I haven’t posted a farm report in quite some time because I was working like a madman on the film. But Chareva’s been doing plenty of gardening, and we’re starting to enjoy the results.
Last year, Chareva had visions of walking inside the chicken moats and plucking green beans from overhead. She made that vision a reality. This year she didn’t even bother to plant green beans. And yet we seem to have more of them than last year. In fact, they’re kind of like last year’s okra and the previous year’s zucchini, meaning the girls are already tired of seeing green beans at every meal.
In the picture below, those are sweet potatoes and cantaloupe on the left. The center row is where she’s growing tomatoes, basil, peppers, swiss chard and carrots. On the right, she’s growing squash. The big leaves over the moat are the green beans.
The tomatoes aren’t ripe yet, but they’re coming along nicely. I’m looking forward to those. Nothing like fresh tomatoes in the summer.
Over by the yard that enclosed the older chickens, she’s growing okra, spaghetti squash, asparagus and potatoes.
Speaking of the older chickens … well, there are no more older chickens. We’ve been wondering what to do with them, since they weren’t exactly egg-laying machines anymore. They don’t make good roasters at that age, so Chareva was thinking perhaps we’d start turning them into soup stock.
Some wily predator saved us from making a decision. The older chickens started disappearing one by one a couple of months ago. Now they’re gone.
I set a trap several times, but only managed to catch two small skunks who probably weren’t the guilty parties. Chareva looked all around the yard and tried to figure out where a predator was coming in. We still can’t identify the weak spot.
Fortunately, we haven’t lost any of the younger flock yet. They’re doing fine and providing plenty of eggs.
Meanwhile, the very young flock that’s part of Alana’s current 4-H project is coming along nicely. There are a couple of bantam roosters in there who crack me up. They have that rooster strut, but they’re so small, it’s like being threatened by toddler.
One of the pleasures of living in the sticks is having my own shooting range out back. There’s a huge hill behind my hanging targets, so I don’t worry about bullets flying a mile into someone else’s property.
The Older Brother’s Middle Son and his family paid us a visit last weekend, along with my mom. The Middle Son is a Ranger School graduate who served two tours in Iraq and also served as a shooting instructor. So whenever he suggests we go out and shoot, I’m happy to oblige. It means free lessons from a pro.
While shooting a 9mm pistol, I made a beginner’s mistake: I let my left hand drift up too high on the grip. Whoops. On my next shot, the slide ripped through my left thumb behind the knuckle. It actually didn’t hurt all that much, and I thought at first it was a scrape. Then The Middle Son saw the blood and said, “Uncle Tom, I think you might need stitches.”
Luckily for me, The Middle Son’s wife is a nurse practitioner who’s stitched up countless people in emergency rooms. She looked at the wound and said yes, I would need four stitches. She offered me a choice: she could stitch me up herself, or I could go to an emergency room. The catch is that she didn’t have any medical supplies with her, which meant no anesthetic.
Given what a visit to the emergency room would probably cost, I elected to go with the kitchen-table treatment. She told Chareva to find her thinnest sewing needle and some unwaxed dental floss. That’s a photo from the procedure below. I didn’t mind the pain, but as you see, I elected not to watch. I also asked The Middle Son to hold my arm in case I flinched.
The Middle Son’s Wife also offered to call in a prescription for antibiotics. I don’t like taking antibiotics, but I remembered what happened when I got a little sting on the arm back in 2012. As you may recall, my arm ended up looking like this:
Yes, I said, I’ll take the prescription. So I’m on antibiotics now. When I’m done with the pills, it will be time to start a course of probiotics to rebuild my gut bacteria. So it goes.
Fortunately, I’ll also have plenty of fresh vegetables to provide some probiotic fibers.