped in my tracks by the fragrance wafting through the backyard. A whole bunch of my Oriental lilies were blooming, and it was amazing to be almost overcome by such a wonderful smell.

y Oriental lilies sure make our yard smell awesome!

— Jackie


  1. I feel so blessed to have such good friends who help out from time to time. I sure do remember last year!! But, we got through it and here we are.

  2. Hi Jackie, could you give us an update on your son, Javier? I hope you have an opportunity to visit him during this busy haying season.

      • On Monday, I went down to St. Lukes Hospital, where Javid was having surgery. It turned out he had bone infection down too far in the leg to save it. So, the doctors had to amputate at the hip. It was a long surgery and day. When he finally came back to his room, he was in good spirits and awake. We visited for awhile and even were able to joke a little. He’s such a brave guy with lots of faith in God.

  3. My grandmother always put a teaspoon or two of lemon juice in her jams and jellies. She said a lot of fruit was not tart enough to jell. I always thought it had to be sugar or sweet enough, but I tried it early on in my canning career and it works. It does not change the taste either. You might try that with your jams and jellies.

    • Our grandmothers knew a lot! I will give it a try as I’m sure it would help, especially, pectin-free jams and jellies.

  4. Wow! That’s a lot of work. Years, decades, ago I used to help the neighbors with their hay. Hot, itchy work!

  5. Sounds Busy as usual. Always enjoy
    Your updates and reports. Have a
    Share about Chokecherry jelly. Last
    Year I decided I would try something
    Little different. Boiled up the cleaned
    Chokecherries as usual. Drained off
    About half the juice through colander
    Into another kettle. Then took the
    Old fashioned potato masher to the
    Chokecherries in the kettle of reduced
    Amount of juice. Really worked them
    To just pulp and pits. Added back the
    Original juice and drained back into
    Extra kettle. Got Lots of fruit and
    Juice Then made my chokecherries
    Into jam as usual. More flavor, more
    “”Substance “” to the “”jelly”” and
    Now that’s how I will do chokecherries

    Hot and dry here in central KS. Lots
    Of rain going north or south but not
    Here. Suppose it will all even out like
    It does and we will have rain in the
    Fall. Keeping the sprinklers running
    On raspberries and other garden.
    Birds and enjoying the spray

    • That’s kind of how I do mine, too. But I first use my Meju Liisa juicer to get the juice, then mash the fruit and put it through a steel sieve to get the seeds separated. Then I add the pulp puree to the juice.
      I hope you can get some of our rain!

  6. I counted my Asiatic lily blooms one evening, they were ready to open, 9 blooms! Then, the deer came and enjoyed a snack, and ate ALL OF THEM. Along with some Jupiter’s Beard flowers, which are supposed to be deer resistant. Evidently they did not get the word. The fires here in New Mexico have them stressed and on the move.

    Thanks for sharing your bloom, it is beautiful!

    Sandy in New Mexico

  7. I just got home about an hour ago from square baling a field before the rain tomorrow. I baled with my 1 year old, who is Almost two, and made about 250 squares. It was a long day, the kids and I raked all morning, I canned a batch of chokecherry jelly (your recipe of course) to submit in the county fair along with other things like pictures, herbs, and some veggies today before 7pm. And then baled and helped Scott pick up the hay. He is out baling now, as the dew was light, and that chance of rain is too daunting. My garden is finally producing some food though, so that’s awesome. I picked my first two zucchini, your variety, and coyote cherry tomatoes. I didn’t realize they would be yellow! I was watching the wrong plant and noticed today I had a big handful of yellow tomatoes ready. I also checked out my Hopi pale squash and I have one that’s about the size of a football. So excited. More coming though. Many more.

    My volunteer pumpkin plants in the front yard have turned into an ornamental white one, like the size offf a saucer for tea cups, and then some other bigger variety. Must be from the pumpkins I bought and carved with the kids last year!

    I weeded all my squash and cukes a while ago, maybe a week, and suddenly they are all flowering, when they weren’t before. I am glad I did, as I need some more fresh stuff! My emus love the scrapes of everything.

    Speaking of the chokecherry jelly, I cooked about 2 gallons of cherries and got a8 cups of liquid, is that normal? I didn’t make any last year and can’t remember from all the years prior. Also, what did I do that some
    Of the jelly jars were like syrup instead of jelly? I am wondering if they were tight enough and water went in? Not sure. Anyways. Good night and have a good weekend.

    • Yep, haying can be a busy time, for sure. Long ago, my kids and I used to hay like fourteen farms. We put up both squares and round bales with our neighbor and his kids. Busy, but satisfying and the swimming afterward was fun!
      Buy yourself a Meju Liisa steam juicer. I used to have the same problem with not getting enough juice out of a lot of chokecherries. Now I get like quarts out of one ice cream pail!!!
      Chokecherries are the toughest of all fruits to get to jel. Just enjoy the syrup on your pancakes and waffles. I sometimes add part apple juice to the chokecherry juice, especially if I don’t have enough chokecherry. That helps it jel.

      • I have one! I actually just got another yesterday along with three other pots for $25. What a steal. I’ll use that to juice them next. I never thought of it, I’ve always followed your instructions in your canning book. It did gel afterwards, and made jelly. Not sure why it was so liquified to begin with but it won forst place at the fair!

  8. WOW….just WOW! Wonderful haying season….gorgeous flowers….’enough’ rain (remembering last year)….and Will & company, the wonder workers. Just wish those knees of yours would ease up a bit. Blessings to all.

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