Monday, August 10, 2009

Scratching at the earth

November of 2007. In an attempt to cover over the rye seed I'd sowed with a fertilizer spreader (next picture) I made a harness to pull the three foot wide landscaping rake. I put a sack of sand on top to give it weight, thus helping it bite into the ground a bit. You can see there was a lot of ground to cover and that's only part of it.

8/10/09 Monday
It’s another start for another week. I’ll be mowing all day long, or at least for much of the day. Much of the mowing will be focused on where the sticker grass is in order to capture as many of the stickers, ie seeds, as possible before I till it under. There will still be hundreds of stickers buried in the dirt but at least thousands won’t be. All of that goes into a growing pile, where once it’s dried I’ll burn them. I’ve already worn out two lawnmower blades and am working on the third. When I say worn I mean worn. The last one was almost paper thin and had been reduced from two and a half inches wide to less than an inch on the ends. The constant sand is a contributor to this, kinda like mowing sandpaper where the sand coats the bottoms of the weeds.

The areas that don’t have too much sticker grass I’ll take the clippings and put them in the soil I’m preparing for fall planting. The fall planting I need to do NOW but haven’t gotten to with everything else that needs to be done. Yesterday I was wondering if it would do any good to plant as I worked through another bout of depression. “Why plant if I can’t even pick the blackeyed peas that are on the plants now” I would ask myself. I’ll have to push past this. It’s so frustrating to not keep up with what I’ve got. The recent rains overwhelmed me with weeds. The hay I planted is doing great and helps choke out the weeds. But unfortunately much of the seed had gotten wet and was no good. There wasn’t much anyway as it was only one fifty pound bag. If we had the money I would have bought seven hundred pounds and planted it everywhere. It only costs about eighteen bucks a fifty pound bag but that adds up. But I don’t have a disc or other equipment that’s needed to do this right. I’ve done it all by hand the last three years now but it took something like two months to do that way. This year I’d been able to use the old man’s disc and that helped immensely but I won’t ask to use it anymore. That’s because he wouldn’t let me fix it when the bearing froze up. If I can’t fix what I break I’m not comfortable using it.
Spreading rye seed

Anyway, all the rye I planted by hand early this season, six hundred and fifty pounds worth, didn’t make it because of the drought. Eventually I’ll have the equipment and resources to farm, till then it’s scratching at the earth and wearing myself out. In October we get our yearly CRP payment. If possible I’ll use it to go to Ohio and pick up the disc or plow or whatever our nephew has obtained for us up there. “If possible” being the key phrase here. At the least we’ll be able to buy another six or seven hundred pounds of rye or winter wheat to plant. I’ll get in the ground however I can. In the ideal scenario it will compete with the weeds, thus reducing them, and then get tilled under to continue my quest to turn this sand into better soil with the organic matter that is a necessary ingredient for soil health. One of these years I’ll be able to actually harvest the grain.

Enough talk. That’s what’s on my mind for the moment but there’s work to do and heat to beat. Gotta take advantage of the relative cool of the morning.
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I thought it was around eleven or twelve but it is 1:00. Regardless it’s time to come in. Haven’t started the mower yet. Got to hoeing the weeds around the melons and guess that’s what I’ve been doing for three hours. I did repair some irrigation stuff earlier. I’ve got that faint feeling that tells me the heat is getting to me plus the back pain is up there. Unfortunately I have to wait another hour before I can take a pain pill. That’s just the way it is.

While I was repairing the drip connections on the side of the house I heard what I swore was a rattlesnake rattling. Sure enough there was a four foot snake in the cannas plants. By the way Jen, they are doing well, thanks for the gift. So I had to work real hard to get the snake out to where I could kill it. When I finally did I saw that it was not a rattlesnake, though it looked a whole lot like one. It didn’t have any rattles at all. The sound it made sure sounded like one along with a hissing noise. I suppose it’s an imitation of a rattler’s sound as a form of self protection. Plus it has markings similar to a diamond back’s though a little different. Don’t know what kind of snake it is but once I saw it wasn’t a rattler I picked it up by the head and took it to the edge of the five acres and released it. Took it to the far corner where there are gopher mounds. Maybe it will eat some gophers.

I’m heading into Midland this afternoon. Have to mail a DVD to my sister that we’ve been meaning to mail for over a month now. The DVD is a copy of the news story channel nine ran on us. Plus I have another card for my dad and want to get that out to her as well so she can get it to dad. I think I’ll print up a picture or two to include with it. Then I must do my laundry. Should have done it last week but that didn’t work out. Can’t remember why but it’s not done.

Wish I wasn’t tired. It’s terribly inconvenient. Ate a couple of pieces of chicken for lunch and drank a huge amount of tea

1 comment:

Amy said...

Bob, I believe your snake was a Bull snake.