August on the Farm

How do you describe August on the farm? I thought back over our month and the best description I could come up with was “summer wind-down”. July was brutally hot and dry, August is hot but milder, dry but wetter. So far we have gotten 3.25 inches of rain for the month. The mornings are cooler and usually there is dew on the grass. The 10-20 degree cooler evenings pull you back outside to tackle the leftover summer projects.  The sky seems clearer and the clouds more billowery and white.

It is a relief that the intense gardening is winding down but is discouraging to see all the weeds. While we were cooling our heels under the air conditioning, the rascals anchored their roots deep in the soil  and shot up head high.  Somehow they knew we weren’t watching!  I am still harvesting okra and tomatoes to eat.  I have a new crop of snaps coming on and am looking forward to canning a few more quarts.  I hope to get my fall garden of lettuce, radishes, cabbage, broccoli, turnips and spinach in this week.

Most of my flowers are past their prime now except for the roses which continually warm the heart with new buds and the lantana and geraniums which grow and bloom right up to frost.

Usually in August Gene mows the pastures to get rid of the dead tops and “sticker weeds”, we call pig weed, to allow new growth for winter grazing. This year it was so dry the pastures look almost manicured and the cows have kept most the weeds nipped off.

This spring he  planted some BMR corn that he was going to bale for hay.  The dry weather hit it hard and we got some good growth but it didn’t do what he anticipated. He decided instead to turn the cattle in to graze it and allow the pastures a chance to grow.   It is always fun to turn cattle into a new pasture. They run and kick up their hind heels and jump around like frolicking lambs.  A couple of hundred cattle in a corn field soon looks like a tornado went through!  After a while they settle down and start to graze.

This month we have finally gotten some wonderful, refreshing rains.

The grass is green again and the lawn needs to be mowed every week.  I did some tree trimming and got rid of some dead branches from the summer storms.  The Rose of Sharon bush had a wild grapevine growing up through the middle.  I got down on my hands and knees and crawled under the bush to locate the vine stalk and cut it out.  The branches had intertwined tightly with the bush but I finally got it all pulled out.

August seems to bridge the seasons of summer and fall. September is beckoning and I welcome fall in all its splendor with open arms.

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