Sunday, June 16

Tail End of the Week: Get Your Friday Farm Fix #30

Welcome to the Friday Farm Fix, a sporadic series where I share a random sampling of what's been happening around the farm during the past week (sometimes actually on Friday). Just joining us? You'll find all the previous Friday Farm Fix posts here and here.

(30-1) Cutting the far end of the hayfield -
Haying round two: cutting the far end of the hayfield.

Wondering what was happening on the farm this time last year? Check out the Friday Farm Fix #14.

I was going to just blow off this week's Friday Farm Fix—seeing as how it's already Sunday afternoon—but while sorting through the past week's photos (so many!) I realized there were some things I wanted to capture and remember, like all that really tall and thick hop clover in the front field. It feels like something out of The Wizard of Oz out there. Picking the first spring green garlic (so good chopped up in tuna salad). Fearless Jasper working on his junior stock dog badge.

And, most importantly, that we put up 26 big round bales of hay. Or, more correctly, that my hunky farmguy Joe put up 26 big round bales of hay. All I did was make lunch, deliver gallons of ice cold fresh mint sun tea and snacks, and drive the truck with the flatbed trailer back and forth when we brought the bales into the haybarn.

The only time I even touched any hay was to help move a bale that had rolled down a slope and onto one of the windrows of raked hay. Compared to the hot and sweaty effort required to bring in square bales, I practically felt guilty.

Putting up round bales is a whole new thing for us, and I'm hoping to write a separate post with more about it, but since I was also planning to put up a separate post about our first 2013 cutting of hay (in square bales) a few weeks ago and still haven't, I figured it might be now or never.

Something I did finally get around to posting this past week is an update on my garden blog about everything that's growing in my organic kitchen garden right now. We've been savoring the last of the beautiful lettuce, lots of green onions, and the first of the spring onions. Also on the menu this week:

29 more photos and the rest of the weekly recap below (hover your cursor over each image for a description). . .

Homemade pizza with salami and lots of rustic tomato sauce, then two nights of leftover pizza (one of my favorite meals); grilled pork chops with salad, roasted shredded cabbage (recipe coming one of these days!), and a four hour French baguette from the freezer; big salads topped with tuna and chopped hard-boiled eggs from our hens; and smoked pork hocks with gravy over thick slices of toasted homemade bread, one of our favorite comfort food treats.

I rendered down several pounds of lard from one of our butcher hogs (it makes wonderful pastry crust) and also made a batch of  these big, soft, and chewy whole wheat chocolate chip raisin cookies. After 22 years I still love that recipe.

We have one uncut section of the hayfield left (not including the two or so acres that have been taken over by prickly pear cactus, but that's a whole other—really annoying—story) and if the weather cooperates and the grass holds out, we're hoping to get some more square bales in the barn this coming week.

In the meantime, we're still waiting for that promised weekend rain. After a week of hot and humid days (think 90+ sticky degrees in the shade), everything outside is parched. Wait, what's that I hear starting to tap tap tap on the metal roof? Hooray! It's finally here.

I guess I'd better go grab the rain bait laundry I left on the line overnight. Or maybe I should wait until it really starts coming down, just in case. I can still hear Joe outside mowing in the garden; he knows if he stops, the rain probably will too. Yes, we are that superstitious. We'll do anything to keep those raindrops falling.

Fifteen minutes later. . . Rats. Sunshine, blue skies, and a basket of damp laundry sitting in the living room. I never should have let Joe break for lunch.

(30-2) Not many people around here use an antique sickle bar mower to cut hay anymore, but it works and it's paid for -

(30-3) Lucky Buddy Bear inspecting the work site -

(30-4) Yep, we've crossed over to the round side with a 25-year-old, new (last year) to us small John Deere round hay baler -

(30-5) It takes a LOT less work to move round bales into the barn, which is why we crossed over -

(30-6) Dolores taking a late morning nap -

(30-7) Lokey is STILL broody, so we decided to let her keep one egg to hatch out -

(30-8) The month of rabbit sitting is going well and Penelope loves her fresh garden greens -

(30-9) Claire munches on Swiss chard and lamb's quarters (a weed that's more nutritious than spinach!) from the kitchen garden -

(30-10) Traipsing out into the front field to find the sheep -

(30-11) Found 'em! -

(30-12) Homemade rendered lard from a local butcher hog still hot and liquified -

(30-13) Once chilled, the homemade lard becomes solid and white and will keep in the fridge for months -

(30-14) Heading into the barn the night before sheep working Monday -

(30-15) Jasper, junior stock dog in training, about to learn what that chute is for -

(30-16) Incoming! -

(30-17) Marta thinks the lamb creep feeder in the sheep barn is her personal napping pen -

(30-18) Marta having too much fun while the rest of us work the sheep -

(30-19) Heading back out to the front field after working the sheep -

(30-20) Bear enjoys the last remnants of the drying up wet weather creek -

(30-21) Evie taking a dust bath -

(30-22) Nothing can stop a determined beagle -

(30-23) Told you -

(30-24) Esmeralda and her three year old son, Gnat -

(30-25) Marta in the front field with her happy flock -

(30-26) Heads down in the hop clover -

(30-27) Jasper in the garlic jungle -

(30-28) Just picked spring green garlic -

(30-29) Spring green garlic prepped and ready to use either raw or cooked -

(30-30) View of the house from the middle of the hayfield -

Want a bigger farm fix?
(click here  and here to see all these posts on two long pages)
Friday Farm Fix #1


  1. I always enjoy seeing pictures of Buddy B and the donkeys.

    I rendered lard myself for the first time this past winter. It was a lot of fuss, but worth it! (My dogs hovered around the kitchen like little furry vultures the whole time and were rewarded with cracklings!)

    1. Hi srhcb,
      Oh, cracklings. So good hot with lots of salt. Yeah, our dogs sometimes get them. ;) While this batch of lard was simmering, beagle Bert came in the house and started frantically sniffing around for the giant pork feast. :)

  2. Pardon me if this is a dumb question, but I'm curious: do you ever have to protect the sheep from sunburn after shearing?

    1. Hi Tracy,
      There are no dumb questions! Yep, the sheep can get a little sunburned right after shearing, especially the ones with finer white wool and pale skin. Fortunately their wool starts to grow back really quickly, so it's not a big problem - they just look pink for a few days.

      It's like when we shear them in the winter, they only need to be kept dry (out of freezing rain, etc.) for a couple of days. By then the wool has grown back enough to fully insulate them.

      The sun can cause other problems too. Two years ago our young Suffolk/Katahdin cross ram had his ears swell up so that they were puffy and HUGE. I thought he'd been bitten by a snake and treated him as such, but then discovered that he was actually suffering from a photosynthesis problem having to do with a rare combination of what he was eating and then getting too much sun on his non-wooly ears. I'm blanking out on the name, but it was very strange. Thankfully after a few days of being kept in the dark in the barn (and on different feed), his ears went back to normal and he was fine.

      Even after 18 years of raising sheep, there's always something new happening! :)

  3. Just curious why the switch from square to round hay bales?

    1. Hi fj,
      Less labor intensive, pure and simple! :) Instead of having to handle each of the 40 to 75 pound square bales four to six times between the field and the haybarn (by far the hottest, sweatiest, hardest part of putting up hay), you use the tractor to move the big round bales.

      It is SO much easier, which is why almost nobody around here puts up square bales of hay anymore. There are some downsides to putting up round bales, though, and we actually prefer feeding the square bales. We kept our square baler and plan to put up some of each kind every year, but our bodies are very happy we bought that round baler. :)

  4. Did Marta get a shearing along with the sheep?

  5. Your photos make me smile! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  6. I like the caption with the sickle bar mower, paid for is definitely a good thing! That Jasper is a character! Have you explained to him yet that he is NOT a dog? ;)
    I'm late but had to get my Friday Farm Fix!

  7. Everything is looking so good!
    Round bales = shredded wheat.

  8. I just saw some pics of my daughter's friend's husband baling the hay and there were tons of black snakes that got caught up in the bales. He said there were many more snakes this year than in past years. He just loosens the bale a bit and pulls them out, tosses back into the field. Wow, never thought about snakes being in the fields. One of the pics had the snake facing him and it wsa obviously not very happy!


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.

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