July Continuation

The first week of July, our gas prices in New Castle dropped 18 cents per gallon to $4.64. The winter fuel prices soared to over $5.00 per gallon and we topped off our propane tank just before that price jumped up. I’m so glad we have the forest land to get all the firewood our family will need. It looks like I may go back to cooking on the kitchen woodstove again as soon as we get the flue checked out.

The Mister has gone to Giles County to try to find some fishhooks big enough to catch turtles in our ponds and Heather’s pond. The snapping turtles and Blue Heron cranes are really working on the fish population. We need strong hooks to bring in the monster turtles. We rehome them to our local streams unless they’re about the size of a medium cooking pot and we harvest and freeze them. I’ll post my turtle soup recipe at some point on my “Love to Cook” page.

Sometime this week a swarm of honeybees took over one of our empty beehives and I sure hope they make it this year.  We’ve lost them the last three years during the spring.

When the Mister returned from Pearisburg we tried to sit out on the porch and in the yard, but it was so humid and miserable.  We decided to go to the garage to tie some turtle trot lines and then After we took care of the small animals and greenhouse for the night and retired to the house for a light dinner and showers and waited for the rain showers that never came.


I had laundry and kitchen cleanup this morning and just went out to put the greenhouse fan on high and it’s sweltering.  Eddie just left for the mountain to move hay off the field and doubt he will be there long.  The wind is blowing but it’s hot and humid.  At this point, we’re not even halfway finished getting the hay baled and off the fields.
We went to Shawn’s (son) yesterday evening to take Declan’s (grandson) birthday card and gift and pick blueberries.  We had just about finished picking and a monsoon came down Pott’s Mtn and we headed home after wishing Shawn safe travels to NJ this afternoon.  The lightning and thunder were unreal.  We had to stop twice because we couldn’t see to drive because it was raining so hard and there were several big limbs in the road and the rain and storm followed us to about three miles before we got home. We live a little over 15 miles from Shawn. We didn’t get a drop of rain!!!  They’re calling for same storms today and tomorrow and then a cool down which we’ll take with many thanks!!!

I’m trying desperately to get all the plants left in the greenhouse in the ground, pots, beds, wherever I can find a spot.  The fan is keeping things cooler, but it uses electricity which we need to cut back on.

I’ve cooked and frozen three turtles so far.  We’ll have soup and stews with them in the winter.  I did get enough transparent apples to freeze six quarts this year and we’ll have a bit more later if we can get more rain.  It’s sporadic but when it does rain it pours buckets with lots of wind, lightning, hale and thunder!


This morning I fixed breakfast after letting all the birds out for the day and checking their rations. 

It was 52* when we got up at 6:45 and the sun is shining.  I opened the greenhouse and it was 72* in it.  I am slowly emptying it of annuals and veggies but need to start some fall plants, maybe today.  It has rained a steady light rain for two and a half days which we needed so badly.

Breakfast is over and I’ve just made an appointment for my second shingles vaccine on Monday the 18th in Salem. 

Saturday, we sent our 2021 fall calves to the livestock market.  We had eleven calves and one cow.  She was culled due to loss of calves two years in a row.  Now we wait on the weight tickets and the check.

I’m hoping to get a fresh mess of green beans from the garden sometime this week. Tenderette green beans and yellow crookneck squash are the only things ready in the garden now due to sporadic freezing weather and late planting.


Heather (daughter) told us yesterday evening that Big Spring Mills is closing down in August and we’ve been using their seasoned flour and biscuit flour since I was a child, best in the world.  Heather wants to go there tomorrow and stock up on things we use.  She’s going to check out their website for store hours and items stocked.  She tried to find some at Walmart and Kroger today with no luck!!! The mill is closing due to supply of grain, no help and health issues.


The Mister and Heather are in the hayfield and the sun is bearing down. Mister asked me to slow way down on using water on my flowers because we need rain so bad and he’s worried about the well. He’s also worried about the cattle because the pasture is burning up and he has nowhere to move them.  Our garden is growing some and I don’t know how or why!!!

Last Thursday Eddie and I were exposed to Covid by a friend of ours that did not know he had it.  So far, we haven’t shown any symptoms and I tested myself on Sunday evening (negative). We are very careful about wearing masks, washing hands and staying at the farm the majority of the time. We’ve been vaccinated and boostered twice. CAREFUL is the name of the game!!

Yesterday my baby chicks started hatching and I’m not expecting but a couple to hatch since it’s so hot.  I set the broody mom with ten eggs and so far, this morning I have five and she is still setting on the eggs which usually means they’re still coming.  Friday is their due date!!  With the ten I raised from store=bought chicks, I’ll have at least 15 new babes for possible pullets.  Of course, half of the clutch hatching now will probably be roos. Final total, six hatched, three hens and three roos.

I’ve got some more trees from seeds started in the greenhouse and still have about 30 flowers that should be transplanted in the yard, but the ground is too hot and dry so they’re better off in the greenhouse.  I’ve also got about 20 tomatoes and a dozen romaine lettuce, but they’ll be set in much cooler weather.  I just hope they can last that long since it’s still July!!!

The trees are apple, peach, nectarine, chestnut, almond, cherry, and hazelnut. The fruit if they sprout and grow will be rootstock for grafting our favorite apples and possibly get different grafts from some of the area trees.

The eleven calves and one cow we sold brought over $11000 and we were shocked.  We didn’t expect big prices due to the weather and the market flooding at the moment due to the drought.  Our neighbors are having issues with pinkeye but God is watching out for our herd and no issues at the moment.


We’re getting showers today but very light.  Eddie tried to move hay after he got back from Pearisburg buying tires for the farm vehicles, but he got rained out and the last time he was soaked clean through.

I moved my broody hen and her chicks to the big coop by the grainery.  The little red barn wasn’t quite safe enough from snakes.  Mom was not very happy with me when I took her away without her chicks and almost flogged me when I brought the chicks to her as quick as I could.  They are six little darlings.

The little red barn/chicken coop will be moved and set up to a more secure area for next year’s chicks. It doesn’t have a floor in it which is what we want but we need to secure the bottom area from predators and rewire with stronger and smaller wire to guard against mice and snakes.

After that I pulled a bunch of flowers from the greenhouse and started planting and pulling spent flowers in the bell flower garden to be replaced with moonflowers and balloon flowers.  I also planted a dozen foxglove in the big yard flower bed. That flower bed now has a hydrangea, bellflower, balloon flower, foxglove and Shasta daisy, which is overgrown and will be dug up and moved to a larger area since it grows and reseeds so well.

I have about twenty more tomato plants in the greenhouse to transplant into the garden and eight herbs (basil, dill, rosemary, lemon balm, ruffled basil and thyme) into the hibiscus garden outside the yard. The hibiscus will be moved as well to three different locations since it reseeds so well. The farm will be blooming everywhere and that makes me very happy!!! The moonflowers at the gazebo are magnificent!

The corn in the garden in silking now and I put drops of mineral oil in the silks a couple days ago to keep the worms out of it.  We have two rows of Golden Bantam and two rows of silver queen and one row of popcorn (first we’ve ever planted).  The squash and cucumbers are starting to come in and we got one pink tomato yesterday, but it has a big rotten spot on one side.  The garden needs rain so bad. UPDATE: I will not waste my time with popcorn again!!! Also, silver queen corn is the best!!!

Eddie set two more trot lines for snapping turtles last night and we seem to have a couple rats back in the chicken house again.  He shot one last night but knows there’s more. UPDATE: I’m trying a natural remedy for the rat and mouse problem. Another farmer in a ranch out west mixes Jiffy cornmeal mix with equal amounts of baking soda and places in a plastic bowl in the feed rooms. According to him, mice and rats cannot fart, and the baking soda will make them swell up and die!!! Who knew???? At this point I’ll try anything and will let you know how it goes!!

Eddie and I went to Salem yesterday for my second shingles shot, so expensive, $200 for this shot and $197 for first one, two shots in the series, three months apart.  Now I’m safe from the dreaded shingles again.  While in Salem we went shopping for a replacement tire we need for the tetter, oil filter for the Coleman side by side and we also looked at water pumps for watering the garden from the pond.  We came home empty handed.

I checked out the shade cloth I want to get for next year for the greenhouse, front and back.  I think the one we bought last year will last one more year if we cover it with a big tarp again this coming winter.  I absolutely will not plant anything in it next year except for the plants we have to have for the garden, no extras and only replacement plants for the flower beds.  The perennials are starting to take over like I wanted them too and I know more now of what works here and what doesn’t.

I bought me some extra-large silicone muffin tins awhile back and got out my recipe for banana nut muffins.  The recipe filled one of the silicone pans (6) and one regular metal tin of six.  They turned out soooooooooooo  good!!!  Now I need to find an excellent apple muffin and blueberry muffin recipe.  We like muffins for breakfast and snack!! Recipes will be on my “Love to Cook” page at a later date.

Tonight I’m fixing a fresh vegetable and smoked sausage skillet, one of our favorite meals.  It’s been cooler today and a good time to fix something like this.


You won’t believe it!!!  We got over half inch of rain during the night and this morning and still showering.  I slept through it with all the fans going.  I’m so glad I got one whole row of the garden completely weeded last evening while it was cool. 

I got four canners of green beans in the cellar and have cooked two large pots for us and Heather.  New potatoes in them were awesome.

The last calves have been worked (not today) and we still have a wanderer at the neighbors farm.  We almost hate to bring him back home because it’s got pinkeye in both eyes and hasn’t been castrated. UPDATE: We did eventually have several of our cows and six calves with pinkeye this year even though they were vaccinated for it at two months of age. We had to put down one of the biggest heifer calves after getting it in both eyes and nothing we did helped!!!

The greenhouse is slowly emptying, and the yard got mowed after more rain.  I have some spraying to do outside and have started my “spring/fall cleaning.

I think this catches me up for July 2022 and now on to August and September!

Author: ritascountryways2022

I'm just a country girl living life my way on a farm with my husband and our critters. We've been married fifty years and been farming all of that time. We've moved from one family farm to one of our own and then to another family farm that has been in the family through at least six generations. In this day and age we could not have picked a better life!

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