Friday, September 23, 2016

A prairie autumn by the Little Missouri...

Seventy miles per hour down the highway, hanging out of the window with phone in hand.  That's how I captured the prairie autumn as we drove to town.  The droughthy year has taken a toll here.  You can see acres and acres of short, dry grass all along the Little Missouri.  The low pastures show a tinge of green near the river, and the Boxelder and Cottonwood trees are beautiful, golden dobs of watercolor, but pull away in the landscape and there is brown nothingness dotted with mounds of cow manure and prickly pear cactus.  It's been worse.  There is rain in the forecast.  We are hopeful....again.

The first photograph is of the little place we have along the river.  We haven't been able to graze the pastures yet this year due to the lack of water there.  The river is barely trickling, and besides it for water, the reservoirs are all dried up.  It's a rough and rugged place where we live.  One moment you think you're never going to make it through while counting the tenths and hundredths of inches of rain, and the next moment the heavens break open and blessed rain heals and renews the craggy, cracked land with a downpour.  It's a land where the temperatures can fluctuate 40 to 50 degrees in one day, where there is parched, scorching heat and cruel, blistering cold.  I call it The Land of Extremes.  We love this land like a mother loves her child -- despite its difficulties and defiance or its tender obedience -- there is unconditional love.  When it's green and bountiful, it's beyond belief.  When it's not, it's beyond belief.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Garden in still life...

 Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. 
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tally on cows...

 Trailing cows past an old homestead.
You can tell it's there by the trees.
Tally:  We pregnancy tested 450 cows today.
Only 27 open cows.
These are better results than we hoped for in a drought situation.
After testing, we turned cows out to fresh pastures.  They aren't the greatest, but they have better grass than the pastures they just left.

Hubby and I took out one bunch of cows and I was enjoying the scenery and the wildflowers along the way.  I captured this photo of Rubber Rabbitbrush.  Isn't that a funny name for a plant?

 This silvery sage-looking plant is called Winterfat.  The cows are absolutely crazy for it right now.  Everywhere they find it, they munch it right off.  I think it has a salty flavor that they crave plus it's high in protein.

The sage brush was "in bloom."  It is particularly strong-scented right now, perhaps because it's blooming.  I  like the aromatic, woodsy smell of sage brush.  Cattle don't eat it much, but the Sage Grouse eat the berries and have their young in it.  Sage brush is great cover for prairie animals.

A big day of work is done.  We'll be moving livestock out again tomorrow.
It sounds like rain might be in the forecast!
I hope so.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Know well the condition of your flocks....

 A skillet of pullet eggs frying for breakfast.
Two of the eggs were double-yolkers!
I'm getting 17 pullet eggs each day now and collecting 27-29 eggs a day.
Really.  Too many.  It's give-away season.

 A fall prairie bouquet.  Grasses, sunflowers and Queen Anne's Lace.

I made my favorite Gingerbread Cake today.
It feels like fall when I make it.  
It is deep brown, and rich, with earthy-warm spices.
Very good with hot coffee or tea.

 We brought the ewes closer to home.
It's time to turn in the bucks.

 I love this photo of the sheep going through the gate.
We turned in ten bucks today.
In five months we will have lambies.

Today was one of those Indian Summer Days.
Hot.  90 degrees.
This evening after shutting the chicken coop, 
I took the dogs for a walk 
and the wind came up all of a sudden -- strong and cold.
The cold front is moving in.
Tomorrow's high is said to be around 50 degrees.
We will be working cows outdoors
all week and pregnancy testing. 
We welcome the cooler weather for working livestock.

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25 When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26 The lambs will be for your clothing,
And the goats will bring the price of a field,
27 And there will be goats’ milk enough for your food,
For the food of your household,
And sustenance for your maidens.
Proverbs 27:23-27

Thursday, September 08, 2016

In the garden...

Even though we've been struggling through a drought in our area, my garden has been fairly good at producing.  Some things have done better than others, but that's to be expected.  We've had a full summer of daily salads, and we're still nibbling like bunnies at the greens.  I planted a little bit of lettuce every two weeks or so and we've been "eating green" all summer from the garden.  Finally the cucumbers and tomatoes are ripening.  So late.  So late.  But still, we're eating from the garden and I'm thankful for what we have.  The onions are small, and they are real tear-jerkers -- producing tears in the cook's eyes when she peels and dices them.  The garlic is beautiful -- my first crop of it.  I'm going to be planting some of my bulbs this fall for next year's crop.  It's a Siberian hard-neck variety -- a great variety for us northern growers.  As you can see, the pumpkin patch has trailed down the bank and there are gobs and gobs of orange and white varieties on the vine.  The frustrating part is that none of my butternut squash produced.  At least I haven't found any amongst the vines.  The grand-littles are going to love picking jack-o-lantern prospects from the pumpkin patch.

One fun experiment I did this year were the poblano peppers.  I always buy them at the grocery store for chile rellenos  and stuffed, roasted peppers.  They are so mild that we really enjoy them so this  spring I decided to keep a few seeds and started them in little paper pots.  I set them out when they were quite small, not sure they would make it, but they did, and they are really beautiful!  I can't wait to eat, them filled with cream cheese and roasted.  Mmmm.

I've been robbing a few spuds from the potato patch now and then.  I don't pull the plants, but leave them growing while I pluck a few of the potatoes that are close to the surface underneath the straw.  There is just something extra-good about homegrown potatoes.  We had some spuds pan roasted with a little olive oil, butter and Parmesan tonight.  Similar to this recipe, but in the skillet.  Mmmmm!

The last photo boasts of cucumbers.  Actually, my dad gave me some ginormous cukes from his garden.  I really didn't know what I was going to do with them, but decided to dice them up and make bread 'n' butter relish.  I also sliced some of them into spears and make a few jars of dills.  Another experiment I am doing is on pickles.  I have noticed that the Vlasic variety of pickles that are so crisp and delicious have an ingredient that most of us don't use in our pickle recipes -- calcium chloride.  I bought a small jar of Ball Pickle Crisp to try out in my pickles this year to see if I can get the same crunch as Vlasic.  I'll let you know if it works.

We had a very busy week last week.  The men removed old shingles and put all new shingles on our roof and NumberOneSon's roof.  What a TON of work that was!  Everything looks great and it's nice to have that project done before winter.  We also had friends from So. Cal. come visit for a couple days.  It was so nice to catch up with them and have some wonderful heart to heart talks.

Autumn is in the air!  The mornings are cool and crisp.  We wake up and put on jeans and long sleeves and by noon we are into our short-sleeves and I put on shorts.  By evening, we are back to pants and long sleeves again.  Such is fall here.  We've had a few showers of rain which has been good.  At least we know it can rain.  We are hopeful that there might be more rain on the way for us this fall.  It would be nice to put the trees and grasses to bed with a good amount of wetness at the roots.  God knows.  How is your fall going so far?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...