Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Continues at Iron Oak Farm

Last week was a productive and exciting week. Productive, in that the barn is filling with hay. And with each bale that stacks in the Lego block mass I feel more and more at ease about the coming winter. Our count so far this season is 240. I'll feel comfortable if we can get to 400. The last two haying seasons have been dismal to say the least. First we were plagued with a hot, drought ridden summer, followed by the next summer, filled with rain. Combine that with equipment that's not in working order and it makes for a frustrating season. And to buy it? Well... everyone else was having the same frustrations with the weather which left the hay in our area scarce and expensive.

Haying, when things are going well, can be extremely satisfying and methodical. And though it's hard work, I enjoy it. It makes you feel alive. That's how I feel this year. It's a good feeling.

Last week was exciting in that we added a new member to the Iron Oak Farm family. Timber, our new buckling. I'm so excited to breed him with our girls this fall and have a fresh supply of milk flowing in for cheese, soaps and all kinds of dairy delights. We should have Nubian kids for sale in the spring too so if you're interested let me know.

Timber is settling in. I took him out of quarantine a little early because he seemed really stressed that he was alone so we have him paired with Ivan, our Alpine whether. They seem to be pals, although I think Timber thinks he's a people because he'd rather be with us than any of the goats. He went for a ride in the hay wagon yesterday out to the field with us to pick up the bales and he followed us everywhere tasting each bale as it went into the wagon. I'm glad he's snugly...I wanted a friendly buck. (For more on Timber click here, Meet Timber.)

The garden is coming in nicely. The zucchini are starting to really produce and if I'm not careful and keep them picked, they explode into giant squashes seemingly overnight. I call those zucchini bread size.

Most of the problems I was having with pests seems to be under control by spraying a mixture of Dawn and water every few days or after it rains. The Asparagus Beetle is gone, and I only lost one stem. I think the damaged plant should be fine coming back next year.

Our leghorns started laying this week as well. Beautiful white eggs. It's been so long since we've had a white layer it was almost a novelty among the blues, greens and browns.

The farms around us are growing grains this year. So Zach and I went for a drive to photograph some of the beautiful fields and crops.

  Some are a darker reddish color and others are golden.

Other farms around us are haying too. I love to watch the big equipment drive down our street in the morning. Large round balers or two story hay wagons filled to the brim. I'm getting to know the tractors just by the sound of them. There's a huge green one that takes up the whole road. I was walking Oliver the other day and we had to stand in the weeds on the side of the road to let him pass. Cars in the opposite lane would have to pull into driveways or backup to the closest cross street to let him through. I loved it!

Alfalfa field near our farm.

The pickles are just starting to come in. We picked our first one yesterday so I'm going to start the pickle jar. We make a brine with dill, vinegar, garlic and salt and store it in the refrigerator. (get the recipe here, Refrigerator Pickles.) As the pickles come in from the garden, I slice them up and add them to the jar. They don't last long around this house.

Picked all the broccoli heads before they flowered this year! Yay! I'm always too late.

Lovely smelling milkweed. Hopefully we'll draw some Monarchs!


To see more of what we're doing at Iron Oak Farm I invite you to visit and "like" our Facebook Page where I share even more photos and updates.   

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