Saturday, August 4

Tail End of the Week: Get Your Friday Farm Fix #21

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 (mostly on Fridays). Just joining us? You'll find all the Friday Farm Fix posts here.

(21-1) Rainbow in the hayfield after a brief rain Sunday afternoon -
A little rain and a big rainbow in the hayfield late Sunday afternoon.

Same old song, different week. Still too hot, too dry, too much mystery female pain keeping me mostly in bed. I'm starting to sound like a broken record, and not the kind that's messed up because it's your favorite and you played it over and over again.

Part of me thinks I should stop mentioning this terrible heat and drought that has been holding us (and so many others) hostage for months and instead act like nothing is wrong, because everybody has problems and nobody wants to read a depressing blog. But life on the farm isn't always about cute animals and delicious homegrown food, and right now we can think of nothing else. And there isn't much to photograph.

I also know many of you follow Farmgirl Fare because you want to know what it's really like living out here in the country—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This would be the bad and the ugly (though we still have plenty of good food and cute).

I think six of the last seven days have been over 100 degrees, though I stopped checking the thermometer (and the weather forecast) weeks ago. When we drove to yet another doctor's office on Wednesday (we got the CT results and are now waiting two weeks for biopsy results), I couldn't believe how few cattle and how many dried up ponds we passed. Joe counted over 30 big dead trees just along our driveway and a little ways down the road as we headed out.

Most farmers around here water their grazing livestock using ponds, which are kept filled by rain. If your ponds are dry, your animals have nothing to drink. If you have relentless heat and no rain, your pastures burn up and your animals have nothing to eat.

More farm talk and 7 farm photos below. Hover over each photo for a description. . .

We don't have any ponds on our farm; instead we pump water out of the spring by the sheep barn, into a 250 gallon tank that sits in the back of the pickup truck, and then drive it out to the fields and empty it into big stock tanks for the donkeys and sheep. That spring is one of our most precious assets. It also supplies water to the barn.

All of our water comes from underground rivers and springs which are fed by rain. In 2000, after several years of drought, our old shallow well went dry, along with many of the small seep springs in the hillsides. Despite already being 300 feet down in a valley, they had to drill our new well 270 feet deep to reach water.

It's so hot and dry right now that the 35 sheep and 7 donkeys are going through over 400 gallons of water every three days. The guy who drilled the new well said it had enough water to supply the house, the garden, and the farm, as well as all the livestock. Hopefully the spring will keep flowing and we won't have to find out.

So many people take water for granted. They complain about the rain when it's an inconvenience or messes up their plans. But rain is not an inconvenience. It is not something to complain about. Rain is necessary. For everything. For all of us.

Two storms brought us less than a half inch of rain during the past week. It isn't nearly enough.

(21-2) Lokey and a lot of big chicks, including some of her second spring hatch of 10 babies -

(21-3) Mr. Midnight relaxes by the lavender and thyme in the kitchen garden -

(21-4) Getting ready for sheep working Tuesday -  Daisy, can you break us out of here -

(21-6) Yay! Sheep working Tuesday is over. Oh wait, it's even hotter out there. -

(21-7) Two hot dogs after sheep working Tuesday -

(21-8) Bear, Bert, and Daisy are exhausted after supervising sheep working Tuesday -

Want a bigger farm fix?
(click here to see all these posts on one long page)
Friday Farm Fix #1
Friday Farm Fix #18
Friday Farm Fix #19
Friday Farm Fix #20

©, where the kitchen is overflowing with fresh produce begging to be used, but I think what we may really need around here is a pile of old-fashioned, giant chocolate chip cookies. Everything's better with freshly baked cookies, isn't it?


  1. Hang in there and thanks for the honesty about the difficulties of farming this year. We have a small farm and know how difficult it's been...and how many people are merely concerned with their brown lawns. You said it best when you said it isn't all about cute animals! Sending rain dance vibes your way...

  2. Hi. Long time reader here.
    I think of you guys frequently and keep my fingers crossed for you. (Not that that does any good!)
    I'm in SE PA and it's hot as all get out here too but we are getting brief showers occasionally. So I'm not complaining.

    Anyway, you and your animals are in my thoughts. I noticed in your pics that everyone's tongue is hanging out.

    Made another batch of your bran/blueberry muffins this a.m.
    I'm so happy you've shared the recipe.


  3. This is all so sad; watching our Country dry out and burn up. We pray that it is a temporary situation and this winter will be one of snow and/or rain. We, in the Pacific Northwest, are not suffering so much as a lot of other places but these next few days are going to be unusually hot for us. I do feel the 'pain' you and your farm are suffering. Blessings on all.

  4. Blessings of rain and good health to you!

  5. It's a similar picture around here in Ontario Susan, although not quite as bad. The animals have nothing to graze on at the neighbouring farms, although we have had a little more rain than our southern neighbours, it's still not enough. Plus it was almost 40'C today, again.
    Apparently we are in a Solar Maximum cycle.

  6. Same story over here in Texas, record heat and record droughts... I've lost my garden and a chicken to the heat this year :(

  7. It's hard to imagine what you are going through but take heart that nothing lasts forever even though it seems like it. Many thoughts, wishes, prayers is all we can do and may your health problem solved and dealt with soon and may it rain like crazy soon.

  8. ... what everyone else has said. You are never far from my thoughts and I sure wish you would get a break in the weather soon. Hoping for the best with your lab results.

  9. Wish I could send you some of the English rain we keep having. I am not complaining about the weather though. We have had some decent days, but 80 degrees is about the maximum. We had a hosepipe ban earlier in the year, but that was soon rescinded after lots of rain.

    Hope you get some rain soon, and that your health improves.

  10. Many prayers and good thoughts are coming your way from Central PA, where it's hot and dry, but nothing like what you are going through. Please let us know about your health - that is the most important thing. Love your blog and look forward to it every day.

  11. Thinking of you, Joe and the creatures constantly as we're in Virginia about now and it's blazing hot. Hoping For rain, sending my most sincere finger crossing for good health.

  12. Susan, thanks for checking in even though the news is still harsh. I hope for better health and wetter weather for you in short order.

  13. I'm in south Florida so we understand heat but no rain is not good! I talk about you and your country life with my husband often. One day!

  14. I was enraged when I read that the Senate had gone on summer break without voting on drought relief - can't believe they could not even agree to help relieve the suffering of so many Americans slammed by this hideous drought. And on top of that, Susan, you have this ongoing medical mystery which has literally flattened you. And yet you continue to try and emphasize the positive, even while acknowledging the negative. Please know that I admire you tremendously, and you, Joe and the critters are in my prayers, feeble as they may be. Stay strong and get well, so that when the rains finally come you and Joe can go out and dance in them.

  15. We moved from Texas to escape the heat. We now have a farm in the Pacific Northwest and are fortunate that everything stays green! Our new adventure has taught us a lot. 1. Do not take rain for granted 2. Love your animals and keep them warm, dry, clean and watered 3. Take care of yourself...this is a hard working lifestyle with abundant rewards...but it is back breaking at times! 4. Love each other....and all else seems to fall into place. We have made sacrifices but are so grateful to wake each day to our beautiful farm and each other! Many prayers sent your way for you, Joe, and your land! I am keeping my eye on you as you need as many positive thoughts as you can get! Stay positive! I love your blog...good, bad, or ugly!

  16. What Lisa said, in spades. How dare Congress ignore the the pain and suffering going on in America's Heartland? It's where this country's bread is made and buttered--literally and figuratively.

    It's okay to talk about the bad, because it's just as much a part of life as the good. And if we didn't have the bad, the good wouldn't seem nearly as sweet as it does. We want to hear your stories, even if you feel they are not as positive as you want them to be.

    Prayers for your return to good health, for rain, and best wishes as always, Sue

  17. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks so much for all of your kind words and thoughts and prayers. I can't tell you how much they mean to us.

    The best part of blogging? All of you.

    Thank you.

  18. Susan, assuming you don't yet have a diagnosis, fibroid tumors can cause really severe pain. Sorry if TMI -- just wanted to throw that possibility out there. I know how hard it is to go with no insurance, and to be in the middle of both health and financial trouble. I am so sorry for the hard times you are going through. And as other posters mentioned, we really do want to hear about the good and the bad. Life happens to all of us. Sending good thoughts your way.

  19. I sure hope you guys (and everyone else) get some relief from this crazy hot and dry weather. You must be very thankful for your well, I hope it hangs in there. Kudos to you for hanging in there with the Friday Farm Fix and providing us with pics of your farm. The doggies do look like they are whupped after sheep working Tuesday!

  20. I can't look at my NY weather without checking Missouri on the weather map these days. Throughout my day I find myself thinking of you and what you are going through---it is heartbreaking! We all feel such a connection to you because of the way you share your life with us.Wishing you some good news about your health, a break from the oppressive heat some long rainy days, and a barn full of hay.
    Good to see the dogs---especially that hound-dog Bert!---again. I guess Marta is resting up for night duty. I want to make the salad and the pie!Fingers are crossed for good news.

  21. susan, I love your blog because it is real; it doesn't mask things and sugar them, as many other bloggers do.Oh yea, life is so good; oh yea, I'm brimming with happiness, the mantra goes on and on. I confess it gets to me sometimes and start wondering what is wrong with me and my life and why things seem to be not working?

    But then I come here and have my dose of cuteness, hardship, laughter, good food, stories of loss, stories of birth and joy, ups and downs, real life.
    Thank you susan and I do wish you a speedy recovery.

  22. Aw, everybody's panting and all the pooches look so miserable. And to hear that you continue to be ill is equally troublesome. I hope you always tell us both the good and the bad, the cute and the not so cute, and even feel as if you can share your worries, problems and maybe even your fears. The beauty of an online group of 'friends' is that somewhere someone has likely touched on some of what you're experiencing.

    With all due respect to your privacy, I hope that if you discover that you have a real health problem to manage that you'll let us know. Some of us are downright pros at this, and might be very useful-- on- or off-line.

    All the best to you and Joe, and all of the lives you take care of. Maybe someone out there can rustle up a good rain dance for you and so many in the midwest who are in similar predicaments.

    Tracy B.

  23. This summer has been a major challenge in so many ways. I send you wishes for good health, the peace of mind to deal with whatever comes, and most of all some rain and love!
    Those pictures really convey how hot it is!

  24. Keeping you all in our thoughts and doing the rain dance for you - and thank you for sharing the good times and the rough times, that's the reality of life, on the farm and everywhere else.

    Headlines and statistics are hard to wrap one's head around, but your blog makes it personal - this many bales of hay, that many gallons of water, people and critters that we've come to know and care about and feel connected to, not just statistics. Hopefully the love and support flow back and are a positive, and you will be feeling better soon!

  25. We've had a slight drought here and my heart goes out to you! I'd be happy to contribute if you need financial help, although it won't be much. I only wish I could do something about the rain!


  26. Farm Girl,
    I stumbled across your site this evening as I searched for organic muffin recipes. I'd heard about the drought in parts of Ontario and the US but I just didn't want to hear anymore ... until tonight. You put a face to the story and for that I want to thank you. My husband and I just moved to a 1903 house in a small town (from a city of over 1 million) and, while I can't say I am a farm girl, I can say my understanding of what farmers go through to bring good food to our tables has grown immensely over this past season. Thank you for sharing your story with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you all the way from Carstairs, Alberta. Be well. Peace.

  27. We got a 1/4 inch last night but are 9" behind...hang in there Susan

  28. I love your blog--found you last year when you were doing the series about kids in the garden. Please don't take out the real parts. Blessings. May God heal you and send rain to your property.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!