Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Even More Heat

Heat has become the new normal here in Kansas lately. 

The sheep came back just in time for the heat.  They are grazing in the early morning and the late evening, and at night.  
They have been doing okay in the heat of the day, and believe me, it's been hot.  It got to 100 yesterday, with a "feels like" of 124. 

I try to keep their pools filled with clean, cold water... and the swimming pool that is their drinking backup is in the shade, and the area all around it is kept wet and cool... about six of them lay there in the shade every afternoon.  

So far, the chickens have survived, but egg production has gone down to two or three a day. 
I did lose one bird in the hot spell three weeks ago... but so far, no more. 
I check them frequently during the day.  About 5, I put frozen bottles in their fountains with fresh water, but frankly... today it will be six before I do that, because I am leaving them out later.   I'm letting them choose when to go back in the hot hen houses. 

Mamita was enjoying the fan and the cool floor in the shop. 

Mama was the mother (now neutered) of the kitten litter that was born here.  They are all in rescue now. 

She never got bigger than a teenage kitten herself. 

I don't even shut the shop door at night,  they have to have some air flow, along with their fan. 

That is NOT a cat on the porch of the big hen house! 

The same camera caught this picture I was so glad to see.  That's Diamond Lil from Kitty Cat Connection, she is truly the most feral of any cat that was let loose here. 
She will not let anyone come near her, and I honestly thought she had disappeared, I had not seen her in so long.  She was out of luck... I take the food up at night... so I am hoping she is eating in the garage during the day, when I don't see her. 

She is a dilute calico. 

Here is Bob looking in the window at me.  He wants to come in and be on my lap. 
Bob is still half feral... he and Coco cannot be together, she hates him. 
What happens is one must go to my room and be locked up, while the other is in. 
Last night, Bob was in my room and ... still playing roughly... bit me hard, breaking the skin on the back of my left hand.  I'll be watching it for a few days to make sure I don't have a problem there. 
He was ushered out with a bowl of food onto the back deck, and did not come back in until early this morning.  He is our right now, under the deck where it is cool. 

Every year, I like to grow something a little different. 
This year, I grew wildflower mixes in the various planters I have. 

I have some opinions about them after the summer has passed. 

They have been WAY too water-dependent... and the zinnias, frankly, while always some of my favorite flowers... have been a pain to deadhead.  Notice I took this from far away!  I need to spend 30 minutes deadheading later today, that's how bad it is. 

All those spent flowers get carted to the compost heap. 
I used to save all the seeds, I no longer do. 

I saved balsam seeds for years, and my porch planter balsam is half the size of the balsam in the planters that I planted this year. 

That's balsam on the patio, and the deck balsam is about half that size. 

I do love that there are tiny wildflowers in the mixes.  I love them. 

And I am seeing butterflies. 

The bed of sunflowers I envisioned did not happen.  I had about eight come up, that's it.  That lovely orange one was in the middle and is just blooming.  

I am going to find a different place to plant them next year. 

The problem with sunflowers has always been that their root balls take up so much room. 

Another example of a wildflower in one of the mixes. 

The only tomato I grew this year was this red grape, and it has been very prolific. 

I have huge, fat milkweed pods this year! 

That's my sage bed, taken on one of the rainy days we had.  

There's little Pip on the front porch of the big hen house.... Sunday morning, she squatted down when she came out, and kind of sat there for a minute.  I looked when she moved and she had stopped, laid an egg, and then went on down the steps! 

Everyone try to get through the heat-rain-smoke as best you can... fall is coming! 


Sunday, August 13, 2023

Days of Rain

Last week,  I posted about the fact we had been sweltering through a hot summer, as so many of you are this year. 

This week, we suffered again, but... we have had 3 inches of rain since Thursday!  Two, today, from a storm early this morning and then another this afternoon.  We have a storm warning for tonight, too.  I am supposed to have a construction company here this week to start doing some work on the house, so I am not sure what this means, but I am so glad to have the extra rain. 

This happened in a storm three weeks ago.  Ben tried to get it down, but no tugging would do it.  If you look on the left, you will see one branch is totally dead, but two are still hanging secure.  One has dropped down almost to the ground now, and I am mowing around it, and yes, I am careful.  I am hoping if we do get the additional storm tonight, there will be some movement while no one is under it to get hurt. 

Look who came back this week!  (Yes, that's the ram in the foreground... impressive!) 

Nugget, who was formerly mine, was born here and she is heavy with lamb. 
It is so good to look out in the morning and see them all grazing. 

The length of time they will be here now will depend on the grass... but this rain surely helped. 

They made quick work of the weeds in the pen.  

I have let the chickens over on the "house side" of the yard several times this week.  
I looked out to see Singleton, the most dominant rooster, on the porch one afternoon. 
Singie was the lone chick that hatched under his mama. 
He is five this year, and more dominant than his brother, Buddy, the other big rooster. 

I looked out one morning to see Bob staring up at the feeder. 
There was a squirrel perched up there eating, not knowing how close Bob was. 
(or maybe knowing full well!) 

Bob was actually standing on his hind feet stretched out against the pole, but got down when he caught movement in the window where I was. 

I finally went out and called Bob, and the squirrel ran off. 

It's bad enough that I'm always running out to rescue birds from Bully. 

Here was one out here today, while the cats were all inside sleeping. 

Don't look now, friends, but the next holiday is upon us! 
I walked into the commissary at Fort Leavenworth this week to see them setting up the Halloween displays. 

I actually am going to confess that I went to Sam's for cat food today, and 
looked at all the Halloween creatures that lit up and talked, but did not buy anything.  I DID, however, buy the first two Christmas toys for the little ones for this year.  I am limiting the three great-grands to three each, and buying them early, as my hard rule is NO CHARGING GIFTS.  I have followed this rule for years with great success. 

I have one for each of the first two.  

I had just unwrapped this rocker I got at Tractor Supply when I took this picture. 
I have wanted a rocker on the porch for so long... and the wood ones were always expensive. 
This was reasonable, on sale... it is just a tad too high for me, but is comfortable and I rock Bob in it. 
I found him asleep in it today. 

There are mama and the three babies on the front porch of the big hen house the other night. 

And here they are scavenging in the barn.  When the weather is so hot, 
I leave the door open for the two cats that live in there.  They have a fan, too. 
I leave a tiny pile out for the cats when I take the food up at night, you see the raccoons are eating it.  Mama does not let the littles have any if she wants it, that one on the right is begging her. 

A friend of mine with a large farm told me her electric bill was 690.00 this week, she has fans running in all her buildings, two fans dedicated to old horses, fans in her chicken houses, etc.  I am planning on mine being between 4 and 500 dollars, because the fans have run almost non-stop, plus the air in the house.  I do have it cycling off and on, though, and try to keep it high enough to be comfortable but low enough to be tolerable. 

Here is my little Wanda crossing the porch at night... of "her" hen house.  One morning of rain this week was chilly, and I found her curled up in a nest box for the first time.  The next three days were awful, though, and I think she goes under the little hen house to escape. 
She will sleep inside the big hen house this winter, as she did last winter. 
Her eyes are looking a little rheumy again, so a trip to the vets may be in her near future. 

Here I am, caught by the camera on the porch of the hen house, doing what I feel like I did all week long... mowing... I got almost the whole yard done before the rain today.  I swear to you that I mowed last Saturday and Sunday, and by Wednesday it was like a hay field again! 

I didn't get that cat food in quite early enough! 

That's Bob.  This is a miracle. 

That's Coco, also a miracle... who HATES BOB. 

These two could not care less. 

Oh yes, he is the King! 

(see little Wanda behind him?) 

The Drama! 

Have a good week, friends.  I know so many of you are coping with fires and floods, and terrible, terrible weather.  I pray for all of you, daily. 


Sunday, August 6, 2023

It's Been a Hot Summer

And I guess the title is true for most of our country, this year. 

It's been hot here in Kansas, too. 

Fans running in all the henhouses, and a fan running in the barn for Mama and Teenie. 

Bullseye was taking a lazy way of watching the birds one morning... and actually, he does this many mornings!  I'll look out there and see all four paws in the air. 

I looked out the window to see Wanda here one morning, and I watched as she calmly walked all over the roof, and then jumped down and walked along the top board on the fence. 

Cleo lived in the barn with Mama and Teenie for the last two years.  Either Teenie, who has a notorious temper, or Bob, the (former) Porch Cat, now laying on my kitchen table as I type this... has run her out. 
She eats at the fence daily, and sneaks into the yard to eat dry food in the garage.  She is so beautiful, and my heart is breaking for her.  She sleeps under Troy's shed or under the implements. 
I am hoping we can get the whole situation rectified before cold sets in. 

This week, Troy and Kathy gifted me with this: 

Friends, I no longer can anything, so I passed most of this along to the Manus family, whose sheep come here.  Ben, the middle brother, has been my stalwart helper doing heavy yard work for the last three years.  He left yesterday for college in Arizona for his sophomore year, and it's likely he will do summer studies next year and won't come home.  I am hoping his younger brother Isaiah will be able to help me. I have been so grateful to have Ben's help for these last few years. 

Those tiny tomatoes had the best taste ever... and I saved a bunch back to make nachos today. 

Troy and Kathy's daughter Sarah has a one acre garden at her place... and Kathy has been working in it constantly, even in the heat.  They had a wonderful yield this year. 

I know you all want to know the upshot of the Great Tank Blowout. 

It took four phone calls to get the company to get out here and put a new gauge on and check the tank for leaks.  I called the provider I used at my old Calamity Acres in Kansas City, Kansas, and made arrangements to switch tanks out and go with his service.  
The driver dropped the old tank out by the gate and it was picked up a week later. 

My neighbor Troy did the same. 

Last week, in the dreadful heat, was the Leavenworth County Fair. 

Here comes a group leading their bucket calves along the walkway. 

I will have to say entries were down, and it was not just me who noticed. 
I went at midday on purpose, to avoid the crowds because ... covid has reared it's head in our area again.  Just being cautious. 

This was the champion market ewe that Isaiah showed, and will be coming here this week. 
She's a beautiful girl. 

There were some beautiful goats. 

Very few bunnies... maybe thirty... were on display, and those included cages for sale.  I will give the bunny parents much credit, though... because they had fans set up every three cages and the bunnie's fur was literally blowing in the wind. 

There were some beautiful quilts on display, but overall, 
entries in all these categories appeared to be down. 

When my sister was alive, she often entered quilted goods in the fair competition. 

Coco has become almost an indoor-only cat.  She came from a feral colony, this is a huge about-face for her.  Every once in a while, she lays on the back porch for a little while.  It was NOT 115 that day, unless that was the heat index! 

The flowers are still looking good, because I have literally watered them sometimes twice a day. 

Thank God my well has not had any problems since earlier in the summer. 

I planted my tubs and troughs this year with either wildflower mixes or hummingbird mixes. 
I honestly do not see hummers around them, but I have very few around my feeder, either.  I am taking that feeder down daily and putting up a clean one, the few I am seeing are almost ready to leave. 

Here is what I have to say about the mixes... they have been glorious but they must be watered heavily.  Deadheading the zinnias can be onerous... I need to do it today again, in fact.  I have decided that I am going to cut the deck containers in half next year, and plant lower-growing flowers in these troughs. 

They have been beautiful, I have to admit. 

That's amaranth behind the portulaca... I had not grown in it in years.  

It has looked good, but it has been attacked by the Japanese beetles badly.

My mom could not grow anything.  She marveled that I could.  

She loved cypress vine, and I try to plant it every year in her honor.  


It ain't Kansas if there isn't a sunflower or two! 

That's all, folks, thanks for bearing with me.  I'll try to post again 

in a week or so.