June

Key Tasks

Stay after the weeds. Watch for signs of erosion and get them stopped as soon as possible. Continue suppressing new blackberry primocanes until June 20, then let them grow. Start seeds for fall nightshades.

June 1

2014

Love having extra time on Sunday morning. I used it today to let Oddie and the chickens do the heavy cleaning on the smoker, and then I finished the job with a little soapy water. Then church, then lunch with Mama, then some changes to her computer and a really nice Sunday afternoon nap. Helped Mama clean out her refrigerator since it’s gone on the fritz. Thank goodness for the second refrigerator she keeps in the garage. This evening Adrian and I helped strike the set at Wetumpka Depot.

2013

What a difference a good night’s sleep can make! I was dog-tired last night after all the work on the deer fence, but I feel much better this morning. “The sleep of the just,” I guess. This morning I re-installed the “hitchin’ post” in the orchard deer fence. This is a lone post set up near the gate so I have a place to hook the electrodes when the fence gate is open to keep them visible and off the ground. I also moved one fiberglass support post and installed another. The only task remaining is to re-attach the warning signs. It’s important that I do that soon, of course, particularly before we welcome any guests. This morning Amanda and I fed the fish for the first time since stocking with channel catfish. No real action around the catfish feed; they still seem to go for the white bread! After a trip to town, I installed a circular vent cover in the 4″ PVC pipe that acts as an air vent for the root cellar. As an added bonus, it also reduces the light that comes into the root cellar. The rest of the day was all about going to Birmingham for the wedding of Charlie’s and Janean’s grandson. Amanda had an appointment at the Apple store; I used the time to research pecan varieties. Later in the afternoon I had a long phone conversation with Dave Gray about pecan varieties and orchard design. Our primary struggle is that all of this happens so slowly. The trees that were being recommended 10 years ago are now out of favor. My strategy until I come up with something better is as follows: * Lay out an orchard of 12 fully-grown and mature trees, set up drip irrigation, and bury it. * Plant 12 trees of at least three different varieties, making sure the rootstock of every tree is a proven winner with a good track record with consistent performance. * Hope for the best, but don’t be afraid to be brutal in “topworking” a tree (grafting on to it a scion of an improved variety) if the tree proves to be susceptible to disease or a pest.

June 2

2014

This morning at True Value I picked up the wheels I will use to roll the chicken coop around. I also pulled the trigger on MOVAVI, so now I have a fully functional copy of the software. At mid-morning Adrian and I drove to Montgomery, where we emptied the contents of four of Mama’s closets and donated hundreds of her garments. I was too late to donate the last load, so Adrian will take it tomorrow afternoon after she gets off work. Tonight we had our read-through of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Long rehearsal, running almost three hours. Can I keep this up?

2013

Nice conversation with Gary Underwood this morning. I have asked him to reserve 12 trees for me, three each of four varieties:

  • Amling (Type I)
  • Gafford (Type I)
  • Excel (Type II)
  • McMillan (Type II)

I am to call Gary toward the end of August. His trees are in containers and will be ready to pick up by mid-September. $17 per tree. We have a conference at the beach in Baldwin County in mid-October, so we’ll probably pick them up then and avoid making a special trip down there. He says they’re ready to plant any time after mid-September. This afternoon was all about getting centipede grass seed down on the space between the Big Berm and the lodge, because the weather forecast called for showers in the evening. I first disked – in the driving rain. Then I spread seed in light rain, but the rain stopped as I was finishing up. Then Amanda and I spread wheat straw on the area where we had seeded, but by then the rain chances were way down for the evening. Drove the Vespa over to Caleb Hart’s house so Caleb and James can run it through its paces. I cooked burgers on the grill for supper while Amanda drove on the new grass to improve seed-to-soil contact.

June 3

2014

Spent way too much time today putting the chicken coop on wheels. Each time I do any surgery on that coop, I’m reminded of how flimsy it is. It’s been great as a way to get us started with chickens, but it’s probably going to need replacing sooner rather than later. I worked straight through lunch, and it was stressful because I knew the hens wouldn’t want to be stuck out in the run in a thunderstorm. Fortunately, I got away with it; no rain until I had it put back in place. This afternoon we made leek soup using chicken carcass left over from Saturday night. It cooked most of the afternoon in Aunt Ione’s pot, we enjoyed it for supper, and it finally cooled so we could dish it up into 1-quart containers at about 10:30 tonight.

2013

Spent a good part of the morning updating the Epiphany web site and drafting the bulletin. Then outside to clean up after Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s work. I was able to attach all the warning signs on the deer fence, this morning, so I’m now able to say grace over the moving of the gate in the orchard deer fence. Feels good to be able to call the task complete. This afternoon I assembled Mama’s inclined step for her to stretch her achilles tendon. Now I need to caulk and paint it, and it should be ready to deliver. This afternoon Amanda and I walked down to the pond together to feed the fish. Such fun! We’re seeing more of the channel catfish now coming to eat the catfish feed.

June 4

2014

This morning we attended a backyard poultry workshop in Dadeville. Very helpful, particularly the Q&A time when we heard from other participants about what they were trying and what was working well for them. Then lunch at Oskar’s. This afternoon we recorded and I edited the podcast before I attended to the fish and the chickens. Out early to blow off the pavilion and front porch of the lodge. Then I mowed Veg Hill and used the weedeater on it. Then I started cleaning off the porch of the barn as Patrick Cook drove up. He’s the extension agent who’s a critter guru. SO helpful to have him come here. He said the damage he’s seeing does not look like a massive vole outbreak. It’s actually more likely that our worst culprits are squirrels and crows, both of which we can suppress by shooting them. He says to use a big, noisy gun like our 20. He says to hang a dead crow in a tree as a deterrent until it starts to stink so bad it offends us. The greatest activity will be in the early morning and late afternoon, so that’s when we should plan to be watching. Patrick believes that the windmill on a shaft probably doesn’t do any good. After he left I loaded up the hedge trimmer and lopping shears and trimmed the driveway gate area. Then I swapped out the hedge trimmer for the t-post driver and headed up to the lodge to set up the horseshoes court. The two posts are 40 feet apart and leaning inward toward each other. 40 feet is a long way to throw a horseshoe! I practiced for 15-20 minutes and never threw a ringer. Next I traveled to town. Among other errands I picked up some caulk for Mama’s inclined step. When I got back home I applied it. I’ll let it dry the rest of the day and paint it tomorrow. I then cleaned up the work table so Amanda could use it for some of her plants.

June 5

2014

This morning I assembled the little trundle bed Amanda bought on Ebay. It’s cute, but it doesn’t fit under the big bed. It seems like a problem to me, but Amanda seems unconcerned about it. In town I bought a sheet of luaun with the intention of using it as the base for the little mattress Amanda plans to make. However, I think I may need something that’s a little stiffer.

2013

Astounding. We had a 20% chance of rain in the forecast for the wee hours. but we got 1.5 inches of rain from midnight until 5:30 am. Go figure. I’m not complaining, of course. This morning Amanda and I traveled to Wetumpka with Jimmy Weldon, Jean Kerr, and Jere Van Etton to look at the sign we’re obligated to pay for. Way too big, but we’re stuck with it, and we’ll make it work. This afternoon I painted Mama’s achilles stretcher, and while I had the brush and paint out I painted the portion of the screen door of the lodge that I had scraped earlier. Here’s hoping it doesn’t stick this time. I then turned my attention to the pecan orchard. I started by bush hogging the areas I could, and that made a big difference to give me ease of access to get in and out. The first tree I took down was a bear, some kind of Hawthorne privet thing just outside the northwest corner of Veg Hill with limbs that were twisted and gnarled and took forever to mulch. I ended up stacking most of the tiniest and most twisted branches to dry out so we can burn them later. Not much to show for my 3.5 hours of labor. I hope the rest of the job goes faster than this.

June 6

2014

Started the day working on the Greenfield to saw the downed blackjack oak into segments. I’ve now finished cutting up the trunk. I may try to cut a few more from the branches, but most of them are too gnarled and twisted (and rotten) to make it worthwhile. In the middle of the day we drove to Wetumpka for a focus group on aging. Then some shopping in Wetumpka before we returned. This afternoon as the thunderstorm arrived I cut up seven strips of plywood to form the slats for the little trundle bed. Then I shaped both ends of each strip to nestle in the semi-circular notches in the sides of the beds. The slats fit well the first time! The fish didn’t get fed today, so we’ll be extra generous with them tomorrow.

2013

This morning we recorded and published the podcast. To town in the middle of the day to run several errands, including printing the bulletin. This afternoon I continued with the clearing, which flowed a tad more smoothly. Still getting a good many jams of the chipper from all the green leaves, but there may not be anything I can do about that. Caleb drove the Vespa over to show off the great work he was able to do to get it running smoothly. Basically, he blew out the carburetor and replaced the spark plug, and now it runs much better. He’s going to give some thought to what it’s worth and get back to me.

June 7

2014

Traveled to Montgomery this morning to meet with Katherine Lynn, the organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist, where I will be singing tomorrow. Then a few errands in Montgomery and a few more in Tallassee before returning to the farm. This afternoon we opened the lodge for an author’s table read for Adrian’s murder mystery play. Campy fun set in the 1940s.

2013

Spent most of the day taping and mudding the sheetrock in the lodge chair closet. Once I opened that sheetrock mud I wanted to use as much of it as I could while it was still nice and soft. Amanda left in the middle of the day for a conference on medicinal herbs. Interrupted my work when Paul Jones, our mail carrier came to deliver a package. We spent nearly an hour together so I could show him what we’re doing in the garden. I finished with the mudding job about 5:30 pm. It’s ugly – I mean high ugly – but it accomplishes Amanda’s goal of getting the closet critter tight. I rewarded myself with a trip down to the pond to feed the fish. At my request Amanda picked up pizza at Bumpers for supper.

June 8

2014

We had a powerful thunderstorm just after midnight, with strong winds and a lightning strike that must have been within a few hundred feet of the barn. Scary. Things calmed down by about 1:00 am. Sang this morning at First Church of Christ, Scientist. Then lunch with Mama in Montgomery. We were lazy at Mama’s house most of the afternoon. Imogene remains lethargic. She’s obviously not back to 100% yet. Need to keep watching her. I made a big move with the chickens this afternoon; now they are between rows 8 and 9. The end is blocked, so I will need to roll them all the way back out when they have traveled the length of this row.

2013

Met James, Caleb, and Andrew Hart at the church at 7:30 this morning to remove the doors from the nave and attach plywood over the opening. The doors are massive and far heavier than they look. He’s promised to have them ready to re-attach Saturday week. The rest of the day was pretty much all about Tallassee Now BBQ. I showed up a little early, and the first order of the day was a quick trip to the store for some supplies. When I got back I quickly became responsible for schlepping baked beans. I cooked and schlepped a staggering quantity of baked beans, probably 40-50 gallons of them during the course of the day. Left there about 2:00. Amanda then left for second Saturday in Loachapoka, and Oddie and I took a long nap, after which I felt human again. Tonight I stopped in briefly at the Mt Vernon Theater block party and then met Amanda at East Tallassee Mini Storage to claim a unit for Adrian. #16 was open right inside the middle door, so we selected it and put one of our padlocks on it. Grabbed supper at China Garden and headed for home.

June 9

2014

This morning Amanda headed to Montgomery for the governor’s mansion. I started by cutting a sheet of the luaun to place on the trundle bed and screwing it to the slats in four places. It should be nice and stable now but easily disassembled if and when we need to move the bed. Next I flamed some poison ivy up near the lodge and then flamed the weeds on the dam of the pond. Then I headed to town to change the sign and run some errands. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy white bread while I was in town. This afternoon I built a little platform for the chickens’ feeder out of treated pine 2 x 4 and the end of an old oar. Then I stapled some hardware cloth to it for the feeder to sit on. My hope is that the ladies will eat more and kick it out less if it’s up off the ground. We shall see. We broke in the griddle on the gas stove tonight in the lodge and fixed turkey bacon, grits, and pancakes. The grits were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

2013

Disked and seeded the Blueberry Strip with Centipede grass before church this morning, because the forecast called for rain in the afternoon. Only got the briefest of showers. Church was good – great to have Wells back with us again. After church Jan Bray and I met at her house to inspect her blueberries. which look great. We also toured her ornamentals in the train layout. Back at home, I re-installed the brackets and shelves in the lodge chair closet, then I returned all the items to the shelves and rolled the tables and chairs back in. We fed the fish together late this afternoon.

June 10

2014

All mowing all the time today. Amanda spent the morning in Wetumpka. I started by mowing the Blueberry Strip and the grass around the barn. Then I used Tractor to bush hog the grass south of the lodge. Then a few minutes of quiet work before I headed to the church to mow there with Maurice. Maurice and I got our signals crossed, so I ended up mowing alone. Then when I returned home, Amanda was ready for me to mow on Veg Hill. Got interrupted by a thunderstorm, though.

2013

The morning was focused on getting the speakers on the front and back porches of the lodge to play the various programs inside. It took far longer than it should have, but we’re good now on both porches for all sources, except that the back porch is a little softer than I would like generally, and the front porch sounds distorted on the DVR sound. But iPod, computer, and CD all sound great. This afternoon after a trip to town., Amanda and I installed the first of the eight blinds in the lodge. Again, it took far longer than it should have taken, but we hope the next seven will go more quickly. Today Kate Pendzuk opened up the window to June when she told me she would accept a letter from my senior warden in lieu of a letter from our priest to certify completion of my verger course so I can be admitted as a Fellow of the Vergers Guild. I now know how I’m going to be spending the remainder of this month, because there’s a LOT of course work I must complete! I need to do it, though, because the course requirements change after July 1 and I would almost need to start over.

June 11

2014

Started the day with rain, so we recorded the podcast, featuring Joe Hess. Then I edited it. This afternoon I finished mowing Veg Hill and the grass north and west of the lodge. Then I used the weedeater on Veg Hill. Then I had a chance to tie up and prune the kiwi and muscadines on Veg Hill and on Row 13 of the orchard. Then Amanda asked me to use the weedeater on beds 11 and 12 to make it easier for her to pull the weeds there. At the end of the day I mixed up some baking soda and dish detergent and used it to scrub the floor and wall of the outdoor shower. Amanda didn’t seem that excited about it, but I was delighted to get the shower area cleaned up.

2013

Spent the morning and early afternoon in town working on the grounds at Epiphany. I fear we’ve created a monster with the new lawn mower. We’re spending even more time now and have simply ratcheted up the standard of care for the grass. Maurice and I were working more or less without interruption for about four hours this morning. Can’t do that all the time. This afternoon I mowed the Blueberry Strip and then drove the Corolla over the portions I could reach with it. More work on the verger training course toward the end of the day. The channel catfish have discovered the catfish feed and have begun showing up in larger and larger numbers each afternoon. Interestingly, we don’t see that many bullhead catfish, so there’s at least a possibility that the channel cats will grow and the bullheads will remain small. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

June 12

2014

The blueberries haven’t peaked yet, but they’re getting pretty close. So scrumptious! We’re getting a few tasty blackberries too. I had a meeting in town with the Strickers and Alan Taunton, and then I raced back to the farm to pick up Amanda for the trip to Montgomery, where we had a delightful lunchtime visit with Greg and Cathie Lewis and Mama. Stayed in Montgomery most of the afternoon, arriving back at the farm just in time to knock out my evening chores (fish and chickens) before supper.

2013

Spent the better part of the morning and afternoon getting the blinds installed in the lodge. We would have finished, but Lowe’s cut one of them an inch too short. Amanda is taking it back today to exchange for one of the right length, which we hope to install later today or tomorrow. Making really good progress now finishing up the Verger Training Course. I’m on track to finish it soon, maybe even before Amanda leaves for California.

June 13

2014

This morning we moved several bins and Adrian’s big inversion table from the lodge down to the storage room in the barn. We welcomed Greg and Cathie Lewis to the farm today. Nice visit. Late this afternoon Adrian and I had a joyful romp trying to get Beyonce and Adelaide back in the coop after they both squirted outside. The basic problem is that they were both so happy free ranging. We finally succeeded by sprinkling enough scratch feed onto the regular feeder to entice first Beyonce and then Adelaide to come check it out. Whew!

2013

This morning we recorded and edited the podcast with a general update about everything that’s going on at Longleaf Breeze. A soup to nuts review. Then a quick shower and off to shop with Jimmy, Betty, Sam, and Cathy at the Montgomery Area Food Bank. We paid about $400 for 2150 pounds of food. Our clients are going to eat well! Met this afternoon with Tallassee Police Lt. Lee Blaylock and Tallassee Fire Chief _____. Lots of really good ideas about ways to enhance our fire safety and preparedness. They strongly recommend a camera monitoring system, the kind you can buy for $3-400. “Thieves hate cameras.” They also discourage us from buying fire extinguishers off the shelf at True Value or Wal-Mart because they have a tendency to cake up. Better to go through a company like Fire-Guard in Eclectic, which will set up the extinguisher and then service it once a year to make sure it’s always ready to use. Tonight when we finally returned to the farm I published the podcast.

June 14

2014

Worked at Tallassee Now from 9 until 2 or so, most of the time in the hot, direct sun outside tending the bean cooker. I was just exhausted when I got home and slept for about an hour.

2013

First thing this morning I bush hogged the pathway from the lodge to the pond and tho spine trail over to the west side. Then I emptied the humanure buckets. Then I made several repairs to the drip lines on Veg Hill, including replacing the entire manifold between beds 10 and 14. Then I mowed Veg Hill. I started using the weedeater on Veg Hill but had to stop when I ran out of line for the trimmer. By then it was nearly 2:00. Hit the shower and had lunch and a nap. This afternoon (what remained of it) was mostly quiet work. Still making good progress on the Verger Training Course. Amanda arrived with the last blind, and we installed it without incident. Then we fed the fish. Amanda’s shower was brutal with a horsefly invasion this evening. bless her heart.

June 15

2014

Used the weedeater on the orchard floor this morning before church. Loving not being verger! After church, we celebrated Father’s Day with a trip to Birmingham for Wayne Echols’ funeral. As most of these trips do, it was a chance to reunite with old friends. Wonderful face time. Ate up the day.

2013

Today was all about welcoming the Serendipity Sunday School class to the farm for a visit. Up early this morning to start the fire at 6:30 and put the ribs on at 7:00. Then breakfast, then finishing the weedeating on Veg Hill. Then I mowed the lawn south and west of the barn, then the lawn north of the lodge. Then I used the weedeater around the lodge and blew off the pavilion, lodge porch, and the porch of the barn. then I added some hot charcoal to the smoker to raise the temp. By then it was time to set up the chairs and tables and grab a quick shower in time to greet the visitors. Just a delightful visit with the class members. Everybody seemed to have a good time.

June 16

2014

Today was mostly about mowing for me. Amanda spent most of the day in Montgomery working at the Goveror’s Mansion. I started this morning mowing the orchard floor, and by the end of the morning had finished the orchard floor proper. I was wasted, so I showered, had lunch, and napped. This afternoon I mowed outside and inside the deer fence. Whorehouse music rehearsal tonight.

2013

My Father’s Day gift is an electric rotary grinder. Good morning at church. Then to Montgomery to celebrate Father’s Day with Amanda and Mama and Grace. We managed to get Mama’s Internet working, but at the expense of her wireless network. So now she can get online, but no one else can. This afternoon Laura Williams dropped by to sign my verger letter, and then she helped us feed the fish.

June 17

2014

The blueberries seem to be peaking right now. Crack on a bush. So good. Eagerly awaiting the years when we will have enough to make jam, give away, etc. Right now, we’re just eating them every day. This morning I mowed Veg Hill, the Blueberry Strip, and the lawn around the barn. Then I bush hogged the dam and the area around the orchard. After some quiet work in the early afternoon, and after a brief thunderstorm, Tractor and I bush hogged all of the East Side, including the North Trail. I had really let it go; we had weeds that averaged belly-button height throughout the trails.

2013

Used Scamp to pick up the Quick Dually and hold it up so I could sharpen the blades with my new grinder. Quickly realized I was going to need to remove them to sharpen them. They were on really tight, so I had to use the air wrench to get them off (they came off quickly with a little air). I laid them out with their bolts so I could keep everything straight and just picked up one at a time to sharpen it. There’s no way I would have been able to sharpen them while they were still attached to the mower. I then used the mower on the orchard floor. There’s a noticeable improvement, but I still had to go over some spots more than once to get it all cut down. I was actually hoping for more of an improvement. This afternoon I made good progress on the verger training course. I’m in the final stages now. A few photos still needed and a little nipping and tucking, and we should be ready to send my course notebook in for approval.

June 18

2014

I got out early this morning to use the weedeater in beds 12, 15, and 16. Then I pulled a sheet of plastic off the shelf for 16 and cut a fresh one for 15. Amanda plans to weed 12 by hand because she already has crops growing in part of it. Then we traveled to Young’s Plant Farm near Auburn. Huge production of ornamentals. Interesting but not particularly relevant to what we’re doing. This afternoon we recorded the podcast on potatoes. bolting leek for site2013. The CAMGA meeting was first on the schedule, with the board meeting compressed and the actual membership meeting moved up by an hour because of the lack of A/C in the auditorium. The presentation from Michelle Bende was on garden photography, and I found it helpful. Right after the meeting she sent us out into the garden to take pics. Most of those who took her up on it headed for the flowers, but I went for the vegetable. Snapped this pic of the seed pod of a perennial leek. We returned to the farm so Amanda could pack, and so we could pick some fruit to take to Smith. Amanda picked blueberries, and I picked blackberries. Then we headed to Atlanta, first to Trader Joe’s and then to drop her off at ATL to catch her flight to LAX.

June 19

2014

Published the podcast in the wee hours of this morning about our first successful potato harvest. Started the work day bush hogging the yard south of the lodge and then mowing north of the lodge. As I was finishing up the fan arrived from Amazon, so I stopped to assemble it. It does indeed move some air. Then I spent some time experimenting with how to arrange all eight tables and 64 chairs on the screen porch. Came up with an arrangement that I think works reasonably well, subject to Amanda’s blessing.

2013

First task of the day was to get all that wine unpacked from the car. I transferred it to Scamp and then carried it to the mouth of the root cellar walkway, then hand-carried each case to the root cellar. Left most of the bagged groceries in the lodge.I made a HUGE discovery today about our Canon SLR camera. I had assumed that something was wrong with it, because I couldn’t get it to lock auto-focus to reframe a picture. Today, though, I was messing around with the manual and found out it’s just a setting. Once I changed the AF Mode from AI-Servo (the default) to One-Shot, it worked like a charm. I focus on my subject, the one I want to be in focus, then press the shutter half-way and hold it down while I reframe the shot, then press the shutter fully to take the picture. Took these pictures of the harvester peaches, the Granny Val muscadines just beginning to form, and our lone Ozark Premier plum just before I picked it and enjoyed eating it. I’m going to love using this! I’ll probably be using the photo of the peaches for tomorrow’s podcast on managing humidity. harvester peaches for sitegranny val muscadines for siteozark premier plum for site Later this afternoon I drove to town and installed fire extinguishers in the shed and the Little House at church. I’m saving the one for the nave, because I want to get some wall anchors for the sheetrock first. I also looked up some dates, etc in the church history for my verger training course, and I picked up a couple of photos to insert into the history section. I also returned the Service Register and the Altar Book, and I marked the signatures that are now missing in the Service Register: Rob Morpeth, Bill Blackerby, and Charles Womelsdorf. shop desk before for siteAt the end of the day I started cleaning off my desk in the shop. Pretty much an out-of-control mess when I started. Now we’ll see if I’m a real man who’s willing to show you what it looks like later.

June 20

2014

First thing this morning I packed the propane torch in Scamp and flamed the edge of the dam. The lone cutting I had made from the Nesbitt muscadine was not doing well, so I did some more research about how to propagate muscadines. One thing I know I did wrong was to leave too much foliage. So I harvested about a dozen canes, cut some new shoots, and created six new potted cuttings. The challenge is that I need to keep misting them constantly in the early stages. I stowed all the chairs and carts in the storage closet on the lodge porch to give us an idea of the blank spaces where we might place other tables. Amanda started hanging pictures in the lodge. Adrian has made a wonderful sign for the reunion. I cleaned out under the pallet rack, and when Amanda had cleaned out her side, I was able to blow the leaves out and leave it nice and clean. Then we replaced the junk. Not sure anybody else would know it, but it looks a LOT better.

2013

Started the day with quiet work. Then some orchard puttering time. On my way to town I got a call from Amanda that Pauladene’s condition was grave. She asked if I could take Mama to see her in Troy, and I said of course. I finished my work at the church (revising verger training course, printing bulletin, installing fire extinguisher). By the time I finished, there was just time to run home, change clothes, and head to Montgomery. On our way down to Troy, Amanda called with the news that Pauladene had died about an hour ago. We decided to stop and get some fried chicken on our way down. We had a nice visit with Edsel, Judy, Donna, and a cousin on Aunt Vernon’s side of the family, Fay Wilson. Charles was there but busy, so we just saw him briefly. After leaving Mama I stopped at Home Depot and picked up a fan for the apartment, so Matt can install it tomorrow.

June 21

2014

Beans & Rice this morning, 52 families +/-. Then I picked up the ribs and headed home. When I got home I went first to the lodge and blew off the pavilion. Then lunch and a nap. This afternoon I applied rub to eight racks of ribs, 25 pieces of white meat chicken, and 24 chicken thighs. Then I picked up the boxes from which Amanda had removed the pictures she hung in the lodge and burned them. Then I emptied the garbage can and took it up to the lodge. Then I policed up the north end of Veg Hill. Then I did some final pruning of the muscadines. Then an early shower and a trip to Wetumpka for the 60th birthday party of the REL Class of ’72. Too noisy for me; I’m getting too old to shout over loud music to converse with my friends.

2013

Matt Ledbetter came this morning, and it was a productive morning. We started by looking at the dead outlet on the SE corner of the barn and realized that the GFI outlet was fried. Then we went up to the lodge and realized that the switch closest to the door probably was intended to control a porch light that we never installed. So I could install a motion-activated flood there now if I wanted to. We then came back down to the barn and measured where we wanted to install the fan in the kitchen. After we agreed on how to do it, I ran to town to get the outlet while Matt installed the fan. When I got back, he installed the outlet, and it’s working well now. This afternoon I restored power to the smoke alarms in the lodge. The batteries seem to be dead. So tomorrow when I go to town I’ll get five 9-volt batteries, and see if I can get them working again. Later today I finished the great desk cleanoff. Best it’s looked in more than a year. Tasted the first peach ever from the Harvester this afternoon. Firm, sweet, and delicious. Oh, if we could get peaches like this every year! The channels ate an entire canister of catfish feed this afternoon; that’s the first time they’ve eaten the entire canister in one day. Makes you wonder how much we’ll be feeding them in August. Tonight I reprogrammed both the Harmony One remotes. Little nips and tucks in both the lodge and the barn.

June 22

2014

Today was all about the Borden Family Reunion. The rib smoking went smoothly. We had a great day,. and everybody seemed to have a good time. We ended up with about 50 people.

2013

Assembled Smith’s bicycle this morning. Also put the final touches on my portfolio for the Verger Training Course and put it in the mail. The drip torch arrived this morning, so I put some gasoline and diesel fuel in it and used it to ignite the little brush pile I had built up while clearing for the pecans. I trellised the tomatoes and harvested our last big cabbage. This afternoon I cut away rootsprouts from all the fruit trees, and there was much to cut away. I used the lopping shears to cut away the two dead fig branches. I also redirected the new muscadines on Veg Hill to the trellis line; all three of them were trying to grow outward instead of upward. I finished the day shooting a close-up of the seed pod of a perennial leek, and tonight I wrote it up. The blueberries have arrived at that happy stage when you can harvest them by the handful just by scraping all the berries off the end of a stalk. So glad we positioned them where I walk past them several times each day! I left the channel catfish hungry after feeding them a full canister of feed and two pieces of white bread (the bream and gambusia shared the white bread). I’ll need to come up with a larger canister so I can easily carry more feed down to the pond when we walk down at feeding time.

June 23

2014

Up early with the Joes for a home-cooked breakfast featuring Doc’s deer sausage cooked on the grill and some of our farm-fresh eggs. Then we played around some and I cleaned up the smoker and put it away. This afternoon we went fishing for catfish. We were surprised and delighted at how quickly we caught four good-sized fish. OTOH, I was surprised and disappointed at how messy and time-consuming it was to clean them. Tonight I had rehearsal for Whorehouse.

2013

Good morning at church, although a tiny crowd. Only 16 people in worship. After church I visited in the Little House for a while with Debra, Jean, Cathy, and Barbara, and then Barbara helped me hook up the trailer so I could get it off the church property. On the way home the left front tire disintegrated and began throwing off rubber fragments all over the road. I’ll need to take it off and get it to Parker so they can put a new tire on it. Then I will tow the trailer to the Greenfield and store it there. This afternoon I updated the church web site and the bulletin. The evening was kind of backward. As I monitored Amanda’s and Adrian’s progress approaching the farm, I ate an early supper and then napped in the lodge. They arrived about 10:30, and we visited until about 12:30, when I toddled off to bed.

June 24

2013. A slow start this morning since we were up so late last night. Took the Toyota and the trailer tire to Parker for them to work on both. Then several errands before we returned to the farm. Harvested lots of blueberries, a couple of peaches, and some blackberries. Then some quiet indoor work during the afternoon. This week we have three funerals on the boards: Pauladene Edwards on Tuesday, Darrell Guilliams on Wednesday, and Laura Williams’ Mom Lisa Wallace sometime this week. Too many people dying. Today was Adrian’s first chance to feed the fish. What fun!

June 25

2014

This morning was all about my taking the Joes to the Atlanta Airport and seeing them off. Then I stopped for lunch on the way to Adams Briscoe Seed Co and had a wonderful, leisurely conversation with Jimmy Adams about the options for cover crop in the orchard. Exactly what I had hoped for. He listened quietly as I laid out for him the approach we’re using in the orchard and with the chickens. Then we discussed the warm-season and cool-season options. We finished with a decision on my part to use his pre-set wildlife mixes. They should help hold the soil, give the ladies some nutrition and even more entertainment, and help improve the fertility of the soil for the fruit trees. And the wonderful thing is that I save money on the mixing since they do it on a larger scale. I’ve ordered a 50# bag of what he calls spring mix (which is really spring-summer) and will order a 50# bag of fall mix (which is really fall-winter).

2013

I mowed the blueberry strip and the fence line around the orchard this morning. Pauladene’s funeral in Troy this afternoon. Good visit with her family and friends at the house after the funeral. She was the anchor holding the Somerset family together, and we will miss her.

June 26

2014

A potpourri day of getting lots of little things done. Bush hogged between the lodge and the barn. Mowed the Blueberry Strip. Used the weedeater around the lodge and storm shelter. Tied up and pruned the Granny Val muscadine that’s traveling to the trellis line. Recorded, edited, and published the podcast on our summer routines. Punched 12 holes in Bed #4 and buried catfish guts in each hole. Washed out the bucket they had been in. Bagged up the paper plates in the garbage can and added them to the dumpster. Put away the chairs on the lodge porch. Tonight was a BLWIT rehearsal.

2013

Several errands in town this morning, then Darrell Guilliams’ funeral in Montgomery this afternoon. Then tried unsuccessfully to get the new router working for Mama’s Internet. I had to give up and unwind everything to restore her service. There’s no wireless network, though.

June 27

2015

This year’s muscadine harvest looks to be our best ever. We have only one vacant spot left, and we have several healthy vines whose shoots are dragging the ground, so I hope to begin a systematic process of burying the shoots in soil soon to enable new vines to develop. Then we’ll choose the most appealing survivor to plant in that vacant spot.

2014

Mowed the lawn south of and west of the barn and then the Blueberry Strip. Then mowed Veg Hill. Then blew off the pavilion. Then we drove to Birmingham for the visitation for Janet Taylor’s mom. Then to Charlie’s and Janean’s. Then to dinner. Then Amanda and I helped usher for Music Man. Then back with Charlie and Janean for a glass of wine and good conversation.

June 28

2015

Gone from the farm all day, first for church and then to visit with Mama in Montgomery.

June 29

2015

Great drying day. Lots of warm sunshine, relatively low humidity, and a light, steady breeze. With Amanda’s help, I washed, hung out, dried, folded, and put away three loads of clothes, and with our washer, a load is a lot of clothes.

I think the blackberries are pretty much done for now, but we still have blueberries ripening, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to harvest them a while longer.

2014

Up at the Hayes’ house and out the door by 6:30 to return to the farm to meet the Herb Society. A long, leisurely tour of the core campus for most of the morning, then lunch. This afternoon we had our first table read of Adrian’s murder mystery, now entitled “Murder at Graveyard Creek.” Lots of fun.

June 30

2015

Cool (well, cool by late-June standards – high of 82) and cloudy. It was a great day to work outside, so I extended the trench for the drip hose to the east on row 17, between the lodge and the barn. The run is about 45 feet, and I think it will open up three new positions, 17.5, 17.6, and 17.7. Right now my plan is to fill them with two pomegranates and one fig, but I’m open to whatever may come along. Part of my uncertainty is the realization that whatever I plant needs to be consistent with easy bush hogging around the entrance to the root cellar.

2013

Returned after a family reunion at Callaway Gardens to find we had a humdinger of a storm while we were gone that tore a big limb out of an oak tree near the compost pile. I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like it did no damage. Ditto a large tree that apparently fell from our property across Dark Corners Road. The county road crew must have cut it up and thrown it over to the side, because it’s piled up there now. We did lose a loveseat that had broken and I had re-glued. It broke at the glue joint, so I think it’s officially toast. I finally got a chance to bush hog around the swing down on the trail below Veg Hill. I took down about 20 saplings that were growing in a cluster, and Joe and I worked together to chain them up so I could pull them up West of Veg Hill and give them a chance to dry out. Then he threw a rock with string tied to it over the trunk of our leaning tree, and we used the string to pull a 3/4 inch rope with a slip knot in it. Then we threaded the other end of the rope through a disc I had cut from some scrap MDF. Smith loved it, but we reached his limit on the swinging height, so we kept it nice and low from then on. This afternoon Smith got to pick blackberries, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra.

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