Thursday, July 21, 2011

All hope is not lost!!

Our section of Illinois was soaked by lots of snow and rain and frigid temps in the spring, now we are hit with wicked heat and no rain at all.  The soybeans in the field are holding their own and beginning to flower.  I am amazed how much they look like sweet english peas.  At least I understand the way they grow.
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Travis started the project
Last Monday our area was hit with wild winds and storms.  We lost one limb thankfully.  Other towns about an hour or so away were not so lucky.  We lost power for 2 hours, others lost power for 4 days.  Arliss and Travis decided to take on the limb old-school.  I am proud to say no toes were lost in the process.
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Arliss takes a whack
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The wild raspberry vines that my mother-in-law and I found have produced over 2 quart bags of the beautiful goodness.  We have found a number of mulberry trees and nut trees as well.  I have learned so many identifications for plants by reading books and listening to my mother-in-law.  My mother-in-law has taken a hunter's survival course and can tell which plants are safe to eat and which ones can be used for medicinal purposes.

We have found horehound, stinging nettles (the hard way), and nightshade.  Now the nightshade is not a safe plant, but it is important to recognize it so we don't ingest it in any way.

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my first potato!!
Last night Arliss and I were watering the garden; the heat has been so bad that we waited until there was a breeze and it was cool enough to be outside.  While watering the potato plants I found that we already had some that were ready to eat!!  I was so excited.  Since I didn't plant the potatoes until after almost 2 weeks after Easter, I wasn't sure if I blew it or not.  We have red potatoes and yukon gold.
My cucumbers are blooming, as are my zucchini, and other squashes.  My corn has a couple of ears and my pumpkin vine has taken over the garden wherever there is an open area (think the 1950's movie The Blob).
I really thought the heat would have prevented any of my plants from doing much more than shriveling up. Hooray for tenacity!!
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A beautiful end to a summer day
I hope you are well and that your garden is growing and blooming and producing for you too.
Take care and stay out of the heat.
Sipping an ice cold sun tea in your honor,
with love from the farm.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Around the Farm

I have been busy around the farm; taking walks with my mother-in-law, who lives with us, and exploring the various flora and fauna around the farm.  I have found many wild berries around the fields and they are now ripe and amazing.
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My mother-in-law found gooseberries behind the tree
 My cousin, Cindy and I spent many summers eating the raspberries at our grandparents' farm.  As soon as the berries were red or even pink in some cases, we were picking them and eating them.  I have picked about a cup of them from our bushes and have at least 2-3 cups left to pick.  I've washed them and frozen them so I can make jam with them later when it isn't so hot!
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My brother is on the F 12 and my dad is on the H
Over the 4th of July weekend my family traveled to southern Illinois to pick up a tractor.  It is a 1936 F 12 Farmall tractor, the same kind my great-grandfather and grandfather used when they farmed.  My dad already has a 1948 Farmall H, the same kind that Grandpa used as my dad grew up.  It was a lot of fun to travel together; 5 kids and 5 adults.
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My sister-in-law with one of the Belgians that stood 18 hands.
The farmer who sold it to my dad gave all of us a hay ride with his Belgian horses pulling the wagon.  The kids even had a chance to handle the reins for part of the ride.  The whole weekend was a lot of fun.
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Travis has the reins.  The farmer had old bench seats that he bolted to the wagon for us to sit on.
 Our dogs, Rufus and Rover, went on a walk with my mother-in-law and me the other day.  When they started panting I took them to the low spot in the field where the rainwater had collected.  The water had receded enough that the field around it became a mud bog.  Unfortunately, I did not realize this until the dogs and I had started getting sucked into the mud.  By the time it was over the dogs and I were covered in dark, black, silty mud.  Lesson learned.
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The dogs had recently been given a bath too!!

I hope you have a great July.  The first few days have been wonderful here.
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Sunset on the way home taken by Arliss.
Sending love and berry-stained kisses from the farm.