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On the Farm

Just as we were loading the last box for the Madison delivery last Wednesday, a fierce wind came up and whipped our trees around, upset an orderly pile of steel, and blew towels off the clothesline. It poured, and Bill and I were soaked within seconds. The deluge lasted for 20 minutes, and I didn't dare start driving until it slowed.

Instead I changed my clothes and checked the weather radar. The storm and I were taking the same path. I had to pull over more than once on the way until the rain let up enough to see the center lines. It was all over by the time I arrived at the first drop site so my second set of clothes stayed dry.

Back on the farm the rain had pounded and battered the newly transplanted cucumbers into the dirt. When we trellised them a couple of days later, we had to carefully pull the leaves out from under the mud. Sometimes it was hard to tell which end of the plant had leaves! Mud also spattered into the lettuce heads - you may even notice some when cutting them open this week even though we washed each one twice.

It was ironic that in the last newsletter I talked about the dry, windy weather we were dealing with and since then it's rained several times. In fact, a good part of our harvest yesterday was in the rain.

On one of the dry days, Bill was working in the fields and heard what sounded like a helicopter in the sky. As it got closer, just as a shadow fell over him, he realized it wasn't a helicopter. He saw a swarm of honeybees fly directly overhead. It crossed his mind to try to catch it, but he knew it was moving too fast, so he watched it fly away. (My first instinct would be to run in the opposite direction.)

Then he realized it came from the direction of our hives! Fearing he'd lost a hive, Bill went to check. Sometimes strong hives get overcrowded with worker bees so they grow a new queen. Then the mature queen and most of the bees leave to start a new hive. The remaining bees experience a setback in honey production while they divert their energy toward growing workers. Bill was relieved to find all our hives full of bees working diligently (do bees work any other way?) at filling the comb with honey.

Bill and Aidan weren't as lucky when they replaced a dilapidated fence line this week to open another pasture for our two cows and calf. It took a couple of days to pull out old bent posts and tangled wire, put in straight posts, string new lines, and attach electricity. They let Shelby and Belle with her calf Copper in yesterday.

Once the cows found the gate and all the fresh grass, they got busy eating. Copper, being only a few months old and still getting most of his nourishment from Mom, bounded around exploring the new area. It was fun to watch his enthusiasm as he snorted and bucked. Bill and Aidan left to work on other projects feeling satisfied about a job well done. The feeling didn't last long.

Copper found a place to sneak under the wires which upset his mother. Belle went through the fence breaking it in several places. The guys rounded them up and put all three cattle back in the old pasture where they will stay until the broken fence is fixed.

And so it goes for another week on the farm - some things work out the way we hope while others take a more challenging route.


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