Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scattered Thoughts

The snow which fell on Wednesday is still with us today in patches here and there all over the yard.  The temps rose to 50 on Saturday and we had abundant sunshine, so no excuses for not trying to tend to the last of the work.
The last garden needing work is the Quarry itself.  And it needs a LOT of work.  We've been having problems with woodchucks and chipmunks burrowing into the rock work and we know it's only a matter of time before we need to do something drastic to maintain the garden.  What it is we will do and the epic amount of work it will be is another matter.  Plus, we're not getting any younger......

Carl has ideas for what he would do to remodel the Quarry.  (He is an Optimist.)  I have ideas on what we will do to remodel it, too.  (I am a Pessimist.)  For the most part, I keep my ideas to myself.  No need to rain on his parade.  (And I want to finish Castle Aaargh first.)

The part that needs work the most is the back wall, after the woodchucks tossed loads of dirt out, it's slowly settling.  Carl has plans for what he'd do to make the garden more attractive and all I can say is let's hope we find a massive crane in a junk yard sometime in the near future.  We've found so many useful tools in junkyards....
But our little Manley Wrecker can't lift rocks much higher than three feet off the ground.  We do have another, bigger wrecker capable of lifting three tons (our current one is rated for only one ton) but Carl has to build a trailer to go under it again like he did with this one, and that will take time.  But anyway, back to the weekend's activities:
I yanked out the last of rudbeckias and Carl came and lent me a hand.  It's so much easier when two people work together on the garden.  We take turns dumping weedpails and buckets for each other and we have time to chat while we work.  Joel came home on Saturday afternoon for awhile and climbed the windmill with his telephoto lens to take some pictures.
Most of the corn is off our fields, there's still an acre or two north of here that's standing.
The fields are so very wet again this fall.  This past spring was the same way; the crops were put in late due to wet weather and now harvest time is proving to be a headache, too.

Mud always brings back many memories....I can tell tales of trying to get the corn off the field in November with Dad on the 574 pulling the corn chopper and the wagon and me on the H pulling the 574 to help it through the mud holes and standing water.  Having a tractor with a narrow front-end is really challenging to drive in mud, especially when you're a kid and lack the arm strength to steer the tractor after the front wheels turn sideways and start plowing through the mud, going sideways. I was almost helpless to turn the steering wheel; there was no power steering and it was a mess.   Memories of Dad on the 574 yelling at the top of his lungs to "Steer the damn thing! What are you doing??!"  Oh, Good Times.  (Once again, no Sarcasm Font is available.  I think I need to develop one.)

No, they were not very Good Times, unless you love mud, numb hands and feet, shivering uncontrollably and sitting in a field counting the rows and knowing it will take at least another week (one row at a time) to get the rest of the field off. Look at the rows in the picture and then imagine how long it takes to harvest a field one row at a time.  Of course, nowadays, farmers aren't as backward as we were and their choppers are much more efficient, but they also farm a lot more land than we did, too.  It's still work, no matter how it's done.

And here's a plea from me to any of you who are caught behind farm equipment going down the road at a snail's pace...yes, you are in a hurry.  I get that.  But the person driving the equipment cannot go any faster than they are traveling, believe me, they would if they could! because you know what?  They're in a bigger hurry than you are!

They have to haul their crops home and then get back out to the field ASAP to get the next load and it's getting dark or it's raining and they have many rows to go before their day is in.  And many of them have been in the field for hours and hours on end.....farm work does not punch a clock and there's no overtime pay, they work until the work is done and then go home and work some more, especially in the case of dairy farmers who work in the fields all day and then have a herd of cows to milk yet.  In all weather, rain or shine, all year round.  And the weather is the biggest factor....as gardeners, you all know how fickle the weather can be, right?  We worry about our gardens and drought and too much rain and heat and cold.....well, try having a few hundred acres to worry about.  If the crops aren't planted or harvested in time it's your income on the line, your herd's future, your family's bread and butter.

So, cut the farmer 'crawling' down the road on his or her tractor a break, ok?  They don't want to hold you up from your important business, either.  Don't tail him so tightly thinking you can push him down the road and make him get out of your way, he can't see you back there behind the wagon or combine.  You're invisible when you're so close.  And please remember, he has to swing out for mailboxes and road signs with that huge equipment, he has no choice.

Don't try to fly by him at breakneck speeds and put yourself and others in danger....is it really worth it?  Every year someone is hurt or killed by collisions with farm equipment, and it's senseless.    If it's daylight out when you pass a farmer, how about a little wave?  And please, don't make it the one-finger salute, either.......and yelling nasty things at them is also frowned upon.   (And it hurts!)  I had that happen to me on our little side road once, someone drove by and hollered an obscenity when I was a kid riding home on a load of hay my dad was pulling.  "Stupid f...ing farmers, GET OFF THE ROAD!!!!"  Ouch.

Please slow down for everyone's sakes, ok?  They're just doing their job.  You wouldn't like it if someone flipped you off for trying to get your work done, would you?

Okay, climbing down from my soapbox now.
Look at the weird sunset on Saturday night...how very Novemberish.  We kept on with our flower-yanking right up until dark (which is STILL way too early, silly time change).  From the windmill, Joel captured the mess out by Castle Aaargh:
 and in the foreground is the little lawnmower and the trailer.  Somewhere around there Carl and I are:

 Yup, there's Carl down near the middle in the bottom of the photo (it's like one of those Can You Find Something In This Picture games)

And there's me.  Even wearing camouflage you can still see me, creepy telephoto lenses and kids on windmills.

I don't know if it was the very wet and heavy early season snow or if the grasses weren't hardened off very well yet, but most of my miscanthus and several of the panicums just flopped after the storm.   Many of the sedums keeled over too, and that's too bad, because I love to leave many of the grasses and all the sedums stand for winter interest.  Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' stood up very well to the snow, though, so at least we'll have some of them to look at until spring. Carl and I finished up most of the plant pulling on Saturday just before dark and then took the dogs out for a walk in the moonlight before supper.
We cleaned out the barn (our little tool shed) on Sunday afternoon before it started raining and then went for a ride.   You may sense a theme here...we often work in the garden with a 'reward' in mind.  If we can get  this or that accomplished, we can then take a little road trip.  Sort of like 'if you eat your vegetables you can have dessert'.  Yes, we're adults, but we need to be bribed sometimes, too.
Joel's car in a cemetery.  It gets dark too early now.

Joel was home on Sunday afternoon and decided to join us on our little road trip, too.  I'm learning all about geocaching and am now a bonafide member of the community.  Many geocaches lead us to out of the way, lonely places which are dear to my heart, and to graveyards.  Yes, we have a 'thing' for graveyards, too, so many stories there if you take the time to read gravestones.

  Some people think graveyards are downright scary,  but I find them beautiful.

These roses aren't fading.
The new and improved 'Granite' rose is tough as nails.
Lovely pillars
Leaning towers of history, their names are almost obliterated and yet the markers stand.
I have always found cemeteries to be peaceful, comforting places.  I fear the living much more than I'll ever fear the dead.
Nothing to fear here.
They are at peace.

And soon, the garden work will be done.  Well, at least for this Fall.  Of course, it will never be done-done.  Today's challenge is to wash windows, wrap the apple trees for winter against rabbit damage, clean the chicken coop, wash laundry and start decorating outside for the holidays.  (And again, not necessarily in that order.)  
 Time to dream up some Holiday Decor.

Now where did I put the tomato cages??
Tomato cages for Christmas decorations?

Martha Stewart has nothing to fear from me.

14 comments:

El Gaucho said...

After seeing all of your pictures of the Karl Forester grass, I think we're going to add some of it to the landscape here next year. I've been trying to find some good grasses to add and I just love the color and texture of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sue said...

I hear you on giving the farmers a break (brake--LOL!) on the road. Everyone is in such a hurry anymore. It's gotta be dangerous as all can be for them. I live in an area now with not much farm equipment on the roads, but people do still drive way too fast!!

Alison said...

Wow! That picture of you working in the snow makes me feel like such a wimp for not wanting to go out and tidy the fall garden in 40+ degree temps.

Love your pictures of the cemetery. It's true, they are peaceful places with nothing to fear. Loved your comment about fearing the living more than the dead.

Sueb said...

We have lots of farm traffic in our area and I get so cross at people who are so darn impatient not only putting their lives at risk but everyone else's as well stupid people... You and Carl have been busy it look like Carl is talking to the plants as he pull them out is he saying “sorry mate I had to do it"! I understand what you’re saying about grave yards, but I can't go near them. I got scared of them when I was little.

Have a good week
Sueb x

Tombstone Livestock said...

Beautiful photos from the windmill, glad he made it back down ok. Thanks for the give a farmer a break, more people should be a little more considerate of other drivers. I just love it when someone roars around me gets way down the road and then is waiting at a signal light right in front of you. What did they gain, there is no big NASCAR check for getting to signal one place ahead.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen,

Funny you should mention cemetaries, I wlways liked looking at and reading the headstones. Maybe it is because I grew up in cemetaries, every photo until I was five was taken perched on a cemetary stone or in front of a crypt.

I grew up in the city and it was the closest thing to a park that was right near my home, ducks, ponds, everything!

Eileen

Gardens at Waters East said...

As always I enjoyed reading your post. There is one very short comment you made that I think needs repeating. You mentioned that when driving behind farm equipment and you want them to go faster, to remember they do to. They have much to do and wish they could go faster. I will keep that in mind here in the country when I am behind such farm equipment. That thought you made really struck a idea in my mind. Thanks. Jack

africanaussie said...

I always feel a little tired after reading your posts - no wonder you need a little drive afterwards to relax! I love the urn with your pumpkin and grasses in it! In fact I love your urns no matter what you do with them...

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

This was a this and that kind of post. I know of what you speak in the slow moving tractors. I follow them all the way to the farm and back. I am behind them constantly and always glad they do not have that far to go. Often it is hard to pass them and they do crawl along. But seeing the tractors at the farm, I know their mobility and speeds. I also know how they wish they were moving faster too. Farm work is never done and goes until dark everyday. I love farm like, but would not want to be working on one everyday, my stamina would never hold out.

joey said...

I am totally in awe! Hard to comment since all is wonderful and can't begin to imagine all that you do ... so well :)

myomyohi said...

Loved it all.

Jordi said...

Hi I just discovered your blog good job

Lona said...

What are you going to do with your extra time today after those chores? LOL! Good grief lady you make me tired just reading your list. LOL!
I figured your snow would all be gone. I guess it will just keep adding on now in layers.
You really need a crane or a very tall heavy backhoe that will not tip. LOL! All the rock moving you all have done and are still doing.
I know what you mean about the tractors and wagons on the highway. People are so rude and do not have a lick of patience anymore. I am never in such a blasted hurry that I cannot wait on them until I am able to get by them. Here they have the farmers and now more and more buggies since so many of the Amish are moving into the area and the silly driver rant and blow the horns all red in the face. Not good at all for ones health to get so worked up. LOL!
You have a good week.

Rosemary said...

Those pictures of the snow made me feel very chilly......