Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

As you have noticed, I have been spending time doing all sorts of things this Summer – things other than sitting at a computer writing.
We have had family visits from New Zealand, growing lambs, book reading, learning to knit socks, gardening, shepherdess-ing, and trying to keep cool in our hotter-than-usual summer, and fighting the reoccurring sinus-infection-from-hell.
One of the problems I have been having is accessing my photos to be able to post to this blog or even to access lamb photos to place on my sales list. I have been using Picasa, which I loved until I updated it and now can’t find anything…or I have multiple files showing up.
It’s frustrating and, in short, I hate it. Photos I have downloaded from my camera disappear. I’m not sure this is Picasa’s fault, or someone tinkering in my photos when they shouldn’t be. All our home computers share a home server unit and I suspect things are going on I have no inkling of.
Yup. Frustrating. Period. I had just taken lamb-for-sale photos, downloaded them into Picasa with the intent of getting them online as a few of you have expressed wanting lambs from me this year. I cannot find them anywhere at all. I will have to really give thought to a replacement program and educate myself as to how to remove Picasa while retaining the photographs I do have on that program to a safe place. It’s just been very aggravating.
Other than the “Photo Conundrum”, the summer is going by quickly here. We had Val & Hugo, our son-in-law’s parents, visit us and included them in a trip to Oregon and Black Sheep Gathering. Other than car problems, it was a nice trip. (I did get sick on the way home…) Oregon was beautiful! We managed to stop at Crater Lake before heading cross-country to Eugene.
Black Sheep Gathering was wonderful! I got to visit with friends as well as see more Shetland sheep from other breeders, look at vendors’ wares in the vendor tents, and I even got to help show my friend, Lois’, sheep in the show ring. I had a ball! That said, I found out I don’t get up and down in a show ring that well any longer, but it was a ball nonetheless. 🙂
It’s finally time to get some lambs moved into others’ flocks. Every one of them is a keeper, but that is a luxury a person on a small farm can’t afford, due to space availability. I have picked out three or four to keep in my ewe flock as replacements for their mums. Hard decisions, but decisions nonetheless.
I promise…I will try to write more as we start into Fall. And I do hope to have some photos to go with the entries as soon as I can find them….

wherever it is they are hiding…

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It’s been hot here. Even for us way up in the mountains…it’s been hot. So hot that even the cats have taken to summer siestas in the midday heat:

Rascal knows how to really relax…as well as block out the incoming air from the open window. Yes, he really is that big! He’s going to be a huge cat. Right now he and Mooch are 1 year old gangly teenagers who are bottomless pits when it comes to food. Now I know how my mother felt trying to keep up with my 6’4″ brother who never seemed to be filled up.

Mooch lays low in the Crow’s Nest of the cat-tree. Why he gets up high where it’s warmer I’ll never understand. He doesn’t move for hours in the heat, but seems to enjoy himself nonetheless.

Daisy, sound alseep and snoring to boot. She’s obviously exhausted from keeping Mooch and Rascal in line.

And HRH The Princess Europa takes advantage of no one else being in the box to take her nap.

Move over guys…I think it’s time for me to start slowing down during the heat of the day as well. Maybe we should get a Kiddie Pool for some Water Sports? I know Mooch would love it as he’s always playing in the waterbowls anyway!

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It’s been an odd summer here at Oleo Acres, one of the cheaper spreads here in the mountains of northern Arizona. We had a slow start to summer as the garden has attested to: cold nights into mid and late June saw a very slow start to seeds and transplants, winds kept drying out the newly emerged seedlings, and now the hot, high-altitude sun takes its toll on all of us. While now we just have about a 30 F degree swing between day/night temperatures, in June we still had temps swing from 75 F in the day to in the 30s F at night. Plants need to be made of strong stuff to endure those swings. Throw in the stress of our thin air allowing for more intense rays of the sun, and some plants just don’t survive.

I planted my Bush Goliath tomatoes in containers on the front deck this year. While they (I have only two plants) are still only about a foot tall, you can see above the large tomatoes they produce. Clearly, they like where they are.

I was a good Do-Bee, limiting myself to only one zucchini plant. It’s doing very nicely perking right along in a matching container between the two tomato plants. Can you spot the small zucchini already forming? Watch out neighbors! I take the August 6th holiday of “Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbors’ Porch Night” to heart! (heeheehee…forewarned is forearmed)

Some of the raspberries are starting to form fruits. These are very young plants who, not knowing about our late frosts, decided to bloom a bit on the early side this year. I was worried that most of the blossoms had succumbed to frostbite, but apparently the plants know more about it than I do. I can’t help myself from noshing my way past the strawberries first, then “checking” the raspberries to see their progress. Of course they would have more progress if someone stopped eating all the fruits.

Above is a cluster of fruits forming on our one blackberry. The blackberry was here when we bought the place back in ’92 and is the only one. However, what it lacks for in company it makes up in generous amounts of huge blackberries. Some years I can get a batch of jam out of my pickings. Most years I have to freeze the berries to add to the following year’s harvest to make jam. The plant live right up against the south wall of the basement. I know it loves the heat from the masonry as well as it’s pretty well protected against the prevailing winds. I’m a firm believer in the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” philosophy. Clearly, the plant likes where it is. So be it.

And I decided that even a tired, old chicken feeder can’t retire on a “farm-ette”. I sowed it with leaf lettuce seeds that came in one of those tapes. The seeds are supposed to be evenly spaced. Apparently the company who makes the tape and me have a dichotomy of opinion as to what that spacing should be – and that all the seeds need to sprout to make it so.

One of the treats I watch for are the butterflies that visit the garden and flower boxes along the deck. I was treated to this visit by Mr. Swallowtail as he sipped the nectar from the Rocky Mountain Penstemmon we have growing up everywhere. The day before this, a lovely Mrs. Hummingbird tried out both the penstemmon and the bright red petunias. Both were welcomed treats and visitors. I hope they return.

I hope that all of you have the time and opportunity to enjoy the gardens and plants about your homes. While I don’t like to be outside at all in the hot midday sun, there’s nothing like having a cup of coffee with Mother Nature in the cool of the morning we have here in the mountains, taking the time to appreciate all her labors.
…I guess I just need to do it using stealth tactics I learned in the military so those darned sheep don’t hear me being quiet. For some reason they believe they should be fed before my first cup of coffee. How dare they! 🙂

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Note: For some reason my first try at this post did not show any of the pictures, so I have re-posted sans the former comments. Please do let me know if you have any problems viewing this post. I suspect Blogger is up to something…

The weekend before this last one saw us at a tractor show north of town. It was a fairly small event but reminded both my Hired-Hand-With-Benefits and myself of something we don’t see often here. Tractors. The inspiration for going to this event was my HH looking for a new transmission for the small garden tractor he uses about the place. The old Craftsman had died a slow, horrible death and try as he might it could not be resuscitated for love nor money. Parts had been replaced to no avail. It was dead. This prompted the ordering of a new and a bit larger garden tractor. I have yet to hear if any of the accessories fits the new one. A major piece is the snow thrower which makes easier work in clearing out the snows of winter.

I love old farm equipment. Well, I guess I have to qualify that a bit as I like new farm equipment just as much. I had instilled in my character the love of good tools from a father who took me to countless hardware stores looking for items to make life easier.
My HH will tell you, I have never balked at anyone in the family getting some sort of tool or equipment to make life easier or more efficient. I am a big believer in the right tool for the right job.
Now, that being said, I also grew up in a family where each of us ended up with our own toolbox due to Dad grousing at someone who had used his tools without permission or put them back dirty or in the wrong place, usually my brother. This tradition has carried on in this family as well although a bit of “friendly” tool robbing occurs from time to time.
And this attitude goes as far as to in the kitchen (proper cooking implements) and wool working equipment: good spinning wheels, carding machine, looms, etc. Dad instilled the value of our time being worth something early on in life. If it was worthy enough to do correctly, it was worthy of time…a valuable commodity in itself.
So, the short of it is we enjoyed seeing all the tractors although I didn’t see one Allis Chalmers tractor among the ones on display – those mainly John Deere and International Harvesters. I guess it’s a Midwest thing, but I have fond memories of driving an Allis from time to time.

I also wanted to share this daisy with you. When I was married, almost 32 years ago now, I carried a bouquet of yellow roses and daisies. Not until later would I find that my mother had saved the seeds from those daisy flower heads for me. On the return from living in Germany, I was given a baggie filled with the seeds from that very bouquet, then about five years old. that baggie was placed away and I didn’t come across it again until we moved into this place in ’92. I took a chance and planted the seeds.
I’ve always admired daisies for their strength of character. They hadn’t failed me and came up with vigor. The first plant from those seeds eventually succumbed to age, but not before it left “babies” for me to keep. Every summer it reminds me not only of my wedding, but of the mother who believed…in the daisies and in me. Mom passed away in ’83, but I still feel the connection through these blossoms.

And the final picture is of lily plants in our “pond” that were given to us by our cat vet, Dr. Bill and his wife, Melanie. We weren’t sure they would make it through a winter in our area (they have a backyard pond in town), but they have. It’s been a joy to see them bloom and grow.

In pondering over the flowers coming up, some against the odds, I have come to re-think and take stock in the saying, “Bloom where you’re planted”. I’ll try to remember that, Mom.

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