Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Farm Walkabout

 It's going to be 68 here today. I have a slight cold, and don't really feel like tackling the bigger projects. I'll stack some kiln wood, and take a little walkabout.

The leaves are all gone, as of the last rainy day. They look fresh in their different colors on the ground. Couple of frosts will take care of that. They'll become fodder for my leaf grinder and mulch for the garlic patch.It's amazing to me that every leaf you see on a tree in summer winds up on the ground in a matter of days. You can see into the deep woods now, which are completely hidden in summer.

I found a big maple has fallen out of the ground down by the "creek" gully on the edge of the property. It'll be a little tricky to get to, but it's free firewood. I've lost a couple trees to "falling out the ground", lately. Seems the root ball on some trees get very dry during the summer months. The fall rain saturates the ground, a wind comes along while they still have leaves, and they fall over. Surprised I didn't hear this big 'un when it fell. There are others two feet high fighting to take it's place in the sun already.

Two springs running strong, four still dry.  The rest are what I suspected were wet weather springs that flow during periods of normal ran fall, but a couple years of drought dry 'em up. The mains ones keep a small stream flowing at a good constant rate, even during the driest period, which is mostly why we bought the contiguous property. I do believe water will become the next real global emergency. Makes me a bit nauseous to think that we use 11% of the world's fresh water to make paper.

De bees, as Odessa calls 'em, are nestled in their hives for the winter. The two new hives have thrived, even in this, the worst of nectar flow in years. I got paranoid about verroa mites.The mites attach themselves to the bee's back and suck 'em dry. Jim found a product  called Hop Guard made from the residue from the hops used in beer making. It's apparently  an alternative to more potent brews to control the little devils. The State of Ga. Dept of Ag. allowed a "window of opportunity" for bee keepers in Georgia to use the new product. It ends Dec 31 this year. I'll be interested to see if the results of this study will bring an extension.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The other method of dealing with mites organically, is dusting the bees with powdered sugar. The theory being the bees, in cleaning each other off, will remove the mites. sorta' like throwing a kid in a candy store. Problem is they have to have lots of water to digest, or whatever the do with the sugar. I've never tried the powered sugar thing, it sounds too simple. Them mites didn't know about the sugar trick, neither did the bees...so who came up with that cockamamied idea...a crazy bee keeper?

The persimmons are dead ripe, and sweet. I can only eat a few of them at a time, 'cause they're SO sweet, but 'ole man 'possum and B'rer Coon have made themselves at home in the trees on my place. 'Possum scat full of seeds everywhere! Good year for possums and persimmons.

My neighbor has planted some of the Japanese persimmons that get as large a softballs. He gave me a tree, which I have planted, but after tasting the hybrids, nothing beats the  native persimmon in taste.

The persimmon tree is a member of the ebony family, and the wood was prized as golf club industry. The core of the tree is balck, like ebony and  hard as the hinges of hell. It's also very stable, and would take the shock of hitting a golf ball a country mile. Other materials have taken over, and the persimmon trees just watches from the side of the golf course, nowadays. I doubt many golfers under thirty have carried an old persimmon wood driver in their bag. I hit many a walnut nut off a tee with an old wooden driver that Daddy discarded; a fun way to crack a walnut, but hard to salvage the meats inside.

I stopped by the big brush pile that I've been  growing for two years. I had thought about burning it this winter.  As I watch, I see birds flitting in an out of it, signs of field mice and the slight smell of skunk.  Guess I'll just leave it. I'll throw some sunflower seed in there when it really gets cold. I started the pile to fill in a gully, and it's done it's job.  Fescue and honeysuckle are starting to take over that gully, and the brush pile.

Well, I'm back to the tractor shed, and see a million things that need doing, but mixing glazes for Janice is next...I've put it off for a week because of dreary, damp, windy days. I've been given a reprieve. Better sit in the sun and mix glazes...and maybe a little nodding off with the sorry cat in my lap. She can't catch my woodpile lizards when she lying in my lap.

Hope you enjoyed the walk as much as I did.

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