Tom has been away this week deer hunting. So this left taking care of the farm to me alone. So feeding all of the animals is crucial. The pigs have been enjoying lemon pies.
I did discover these feathers in the old covered pheasant pen. I am not sure if there are from a chicken that somehow broke into this pen or a wild bird. I do not believe I am missing a chicken, but it is a little hard to determine as they are free range. Wild birds do not typically have these colors. But it doesn’t seem to be enough feathers for a chicken. So not sure.
The dew retting of the flax has not been working out, probably due to the dry weather. I had been waiting for swimming pool prices to drop, but they never did. So I compromised and bought a smaller (and cheaper) pool for the geese and am using the larger one for the flax. Only one goose at a time can fit in the small pool so I am guessing they are not thrilled by this. Particularly since we now have 9 geese due to 2 more geese showing up on our property.
I did the goat fall maintenance all by myself. This is a little easier now as we are down to 7 goats. But it is still a chore. Here is Shorty, not thrilled with the idea.
The smoke really worsened in Tom’s absence. Here is the view Tuesday across Prairie Road with the smoke making it difficult to see their barn and trees.
And the view looking east.
The harvest is still an issue. I picked all of the flint corn from the glass gem seeds I planted. I pulled back the husks.
And then I tied them up to dry. Yet another use of the warping board that Tom made for me.
Meanwhile the smoke continued to worsen. By Wednesday it was horrible.
But I cannot complain too much as it is much worse in Oakridge, Oregon east of Eugene where a friend lives.
But I was also feeling really bad for the farm animals. The barn cannot be closed up against the smoke, and they can’t wear masks. I also feel bad for the wild animals. I saw a Great Blue Heron really struggling with it.
Here is the mask I used to get the farm chores done. I didn’t wear goggles though, and my eyes were stinging badly.
The flax was retting well despite the smoke. I wonder if it will affect it. There are ash particles all over everything so presumably in the retting water as well.
And for comparison, here was the view Wednesday when the smoke was the worst.
I felt like I needed to get the dogs in the house to protect them from the smoke. I was able to persuade Steve to come in but, of course, Ryeleigh took that opportunity to escape. And then she found a scent and would not listen to me. I ended up having to “tile” her to get her attention and get her in the house. They were entirely bored, but it was in their best interests.
Then Thursday morning it rained. I decided that the best way to portray it was to take a photo of my wet car. It did not rain much, but the AQI improved. So I didn’t wear a mask, although probably should have. It is hard to wear while doing things like moving hay bales around.
The retting appears to be going well, and I do not see much ash in the water. The pool is under the peasant pen netting so birds are less apt to poop in it.
It was a little difficult on Thursday to decide if I was looking at more smoke or more fog.
I did notice the bees enjoying the ivy blooms when I left to go get my flu shot. I am sure they struggled with the smoke as well.
One nice thing about being a hunting widow for a week is that I can cook what I want, what Tom doesn’t particularly enjoy. So the first dish was Ratatouille Cheese Pie, without the crust. In the process I used up some zucchini, eggs and tomatoes. It was good as always.
I then decided to make Quick-Pickled Turnips With Caraway. I love caraway seeds, and we have lots of turnips and rutabagas right now. I chose to use rutabagas as they look in better shape. They are so far not very pickled so I will give them more time.
Next came White beans with kale, chard & eggs, a favorite of mine and a good use of our chard and eggs.
The next issue was figuring out what to do with the French Sorrel. My memory is that Tom accidentally purchased a packet of these seeds when I asked him to get more lettuce seeds for me. So I planted them, and it grew well. But then what? Here is the sorrel that I harvested.
So I decided to make French Style Sorrel Soup from a favorite chef I follow. It was really quite good. I may need to grow sorrel again.
Also with Tom away, I got to entertain myself as I wish. So I had already subscribed to Britbox so we could watch the most recent Shetland series. Both of us had been enjoying that. But while he was gone I realized that they carry the original Upstairs, Downstairs series. I have long wanted to watch this as I remember my mother and stepdad watching it when I was a kid. I thought it must be quite exotic and adulty at the time. I have since been trying to catch it but have had no luck until now.
Here is a shot of some of the actors in what turned out to be pivotal moment in the show.
And it turns out it is quite adulty. They have so far tackled the topics of rape, abortion, depression, suicide, adultery, homosexuality, sexual attraction, gambling and lots about class issues. It is fascinating since it was created in the 1970s, but it is about (so far anyway) the first two decades of the 20th century. So I am not sure how accurate the social commentary is for its times. Plus the clothing seems a little 1970’s-like too. But I have been thoroughly enjoying it with a beagle by my side.
And today it is finally really raining and clearing the air and hopefully the fires as well. Tom is coming home, and it will be back to my normal life, which I love. But it was nice to indulge some of my interests this week.