Thursday, June 7:

Dinner:  eight handfuls of raw sugar snap peas, four bites of cold pork roast, and a hunk of cheese.  Also an iced coffee.

We are busy around here.

Topic:  weed invasions in your pasture

When your pasture is the size of a pocket handkerchief, you really must do something about this if you can.  Two people with eye-hoes and an hour to spare can make a very big dent in the ironweed, curly dock, and wooly yarrow in a small pasture.  Our present definition of an evening out is sixty minutes on the hillside chopping weeds.

Don’t laugh.  Beth’s mom is a retired health professional in the state of Texas who found her retirement interrupted by a call to patriotic duty.  Now she’s an independent contractor working for the Lone Star state, monitoring renal facilities which have been found not in compliance with state standards.  She spends half her week travelling to far-flung cities and standing over cringing or otherwise dialysis clinicians, saying in effect, “my way or the highway.”  She holds all the cards, and the clinics have to clean up according to her specs or be shut down.  No court of appeals.

She says it’s very refreshing.  After an unmentionable number of decades doing a great many things including raising five children, it is a pleasant change to do a job where you can really see the results.

Kind of like chopping weeds in the pasture.

The first planting of corn will soon be knee high, but the second and third plantings are germinating sporadically.  Ditto the okra.  The girls went down this afternoon and put in more okra seed, but we will give the corn a couple more days before we look at replanting the empty hills.  The tomatoes are well over two feet tall, but the peppers are sort of dinky, and we hope they catch up, because ninety quarts of salsa takes a lot of peppers.

The little bulls have been switched to buckets for their twice-daily feedings; buckets are much easier to wash than bottles.  For the first ten days or so, we add a raw egg to the milk for each bought-in calf.  We don’t know if it really does anything – our vet says not – but the theory is that the albumin in the egg slows the passage of milk through the calf.  All we know is that our score with dairy bull calves, not very impressive in the beginning, is now something close to one hundred percent.  Something must have changed.  If it’s not the egg, maybe it’s the pectin (think:  Surejel) we give them in dilute milk when they scour (think:  diarrhea), or maybe it’s that we keep them scrupulously separated when they are small to prevent them sucking one another’s ears and – things – and passing germs around.  Maybe it’s the thick straw we provide for their beds, and the nice stalls we built to keep them warm.  Maybe it’s the egg.

We still need rain.

Someone tell me what to do with garlic scapes, because we have a big bag of them.  The garlic plants will have more energy to put into bulbing out with their flower buds removed.  Two hundred row feet of garlic makes a lot of scapes, but when we sautéed them they were a little on the chewy side.  Tasted great, though.