Rain, Rain, Don’t Forget to Fall in August, Too!

We were pelted by hail up to 1" in diameter. Here is some of the hail sprinkled around our deck.

We were pelted by hail up to 1" in diameter. Here is some of the hail sprinkled around our deck.

It seems like the month of June has been nothing but rain around our country. We have received about 2″ of rain just this week already and it’s only Wednesday — 1.25″ in about an hour’s time on Monday!

Here are pictures of our deck on Monday with some hail sprinkled around the buckets of flower seeds Sports Girl planted. You can also see our driveway covered in water, and our shelter belt and newly planted grass soaked in water, as well. I also had Sports Girl take a picture of the rain gauge as further evidence. (I would have taken it myself, but I’m still on doctor’s ordered rest for the remainder of this week.)

The gravel portion of our driveway was completely under water.

The gravel portion of our driveway was completely under water.

In the distance you can see our shelter belt and newly planted grass are soaked by the rain.

In the distance you can see our shelter belt and newly planted grass are soaked by the rain.

The hard rain even came into our house as both skylights in the kitchen leaked. The girls and I must have collected a half inch of water in the bottom of an empty gallon ice cream bucket. The skylight in the master bathroom was cracked by the hail; the crack looks a lot like a rock chip in a windshield. It didn’t leak, but I’m sure we’ll have to replace it along with the other two.

I suppose all this means another visit from the insurance adjuster. We visited with him last year when a hail and wind storm severely damaged our roof — and it happened while we were away of vacation. At least this time we were home and able to minimize the interior damage.

The rain gauge recorded 1.25" of rain in about an hour on Monday, June 15, 2009.

The rain gauge recorded 1.25" of rain in about an hour on Monday, June 15, 2009.

I don’t think the rain or hail has damaged any of our trees or grass yet, and it’s probably actually been a real asset for us in that area. The thing is — history shows that it might rain and rain in June, but then it gets very hot and dry in July and August. So I just wish we could spread some of this around … I don’t want to be out watering trees too many times in 100+ degree temps!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

So my health has been an interesting situation. One that has kept me distracted since the end of May. I do believe I’m finally on the mend, and I hope to go home from the hospital tomorrow.

In the mean time, many things have happened in our country life. It was time to let the heifers and their calves into the pasture to eat the grass surrounding our home. Unfortunately, we had taken out the barbed wire fence to plant our trees, and we certainly didn’t want the cows trampling the little seedling trees.

We were undecided on what type of permanent fence we wanted to install, and time was critical, so we purchased and installed an electric fence. The heifers and calves were very curious about the fence and I think every one of them must have tested it out at least once. Each instance resulted in a startled critter jumping quickly away and sometimes bellering.  These “tests” would have made some great video – if I had had the energy to capture it. But it probably would have also drawn negative comments from more animal rights activists, so perhaps it’s just as well that I only have memories of the incidents.

A few times the cow or calf jumped the wrong way and went through the fence. They usually made their way back through the fence, but I think we had to help at least one critter out of the enclosed area. Thankfully, these animals seemed to learn fast as after about a week the fence malfunctioned for a couple of days while we were out of town, and yet all of the cows stayed away.

Besides the electric fence, Handsome Hubby planted the grass seed between our newly planted shelterbelt and our home. He and Sports Girl also planted a garden.

A couple of days later it started to rain. And rain. Even though the mud was a real pain to contend with, the moisture should certainly help all of our new vegetation to prosper. We can already see stalks of grass starting to sprout. Now if the temperatures would just warm up a bit.

The cows were moved on to the next pasture almost quicker than they were moved in, and now they are awaiting their ride to the woods in a semi-trailer. Handsome Hubby’s family has a few different permits from the U.S. Forest Service, and they summer the majority of their cattle in the Black Hills National Forest from mid-June until early October. The arrangement isn’t the most convenient, but it provides an additional source of grass while the family farms for next year’s feed.

We’re still using the electric fence to allow our flock of sheep to graze on a little grass while not worrying about them wandering away. At least now I don’t have to disable the fence and open a gate every time I come and go from home. That’s an inconvenience I really dread, but I try to be a good sport about it. I know how valuable that grass is for feeding those cows. And thankfully, I only have to do it a few weeks out of the year.

End of School Year Proves Hectic, Trees Are Planted

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – I apologize. My excuse? It’s the end of the school year, and life sure has been crazy.

Why is it busy for me as the end of the school year approaches? There have been many school events filling my evenings and daytimes these days including (but not limited to) a band concert, choir concert, piano recital, soccer games, open houses and field trips. On top of these, we are starting to get busy with our 4-H projects and our outside work around our place – caring for and working with livestock, mowing, watering, etc.

Conservation staff plants our trees while riding behind the small tractor.

Conservation staff stick our trees in the ground while riding on the planter behind the small tractor.

They came and planted the seedling trees last Thursday, May 14. Then they came back on Monday, May 18, and put the plastic down to keep the moisture in and weeds down. Handsome Hubby and Sports Girl watered each of the more than 300 trees last weekend. That was an arduous process, so tomorrow we are going to the home improvement stores to price supplies for a drip watering system.

Handsome Hubby needs to plant grass between the inside of the shelterbelt and our house, and we may even plant a little garden in some of the tilled ground this year. If we’re going to be watering and weeding, we might as well have a garden, too.

And so as school comes to a close at the end of next week, our farming efforts are just beginning.