8.18.2012 Sowing Oats

Before I tell you the oats story, let me mention a discovery I made this week.  To begin, you should know I have never been able to whistle well nor can I whistle loudly.  I’ve improved a bit since getting the dog and the horses.  I can actually do two different whistles now.  One is the come hither for the dog and the other is the come hither for the horses.  They are pretty pathetic as far as whistles go, but with enough training, even my puny whistles work as intended.

Then I got stung on the lip and couldn’t whistle.  That was when I had the epiphany.  You gotta have more than one come hither signal per animal species.  Moose, the dog, will come to the sound of her name or the jingle of keys.  The horses . . . well, I have been working on coming to the sound of their names and the shaking of the treat bag, but they are nothing like consistent.  So when I can’t whistle or they can’t hear the whistle because of weather conditions, I have to slog out to wherever they are grazing and bring them in.

So there you go.  If you work with animals give some thought to how you will communicate with them over long distances in varying weather conditions and then give some thought to plan b and plan c.

Now, for the oats.  Last week, my husband tilled up that bad spot in the pasture.  It turned out to be only about an 1/8 of an acre. I limed it on Friday, and laid down field peas, clover, perennial rye, hairy vetch, buckwheat and oats.  The field peas probably won’t make – too late in the year, but they’ll fix some nitrogen to the soil before the frost gets them.  I used the Earthway Seeder to put the peas down and the broadcast spreader for everything else.  Even with just 1/8 of an acre, it was lot of walking and a really full afternoon of work.

My little Earthway Seeder looks so inadequate for the task at hand, but it performed admirably, thanks to Michael’s excellent tilling job.

Later that evening, we had a get together with close friends: a send-off party for my daughter who leaves for college in a few days.  I took everyone down to the pasture and made a ridiculous impromptu speech about clean slates, and deep roots and sowing oats.  Then everyone grabbed a handful of seed and tossed it.  For the young ones, it was a symbolic gesture – they could sow their oats while safe at home.  For us old farts, we sowed our oats to prove we still could.  Then we broke out the last of the magic mead and, after each of us shared a libation with the earth, we spent the rest of the evening in fellowship.  That mead did work a bit of magic too.  It rained – well, sort of.

I haven’t put quart jars in my pressure canner in a very long time, like 15 years or so. Imagine my panic after a long day of making spaghetti sauce to see the rims of my jars standing tall above the rim of the canner. But the lid did fit and I now have 6 quarts and 1 pint of the finest spaghetti sauce there is. Emeril Lagase and Paul Newman ain’t got nothing but market share on my sauce.

Well, the bees certainly aren’t starving. This little lady was loaded with corn pollen and the ears are starting to fill out on my very late planting of Country Gentleman corn. Sometimes my being way behind schedule is a good thing.

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