The blessing of moisture in the form of rain frequently, for this farmer, becomes a moment to practice humility. The weeds and volunteer sunflowers have turned our lovely garden/field into an untidy disaster, but there's not a thing I can do to change it. Even if I pull weeds, I'll probably get stuck and lose a boot or two. The areas vacated by the chicken tractors are a wee bit smelly as old bits of food and dried manure have turned into a slimy mess. I can't do a thing to change that either. Nor can I change the "off" smell in the office after the kids stepped on a drain (again) and diverted the run off directly into the corner of the house.
But we need the rain. Never, ever forget that we need it. The pond is finally full, Six Penny Pond out at Purgatory Ranch is again full, our plants are growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the rain. Irrigating our crops has nothing on the beautiful of rain on the fields. We hear a giant bull frog most nights, and he would vacate if our pond dried up. The cats, strange beings that they are, prefer to drink rainwater out of puddles over bowls of clean well water. Our dirt roads are temporarily not dusty!
We've opened out strawberry patches for pick-your-own by appointment, and so far we are keeping the patches well picked. I think tomorrow, as a treat, I'll pick a bowl or two of remaining berries for the family. Tonight, I cut three large bowls full of damaged berries, and every single one was eaten. Our strawberries can finally keep up with demand!
The meat chickens and turkeys are rapidly growing, although the balance between feeding enough and too much for the meat chicks is on my mind. We haven't yet lost a chicken in late stages to heart or bone problems, and I'd like to keep it that way if possible. Part of the impetus behind growing our own meat is to treat the animals well while they live, and starving or over feeding don't seem like good management.
We celebrated our tenth anniversary this week, and James built me a new coop as a gift. He even painted it blue! We intend to paint our others, but time, paint, and weather haven't coincided lately. Today we moved Soup and her brood into the coop, and they really love the fresh grass. The fixed yard will have a chance to recover before the next birds arrive.
James is currently mowing. He has three yards to mow and an area to till here before the next rain arrives, and we have 400 strawberry plants waiting for a bed. We're behind, and that's the story of a farmer!
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise. It's Purgatory Ranch.