Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Corn and apples are down. The rest of us are up at Lester's Flat.

As The Husband predicted, his beautiful cornfield (see previous post) was destroyed by Hurricane Irene. Several of the ears were about 2 weeks from picking, but the wind took down almost every stalk. I will go out later today to see if I can resurrect some of them. The tomato plants are also struggling to stay upright, but that has been a battle from the beginning. Most of the ones that were staked and still upright, pulled the stakes over with them when they came down. I am also going to try to rescue a few of those today.

Our apple trees probably hold their largest crop ever, and that caused one whole tree to come down (in photo) and another to lose 2 big branches. The apples are so heavy on every branch, even after the wind knocked so many of them to the ground, that I am surprised we did not lose more.

Overall though, we came through Irene in better shape than a lot of people in this area. State Highway 28 was closed just north of us because a tree brought some wires down. This was close to Cousin Greg's house and took out his power, and the wind and high water level in the lake took out the Reef Shark (his boat). At least Greg's house and ours are both on higher ground and survived the storm, as did all of the humans and critters. The Reef Shark spent yesterday drying out on our front lawn, and is being repaired as we speak (I think).

For some reason I do not understand, the Chicken Girls and Roo spent most of a very stormy Sunday outside in the wind and rain. They would come back in every so often, completely drenched and looking pathetic, shake off the rain and go right back out. You go girls! We, the wimps, drove to the Chicken Shack in the car.

And, speaking of critters, who is this large critter that Irene sent to our house? It looks like a mosquito, but its body (minus the legs) was about 2" long. It was on the screen porch when I let the dogs out the morning after the storm. Yikes!

Note: The critter is apparently a crane fly, also known as a mosquito eater, even though it does not eat mosquitoes. I posted this on my Flickr photostream, and jumpingboy identified it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For Mary K in SJ

Just in case Hurricane Irene does send us the serious wind and rain that is expected, The Husband wanted to document the beauty of his cornfield before she swings by tonight. This is a hybrid called Silver King, which was highly recommended by Mary K, a friend back in South Jersey (land of the most excellent corn).

He planted several rows of corn back in the spring, only to have the birds pull up all of the little seedlings just as they sprouted. He had to replant all of it, and then we covered it over with bird netting until the sprouts were big enough to survive the birds. And then we had to fence around the corn to keep out the rabbits, groundhogs and deer. Still the deer have been seen reaching over our wimpy little fence, but for the most part, the corn is thriving.

We are praying that Irene doesn't do too much damage, now that we are almost close to harvesting.

A piglet or 2, and goats in the spring

As Hurricane Irene is fast approaching the East Coast, Lester's Flat is gearing up for the arrival—not of the hurricane—but some piggies and goats. As I could not convince The Husband to change his mind, we are just back from choosing 2 piglets at a place in Brookfield, a boy and a girl. The male is the red one in the center, the female is the Oreo® cookie one on the right, who looks just like her mama, Lola. First attempts to name came up with Rush and Lucille, but they could easily change. They will be ready to come here in about 3 weeks. That dog crate in the back of the CR-V will be getting a workout. It was plenty big for 7 chickens, but probably barely big enough for 2 little fast-growing piggies.

And last week we visited a farm in Jordanville and discussed getting 2 goat kids in March or April.

All I can say is "Hee Haw!"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Silly nieces, a piglet (or 2) and a big Roo

We took the nieces to the Herkimer County Fair last week. Here they are, serious working girls instead of the "silly suburbans" their mother accused them of being. Unfortunately we went to the fair on a day when there were very few animals to view. The baby goats were the most interesting, but Ella was hell-bent on finding a piglet (or 2). The Husband promised her a piglet last year, and he's rightly blaming me for dragging my feet on getting one (or 2). Personally, I'd rather hold out for the goats—they're cute when they are young, and still adorable when they grow up. I am finding it difficult to feel the love for an adult pig (or 2) and finding it even more difficult to think about raising them only to send them off to slaughter. Ahhh, life on the farm! Maybe I am also a silly suburban.

Mister Roo is doing his best to stand up to the tough girls. He's growing fast and starting to trade in his little peeps for a more manly cock-a-doodle-doo (but we don't yet know if he's even a roo!). The girls still pick on him, but mostly just when he tries to steal one of the pieces of tomato that I've been feeding them. Grapes, watermelon and tomatoes seem to be their favorites.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the pingpong balls in the nest boxes have solved the egg-eating problems, but I am also doing a better job of getting out there more frequently to take the eggs before they have the chance. Waiting for an egg to drop is like watching water boil... At least the hens who aren't laying at that moment are still entertaining enough.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Chicken Girls, Lester, and pink cosmos

It's just not as much fun without the nieces here. I think the Chicken Girls are bored without them, and they have been eating their own eggs to pass the time. The Husband caught one in the act the other day, and I saw two of them in the nesting boxes who were just about to commit that Number One chicken crime. Watch out girls—hens have been culled for less than this! (Not that I could or would, but don't tell them that.) I put some plastic eggs filled with mustard, and two ping pong balls in the nest as a distraction. I read it on the Backyard Chicken forum, not sure if it will work.

Here's a pretty Lester-in-the-creek photo, not that you all aren't tired of them by now. We try to go down there every day. I think it is Lester's own Fountain of Youth. Swimming keeps him young.

The Husband has been bugging me to post some photos of his lush vegetable gardens. I will, soon. For today, a photo of his wildflower garden. The seeds went in a little late, so the grasses had too much time to grow, but some of the cosmos and cornflowers are beginning to stand out among the weeds.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The chicks left the coop

The chickens are still there, but my nieces returned to their home in NJ today. The Chicken Girls have already told me that they miss the daily visits. They also told me to thank B&E for the grapes—there was a serious chicken war for the 8 or 9 grapes that I brought with me to give to them this afternoon. The Husband is bringing the rest out there right now.

Clairebear and Ellabella were guests at Lester's Flat for this past week. In addition to their beauty pageant performances, they spent a good deal of time in the creek, swimming with Lester and Sophie and the lobsters (crayfish). They also made daily trips to the Chicken Shack in search of eggs, including finding 2 of the largest, double-yolk eggs we have ever seen. No more baby-size eggs from these hens!

Bacon and Cheerios® seemed to be the breakfast of choice for the girls, and we had some very healthy lunches and dinners to make up for the bacon overload. Ellabella's contributions were scrambling the eggs and slicing the homegrown "magic" veggies for salad. Clairebear sliced and sautéed apples and peaches for breakfast, and once for dessert. Yum!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Star Doll

That last blog was about me. Well, I like pageants, but I'm not obsessed with them!!! This is my sister (in the picture) who is just as much OBSESSED with an online computer game called stardoll. She is always on the computer. She reads a lot, but all the other times she is on stardoll throwing and visiting parties. Other times she is doing her doll's hair and make-up.  

By: The Pageant Princess AKA the Blonde
Guest writer on Lester's Flat

Pageant Princess

Hello everyone, how do you like this picture? I am sure you are wondering why my sister is sitting on my back, and I have a very reasonable, yet strange explanation. My sister (the blonde) has recently become obsessed with pageants due to her watching Toddlers and Tiaras. I have to admit, I do enjoy watching the show but just for the fun of watching the crazy parents doing the child's routine in the crowds. Anyway, my sister has been doing lots of fake pageants in her spare time. What she does is waltz around in her pajamas, doing her own routines similar to the ones on the show. These consist of listening to the same song multiple times, which gets very annoying! 

So, back to the picture. She was BEGGING me to pretend to be her horse for her rodeo pageant, which means I have to get down on all fours and carry her on my back and walk around.  I can only do this for so long without my back hurting, so she only has a limited practice time. After about 2 minutes, my knees hurt really badly, so the horse is retired. That doesn't stop her though, she carries on until she gets tired. (Which is a very long time...)

By: The Pageant Princess's Sister (and horse.)
Guest writer at Lester's Flat today

PS: Lester enjoys being the judge in these pageants. When things get out of control, he barks and makes them stop...which happens pretty often. And, double PS, that's my penguin shirt from volleyball days that Ella is wearing. I gave it to her last year, and she says it is one of her favorites. Thanks to Rob and Chal for the birthday gift (many many birthdays ago!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Uncle T's Magical Discovery

These are Timmy's vegetables. These are magical vegetables! When you eat a squash you get the power of strong healthy bones. When you eat a somewhat hot pepper you get the power of invisibility. When you eat a really hot pepper you get the power of fire. When you eat these you will be very happy. The secret ingredient is magic fairy dust. You can only find it underground in Jelly Stone National Park. But before you dig up the fairy dust you have to talk to Yogi Bear and give him a picnic basket full of sandwiches, and juice boxes, and 3 pies. He will show you where to dig. Once you get the fairy dust sprinkle it on the vegetables and...PRESTO, you've got these wonderful magical vegetables!

By: Yogi Bear's long lost cousin Age: 10
Guest writer for the day at Lester's Flat


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And today it's all about the money (or lack thereof)

I've been fighting with my iMac computer for the last 3 weeks. After 2 trips to the certified Apple repair guys, I finally get a diagnosis—bad logic board, $850 to replace it. If it weren't for the fact that we just paid to have The Dump finally hauled to the dump, AND we just paid for the new John Deere, I might have just caved and gotten a new iMac ($1699). But money is tight, so we have to go with the least costly solution. Also, I have read a few reviews of the new Macs that say that they have problems too, problems not easily solved by those specially certified technicians.

It stinks. Macs never go bad, especially when they are only 2 years old. In 20 years this is my fourth one and my first problem. I guess I should quit my whining, but seriously, Steve Jobs, let's work on putting superior quality back where it belongs, on my desktop. I've got work to do.

Maybe because of this recent setback, and maybe just because, I put a big $5 in with Don on the Hill and Sherry at the Post Office to purchase 24 Powerball tickets today. The pot is up to $220 million. I could buy all the Macs I will ever need in a lifetime. But wait...I wouldn't have to work anymore, so I wouldn't need those Macs at all.

Yeah, right!

Think happy thoughts today. Maybe that little Financial Abundance Angel will work for you too.