Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The dust has settled

I am finally starting to get caught up on a few of my very delayed spring projects. It seems as though each of the chores that I want to complete have been contingent on other events which are beyond my control. The weather, obviously, has been the most disruptive force here since the beginning of spring. Planting of the garden was far beyond the normal time frame, and once the garden was in, the poor plants sat in the cold wet ground waiting for the earth to warm to a point where they could grow. Many of my seeds and transplants rotted from the excessive amount of moisture and have since had to be replaced. Although it rained today, and is expected to rain for the next couple of days, we did have a good week of beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, so some of my plants are showing signs of recovery.......I know the weeds look exceptionally healthy!
I have gotten about half of one garden weeded to the point where I can actually distinguish rows. Wooohooo! Well, I do still have the other half and another whole garden to steps.

Another thing I can cross off my list that I am especially happy about, is that we got our dust control this week. Perhaps I should explain. We have a gravel road on the west side of our property. If you've ever driven down a gravel road, or driven behind another car on a gravel road, you know that a thick cloud of dust bellows from the tires to the point of obscuring your view. Imagine that dust blowing into your house everyday. We can't open the windows on the north or west sides of the house unless we want enough dust on the kitchen table to grow potatoes.

Here is a photo of said dust.
So, the remedy to this distressing situation is to call our local co-op and order dust control. First they send out the county road trucks to grade the gravel (which was 2 months behind, by the way, because of the poor road conditions after the harsh winter and flooding in the spring), then they send this nifty little truck full of oil that sprays down the road for a specified distance that we mark off by sticking little flags next to the road. We had them spray 400 feet.
And here is the finished product. All for the lovely little price tag of $400 for 2 applications. Problem solved. Yes? Well, yes and no. This process does work wonders for keeping the dust down temporarily. The down side is that they can use several different types of control depending on what is available at the time. Sometimes they use tree sap, which works really well. Another product that they use is calcium chloride, and sometimes a soy bean oil byproduct, the latter is what I think they used this time. Effective? Quite. But it also has a distinct odor to it for the first few days. As my dear niece so aptly put it the other day, "Smells like Kung Pow chicken out here".

Sadly, I no longer have an excuse for having an inch of dust on my furniture.

Anywhoo, I have been waiting for "the dust to settle" so that I might get some of my barns painted. I didn't want to spend all the time and energy painting, only to end up with designer textured barns once the dust deposited itself upon my freshly painted surfaces.

Since the weather has taken a turn for the better, I was able to use some organic insect control on my fruit trees and it looks like my pear trees are going to have a bumper crop.

My flowers are just coming into their full glory. When we bought the house there were several beds of the "standard issue" purple echinacea (cone flowers) that most every farm in Iowa has. I removed a lot of them, but left one section around an old hitching post. Since then I have developed a fondness for the echinaceas and have found several other varieties that I enjoy.
This one is "Pica Bella".

This one is "Pink Double Delight".

Here are some of my Rudibekia (black eyed Susan).

This is a Black Eyed Susan too...even though it doesn't have a black eye.....what's up with that?
My hydrangeas have really popped this year and are growing wonderfully. I think that they are some of the few plants that have appreciated the cool temps and abundant moisture.

Also a fan of the cool temps and moisture... my hostas. I have almost as many hostas as I have chickens....maybe as many hostas as I have sheep.
This is one of my favorite hostas "June".
"Summer Breeze". Oh, sorry about the jaw bone, kinda weird, I know, but then again if you have been reading my blog for any length of should know that about me. I found the bone under my horse tank one day when I was cleaning it of course it ended up in my garden.

"Fire and Ice"

Can't remember who this guy is. We just call him Charlie Meyer after the man who's family built this farm.
I must apologise for yet another post about chickens. You can blame Michelle for it though. She is always so nice to comment about my chickens, so now I feel like someone is actually interested! I promise this will be the last until they have all grown up and then I can post an update on how they turned out.

When I was ordering my chicks this spring, I initially spoke with Sandhill Preservation about acquiring a few Blue Orpington chicks. B.O.'s (hmmm) are quite hard to find and I love the temperament of the Orps. Sandhill was already sold out for the entire season, but since their farm is only a few miles from me, they put me on a waiting list in case they had extra chicks in any of their hatches this season. Well, since it had been so long and I hadn't heard anything, I assumed that they were not going to have any peepers for me. You know what they say about assuming?

I got a call yesterday, "This is Linda from Sandhill and we have your chicks". OMG.

Luckily, I had only asked for five so that wouldn't be bad. Five is do-able. When I picked the chicks up, they handed the box to me and said, "Here are your eight chicks"..........hmmmmmmm. They threw in 3 free, of course I called my fellow chicken hoarder/neighbor/friend to see if she would like 4 all worked out.
FYI, this is not a conjoined chicken, just a funny camera angle.

These are some of the cutest chicks EVER.

BTW, I now have the big girls in the big chicken barn, the teenage chicken barn, the little girls in the garage waiting until they are big enough to go in the teenage barn, and the new chicks who, for now, are in my home office............geeesh!


Kara said...

Your flowers are beautiful. Where so you have your hydrangeas, sun or shade? I was trying to figure out if I have a good spot for one. Do they do okay in part shade, or filtered sun?

Crosswinds Farm said...

Hi Kara, My hydrangeas are on the east side of the house, so they get morning sun. They would probably do very well in part shade. If it is too hot and sunny mine get pretty wilty looking by afternoon.

Tammy said...

Interesting option on the roads. We don't get that kind of service (even though costly! ha) around here. I guess we are lucky we have roads. ;-) The gravel road I live on can be really bad in the summer too, depending on which way the wind blows. Then the county had the bright idea to lay chat. So now its not just dust, but WHITE dust. :-0 Oh well... It's still nice living in the country. Your blue Orps are gorgeous. I didn't even know there was such a thing. I've had the buffs before and they have always been beautiful calm birds. As always your pictures are lovely and your writing style always makes me smile.

Michelle said...

Oh, you chicken enabler, you! I followed the blue Orpington link and REALLY liked what I read and saw, especially the part about them being friendly and good winter layers. Wish I could find just one or two, in any of the colors except buff or white. A glossy black hen would be pretty.... :-)

Nancy K. said...

HEY! Michelle's not the only one who likes your chicken posts! Keep 'em; coming lady!!!


Crosswinds Farm said...

Tammy, I am not sure which I would rather deal with, orange road dust or white...I guess it depends what blends with my furniture the best!Glad you liked the post :).
Michelle, Maybe it's a good thing you don't live closer, I fear that your husband may not like my chicken enabling ways!
Hi Nancy! I am sure I will have more chicken posts, but I need to get back to sheepy stuff...I still have lambs to sell!

~*Sarah*~ said...

...well it DID smell like dinner.

uhm..i'm lovin your hydrangea, and your fluffy coneflower. (yes, fluffy coneflower is its technical name)

I always love the chickies! We'll have to come see the new ones. Not as cool as your egg laying cat though....

Crosswinds Farm said...

Duh, Sarah, nothing is as cool as an egg-laying cat!

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