Unintended Cattle Ranching

A little domestic issue has arisen. The Toyota is dying a slow death of attrition by plastic parts. It’s a ’97 and runs fine but bit by bit, piece by piece the little plastic parts are breaking. For example, there’s a lever inside that allows you to unlatch the trunk. That’s gone but so what. It still opens just fine from the outside using the key. Yesterday, the inside driver’s side door handle assembly broke so you can no longer open the door. That’s where the domestic issue starts. If you roll down the window and reach the outside latch, you can open it. Then you roll up the window, step outside and close the door. Seems to me, not such a big old bad problem. An alternative that has been discussed is having it fixed which is a $160 kind of fix, parts and labor. That’s the quote from Toyota so chances are it’s a $50 job. Guess who wants it fixed and who is ok rolling down the window once in a while. It’s not like we don’t have two spare vehicles.

Hey buddy, where's this garden you're so proud of
Hey buddy, where's this garden you're so proud of
No garden, no paddies
No garden, no paddies

Bit of excitement today when Nancy shouted out that there was a cow in the field next to our house and about to cross over onto our property. Turns out there were actually two cows which had escaped from a pasture about a half mile away. Both wandered over to our yard and started nibbling on the citrus trees. George just happened to be over examining the remains of a possum – remember the buzzards – and knows the guy who owns the cows. He called him and the guy said he’s be right over to collect them. Here’s the interesting part. I expected him to show up with a trailer and load the cows up onto the trailer. He showed up with a 10 gallon bucket of what he called “sweet feed”. It’s a mix of regular feed and molasses. He let them get a taste of it directly from the bucket and then just started walking back to the ranch. He said that they’d follow him as long as he had the bucket and stopped every once in a while to let them have a taste. We trailed along behind them in George’s golf cart and sure enough they walked right back to the hole in the fence. Along the way we couldn’t help but notice the large quantity of cow paddies (or is it cow patties) and the owner told us to take all we wanted. We filled 2 x 25 gallon containers, one of which will fertilize George’s roses, the other will be mixed over time with my compost piles. Not the way I planned to spend the day, for sure.

I planted the corn seed, a few weeks earlier than last year. Corn germination is very sensitive to temperature and the particular variety I chose this year needs a soil temp of 65 degrees. If the weather holds, I think overall the early start should make for a better crop than last year. My thinking is that the plants will get a stronger start before it gets really hot and buggy. I put down a 2-3” layer of new compost on two rows where I’ve never grown corn before. The rows are 3′ wide x 20′ long and will support approximately 100+ plants, 50+ per row. One of the rows was where the snow peas did so well and peas, as with beans, leave the soil nitrogen rich. The other row held broccoli and cauliflower. Those crops really deplete the soil of nutrients so I’ll mix in a load of fertilizer. Maybe we’ll be munching on triple sweet corn come May. I’m hedging against the weather just a bit by planting only one of the rows now and holding off two weeks for the second. I haven’t really had success with corn in the past for a variety of reasons. One idea I’m trying this year is to place a low level PVC fence around the corn to prevent the wind from blowing over the stalks. I have all the parts so it’s just a matter of putting it together. I don’t think we can go 90 days without some serious wind and every time I’ve tried corn, sometime along the way, it gets blown over and never seems right after that.

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