Welcome to the Friday Farm Fix, a new series on Farmgirl Fare where I share a random sampling of what's been happening around the farm during the past week (usually on Fridays). Just joining us? You'll find all the Friday Farm Fix posts here.
Kit Kat Kate perched above the echinacea patch
It's bad out there. Really bad. The months of relentless heat and drought will not give up. It just keeps getting hotter and drier, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. We stopped looking at the thermometer when it got up to 106 degrees in the shade. We've stopped looking at the ten day forecast hoping for a chance of rain.
Last year at this time we had 695 bales of hay safely stored in the barn, ready to feed the sheep and donkeys all winter (and then put up another 180 bales of summer grass in early September). So far this year we haven't put up any. Everyone is scrambling for hay, and nobody has any for sale. If we do find some, it will probably be low quality and priced sky high.
The front field, where 33 sheep are supposed to be grazing all summer and into the fall, has nothing left to eat in it. The green grass you can see in the photos below, which were taken a week ago, is gone. Everything that gets full sun has burned up.
Tomorrow morning after we work the sheep we'll let them out loose to forage for food in the dry creekbed and the woods. Thank goodness we sold half the flock in May. I just hope we don't have to sell any more sheep—or any donkeys.
Donkeyland looks almost as bad as the front field, but the perimeter of our 240 acre property, which is mostly steep wooded hillsides, isn't fenced, and the donkeys tend to wander—like up to the highway.
All we can do is try not to get too stressed out (which isn't easy, as evidenced by my tears earlier), water the kitchen garden twice a day, limit our time working out in the heat, drink plenty of water (and Tension Tamer iced tea!), remember to breathe, and find joy in the little things around us.
A nest of hungry baby birds in a very unlikely spot. The cute spotted frog who has taken up residence in the greenhouse. Peeping chicks all over the place. A beagle with his catch and release bunny. Grilled burgers on freshly baked onion rye buns. Delicious bounty from our garden and our neighbors, sizzling cast iron skillets, the first sweet corn of the season, our first summer sleeping in air conditioning.
Everything may be dying of thirst, but farm life still tastes good.
27 more farm photos below - hover over each photo to see a short description. . .
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© FarmgirlFare.com, where hundreds of dragonflies kept me company while I watered the garden this evening. So magical.