New Water Year

Happy New Year! New Water Year that is. Recording moisture that we receive is calculated by Water Year rather than by the Calendar Year.

Rainfall (and snow and hail) totals begin on October 1st, what is traditionally the beginning of the wetter/fall season. The CoCoRAHs newsletter explained it well,

…this marks the end of another “water year”. The definition of “water year” is practical and somewhat arbitrary. More than one definition exists. But we use the Oct. 1 – Sep. 30 annual cycle because it captures the bulk of the cool season soil moisture recharge time of year (October – March) and the warm growing-season time of year (April – September)…

If you think my farm stories are outlandish and strange, you should click the link and read the newsletter. At the end of the newsletter, Nolan recounts just what happened on his farm while he was away for a vacation. My stories don’t seem near as odd as I had imagined.

As we celebrate the new year, we will generate Water Year Summary reports for every CoCoRaHS station. A first draft of these summaries will be provided in early October to give all observers the chance to review their observations for the year and make any corrections if necessary. (We’ll send out A message when they are ready.) Then in a few weeks once everyone has had a chance to review their observations and fill in missing data, we will then regenerate the reports.

To look at previous year’s Water Year Summary Reports please click here: PAST WATER YEAR SUMMARY REPORTS .

Since I am going to go the lazy route on this one, I will be waiting for the numbers to be ran by CoCoRAHs on October 7th (and again at the end of the month) to verify my recorded totals against what my neighbors in the surrounding area recorded. It had been a rather mild weather year for the first six months with lower than average rainfall totals so seeing how things shake out for the whole year will be interesting.

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While I Can

I may need a whole week of posts titled the same as this one. The weather has me scrambling to get the last of summers bounty processed and stored for the winter.

I had a gift of a box of ripe tomatoes given to me.  I am only able to grow cherry tomatoes with our limited sunlight between our east and west hillsides, and this gift was beautiful, handful sized globes that were ready to eat or process.

(Disclosure note, I did get some second harvest figs along with the tomatoes. The Rogue Valley has been very good to me this year. Since there are not enough to process, I am hoarding the precious figs and am holding myself to four or five a day for fresh eating. One more day of figs and I will be tapped out).

If I had the time and the inclination to spend a day in the kitchen, I would have canned the whole lot of them after saving enough for fresh eating. But rather than torturing myself, I sliced most of them and ran them through the dehydrator. I did save back enough to dice and freeze for wintertime recipes like soups and stews. Both methods of preserving will come in handy when crockpot season is upon us.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Moving Past The Mud

We are nearly back to summer time weather after last weeks wild thunderstorms. But when I say nearly, it means that although the daytime temps are getting in the 80’s, the nighttime temps are cooler than the summer was.

There is a definite hint of fall in the air. The trees that dried out during the hot east wind event don’t look like they will be showing vibrant fall colors this year. Many leaves are just shriveling up and falling off the trees rather than turn the iconic autumn colors.

Reports of salmon in the Nehalem River below Vernonia since the rainfall seemed too early to be true. But this morning as I walked across the bridge heard a tail slap and the dark shape move toward deeper water. Soon we will see the salmon in abundance if the water stays clear rather than the dark inky color that clouds the stream when the alder leaves fall en masse.

In the landing, Mike scraped the mud away before walking the dozer up the hill to get a turn of logs. I could almost see a bit of dust kick up when he moved under the tall firs.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Get Set, Go

The day was a flurry of activity. I finished the show barn chores and headed across the river where I had a pile of wood ready to split. Since we had moved the main herd to the far, far field I was able to have the Super Splitter sitting under a waterproof tarp right next to the pile and was ready to get going rather than hauling it out of the barn and setting up.

I split firewood and kindling for an hour and a half before it was time to feed the main herd in the far, far field. With the rain we have had, the river is too deep to run the Gator through so we use the tractor back and forth. It is much easier and faster when two of us feed so I get to ride on the pallet with hay bales, it is attached to the front loader forks of the tractor. While Mike drives backward through the field, I fling slabs of hay this way and that so the cattle can get to eating without pestering each other.

After feeding, I went back to splitting. We hauled one trailer load of kindling into the barn and stacked it into a crib for curing. Then we made a second trip to the bull barn where we unloaded the Gator full of firewood pieces and a trailer full of dry/cured kindling.

When we finished unloading it was past lunchtime, so we took a quick break and had delicious grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches before heading back across the river. Mike wanted to take the tractor up the hill to bring down some wood, and I grabbed a bucket and knife and went Chanterelle mushroom hunting. Mike has a term for these quick one-bucket walks, he calls them sashays. So funny to hear him talking about taking a little sashay through the forest.

It pays to remember where the mushrooms had been in the past because I walked right to a dandy of a spot and filled my bucket and a bag(an spare I tucked into my pocket, just in case) in a couple of minutes. I had my picking done before Mike had gotten the tractor to the top of the hill. Since I had nothing else I could pick into, I headed down hill.

The dogs and I spent some quality time cleaning up the landing while we waited for Mike to come down the hill. By the time he had come down, it was time again to do the evening feeding so the tractor was put to work hauling hay bales.

Getting to the house after chores, I cleaned the 10 lbs of mushrooms and we ate about 5 lbs for dinner. I made a Chanterelle, garlic, butter sauce to go over jasmine rice. Fantastic!

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Pears All Of A Sudden

I like the years when pear season lasts about three weeks so I can keep a steady flow through the dehydrator while making cooked pear delights for the freezer and canning. This year, that warm, dry, east wind event ripened the pears quickly and brought an abrupt end to the pears without them getting a good size, they fell off the tree faster than I could process them.

Even the dogs, who love pears, got tired of the loads that would fall each day. We fed many buckets full to the cows who never tire of sweet pears.

During the week of intense pear-ness, I was able to dehydrate about twenty quarts, made pear upside-down cakes and pear breads for the freezer. It is still an ongoing battle with the j-birds over what filberts are left on the trees. I have only gotten a couple of handfuls so far and used them when making the zucchini bread for the freezer. Doesn’t look like much of a crop this year.

But it is a good thing I got that drying and cooking done because the clock is ticking since the thunderstorm on the night of 9/17. Ten days since that gully washer should lead to Chanterelle mushrooms in the forest especially when we had another day with over an inch and a half of rain since the first thunderstorm. I am looking forward to some good hunting before things turn more winter-like around the farm.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Adding Warmth

With all the fall type storms hitting us this week, it seems hard to believe but we are expected to have the weather change next week back to 80+ degree days. But just in case the predictors are correct, we will not be firing up the outdoor wood furnace that heats the house. Instead, on this day with more than an inch and a half of rainfall, leaves dropping in mad flurries around the farm, and the cattle hunkered down around tall timber to stay dry, I moved back indoors for a little baking.

With the oven going with batches of Zucchini Bread and Upside-Down Pear Cake, the house was comfortable for the next day or two.

As for the pear cake, I simply used a pineapple upside-down cake recipe, substituted a layer of chopped pears and left out the maraschino cherries and pecans. I bake the cake in a couple of 8 inch glass pie pans. When the cake is baked through, I pull it out of the oven and invert it onto a flat serving dish. I let it sit this way until it cools and all the sugary bottom-now-top of the cake has steamed off the pie pan and onto the cake. I always make two at a time so at least one get frozen for later use.

Here is the recipe for Zucchini Harvest Bread, I double or triple the recipe and leave half the batter without nuts. Oven set at 350 degrees.

3 Cups Flour

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 t. Nutmeg

1/4 t. Cloves

1/4 t. Ground Ginger

1 T. Cinnamon (I tend to add extra)

1 t. Salt

1 t. Baking Soda

1/4 t. Baking Powder

Mix all dry ingredients in extra large mixing bowl (I use a 3 or 4 gallon size commercial metal bowl) before adding the rest of the ingredients.

1 Cup melted butter

3 Eggs (or sub 6 egg whites)

1 T. Vanilla (I use Frontier Brand Alcohol-Free Vanilla)

3 Cups Grated Zucchini

1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

I use plastic gloves on my hands to work the mixture, it is the only way I can get all the dry ingredients incorporated together.

Spread into greased or paper lined loaf pans. Make sure to save room for rising or they will overflow the pans. Bake 50-65 minutes, springs back in middle or use toothpick that comes out clean from poking the middle. These freeze well.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

 

 

#9 And Francie Calf

Have to do a little update on our newest addition to the herd, Francie. When last I posted about her, it was the day after she was born and we had moved #9 and Francie into the side pasture along the barn. This gave the new mother and baby time to bond with each other without the other cows and calves of the main herd bothering them.

The two-wire electric solar electric fence was the only thing keeping the main herd out and the new family in, but it worked well. Francie figured out the boundaries quickly, and #9 kept mooing softly to keep her new baby fairly close all day long. Francie found several comfy spots around the fence line where the grass grew tall. She moved to several areas throughout the day, when she was snoozing, it was hard to see her all hunkered down.

By the next day we opened the small pasture up and let #9 and Francie out into the main field. #9 took her new baby down into the 6 acre field where brush along the fence made for a secure resting spot while the new mother grazed and greeted members of the herd at her own pace.

Francie is a happy little calf and loves to run in the field wit her tail up in the air. #9 still doesn’t let her get very far away at any given time.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Richer Or Poorer

Some people (usually only friends, family, neighbors or acquaintances are on this list) tend to think that I complain more than one should need to. I don’t feel that I complain too much, but sometimes I have to stop myself from going on and on about a certain need, want, desire or objection. Mike tends to be numero uno for being on the receiving end of my complaints for a couple of reasons.

1. He is always around when the complaining is loud enough to be heard.

2. Most of the criticism has to do with the way he does his things/business/recreation/breathing etc.

3. He can usually take the complaints with a good-natured  ‘yes dear’ which calms the situation nearly as well as the ‘you are right’ comment.

There are times, however, when complaining doesn’t cut it, that is when I have to go back to marriage vows for support. Yes I did say, richer or poorer, good times and in bad, and of course til death do us part. But I do not recall saying with good choices and bad ones. This current complaint deals with the unknown and my critical reproach on this subject may never come to fruition, but then again it might.

I am referring to a piece of equipment that was recently purchased. Normally I am not wild about any new piece because of several reasons.

1. Our barns/storage areas are maxed out already and a new shed would be needed to house anything new.

2. New equipment is wildly expensive both to purchase and maintain.

3. Mike is not a ‘fixer-upper’ type of guy. Repairs are torture with his bear-paw hands and for me to watch.

Yet against my somewhat better judgement, Mike purchased a machine called a TimberJack processor to be used in the woods to cut down trees in our areas that need thinning. When the not-new processor was delivered to the farm on a lowboy trailer, my first thought was that it is HUGE. My second thought was it is a LONG way from being new and that there is going to be a lot of maintenance and repairs. And my third thought was that we do not have any plans for where the beast is going to spend the winter months.

With all my concerns laid out for all to see, I would like to welcome the newest member of our farm, the TimberJack. When he was trailered onto the place, the first thing I noticed was his large boom arm that had the word ‘DANGER’ as bold as can be painted in bold white on the black background. I thought, ‘how appropriate’ but considered that might not be a good title for the behemoth. Instead I shortened the word, and I dubbed thee ‘DANG’. So there you go, the newest member of our rag-tag equipment line is Dang. (I don’t think I’ll change the lettering on his large boom just yet until I know if the extra letters will be needed as we go along)

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Our Own Fruit Circuit

While members of the main herd find their way around pastures to snuffle up any dropped fruit from the various trees scattered around the farm, we humans also go on a fruit circuit run to gather for the bulls in the bull pen and for the cattle in the show barn. We like to enhance their diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables this time of year and with many friends and family willing to get the downed fruit away in an effort to keep the bees under control, it is a win, win situation.

When pulling up to a pear tree today we saw lots of fruit down, what looks like a mess to many people will be a welcome treat for the cows. The pickup bed is filled with apples and pears on this trip since we had to make a stop in at the hardware store.

With three producers nearby, it was easy to fill the truck up while taking care of an errand. Once at home, half the buckets will go out to the show barn while the other half go to the bull barn. They will be doled out at each feeding until we make another run of the fruit circuit.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm

Had To Wait For Company

The impending motherhood for our cow #9, Zion, seemed in the process for the last several weeks. But #9 kept showing up for every meal time and when we moved the main herd to different fields. She simply refused to go into labor, until visitors came to the farm.

The morning feeding at the farm went as usual when we fed hay and moved the herd into the six acre field for grazing. #9 was right in the middle of the pack, eating her fair share and acting contented. By mid-day the herd had dispersed and we noticed a few of the more dominant mothers sneak off for furtive trips around the fruit circuit for dropped plums, apples, blackberries and crab apples before rejoining the herd.

We had guests show up for a short visit on their way back to town after a beach day and they volunteered to help with the evening feeding. We had assumed the whole herd had come back out of the six acres, but when we counted, we were missing both the herd sire and #9. The bunch of us meandered down to the back of the six acres to see if the pair were down in the brush under the big trees but we could not find any more critters. We went back to the main herd to re-count and there was the herd sire right in with the rest of them, he must have taken a trip around the fruit circuit before catching up for dinner. But we were still missing #9.

We drove the Gator load of people over the bridge and one of our guests saw #9 standing in the brush just upstream from the bridge. We drove around to get a better look but the cow was tucked into the thickest brush so we decided to give her a little privacy.

Our guests headed home and we went back out to check on #9 but she had vanished from her hiding spot. Flashlights were needed as the evening got darker and darker. By 9pm we found her hiding/hanging out on the other side of the river from when we first spotted her. I walked behind her and Mike opened gates up at the barn. Once she got close, she walked right in. She was in labor but it was only the first stages. We decided to go to the house to get a bite of dinner for ourselves and went back out to check on her progress around 930pm. Her brand new baby was already standing. We gave them another hour to get things figured out and when we went back to check on the two, the baby had already nursed on two teats and was resting comfortably.

Welcome to the farm, Francie calf (named after our visiting guests) weighing in at 65 lbs born 9/20/2020, her sire is Prowler.

You gotta see the pictures! They are posted with this story on SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. While you are there, if there is any online shopping you plan on doing, please go through my picture links. By doing so, I may make a small commission without a charge to you! The commissions help pay for my user charges for this site, Thank You for supporting the farm