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July 22, 2009

week of 7/20/09

Monday 07/20/09
Hattie gave 2.5 gallons.
The bees continue to clean up the extraction supplies. A couple hundred of them apparently ate themselves to death; they were dead in one of the tubs this morning. Sigh.
I had a dentist appt this morning and worked from home. It continues to be very hot and we are limping along with the bypass set-up.
No rain today, though we were tortured by seeing storms off to the North.

Tuesday 07/21/09
Happy Birthday Mom!
No milking today, I went in to the Houston office, quite early. It was a bittersweet day. Lots of great people were in today, but one of my favorite people is leaving the company and it was her last day.
No rain today. Dave picked a cup or so of cherry tomatoes, that and the basil are about all that is producing right now. I can’t post pics of the garden, it is embarrassing. The slip from the auction barn arrived today, Blackjack actually weighed 850 lbs!
We took Josh to Mixed Martial Arts tonight and had a dinner date out; seafood!
We watched The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) on PBS tonight. It is a powerful story about a family from Laos.

Wednesday 07/22/09
No milking today.
The A/C repair crew came out and fixed the problem. It is a temporary fix; they say we need a new furnace and A/C unit. We will have to budget that expense for the fall.
Josh is sore today in places he did not know could be sore, guess that means he had a good workout.
Dave watered and did farm projects today, including putting up a feeder for the sheep that they can’t stand in while they eat! I don't think I have to mention what sheep do all the time, and will do when they are eating, and will do when they are standing in their feedbunk! Ick!

Thursday 07/23/09
2.5 gallons from Hattie today.
It rained 5/8” this evening! I got home just after it finished, as the sun was setting and all the water droplets looked like diamonds on the fences, leaves and flowers. Beautiful!
Josh enjoyed MMA tonight. Char is preparing to come home on Tuesday; I don’t think she wants to leave MA!

Friday 07/24/09
It rained 1/10” this morning! It sounded, smelled and looked wonderful!
Yesterday I picked one eggplant, 3 small bell peppers and a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes. I also braved the melon patch with high boots on and a stick to beat down the weeds. I am sure I looked silly, but I did not find any snakes, so I guess it worked! I picked 4 watermelons, one was over ripe (cows loved it), Josh and I cut one and two more are in the barn fridge. Finally! Something to harvest!
Josh and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie this evening; it was good but a far cry from the book!

Saturday 07/25/09
I didn’t milk today; slept in instead.
Today was chore day for me: cleaning house and catching up on laundry.
I did some work in the kitchen too: made vanilla yogurt, cheddar cheese and dehydrated bell peppers and onions. The bell peppers are from our garden, the onions are from the local farm stand. I also picked up several pounds of gorgeous tomatoes to dehydrate or can, have not decided yet.
There was a hint of rain nearby this evening, none here so far.

July 19, 2009

Honey Extraction Day!

The frames we took out of the hives yesterday; we left them indoors overnight so the honey dehydrates, just a little. We took a total of 6 frames from each hive (2).

The first golden beauty!

Uncapping the wax with the heated uncapping knife.

Dave gives the first 3 frames a whirl!

The honey flows!

The final product! Nearly 6 gallons of honey and a half pund or so of wax to work with.

The clean up crew~the bees reclaim every bit of honey and wax we did not take.

July 14, 2009

Week of 7/13/2009

Monday 07/13/09
No milking this morning, we still have plenty.
Josh went to the MMA gym tonight, he enjoyed it immensely!
I spent the time at a local coffee shop studying.
No great farm news to report except that we have decided to sell the Angus steer; we simply have no freezer room for him. We’ll post him on Craig’s List; and plan to take him to the auction as a last resort.

Tuesday 07/14/09
No milking today; marathon of conference calls that started early. Princess probably loves me for not separating her from Hattie.
Lordy! The A/C quit working today. I didn’t dare open the windows until about 8 pm when the temp inside and outside equalized at 90 degrees in both places. The repairman is coming first thing tomorrow morning, thankfully.
Ice water and cold fruits/veggies for dinner, followed by another cold shower.
Wednesday 07/15/09
The A/C repairman came early; it will take a week to get the part shipped from the factory. The good news is that the problem is the fan blower on the furnace and not the actual A/C unit.
I filled the non-functional hot tub with cold water, a nice little spot to cool off!
I can appreciate the use of “sleeping porches” in the days before A/C; it is much cooler after dark on the porch than in the house!
Dreaming of living in Maine—now!

Thursday 07/16/09
No milking this morning, early dentist appt.
Dave rigged the fan blower to run on demand, so we have to manually go outside to turn it on or off. Managed to get the house down to 80, what a difference 20 degrees makes!
I talked to Charlye this evening, she is having great fun.

Friday 07/17/09
No milking this morning; I went to the Houston office early.
The office held the July B-day celebrations for Dr. P and I, it was great fun.
The traffic on the way home was a bear, so we ordered pizza for dinner instead of going out.
Dave took Blackjack to the Navasota auction for the sale tomorrow. He said their operation is smooth, professional and easy for the seller. They mail a check after the sale.
Dave and Josh mowed this afternoon; even as hot as it was.
We watched the movie The Curious Life of Benjamin Button this evening, I recommend it!

Saturday 07/18/09
It was a joy to milk this morning after so many days off; Hattie gave 2 gallons. Vera acquiesced and allowed herself to enjoy the brushing and petting. We pulled one of the melons out and cut it open—not ripe. The girls loved the juicy treat!
We harvested honey this morning, a total of 14 frames from two hives. The hive that was started this year we did not disturb. Dave got stung once. One of the hives (the original) was especially active, I was amazed and glad I did not get stung. We left Max in the yard with a nice big bone to keep him busy. He enjoys chasing bumble bees, so we did not think we needed his help agitating the bees. The frames are in a large tub, in the house where they will dehydrate for 24 hours or so before we extract the honey.

July 8, 2009

random pics from the last week

looking east from the back pond toward the barn and house

Sunset 070809

how the cows ate the melon

blue flowers at the pond's edge

blackie (crossbred ewe)

liz and max (looking at the sheep)

Week of 7/06/08

Monday 07/06/09
I milked two gallons from Hattie and then was off to the Houston office. I work with the best folks, love them!
Dave grilled rib eye steaks on the grill; they were so big the three of us could only eat 2 steaks. Delicious!
Dave worked on farm chores like fixing gates and watering. The drought continues.

Tuesday 07/07/09
It rained in the night! It was not a dream!! It rained a little more in the mid-morning, all in all 1.8 inches. A wonderful reprieve!
Hattie gave 2 gallons this morning. The hens are affected by the heat and are only laying 2-3 eggs a day. That is ok, I am not baking right now and we are not going through them very fast.
We had leftovers for dinner, not exciting for foodies but good stuff just the same.

Wednesday 07/08/09
No milking this morning, I had early conference calls and then a dentist appointment.
I awoke to the smell of coffee, fresh flowers in the kitchen, a cake on the counter and the Beatles singing “Today’s Your Birthday” (na na na na na)!
It is a tradition around here. J
Dave boiled 15 pounds of shrimp for dinner, a very special treat!
Thursday 07/09/09
No milking today.
Traveled to Beaumont, it was murderous to have to turn the car off knowing how hot it would be inside when I returned to it! The heat index was 109 today.
Dave made silage with the corn stalks today. This evening we made a bit more with a few more corn stalks and sunflower stems. The part that did not fit in the cooler (stand in for a silo) we fed to the girls, they loved it!
I thought I thawed hamburger this morning, not so. It was actually pork sausage so I made pork sausage helper for dinner. Need to put the glasses on and drink coffee before I take things out of the freezer!

Friday 07/10/09

Hattie gave 2.5 gallons this morning; thank you Hattie!
I over watered the garden today (i.e.: forgot the hose was on). I don’t think any of the plants will mind!
Today was the day to treat everything for worms (prophylaxis only); I chose cayenne pepper this time. Other weeks I rotate DE (diatomaceous earth), garlic, Basic H; and twice a year we use Cydectin. The cows got their cayenne powder sprinkled on cucumber and mixed with molasses, the sheep got it mixed in with their yeast and alfalfa pellets and the chickens got cayenne seeds on top of milk. They all gobbled it up.
Josh fixed queso dip for a snack today, he and I ended up having it for dinner.
Saturday 07/11/09
We skipped milking this morning.
Josh and I went to The Woodlands to look at a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Gym. I was pleasantly surprised with the gym and the professionalism of the coaches. He will start next week. On the way home we stopped by a local farm stand and picked up corn, beans, peas, plums and two of the biggest tomatoes I have ever seen. Somebody’s garden is doing well!
I made corn chowder for dinner with some of our fresh corn and some from the farm stand, delicious.
Later this evening I went for a 5 mile bike ride. Max inspired me with the report of his 35 mile bike trip to visit Joann, eat lunch and bike back home.
The ride was interrupted twice by packs of loose dogs, not strays, just dogs that live at two houses along the route that like to chase, and are not suitably fenced. After making it to the turnaround point I loaded my pockets with rocks for the trip home. I am a bad shot with rocks, but pretty good with a chunk of asphalt. I got bit on the foot by a heeler mix (he just got my shoe thank goodness). The rocks and asphalt chunks did help, but I think I will need to get some mace before I make another ride through the gauntlet. The idea of hurting someone’s dog is upsetting, but not near so upsetting as the idea of having to get rabies treatment or be seen in the ER for a dog bite. Their owners obviously do not care much for the dogs to allow them to run free. No telling if they have been vaccinated. Grrr!
Sunday 07/12/09
Hattie gave us 2.5 gallons this morning.
Later when all the cows were out back and I was in the garden, Vera spotted me throw one little cucumber over the fence and made a beeline for it. I could see Hattie in the back pond, laying down in it. I was not surprised that she did not get out of the cool bath to come for a few garden treats.
I watered and pulled weeds until I was a few minutes from heat exhaustion, and then worked on changing the milking inflations and cleaning up (in the shade).
I spent most of the rest of the day indoors making cookies for the boys and doing homework.

July 6, 2009

Jim & Kathleen's Surprise Party!

Jim & Kathleen were the recipients of a surprise (50th Anniversary) Party!
All the friends and family camping out showered them with gifts and cards!

Happy 50th Anniversary!!!
love you!

July 4, 2009

Melon Patch Gone Wild!

Melon patch gone wild!

mr. snake and a melon

mr. snake caught

mr. snake liberated for a moment

July 3, 2009

Week of 6/30/09

Monday 06/29/09
Hattie gave 2 gallons.
I traveled for meetings today, it was a busy day.
It rained tonight!!! It was dark when it finished so I have not checked the rain gauge yet. What a relief to get a nice long, heavy shower!! I stood out on the back porch taking pics and getting soaked; thoroughly enjoyable.
The figs are ripening!

Tuesday 6/30/09
Hattie gave two gallons of milk today.
The rain gauge measured ½ inch of rain last night!!
The garden is petering out. The tomatoes and cucumbers have drastically slowed down despite the watering. Oh well, cows, kids, everyone was happy with it while it lasted!

Wednesday 7/01/09
No milking due to travel. Dave watered like crazy today and discovered several soccer ball sized watermelons growing in the melon patch!
Dave grilled sausage on the grill; no heating up the house is a good plan. It was 104 in the shade of the porch today. Dave and I went to look at hot tubs this afternoon; we put a down payment on one. I don’t think we will need to turn the heating unit on any time soon. I am looking so forward to cooling off in it! Sure beats running the garden hose over one’s head.

Thursday 7/02/09
Hattie gave 2 gallons this morning.
Charlye emailed that they dissected a sheep brain a few days ago and today they went to the Body World exhibit. She is having a great time!
We went to a send off party for our friend Janeen that is moving back to NY State in a few weeks; I am so happy for her! She has been accepted into the program she wanted and gets to be close to family.
My online college course is going well, almost finished the first one, the next one starts next week. I am getting back into the swing of it, finally!

Friday 7/03/09
2.5 gallons this morning! We picked up the beef from the butcher this morning. The processed weight was 735 pounds; thank goodness some friends split it with us! The freezers are adequately full!
We harvested 3 eggplants, 4 cucumbers, a handful of tomatoes and a handful of berries.
I went out this afternoon to take pics of the ever increasing melon vines, and growing fruit. All was well until I got to the large fruit outside the fence and noticed to my horror a snake just a few inches away from the melon! I gave Dave the frantic “come-hither-it-is-a-snake” sign (without screaming this time). He took a shot at it, one melon exploded and the snake stayed in the same weird position. Turns out he was caught in the fine poultry netting—woven in and out of it actually, and was unable to move. Dave cut him out, and beheaded him (my hero)! I won’t be going into the melon patch without boots on.
We had seafood gumbo and garden carrots on the side for dinner. I’ll thaw some new beef tomorrow.
Saturday 07/04/09
Happy July 4th!!

Hattie gave 2+ gallons this morning, the dogs and cats got an extra allotment (no complaints from them).
I spent the day doing laundry and cleaning house, this afternoon I power washed the back porch and repainted it. The heat is good for helping paint dry at least! It will likely need another coat tomorrow.
I am picking and eating half a dozen figs a day; the abundance will soon overwhelm me I’m sure.
Josh and I did not do much for the 4th, cleaned house, watched a movie and went out for ice cream for dessert. Charlye sent a video clip of the fireworks she watched—very cool!
Max went nuts when the neighbors shot off their fireworks. With the drought I was hoping they would resist the temptation this year, no such luck.
I grilled teriyaki beef on skewers for dinner (the new beef), it turned out great! I grilled corn and eggplant too, also delicious.
Sunday 07/05/09
I skipped milking today.
I watered the garden and put another coat of paint on the deck. By this evening it was dry and the deck is put back together.
I spent time indoors studying between excursions outside to do chores.
Max dug up a nasty bone he buried 2 days ago, ick!
Baked chicken for dinner.
Rested and relaxed, ready for the week ahead!