We are having a whirlwind spring or end of winter and we don’t know from one day to the next what the temperature will be. Last night we were experiencing 35-60 mile per hour wind gusts. Thankfully there was no damage to anything that we have found. We deal with this while waiting on baby calves to be born!! Farming is a challenge, especially beginning this year.
If you’ve been following my blog for very long you may remember a post of another orphan I had in April of 2013 and her name was Annabelle.
Well, Annabelle presented us with her first baby on September 8th with a huge black/white face bull calf.
I was worried to death about her the day he was born. She was in labor most of the day and we try not to help with birthing unless we see a problem. Well, by 8:00 p.m. that night she still hadn’t had him yet so Eddie and I went back to the house to get halter, ropes and pulling stick and headed back to the woods and it hadn’t already gotten dark. When we found her she had already had him and he was up nursing and very alert. Great job Annabelle on the your first calf!!! We’ve learned that if you let Mother Nature takes its course is usually better for all involved.
I left work this morning with it raining again. The weatherman says there a possibility of flash flooding again. We still have less than half of our hay put up but already have almost as much hay as we did last year rolled. I keep telling my kids that if we have as much snow this coming winter as we had rain this summer that we should all be preparing for lots of quiet time at home by the wood stove and possibly without electricity. I think I’m going to prepare both of them an emergency weather kit for their homes just in case. It’ll be up to them to fill the food cabinets and prepare for some kind of heat. Here’s the rain guage as of last Sunday:
I know it’s hard to read but we’re just 1/10th of an inch from 7 1/2 inches for July. We got 6 1/2 in June and 5 1/2 in May. Rained expected today, all day should put us up to the 8 inch mark and more rain expected the first day of August. What will we get if hurricanes come up the coast in September and October like they normally do? Do I sound like a “worry-wart”?? The sunshine sure did feel good Monday and Tuesday. Keep those umbrellas handy!!
We’ve been so busy the last few weeks and it seems like months since I last blogged and I’m trying to make up for lost time tonight. Bear with me and I promise you’ll understand before this weekend is over.
We have three apple orchards on our farm and all used to be full of old timey apples. Time, neglect and the weather have really been hard on the trees. Each fall we try to have a Sunday Cider Fest and decided if we didn’t do something about replenishing the trees that have died or been uprooted by the wind that we would have to start buying apples to continue the tradition.
We’ve replaced about 10 trees in the last two years and I’ve been trying my hand at grafting with not much success. I think the problem was trying to graft to trees that were not in the ground and established. Two years ago I started taking classes offered by the county extension office to learn how to graft. At each class I’ve obtained 10-15 apple root stocks for semi-dwarf trees.
Since I haven’t had much luck with the grafting, Hubby and I decided I need to make sure the root stock was going to live. When I got the root stock it was bare root and it was too much stress on the grafts competing with the trees trying to get established. We put all of the stock in large pots with fertilized soil and made sure they got plenty of water throughout the summer. We did this for two summers and during the winter took the trees (30 trees) into the mansion basement to keep the winter wind from beating them out of the pots.
Last month we started bringing them out for some daily sun and acclimating them to the cooler weather. Last weekend we planted the first 15 in the orchard at the west barn.
Hubby used the post hole digger on the tractor to drill the holes and then we had some heavy rains which was great for getting the water to settle the holes and get the water down where the roots would need them.
We set out thirteen more yesterday afternoon and now we wait. Our biggest challenge will be the deer!! The trees that we set out last weekend have already felt the damage of deer. Each one of the trees lower limbs had been eaten off. To keep them from completing the damage we will have to make woven wire cages to go about two feet around and out from each tree. We tried the plastic pipe around them last year and the mice did the damage then. Apparently they thought the pipe was a good place to set up housekeeping and chewed the bark off at the base of the tree and killed them. So MICE and DEER are on my hit list at the moment!!
In June of this past summer, we had lots of tree and fence damage from the “duratio” that hit our farm. I’ve never seen such wind and we were very lucky that we had no more damage than we did. We did loose several apple trees and hubby has been working hard since that wind storm to get things back in order.
Hubby started the clean up in the orchard today and got all but one of the downed trees cut up and hauled off. It looks kind of bare now but hopefully we’ll fix that. Here’s a picture of the cleaned up orchard as of this afternoon.
We won’t be able to replace those trees with the same type because they were trees grafted by the family years ago. Luckily there are several of the same type in the orchard and I have 30+ apple stock in the cellar that are two years old and ready for grafting. I need to get out soon and cut scion from the trees we have left and when spring truly breaks I’ll get that new stock in the ground, grafted and wrapped and shielded from all the wildlife that love tender buds.
I’m looking forward to another try at grafting myself. Hubby is a real pro at it! I’ve taken the classes but think maybe I try to hard. We’ll see how they fair toward the end of summer and look for new sprouts on the grafts. I LOVE FARMING!!!