“New” Hay Shed, Gardening and a Lake

Three day weekend, so we got a lot done!  Started out Saturday with the biggest chore.  We don’t have very many acres so we go through a lot of hay each year.  We get our alfalfa hay from Mark’s cousin and we knew he was getting ready to swath so it wouldn’t be long we needed to be ready to bale it, haul it home and store it.  Mark said one way to keep a lot more hay with the storage we already had was to add four feet to the height of an old car port we used to store hay and when it is empty as a shelter for the goats.

Here he is taking the anchors out so he could lift the entire building up on the posts he had set and cemented in place a week ago. BIG job. A lot of the anchors did not want to come out of the ground.

Once the anchors were out, we used his boom truck to raise it up and set it down on the posts.  No pictures of that because I was busy helping him steady it  and that required both hands, none left for picture taking!   This post was a little high so he shaved some off with his cutting torch.  Then he built and installed gussets on each post and welded them down.

Here is how tall it is now.  A lot more hay will be stored in here now!  This is still a work in progress.  We need to replace one of the pieces of tin, caulk some holes in the roof and we are planning on enclosing the north end and partially enclose the ends.  This picture was when Mark was fretting about how crooked the north side looked and how to fix it.  He kept adjusting here and there and finally got it to a point he could live with it.  I reminded him the goats wouldn’t care, all they cared about was food to eat and a shelter to stay dry and warm!

 

While he continued to fret, I planted basil seeds around the base of all my tomato plants.  We fight blister beetles every year in our garden.   Last year, all of the tomato plants were infested with them, except the ones that were surrounded by volunteer basil plants.   They had absolutely zero on them, all summer long!  I had read that basil was a deterrent to pests like that so I decided from then on I would surround my tomatoes with basil.  Time will tell if it works!

One pest has already showed it’s ugly little face, the potato bug!  How do they find us?  You never see these guys anywhere except on potatoes.  And as far as I know, there isn’t another potato planted within a mile of here, but they always show up.  ALWAYS!

About the time Mr. Potato Bug makes his appearance, so do the good guys, the lady bugs.  Lady  bugs eat the eggs Mrs. Potato Bug laid on the bottom of the leaves.  We try to never use pesticide, our rule is, try everything else, only use it if it means you will lose the crop.  Because the truth is, the small amount we use is SO much less than what is used on the produce we would buy in the store.  With potatoes though, we never use it.  Potatoes are a crop that holds onto the pesticide forever!  Look at the directions on a bottle of the pesticide Sevin.  It tells how long to wait to harvest something after you have used it.  Most produce is 3 – 5 days, even something like a tomato that the dust will fall directly on.  But for potatoes, you are supposed to wait 21 days before you harvest them even though the tubers are underground and you only powder or spray the leaves!  21 days!  I believe that is the reason potatoes are listed as one of the dirty fifteen, produce that are most contaminated with pesticides and a good one to buy organic if at all possible.  So we never use anything on potatoes.  But it is very easy to handle an infestation of potato bugs.  First of all, the no pesticide rule keeps the lady bugs coming and that kills a lot of the young.  The adult potato bugs we see on the plants we just shake off into a coffee can each morning and either feed them to the chickens or if the little bitty’s are being picky and not showing much interest in this little delicacy, we fill the coffee can with water and drown the little boogers.

We mulched the garden……………..and I do mean MULCHED!  There is a story behind the overkill here, I’ll post about it next.  But anyway, it was a big job and I’m glad to have it done!

Early Monday morning, I drove the JD 4020 tractor 5 miles to the shed where our baler spent the winter months.  Mark had gone ahead of me in the truck to move a trailer so we could get to the baler.  Even though driving on the highway with semi’s screaming by is not one of my favorite things to do, once I am able to turn off onto dirt roads, my soul quiets and all I can do is sing praise to the Lord for putting me in the place he put me.  It may not seem like breath-taking scenery, but driving past ripening wheat fields and mowed alfalfa just brings me joy and peace.

After a few more chores, lunch and a nap, it was time for some family fun.  We hooked on to our trailer that holds a paddle boat and a canoe and headed out to a lake for some grandkids time.  Here we were stopping to get some pop and snacks.

Hubby and I would probably be considered work-aholics by most.  We do have to remind ourselves to stop and have some fun occasionally.  Whenever we do, we are always so glad we did.  Three of our six families joined us and the cousins all had a blast together, like they always do.

Uggh! Really did not want to share the next picture, but it’s time I accept I am a sixty year old, “pleasingly-plump” grandmother of twenty-four and embrace it!  Needed to show I joined in on the fun too!  I think this was my “Oh my word I feel like this thing could tip any minute pose!”

When it was time to head home we had three stowaways in our old jeep.  The littlest one sure does love his big brother huh?  Good ending to a great weekend!

Oh, and you tell me, do you see anything wrong with the “new” tall hay shed?  I sure don’t, but my perfectionist hubby still worries about it not being perfectly square.  I think it will keep a lot of hay dry and a lot of goats warm when it’s all done even if it wouldn’t win a hay-shed contest!