Living on a little pretend farm, as I do, gives one the opportunity to get a feel for what real farmers experience. It ain’t pretty sometimes.
There’s a saying: If you’ve got livestock, you’ve got deadstock.
This is true to such a degree that my suburban eyes have been opened wide. I’ve had bunnies die after birthing babies. I’ve had dogs rip apart chickens and eat them before the feathers settle.
I’ve had bobcats pick off my barn cats one by one until I went from eight to three over a matter of weeks.
My dogs have killed oppossums and even baby piglets. Speaking of which one of my sows smothered a piglet today. I sat with it for thirty minutes trying to revive the pretty little spotted thing, but she was gone. Accidents happen.
I’ve watched pigs get slaughtered and butchered…pigs that were raised for just that end. I rationalized the okayness of it, but it is not an enjoyable experience. I see why farmers often seem a little hard. You cannot live on a farm, and experience the day to day trauma of life and death, without forcing yourself to harden up.
Another little accident is the sweet potatoes I found in the garden today. I had planted a sweet potato just for the pretty vines that filled up a bare spot. When I pulled the vines today I found that dinner will include sweet potatoes tonight. Accidents happen.
I got behind in the watering of…everything. I lost a tree or two and the two Anatolian puppies have decimated my shade garden. There is little left to salvage, but I am past the point of caring.
One tree that really bothered me was a willow tree I planted a couple years ago. I thought it well established and didn’t pay too much attention as the 90-100 degree temperatures took a toll.
Noticed its leaves turning yellow and gave it a good soaking. The next morning all the leaves had turned brown. I soaked it again. The day after the whip thin branches began to turn brown. I cursed at the tree. But I was really angry with myself. I really loved that young willow tree.
For a week I kept watering it each and every day with no visible sign of recovery.
We had a little rain over the weekend so I didn’t water it. But Tuesday I hauled the hose out to it and saw a light dusting of green on a few branches. The willow is recovering. It was just the inspiration I needed after this unbearably hot summer.
Of course it has been the hottest summer in seven years. Today is 108 so far.
As a consequence I have done little beyond watering. Some plants continue to produce. A few tomato plants keep on. And the kale.
I hate kale, of course. The chickens like it. So I do get some good through their bright eggs.
Had to harvest the onions and garlic today. Hot as Hades but it’s done.
Had a few extra busy weekends, so the weeding got away from us. I haven’t mulched these poor plants in a year. This is the BlackBerry patch.
They will survive. But at this point I’ll just weed whack them and wait for cooler weather. Then I’ll put lots of cardboard down and deep mulch.
I am no Paul Gautschi.
I have a terrible sickness. I buy plants indiscriminately. If I see something I like I buy it, regardless of having space for it.
This is what happened to the above. Banana peppers and jalapenos and chili peppers are all living happily with basil. Somehow it is working. Sometimes desperation makes for good planting partners.