DnD Family Farms Sustainable Agriculture for the Next Generation
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DnD Farm Blog
Welcome to the Blog-This is meant to be an informal diary of the progression of what we have this growing year as well as the lesson learned and adventures that we have had on the "farm".  We sincerely hope you enjoy reading about what we have done, what we are glad we did, and maybe even what we won't try again.

 

December 31 2009-Another year come and gone, and looking back, it’s really been a busy one on the farm. We started with no bees and now have 2 hives, 2 hens and now we are up to 8. The pantry is full, the freezer is full and we have been enjoying the fruits of the summer here in the cold months. We had a thanksgiving and Christmas dinner that was completely grown right here-less the ham and turkey….for now.

The fields are pretty much all in clover less the north garden with mustards, turnips, collards, kale, cabbage, broccoli, onions and carrots. We have been picking the best carrots we have had in a couple years; it really is a timing thing to get them in the fall and winter over. Most of them are 8 inches with about an 1.5 inch diameter. The kale is continuing to feed the chickens green feed, along with collard leaves. We picked the final heads of broccoli; I think we have just been eating them as it goes. There really is nothing better than winter broccoli; it is so much sweeter than the summer crop. Collards are doing really well, and we have put up two batches of greens thus far for about 18 quarts. There are plenty more out there, so will fill the freezer, give away and feed chickens on them.

Seed catalogs have been arriving and it’s only about 90 days till we start tomatoes, peppers and marigolds. I was unhappy with the tomatoes this year, and want to ensure I inter-crop with marigolds and go back to Tomatoes Alive Plus for this years planting.  I’ve already started plotting out the crop map for 2010. I also hope for better sweet corn and am going with the transplant method and fish fertilizer/blood meal booster. We will be in the best soil this rotation as well, so we should be looking at a good crop. Always hopeful.

With time off over the holidays, I try and get chores caught up, but didn’t fare so well this year. I have all the hand tools to rehab handles and paint metal, the tractor cart needs some parts, and the shed needs cleaned out. Most of the detractors are the weather, as it’s been surprisingly cold and wet. I have a few precious days left though so maybe I’ll get caught up. I have spent most of my time in the wood shop building a dulcimer for Nicholas and a new F4 mandolin for myself. I French polished it, so it’s been a lesson for sure; I know it will sound great once I get it all done. It’s very shiny and just about ready to string up.

 

18 January 2010 Guess it’s time to start a new blog page. It’s already MLK holiday off work, so making the most out of a beautiful break in the weather. We have been almost 3 weeks straight with temps below freezing. Looks like I only lost one valve in the irrigation system, and it was a double threaded one, so easy repair and a slip fitting broke but it was just a cement failure.  Winter is a time of repair and preparation, so I’ve tried my farming best to get things together. All the hand tools have been wire wheeled, painted and the handles sanded down and given a good rubbed dose of tung oil. The shed has been completely cleaned out and pressure washed, it really needed that.  Garlic and asparagus beds are mulched under straw, and the dead leaves from the collards and kale are pulled off and cleaned up ready for more growth and harvest.

 

One of the things I have worked on is a diverter for the rain barrel that catches the majority of the south roof runoff. I can fill up 100 gallons of water in one storm, and then I have a bad overflow mess-which is worse now than it was before the gutters-and that’s why we got them. So, over the Christmas break, I installed a 20 foot long 18 inch deep French drain that runs away from the house, and thus far, heavy rains are working out just fine.  Now it’s time to install a diverter system now that I have a grip on the overflow, the barrels can be re-installed. This time I have barrel diverters that fill the barrels from the main downspout, but shut off once the barrel is full and the overflow will go down the French drain rather than wash out the barrel platform. More on that as that project progresses.

The chickens have weathered the cold really well, and continue to lay but down to about 3-4 per day. One of the white ones (because we really can’t tell Chirp from Sunshine) is molting, so that’s one down. I haven’t seen a Lady egg in a while, but she is close to being 4 years old. We clipped wings but that doesn’t seem to have curtailed their escape artistry. With the recent rain and cold, the grass is very dead, and very susceptible to scratching, so they are doing damage again.  I will finish enclosing their coop with more fencing, and keeping green feed going for them, going to try some alfalfa cubes reconstituted with water, or just a hank of hay if I can get from Pumpkin Center. I hate not letting them range, but they are really destructive to dormant grass.

The bees are a tragedy, I checked on the hives around Christmas and they were moving, just not much, which I would expect, but it looks like the first hive may have stressed out with not enough honey and didn’t tolerate the cold.  I noticed as the weather warmed, the newer hive was crazed trying to get in and out over the 1 entrance reducer that we put in to keep the cold air down. So took that out and when doing that, noted that there was no movement in that hive, opened it up and found maybe the remains of 100 bees-not a strong full hive-so not sure if they merged, if they do that or what. The other hive is very strong and we made some syrup and put in the front feeder, which they really didn’t care about. The little bit of honey, maybe 3 or 4 pounds that remained in the dead hive supers, I brought up to the house. I came in, did some research and when I came back out there were hundred of bees gathering the remaining honey and pollen from those supers for the hive. After about 24 hours, we could move the supers from the front yard and get the bees back down to the woods. They finished it off, as I went down today and found all the frames completely cleaned out. We ordered pollen patties and made bee fondant and put I the feeder box. I tested it out and a small piece of the fondant had a dozen or so bees on it, so hopefully they will be fine. I still think a zip lock bag of honey is the ticket for a situation like this. We will continue to debate that.   Took the frames out, sanded and varnished the old hive and it will be in condition to take a swarm if we get that lucky again.

Seed orders have been placed, this year we are trying Territorial seeds out of Oregon. Not crazy about them not being from the south, but I picked varieties of vegetables that either had southern trials that were good or that I found in the NC extension office. A couple new things this year, we have a pole bean for dry/shelly in addition to the tried and true Rattlesnake called Good Mother Stallard. Spring is hope and it’s eternal for a successful crop. This year, the east garden will be fully dedicated to tomatoes. It’s soil is poorer but we had great success in that soil with peppers, and with a strong clover cover crop and no-till method for planting this year for tomatoes, good foot diameter compost hole and Tomatoes Alive Plus, I think we will have a good tomato year, the almanac predicts good weather as well. Tomatoes and peppers will source out of Tomato Growers Supply. The border of the east garden will be sunflowers and okra this year.

14 February 2010-6.5 inches of snow on the ground that probably won’t survive past Monday evening, but it’s just beautiful when it’s new fallen. I just had to take the kids back to the woods just to experience the silence. Nick observed that we couldn’t even see any of the plants in the garden, save a few collards sticking out of the top. Started herbs 2 weeks ago, and have them under the lights. Starting onions today, they should be ready for transplant in 6 weeks, or first week of April. They are storage onions so they will have the most of the summer to develop. This is always the hardest time of year-not quite time to start seeds, and too early to do anything else.  I have gotten all the hand tools wire wheeled down and re-painted, all the handles sanded and re-finished. Re-furbed the broadcast spreader and got a new cable control. I also got a new hitch for the cart, that was needing done for a year. I need to change oil in all the motors and start working the compost bins. I also managed to pressure wash out the shed; it was in bad need of that. I used the display rotten straw to mulch the garlic and asparagus. I have a few projects that will keep me going for the remainder of the down time. The irrigation for the blueberries, I want to put in a couple more blackberries,  fruit trees need sprayed with dormant oil,  I have some repairs to the irrigation system,  paint the henhouse, level out the chicken yard…..the list goes on.

01 March 2010- It’s finally time to start thinking about getting tomatoes started. Got them all going under  the lights, will start peppers in a couple weeks. Herbs look good, but it’s still staying very cold.

15March 2010-Started all the tomato seeds, so now have peppers, tomatoes, herbs all shelved in the kitchen. Weather remains cold, so we will be under the lights for awhile.

15May2010-Yes, bad bad blogger, but very busy one. I’ll catch everyone up from what I have been doing since March. Moved those seedlings out the greenhouse around the first week of April, re-potting etc and watching everything grow. It was a very hot spring, to the point that when we finally got over the long cold, we really missed 50’s and 60’s and went right to 70’s and 80’s. And the rain stopped. It has been really dry but has been really dry since we started. We got the potatoes in first in early March, they have done really well, and we put in a row of onions beside them.  Had to pull cabbage to get those in-they were played out by St Pats day and had lovely corned beef and home cabbage and carrots. Speaking of carrots-they did really well after we finally got them going, kept the hens in green feed and the horses happy all winter as Jenna pulled a bunch every time she went to the barn for riding lessons. It was sad to see them go but they started to bolt as spring came on like gangbusters. Debbie put up 4 quarts of chopped carrots to use in soups etc. Of the fall garden, the collards, mustards and turnips all went to seed and the bees gladly visited all the flowers, so let them finish before I pulled all those. The kale was the last to go as things greened up, we finished feeding out kale to the chickens. Will grow a big patch of that again this year for green feed throughout the winter and spring for the hens.


Remember that we have 3 gardens, the main garden, the east garden and then the south garden.  We had red clover planted in the east and south gardens and when it bloomed it was bee fiesta. I planted it for green manure and that worked out in some of the places, but the more I read about trying no-till I was intrigued. So, by April the seedlings are thriving in the greenhouse, the clover is just starting to bloom and rather than mow it, I left it go for the bees this year, and rather than mow it and till it in, I let it go to seed, then mowed and am using it as mulch. I think that it will continue to grow, not sure but it seems to be re-generating where there is moisture. Time will tell, it’s been so very dry, it’s hard to tell what it will do. So, here's what’s planted in the main garden-it is all tilled-only no-tilling the other gardens. We have a 30 foot row of trellised cherry tomatoes next to the potatoes where the carrots were. Trying this down here rather than up at the house as we have had 2 poor years with cherry’s. So far they are thriving. Rather than peanuts this year, we have a 30 foot row of edemame soybeans, kids love them and so do bunny rabbits-so far –so go. I started them in the greenhouse, they need heat to germinate and they did really well transplanting. I’ve had no luck on the past 2 tries and think I figured it out this year germinating hot.  I have 2 30 foot rows of peppers and are hitting the sweet peppers harder this year than chilis-mostly because I have so much chilies in the freezer, and we really do use the sweet peppers either fresh, roasted and frozen, or dried for spices. Next to that I have interplanted musk and watermelons with Hickory King field corn. It shades the melons and makes great cornmeal when we are all done.  Along the back we have a row of beans this year for dried/soup beans called Good Mother Stollard. Out of 125 seeds, I have 3 plants over two attempts. Direct seeding and greenhouse starting. Sorry, Cherry Gal, won’t be buying from you again. Placed a replacement order from Seed Savers, and hopefully will get them in by next week.  Another hiccup is the row of sweet potatoes from Tatorman. Seems like they missed my order-back in February, so hopefully, slips will be in the mail this week and we can probably salvage those, it’s late for us, but we should be ok.  Along the back side we have 2 rows of rattlesnakes staggered about a month apart-those were from seed saved, and are doing really well. Over in the south garden, we mowed the clover after it dried but was still a little green with the intent of tilling it in, but this is the first no-till attempt. I started Bodacious and Silver Queen in the greenhouse and transplanted 2 rows of each about 75 plants in all. I hand dug the rows, ran water lines and used blood meal and seaweed as fertilizer before transplanting. This week they are about 6 inches tall and I mulched them with compost. There are a few blank spots and got the 3rd staged row of Silver Queen in-Bodacious needs another week of greenhouse development. In the back of this garden, I put in 2 short rows of chilies for fresh eating and drying this year and a row of cherry tomatoes with tomatillos for salsa. So, up to the east garden, I’ll build a page for the cover crop no-till concept for the tomatoes. That’s about 10 rows, over 100 plants with good 4 foot all around spacing. Debbie calls it her field of dreams. I have several different varieties this year, Homestead, Mule Team, Arkansas Traveler, Opalka, San Marzano and of course Heinz 1439’s. I also started some Classica and Super Marzanos from last year, so we should have a really good variety. The soil in the east garden is just awful, and in spite of 3 or 4 years of building, it’s still substandard compared to the others. A lot of clay and sand with no organic matter, so it made sense to keep the clover roots which ended up about 8 inches down bringing in that good legume nitrogen and organic matter. Planting was done without disturbing the clover. I ran hoses down the rows, and just walked in and started setting stakes. I dug a 1square foot hole, and filled each hole with pure compost and kelp meal. Watered each plant in with fish emulsion and then covered up the hole and ran some drip water to them. They actually have done really well. All the clover has now turned brown and looks spent, so it’s been about 3 weeks since I planted them, we tied them last week-they are growing. Today, I mowed down the clover and used the bagged straw as mulch for each plant. It was 92 degrees out there again today, I feel like renaming it Parchman, as I’m feeling like a convict when I come in from working it. It’s been super hot and hard to get a garden in this year. But this afternoon, God smiled on the work I have done and sent blessings in the form of the first real rain we have seen in a month. We have been watering the lawns and it’s just never the same as a good soaking rain. Spectacular lightening and thunder for 2 hours before we actually saw water and felt like I needed to invoke the Cherokee blood to get the rain. It’s glorious out there right now, I think I hear the plants singing. Even the birds are flying around in it and it’s 20 degrees cooler. So that is where we are, I’ll make the effort now that the garden is in to keep this updated and we watch and grow. Jenna needs to get the 3 sisters going in her little garden. We have some Cherokee cornfield beans, acorn squash and Hickory King to get in. This rain will soak in well by tomorrow and will get that planted tomorrow evening. Up at the kitchen garden, we have our great variety of herbs and a big basil garden this year in lieu of tomatoes (although I am going to put in the stragglers amongst the basil), and a big wildflower/bee garden for the rest up the backyard. Bees are doing well, we worried about a swarm as I see a lot of them, so put the empty hive there just in case they did swarm, maybe they would just move next door if we didn’t catch it. We already put on a extra super. The hens have been really laying this year, 5-6 a day until it got really hot, then they backed down a little bit. The backyard has been a struggle to get grass back with the rain lack, the Bermuda is all over the place, but without water, it’s just sitting there, this rain rejuvenated everything. 

22MAY10- Got the last of the Bodacious in the ground today, just put in seeds. Having some ant issues over on that side of the corn I need to deal with. The Silver Queen that went is as transplants is doing very well and mulched with a layer of compost today. Thursday night I got the Good Mother’s from Seed Savers Exchange and got those in the ground. I also got Cherokee Trail of Tears beans that I poked in along the hickory king that’s with the melon row, so we’ll see how that pseudo 3 sisters does. Squash is really good this year so far and we have some ready to pick tomorrow already.  I poked in some okra seed to go along with the transplants and it’s all up now so we should have a good row of okra. Eggplant is doing well in the greenhouse; I’ll put that in by next weekend. The rain did prove my concept of the clover-all the seed that went down with the mow germinated so we have a green carpet coming in with the tomatoes, it’s a good thing though….The tomatoes are all doing good, little cherrys are blooming and forming already on the trellis, have high hopes for that. Looked like rain, so fertilized the lawn. Need some repairs on the spreader, so have to order more parts.

24MAY10-I usually don’t get much done during the week, but today the sweet potatoes finally came in the mail from Tatorman.com. We had great success with his slips last year and wanted to keep buying from him.  I had the bed prepared already so just poked in a 2 inch hole with a PVC pipe about 8 inches down in the hill, filled it with screened compost with the slip and gave them a good watering in. Hoping the weather is right and we have rain all day tomorrow to settle them in, along with the tomatoes. If not I’ll need to water. Picked 4 zuch’s already and will have patty pans ready to go. Cukes are finally stating to tendril out and climb as well. There really is no substitute for rain, I can drip water it to keep it alive but rain really is what makes it grow. I suspect a lot of cultivating over the weekend along with staining the deck and playset, laying sod at the side of the house and getting the eggplant seedlings in the ground, putting new fuel line on the little tiller, painting the hen house, and on and on. It never stops…..

10July10-Once again I find myself too tired after the work is done to get to the blog, so let me catch up what’s happened over the past several weeks. Once the sweet potatoes in, pretty much all the planting is done and it’s down to maintenance. Starting in the east garden, tomatoes are doing fairly well.  Its been a rain struggle all summer thus far, the best rain we got was when Grammee was watching the farm while we vacationed in Mississippi this year. We’ve decided that she has the mojo to bring rain and eggs-the girls were laying 6 a day under her care-she’s got them trained! June was unseasonably hot and dry with temps often in the 100’s, and mulching as much as I could, but had to supplement with house water a lot just to keep things from dying.  The garlic suffered greatly with the dry spring and I didn’t have any irrigation to it. Pretty lean harvest and very early-it just gave out and died with small bulbs. So, as far as the tomatoes go, lot’s of tying and spraying and pruning.  Used bamboo stakes this year, huge mistake. Too wimpy for the plants and ended up buying more oak stakes to hold things up-restaking as we go. I also had a lot of dead plants-just stressed from the heat and vunerable to disease. Lack of good rain just makes it worse.  I’ve culled out probably 20 and replaced them with Pumpkin Center transplants. Another lesson learned, start seeds once you have the first crop in the ground for culls and late tomatoes.  I still have some to cull out and 6 more plants in containers on deck to go in.  The eggplant seedlings are doing very well and have blossoms on them, they are about 18 inches high. We got a burpee variety pack, so not really sure what is in there.  Tomatoes really did get away in the suckering and pruning stages, it was just so hot to work out there, I’ve still got more pruning to do and I spent 3 hours on Saturday just in the tomatoes.  Homestead is performing ok, as is the Heinz, I hate to make too much judgment given the weather, but the Heinz are not delivering as hoped.  Opalka is not performing well either, but the San Marzanos are looking very well. The other surprise is Mule Team-very sprawly but a big beefy tomato with really great flavor. The Arkansas traveler are also producing well, more of a pink tomato than I thought it would be.

The trellised cherry’s are producing very very heavy loads-I’ve had to stake up the trellis because of the weight of the vines, they look like they have plenty more to go as well and the tomatillos are also coming in. Supper tonight was home fried chips with fresh salsa.  Potatoes came out to the tune of about 2 bushels-reds not producing as well as the Yukon golds this year.  My little 4 year old niece Gwen learned all about digging potatoes this year and had a blast getting dirty. I’ve put in butternut squash in that row with 2 rows of late silver queen on either side of it. Onions are about tennis ball size, still growing, will let them go. In the midst of it all are giant sunflowers volunteers from last year. We had a great crop of edemame thus far with the beer friend beans producing first. The black seeds are just now blossoming. Would definitely do it again but need about 60 to 120 row feet to get a really good yield. First year we got them to grow well. Getting enough cukes to eat-we don’t have enough to pickle –which is good because we have plenty of pickles and need to eat the pantry up by next spring anyhow. We froze a lot of squash this year, I give the bees credit for squash harvest-first in 2 years that beat out the bugs. I had the squash bugs really bad and the only thing that killed them was pyrethrum, but it was too many and too late. Tried to be bee friendly, and only sprayed in the evening and only directly on the plant. I started a second planting last week and they are already up and have a true leaf. Keeping the pyrethrum on it as they grow,

Peppers are also doing well-of course they love the heat so I’ve needed to stake them. Will start drying the Spanish spice ones for paprika once they red up more. Few chilis that are just starting to come in as well. We’ve had a good okra year as well-got a full row in early this year, again, so dry and hot I had to replant a few times, but it’ s come in really well. Had a few melons and finally cut the first sugar baby- we are always nervous pulling them-hate to cut into a green melon!

Good Mother Stollard beans are really slow coming and they finally look like they are starting to bloom. New crop so not sure what to expect. Second planting of rattlesnake beans fed the bunnies, re-planted and sprayed with critter away stuff. Same with with the sweet potatoes.  So, nothing left to talk about but corn. I really love growing corn, but corn really needs the water. Bodacious tasted great, but out of the first 2 rows, I got maybe 10 ears. Stunted and about 3 foot tall when it tasseled, I’m writing that off to weather. Silver Queen is just now coming in, and we had 12 ears of that with plenty more to pick in the first two rows, more to come on the late rows of both varieties. I put in a second plannting of Silver Queen between the bodacious plants, so it will be what it will be at this point. If it comes in it does, else that will be broccoli in the fall.  The backyard had finally come in and the berumuda has started taking over, Turf Builder every 25 days is the key to getting that stuff into overdrive to get roots down for next year. Bout the time we leave, it will be a nice lawn. Rest of the bahia outside the fence is doing really well with the same regimen, now that we have gotten some rain. It all was brown and written off for the majority of June. Oh, Farmers Almanac predicted 4 inches above normal (12 inches) in June-we had closer to 4 inches all month.

It rained last night, just in time and there was 4 inches in the gauge this morning-not sure how much was in there, but it was a really good soaking rain. I put colossus peas in behind the garlic and the ground was still wet this evening.  Planted a couple cull tomatoes this morning and it was wet down 8 inches.

About water, I have added a barrel to the garden side as I finally got a pump that gives me pressure to drive water thru the irrigation system clear down to the beans at the bottom of the garden. It takes a good 2 barrels to water the tomatoes,  so needed to up my collection. That gets me about 150 gallons at each rain storm like the one last night. I linked up the pump to the main irrigation line by valves so it’s pretty easy to plug and go with the water now-you just have to watch it as it empties quickly.

Summer is officially here when we have tomato sandwiches for supper-which suits me just fine and cornbread and tomatoes on Sunday dinner.

We had a one pair of bluebirds that fledged 3 with 2 survivors, and have another pair in one of the other boxes right now. Chickens continue to do well in spite of the heat. The bees need opened, and new super put on, we should have some honey to harvest. Jenna and I are building her mandolin-she wants to start playing this year, but I realize why I wait till fall and winter; it’s just too hot out there to spend a lot of time.

Thoughts have now turned to our lives next spring as I retire from the Navy and we leave this property to someone new, working on fences and other repairs to make things marketable in the early spring. I did get the deck stained, and raised beds in all along the west side of the backyard-but have not stained the playset or painted the henhouse.  We plan to be ready to go around May-June next year as we embark on our open ended adventure around the country. Still looking at west-central North Carolina as the final stop, but so looking forward to spending several months seeing the nation


17 August 2010 – HOT  and DRY is just how it has been this summer, we had a dry June, and July was actually pretty decent water wise, but the last 3 weeks have been 95-100 with no rain. The barrels are just about dry, and I’ve been watering with street water, but only the things that are still salvageable.  We did get some clean up last weekend and even more this weekend. Lets go round the farm…

East garden is full of tomatoes and eggplant, Still have some tomatoes. Picked a couple 5 gallon buckets last week and Debbie canned 15 or so jars of sauce.  Culled those that are just done or diseased-anyone not making blossoms went to the burn pile.  Pruned what was left and now they have some green tomatoes coming in. The replacement tomatoes are starting to blossom, so hoping for about 20 fall tomato plants, if I can keep them going thru the heat. Been watering those by hand just to keep them saturated if possible. The eggplants are doing well and have been eating those. Going to try and make up eggplant parmesan casserole and freeze that for winter. Hard to keep eggplant for later consumption. Gonna  seen that on in come fall and let it turn back to grass. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have that big extra garden, but the soil really is poor in there, and it would take several years and hundreds of cubic yards of turkey poop to really get that into a fertile space-like the other two alluvial areas are.

 

South Garden-pole beans are done, picked off the dry beans this weekend and prep the beds  for new fall planting, will put them in tomorrow night, lost steam yesterday. Plus it’s so dry, just couldn’t plant anything-maybe some rain this week. Pulled out the cukes and zucchini beds and till all that under, Debbie weeded the entire sweet potato beds. They should be lush but the heat and dry is taking toll on them as well.  Need to pull the cherry tomatoes, and till that bed up over as far as the peppers-the winter squash never took off, and it was just too dry. I may give it a late try though. That gives me 4 rows for fall crops probably will be broccoli and collards in there.  The peppers and okra are holding their own, there are still a few watermelons, cantaloupes are done, so that is another couple rows for kale. Need at least 4 rows of kale for the chickens over the winter. 

 

North Garden- cut and shocked all the corn for Debbie’s fall display, pulled roots and till up everything in that bed save a the back where we still have decent chillis growing. That will support carrots, beets, spinach and 2 rows of bush beans for fall crop. Again, just too hot and dusty to even think about raking in beds and trying to plant. Next weekend, it has to go in so if it doesn’t rain, will put the sprinker to it Friday night.

 

Spent some time trying to repair the double gate for the backyard fence-I had to put in new posts and rebuild both gates as they had warped so much. I have some more work to do but they are just about finished. Trying to grab ahold of the those big things that will affect the sale of the house over the next couple months.  In the evenings I have been trying to focus on Jenna’s Mandolin. I was really surprised how good it ended coming out. I wanted a tobacco burst finish, and got out the airbrush on this one, and shot water based aniline dye that came out really good. I’ve French polished it, leveled, FP again, level again and now glazed it. Now just finished the polish with Meguiars swirl removal for the second time, want to go over it once more and then hit it with the mirror glaze and I’ll call it quits. It’s got a couple warts but overall really came out exactly how I wanted it. Want to build another one this winter. Maybe an oval hole A. Jenna is getting good at her chords, so it will be fun to have her playing, I need to send off and get some super light strings for it.

 

Debbie still has not opened up the bees , we have a full super of Honey we probably need to pull off there, Maybe I can get her on it this week. The hens have actually been laying pretty well in spite of the heat, getting about 5 a day. Surprised that we haven’t lost one to heat this summer.

Hard to belive but it’s the last full week of summer vacation for the kids, we are going to try and take off for a couple days before school starts and go RV shopping up I-40 and check out some of the prospective areas we have thought about. Just take 3 days and nomad it.  Retirement papers went in last week, so hopefully will get things confirmed this week. Planning on a May 13th  retirement ceremony, that gives us the summer to get the house packed up and then hope to hit the road by mid July. Had a surprise contact from my old Senior Chief from London years Mike Hess.  It was good to catch up with him driving a truck all across the country-big adventures I’m sure. He’s also looking to do a little hobby farming. Guess that’s all for now, need to get some seeds started for the fall cole crops this week, and get those seedlings growing, I always have to convince myself there will be a garden in the fall when it’s so hot.

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