Friday, July 23, 2010

Catching Up

Boy, has it been a long time since my last blog posting. I promise to do better. Life just shoots by way too fast.

We put another tough winter under our belts. I don’t know why it is but they seem to get more difficult every year. Last winter was the coldest one we’ve had in 17 years. The snow depth was not as bad as past years but it was definitely much different. It was as if we had glacier deposits around instead of just snow pack which led to the worst mud season ever. The county roads were almost impassable for weeks even in four wheel drive.

After struggling through winter’s snow, ice and cold, spring arrived as a strange dry cold which slowed the pasture grass growth considerably. We were nearly 2 weeks late in getting the yearling steers out on grass but they made up for it quickly and are seriously plump now. Last year’s yearling headed for the freezer on Tuesday. We don’t eat that much beef so we’ll trade some to a neighbor who home-raises pork.

We have been fortunate to remain busy (actually really busy) with business so I scaled back my garden plans to just tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. I’ve always been pleased with past efforts with these two and expected similar results this year. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Early on the plants started looking pretty strange with curled leaves and stems on the tops of both the peppers and tomatoes. I quick review of my plant diseases book revealed that they were infected by a virus carried by leaf-hoppers. The books recommended removal but I wasn’t about to give up on my only crops. Another organic gardening book suggested using a foliar spray made from compost tea to improve their health so I have been giving them bi-monthly spraying. Just when things were looking better something decided to start eating the leaves. I haven’t found that culprit yet. I guess all I can say is that I’m glad that there are grocery stores around. It would be a long winter if we had to rely on what I can grow. I’m all that more impressed with folks who have found a way to grow food in this difficult climate.

In case you wondered, Phoebe the pheasant is still here though she is not as regular as she was over the winter. She stops by several times a week for a handful of sunflower seeds and cracked corn. I was not able to find a male for her in time for the breeding season but we might try again next spring. I did learn that pheasants are mostly solitary so she really doesn’t mind being alone.

Last weekend we headed to Denver to take in the sights and sounds of the downtown area. After nearly two decades in the woods, we thought it was time to taste the city life. Unfortunately we picked the hottest weekend of the summer, including a record-breaking 105 degrees on Saturday. We stayed in a hotel on the 16th Street Mall and enjoyed great food and drink. It was fun but we were both ready to return to the peace and quiet (and cool) of our Wet Mountain Valley. As they say, “there’s no place like home”.

From Fleur Creek Farm