Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall Labor

Abruptly, after weeks of “abnormally” warm weather with a few sighs of cool days, we are faced with a freeze.  Such is the changing of the seasons in Kansas.  It is never a gentle slide into winter, but a series of puffs and gasps before a sudden collapse into a freeze.

The gathering in of the seasons is upon us.  Now is the time to move in the potted plants, harvest the sweet potatoes, and thank our birds for their lives before they are butchered and frozen.  We have planted cover crop in two places and it grows better than I feared (oh, birds eating seeds!).  Garlic cloves of many kinds and sizes have been planted, watered, and watched for signs of new life.  Soon, chicken coops will move closer to the barn for the more frequent attention needed in winter, and when we butcher the turkeys, we will butcher a flock of our older laying hens, as we have determined  we need to tighten up the operation.

I find autumn thoroughly rewarding: the harvest is collected, the labor of the summer slackens, all the projects begun in the spring now are fulfilled.  As the days grow shorter, there is finally time for me to sit on the porch and enjoy a cool breeze.  Oh, yes, and there is no better excuse to go to bed earlier and sleep later!

The light of the sun only now brightens the tops of the tallest trees, so I am blessed with a few more minutes of quiet before I must up and away for the day.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It’s Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fall Work

Last weekend, we cleared all of the garden except for the sweet potatoes.  James did some welding, which is pretty impressive, so he could mow, mow again, and till.  The wind picked up in the afternoon, so despite my original plan to plan a cover crop immediately, I had to wait a few days.

Our hope is to help eliminate some of the weed growth we have in the fall and spring, as well as to enrich our soil with nitrogen fixing legumes.
 I planted a fall manure mix that included hair vetch, winter rye, ryegrass, peas, and clover, and then overplanted with mustard.  I read (which means I have a good chance of being wrong) that mustard roots grow deep, even in clay, so they may help break up our hard soil.  The recommended tool was a seed drill, but I had to stick to the seed spreader, which is what I have.  I can live with uneven seed distribution.
In the end, the challenge was keeping the pesky guineas out of the seed.  I finally set up a hose to spray/mist all over the area, and that worked.  Now we've had a few days of rain, and I can already see sprouting!

In the coming week, I'll try to lay out the drip hose again in an unplanted area for the garlic crop!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Moment in Time

 Meat chickens are getting fat.
 Bees are pulling in the final harvests for winter.
We are shrinking the size of our farm, as our time and energy do not allow so many animals and so much garden space at this time.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


We cleaned up a wax moth-infested, weak hive.  At the same time, we moved a small hive from a nuc box to a proper hive.

So cool... You can see yellow pollen sacks.

DH prying out frames to see if they're infected.

Bees, larvae, and larvae cells.

The cleaned up bee yard.

The trashed frames and boxes.
 The rest of the disaster...
Now we're cleaned up, filtering honey and melting wax, and enjoying a healthier bee yard.

Until next time, remember.  This is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, April 28, 2017


Rhubarb... behind it are hiding two more, newly transplanted, that so far have survived

Blackberry blooms

Are we looking at another swarm in the making?

Baby Plum

Peach Baby

Bitty Apples

Crabapples... Aren't the leaves lovely?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chick Days

 The first hatch of the year, a baby turkey.  I suspect Shuckle is a girl, giving her call, but it will be interesting to see!
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday's Work

Spring is a delightful but challenging time at Yahweh Jireh Acres.  A plethora of tasks clamors for our attention, but the abundant rain we've received makes some of those tasks difficult or downright impossible.

This Saturday morning, we pruned out dead wood from our blackberries, sweet cherry bushes, and roses.  We gathered the winter's collection of dead debris and piled it for a future burning or disposal. All the chicken tractors moved, uncovering burrowing mice (excitement for the chickens).  The damp reek of overwet chicken bedding (with the rain, it's been a muddy two weeks) will fade as it dries in the heat.

Asparagus spears are launching themselves out of the soil, so the weeding around them is particularly important.  We also have rhubarb, one trying to bolt and two that required transplanting.  In addition to digging rhubarb, I transplanted four sweet cherry bush stems that were growing too far away from the main plant to be viable in their current location.  If even one or two survives, we will have greatly increased our cherry treats!

Disappointingly, James labored much of the morning on tractor light rewiring and was ultimately unsuccessful.  Another day, God willing, he will find success.

There are still strawberries to tend, always weeding, honey to rob, and a turkey Tom to butcher.  Our tom, named Effingham Sandwich, bit JoJo.  Attacks on humans is a capital offense, so we will be enjoying turkey for Easter.  Ooh, and tomato plants to transplant and turkey poults should be hatching any day.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.