EMZ-Piney Post

Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The farmer has cut hay again, and as hot as the day was it was ready to bale the next day.  The drought is taking a toll on things so there were only 27 bales, but hey, every bale counts. It takes a lot of hay for the cattle.  Some days, this past winter, he put out as many as seven to eight bales each day.

We enjoy raising cattle even with all the work that goes with it.  In the spring we freeze branded our heifers for identification in case one wanders away or gets stolen.  This method didn't seem to bother them as much as branding them with a hot iron, and I liked it much better with no stench of burning hair.  When the hair grows back it is supposed to be white and should show up well.

After our encounter with the neighbor's dogs killing two of our calves a couple of years ago, he has kept them at home and we haven't had a problem with them since.  But, some of our calves kept stepping through the barbed wire fence onto his property.  To put a stop to that, we've just had 1500 feet of steel pipe fencing put up between us and another neighbor, and some cross-fencing that made a large pen connected to the barn lot.  This pen will be useful when we are weaning calves.

And while the welders were here, we had fencing built along the feed troughs.  Now we can pour feed into the troughs without lifting the heavy buckets over the fence.   Gotta make it easier for these old farmers.

Something else on the farm:  spring kitties

and 50,000-plus week old chicks.

It's a wonderful life!

Almost everyone who commented on the last post mentioned how busy I am.  Now I don't mean for it to sound that way because I'm not out all the time working.  I make time to do sewing or quilting projects.  For instance, I'm quilting a baby quilt now and I'm certainly not enjoying it!  There are too many seams to cross and my stitches can't be as small as I like to make them.  All in all, I feel better when I'm busy.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hot, Dry Farm Work

Everyone complained about how cool April was and then how fast the hot weather came in May.  Well, here we are in June, expected to be hot and humid, and everything is dry.  Perfect weather for cutting and baling hay. 

We started the hay season yesterday and continued today.  I wondered, at age 70, if I could make it through that season, and here I am at 77, still in control of my senses and physically able to drive the tractor and rake the hay for the farmer.  

You never know exactly what to expect when doing farm work.  Take today for instance: I was raking the last of the hay when I noticed something on the right front tire.  Assuming it to be a stick I decided it needed to be removed, so I put the tractor in neutral, set the park brake and got out to see what it was.  Surprise of all surprises!  This is what it was!

A deer shed!  Deer antlers grow in the spring, mature in the summer, then are shed in the winter.  They are rarely found in nature because they are eaten by rodents since they are rich in calcium and other nutrients.  Anyway, a rodent didn't find this one, I did!  I had sense enough not to pull it out of the tire and when the farmer caught up with me, he took a small saw from his tool box and cut it off, leaving a "plug" in the tire.

I watched the tire carefully all the way home to make sure it wasn't going flat.  The farmer took it off and has taken it to town to have the tire repaired.

Another incident to record in our journal of farm happenings.

Stay cool,

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Finally!!  A beautiful warm spring day!  The sweatshirt needs to be shed in exchange for a cotton shirt.  When spring comes, even if the days are still cold, do you have a yearning to put seeds and plants into the ground?  I certainly do, and so I buy flower seeds, sow them into little containers filled with potting mix, and set them in the south window to germinate.  Like a hawk, I watch them every day for the first signs of tiny sprigs of green.  They're my babies to take care of; now how much do I water them?  Are they drying out?  Are they too crowded in the containers?  Maybe I should take a few and set them outdoors.  Then comes another spell of freezing temperatures and strong winds, even a heavy rainfall and poof! they're gone.   My hopeful green thumb just turned into a discouraged brown.  But, on this warm day, I transplanted a few and kept them on the porch.  These are coleus plants:

One day I happened onto a very interesting blog, https://www.gypsyfarmgirl.net/ and fell in love with the March 21, 2018 post about using rusty finds as flower pots.  I realized there were several rusty things around the farm, so I dug this old chicken feeder from the metal heap and planted hens and chicks in it.  I think it looks great!  Hope it fills up with "chicks".

We haven't always had access to plastic pots and they aren't nearly as interesting as the rusty things.  Old coffee cans, lard buckets, chipped dishpans and cooking pots, and even old washtubs made excellent planters years ago.  I can remember the farmer's grandmother's pretty flowers that sat around the edge of her porch: begonias, geraniums, petunias.  And she was always willing to share   cuttings from them, a perfect way to start new plants.

They grew strong, thick stems, overflowing with blooms, in a rich mixture of soil and manure from the barn; no puny potting mix.

I have a few more old containers and when the weather brings in spring for good, there I'll be with that hopeful thumb.  Do you plant in plastic or rusty?  Is your thumb green or brown? 


Friday, March 30, 2018

New Apron

This apron was quite a challenge.  It was big and full to work with; I had to make bias edging, baste, rip out, baste again; on and on.  I think it is a pinafore apron.  The pictures are not good; I don't have anyone to model it for me, nor do I have a dress form to display it on, just the good old bed. ;)  First is a close-up of the fabric and the bottom front:
The whole front view:
Upper front view:
Back view:
The Pattern, which I don't plan to use again ~ soon, that is:

 There is a copyright number for the year 2007, but it might still be available.  I've had it for several years.  The contrasting color bias would have been nice on my apron but I couldn't fine anything that matched well enough to use.

Oh well, one never knows without trying. 


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pass It On

This is all that's left of my favorite sweater
after I decided to pass it on to Isabelle.
I had worn it until it had holes.  She loves it!  And, see her new sneekers?  They were a Christmas present from me.

The little picture on the washstand is one of my mother around the age of three.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Puzzled or Angered by Blogger

Usually I won't rant about anything on this blog, but I honestly don't know if anyone can gain access to my blog now.  Blogger has done something to it, asking for email address and password as if I'm an intruder.  I've created a new password but haven't had a lot of luck.  I'll wait and see if anyone comments before making the decision to FORGET IT.  I don't consider my blog to be of a lot of interest to a lot of people, but I hate not being able to read posts from those I've come to think of as online friends.  When I do decide to stop writing, I'll be considerate enough to let my readers know.

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, March 12, 2018

Farm Update ~ Winter into Spring ~ 2018

At the end of last summer,  an eighty something row crop farmer told my farmer, "Well, I made it through another year!"  We felt a little the same way, having completed the hay season.   The last day we baled I was so tired that night I couldn't go to sleep for a while.  The rains were just right last summer for the meadows to produce grass for more than one cutting.  The farmer says we put up 1400 round bales of hay; that's a lot of grass and more than enough to feed the cattle for a year, but it's always good to have extra in case next summer is dry.

Of course row crop farmers can call an end to their harvesting "another year", but with chicken farmers it's "what goes around, comes around" with no noticeable beginning or ending to a new year.  We have just finished the first flock of chickens for this year, having had to keep them for eight weeks, longer than any we have ever raised.  The company wants a larger bird; I suppose consumers demand larger portions to eat.  When we first started raising chickens they rarely weighed as much as four or five pounds in six weeks times; however the word obesity was rarely heard of either.

Because of my cataract surgery last spring, we didn't have much of a garden, but by late summer we planted peas and I froze enough for the winter.  A lot of our fall and winter weekends would find us getting in firewood for the furnace.  The farmer took the tractor and dump trailer to the edges of the fields and brought in logs which he sawed into usable lengths, then split them with an attachment on the front of the BobCat.  I loaded the pieces onto the bed of the side by side and brought them to the house to stack.

In December, the farmer was sick; he thought he had the flu but it wasn't anything like I remember the flu being.  He continued feeding the hay and helping in the chicken houses then spending the rest of the day in his recliner.   Much of the Christmas joy was lost because we both felt bad for a while.  On the 21st of December we had been married for 57 years.

The Christmas card from our older grandson and his wife announced that we would be great grandparents in July, and since their "reveal" party we know the baby will be a girl; our first.

 The month of January was mostly very dry but we did get about two inches of snow and around 10 inches of rain fell in February.  Although everyone thought we had a really cold winter, I didn't think it was too bad.

I stayed busy in the sewing room too;  two aprons,

  two quilt tops, one large top and one baby top 

two baby quilts,

and two crocheted baby blankets.
The quilts and tops were all made using scraps; however, not to worry, I didn't use near all of them.

And now spring is upon us; robins are scratching through the old leaves, buttercups are waving in the March winds, and the cattle are searching for every little sprig of green they can find.  We'll start a new flock of chickens in two weeks and then only a short span of time until it'll be back to the hay meadows to start "through another year".