Ask for rain, prepare for a flood

At the beginning of July it seemed as if Reeger’s farm were about to entirely dry up. The pond we were using for irrigation was severely low and the field corn was beginning to turn for the worse. We needed rain. A few weeks ago we had a couple nights of good soaking rain that began to bring us up to speed and in the days since then there has been more than enough rain to keep the crops happy. In fact, at times it seems like we nearly had more than we can handle! The weather plays funny like that. I could insert any number of old farming saying about the fickle nature of rainfall, but instead let us continue.

Last Wednesday we had a huge storm roll through that made quite a scene.

This road goes up the hill beside our fields. We call it the gasline road because it provides access to natural gas wells on the hill. Of course, in this picture it is a rushing river.

This is the drainage ditch downhill from the fields behind our house. Had it not been for this ditch, there would have been loads more water in the yard, where there was already standing puddles.

This is our gravel driveway. As you can see, the creek that usually runs trickling through a pipe laid underneath the road is now roaring two feet high!

This wide stream made from the pond, across the yard, and down into the creek.

The pond we were worried about at the beginning of the month.

Most of our gravel roads are washed out to some degree, but there wasn’t any damage requiring urgent repair. The waters subsided soon after the rains ended. While this may seem obvious it is due largely to our location at the top of our watershed. In fact, considering that the highest hills were are perhaps only a few hundred feet above the farm, it is amazing that so much flooding occurred.

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Indiana Sunflowers

When people ask where I am farming this summer, I respond in a number of ways. Sometimes I say Shelocta, sometimes I say Indiana, Pennsylvania, other times I just say western PA. All of these are correct, in a way. If you were to look at the address of Reeger’s Farm, it would be in Shelocta, PA, but telling folks I farm in Shelocta draws blank stares from all but the most locally attuned people. It is often more helpful to say we farm in Indiana County, or near Indiana, PA, which is the closest town of any considerable size. Every week we drive in to Indiana for a number of things: the hardware store, groceries, delicious frozen custard from The Meadows, and other errands. Driving into town today there are two fields of sunflowers that a kind man on the edge of town has planted. They are in full bloom to greet those arriving in Indiana.

Welcome to Indiana, PA, the hometown of Jimmy Stewart and some joyful sunflowers!

 

Apology

 

 

 

 

Dear readers,

it is time that I am honest with you about why I haven’t been posting.

 

This is my recording studio where I have been working away at some things that I hope will be very good news. I haven’t any details to share, sadly, and the process is pretty secretive if you are really curious. But nevertheless I felt I owed you all an explanation. But if you are bored here is an I Spy list for the picture:

I Spy:

– a MIDI keyboard

-a capo

– 2 mason jars

-a treble clef

-a “for Dummies” book

-2 hymnals

Ok, I hope you all enjoy the game. Updates on tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, and blackberry jam are on the way this week!

GOBS

That’s right, Gobs.

What is a Gob? you might ask. I would tell you, but wouldn’t you rather me show you?

This is batter for the gobs

This is the gob batter being placed on the baking tray.

This is me hopping in for a photo-op while pretending to help.

This is Molly putting the gob batter in the oven.

Gobs just cooling off.

This is the gob icing

The gobs are being arranged for their final transformation!

Molly (left) and Maggie (right) are the true gob masterminds.

GOBS!

Kittens

Yes, kittens.

These two were found this week up at the market. Fiona (grey, girl) and Oliver (orange, boy) are barn cats only a few weeks old. These two were being chased around by Coco, the farm dog who doesn’t know any better, when we saved them.  Oliver had crawled under a trailer cart under the pavilion. Mary had to crawl underneath to get him out! Coming from a line of hunting cats, Fi and Ollie aren’t accustomed to the life of a house cat. Since Molly and Annie have taken them in they have taken great strides to help tame and calm them.

Fiona and Oliver like to snuggle

Weekend in Atlanta pt.2

Saturday, before the wedding, Sawyer, Cooper, Clay, Mariel, Allie, and I took a trip up Stone Mountain!

Cooper had on his trusty finger-shoes and Sawyer was wearing flip flops. I was wearing Sawyer’s basketball shorts and my city shoes. For those who are wondering, my city shoes are generally for light use only, in casual situations that do not involve work. These shoes also contrast with my work shoes, which I use on the farm. Those still curious might refer to the picture in this previous post.

However well equipped each of us were (Mariel was also wearing borrowed sandals) we pressed on up the mountain!

At long last we made it to the top where we enjoyed a nice lunch of blueberries and cold pizza. On a side note, I think there should be a better term for cold pizza than “cold pizza” because a lot of people like to eat pizza that way and it sounds derogatory to call the pizza simply “cold” or “left-over.” I am open to suggestions.

Lunch!

This is me. I have found I rarely blog with pictures of myself, so here I am!

At the top!

Yes, as you can see above, Cooper did have his frisbee and yes, he did begin to throw it around. Miraculously we made it to the bottom without any broken bones and the frisbee still in hand.

Stay tuned for part 3, which will feature a wonderful agricultural exclusive!

 

Weekend in Atlanta pt.1

Over the past weekend I flew to Atlanta once again for the wedding of two of my good friends, Billy and Katy. While I was in the airport I got to do some shopping at one of my favorite stores!

I bought a sheet of new stamps that I really like! If I send you correspondence through the mail you will certainly find out what I mean! On the way to the Pittsburgh airport my trusty GPS decided I needed some adventure in my life. After being directed over this nice bridge and around a few turns in a small town. After a puzzling twist of turns I was lead across this nice bridge once again and back onto the road I was travelling on originally. Thanks, Garmin, for the extra vacation stop! Courtesy of my GPS, here are pictures of me going both ways on the bridge.

I had a great time in Atlanta seeing many my friends and family. Even my brother, who works a tough night shift, had time to share breakfast. Thanks, Aaron!

My mom made great food not only for me but for many of my friends in town! She also opened her home for 4 of my friends in town for the wedding. Thanks Mom!

Mom and I having a chat in the kitchen after breakfast, which is great tradition!