Sadly, I lack both attributes. Tootsie lives in Canada and I live in Wisconsin, and if there's one thing we both have in common, it's the seasons. We've had a mild fall so far, yes, it snowed a week or two ago, but this week it finally melted. I was glad to see it go. As November slips by, some of the days have been in the 40's (which feels really balmy to me) but I'm noticing the nights are getting much colder, we've been down in the 20's. And the last two days have had a high of around 35 degrees which still isn't too bad, if you can work in an area away from the cold wind which goes right through you.
As a result of the time of year, my garden is so over. There are no more flowers to flaunt, no more blooms to boast, no more greenery to go on about. There are alot of twigs and branches if you're into that sort of thing:
But first: speaking of whirlwinds and ironically, Fertilizer Friday....you may remember my earlier posts about cutting farmers a break when they're traveling down the road with their farm equipment? Well, we have two kinds of farmers around here, the Regular Family Farmer and the Megafarmer-- and there's a big difference. The small, family farm is nearly extinct here, and it's very sad. A way of life has almost completely disappeared in my lifetime. There are a handful of smaller farms--which were considered big farms when I was a kid, seeing as how we only own 98 acres compared to their 200-300+ acres. But many of the 'big' family farms around here were sold and consolidated into mass acreage for the Megafarmers.
There's a mega-farm (not sure how many cows they have now, but I know the number is in the thousands) about eight miles from us who rent hundreds of acres in our neighborhood and whenever they harvest their crops, it's done with trucks. Big trucks. I'm talking semis here. It doesn't take them very long to harvest a coupla hundred acres of corn or hay since they have humongous equipment and hauling the crop home with the big rigs at highway speeds greatly cuts down on their transport time. Good for them, I guess, but this ain't the way farming was ever done around here before. It took some getting used to.
And we have a problem. The little side road we live on was never built for semi traffic, it's barely wide enough for two cars to meet comfortably and the roadbed is not reinforced enough for the beating it's taking. At times there are semis meeting each other on our road and flying by at speeds more suited to freeways. Since it doesn't take them very long to harvest their crops, we grin and bear the noise and the pounding of the road and the seemingly never-ending jake braking........... BRRRRRP, BRRRRRRP, BRRRRRRP of the drivers using their gears to slow down (wow, is that LOUD though!) because, ok, it's just til they get the crops off.
But what we dread is the next step. Manure hauling. That's when the trucks run in packs, I think I counted ten semis at least, coming and going from 8AM in the morning until at least 8:30PM last night. I tried to walk up to my mother's last night with the doggies and found it impossible. There's just no way to stay on the road when these trucks are hammering by. They don't slow down. Not a bit.......and the road? Well, the road is really falling apart. Big cracks are forming and it's getting bumpier and bumpier.
I went outside a few minutes ago and hid next to Willie the Willow to try to capture the essence of living in the Peaceful Country:
Here comes a semi from the east
You can tell he's going right along, my camera setting wasn't fast enough to capture him right in front of our driveway....
(I'd hate to be my mailbox....poor thing!)
And now he's meeting another one coming from the west:
For those of you who live on highways or near freeways, I know I sound like a Whiny Baby, and I apologize. But our teeny sideroad was never built for the industrial traffic these guys subject it to. I can only imagine the tax increase we'll have to pay for the fixing of the roads. When I was kid, we NEVER saw anything bigger than a milk truck on our road, but the last ten years or so have been very different.
And the smell.........oh.....boy, the smell! I grew up on this farm and manure is nothing new to me; and as all people who own any type of animal know, they all have to 'go' and poop abounds. Multiply the 'going' by say, 3000 (I know the megafarm had at least that many cows there, but there was talk of expansion up to 5000 head) and now you have a whole lot of fertilizer kept in manure pits until they haul it out and a whole lot of stink. It's a stink even I find objectionable, enough to take the paint off your house. They used to spread manure several times a year, but the laws have changed and they have to work it under the soil now within so many hours, which helps a little. But not a lot. They will be hauling this manure to the three hundred acres surrounding us until it is at capacity and then they'll move on. I hope it's soon. I miss my peace and quiet.
To illustrate the peace and quiet we normally experience, last night when I was on my ill-fated walk with the dogs, I stepped off the road into the ditch so I wouldn't get run over and took a coupla pictures of our farm....you can just make out the machine shed at Mom's house in this one:
Moving on the Non-Fertilizer part of this post, here's what the garden looks like as of last night:
Let's wander over to the other side of the yard and see what's going on.
We'll go over the bridge to the Pachyberm...but we've gotta hurry, because the sun is going down. (4:30 PM....Sigh!)
My Christmas decorating is so lame, you're going to laugh.....remember the pedestals that hold the lightshade planters in the summertime?
Well, now they're holding something completely different....upside down tomato cages wrapped in garland.
Even if they were Faux.