Sunday, September 15, 2013


For the record, NO, I didn't grow these pumpkins.  I didn't even purchase them, or for that matter, carry them to the vehicle.  As much as I would love to take at least some credit for these cute little specimens, I simply can't.

This morning, as I sat quietly eating breakfast, the phone rang.  The number on the screen was not a familiar one so I hesitated.  Finally, I answered it, curious to see what kind of nut job would be calling at breakfast time on Sunday.

When I answered, the voice asked if I was Mr. Smith.  When I indicated that I was, he informed me that I had been selected to receive the "Great Pumpkin Award".  My reaction was a somewhat sarcastic one.  "Great Pumpkin Award?"  "SERIOUSLY??", I asked with no hesitation.

The laughter that came next, I recognized.  It was the brother-in-law type character on the next hill.  Turns out the rumors of him growing pumpkins this year were true, and I was invited to come and pick out a couple.

These are not the largest in the patch, but will serve nicely.  Honestly, I am not currently in shape to lift the largest ones, which are quite a bit bigger.

Anna and I had hoped to grow some of this type of pumpkin, but it is hard for a tightwad to justify the price of seeds for giant pumpkins (they are a bit pricey).  Now, we have plenty of seeds and the opportunity to test the quality of these pumpkins.  I'm sure they will taste great, and I can hardly wait to sample the "Great Pumpkin Award".

Friday, September 13, 2013


For the record, I don't really like garden tillers.  The reasons are many.  The rotary tines break up and spread grass roots, the engine requires fuel, though the emissions are cleaner than in the past, they are still not good for the environment.  On a more personal note, the engine noise is irritating and I don't like the smell.  Add to this list the fact that it is a less self-sufficient means of gardening than more primitive methods and I'm sure you get my point.

From a more practical stand point, however, there were other considerations.  One big one is the fact that I will not be able to even start using a shovel for quite some time, much less turn the whole garden.  With this in mind, there would certainly be no cover crop this fall, and with the garden gone native, it would be difficult to have it ready for spring planting.

Under normal circumstances, it is possible (though not easy) to raise enough vegetables for home use with only hand tools, but surplus is another matter.  Anna and I have been planning to raise enough for our own use and plenty to sell for part of our income.  The fact is clear that it is not physically possible to work as much ground with a shovel and hoe as with a tiller.

All these factors came under consideration when Anna and I were deciding whether or not to buy a tiller.  Of course, we also considered that Anna doesn't share my aversion to small engines.

Anna and I had been discussing this matter while I was unable to walk.  As soon as I could drive and spend a little time on my feet, we started shopping a bit.  We did not want to get a used tiller and end up having to work on it all the time.  With new equipment being so expensive, we had to shop around some.

With fall approaching, the selection was not as large as in springtime.  Most were not as powerful as we needed and prices were pretty high even on sale.  VERY FRUSTRATING!!!  We needed a tiller that would suit our needs and at a good price.

Finally, when it seemed we might have to settle for less than we wanted, my tightwad self had a thought.  The local equipment rental company sells their equipment after a period of time.  They are also very particular about how their equipment is maintained.  It turned out that they had exactly what we needed (actually, it was the only tiller they had available).  It had been rented out once, but had obviously not been used much.  The price was substantially reduced, helping my tightwad tendencies.  As an added bonus, it came with full factory warranty.

Though I am still not overly fond of rotary tillers, it does make it possible to work up the ground.  Don't get me wrong, I will still keep a good shovel and hoe, just in case the machine breaks down.

Monday, September 9, 2013


During the past couple of months, while I have been down with a bad foot, very little work has been done here on Dave's Farm.  Not only have things not progressed, nature has taken its course.  Un-mown lawns and un-worked gardens not only don't get better. they actually grow up. In this case, the grass has grown quite well and is now four to six feet high.

Yes, maintenance is right out the window here.  The worst of it is the garden.  It has been a perfect summer here for grass and it has really       gotten established.  In short, it has become a major reclamation project.
Reclamation has begun.  I am using a scythe to cut the tall grass, a little at a time as my recovery allows.  The work is very slow as I am still unable to walk well and can only stay on my feet for a short time before having to stop and rest awhile.  This process makes me feel a bit lazy and worthless, but I try not to say it too loud because Anna gets onto me for saying such things about myself.

Once the grass is cut and allowed to dry, it is being hauled in the wheelbarrow to the barn and stored for winter goat feed.  After the grass is hauled away from the garden, I am gradually tilling up the garden in preparation for planting a cover crop (probably winter peas this time).  When the garden is finished, the lawn can be reclaimed in the same manner, mowing the stubble when the tall grass has been removed.  A slow process, but a necessary one.

Reclamation and recovery will be slow.  The doctor told me last week that it will be at least two more months before I can return to my job, and from the way it feels, he is probably right.  I am having to move slow and only a little at a time, so it will take some time for both recovery and reclamation.

When I am finished with reclamation, I can then start catching up.  Thank goodness other things like building fence and farm buildings actually DO just sit there instead of having to be reclaimed. 

Wish me luck.