If I were in my bed at sunrise, this row of cottonwoods would be my view. Today, like most days, I was not. I was releasing the chickens from captivity in their coop and checking their feed, then chasing Slate, who abused his off-leash privileges by running out the gateposts onto the road. It was 42°F this morning. We still haven’t had a frost although it could happen any day. This morning was the first time since early summer that I had to fish out a hat before doing the rest of my chores. Slate got cold and wanted back in. I did a couple email chores while I waited for it to warm up. It wasn’t, so I went out anyway.
I traded irrigation times with our neighbor so I could monitor the flow during daylight hours. So this morning I dug out the temporary dams in all the channels to each row of trees and set the metal gate that stops the water from flowing down the ditch so it will flood our land. The cats wanted out. They did not get to help feed the chickens. The chooks got a new treat today–whey in a bowl. Usually I give it to them by sopping it up in oatmeal. They are making a mess, so it goes back into something that will absorb it. The whey is from the last batch of mozzarella. Today I am draining fromage blanc I started last night. It will last for a couple weeks; if I don’t make bread with it, the chickens will get more whey.
I canned up pizza sauce from most of last week’s tomatoes. I will have more tomatoes to process this weekend, but today I just put labels on the jars and put them away for winter. I also tucked away a couple jars of blackberry applesauce that will be good for Thanksgiving dinner. Doing 6 or 9 cans every few days hasn’t felt overwhelming but now we have something like 8 dozen jars of goodies to enjoy until spring. I watered the fall greens in the garden–we’ll be having Swiss chard and kale this weekend too. Mango wanted back in. Slate wanted to go for a walk. He was disappointed yet again.
Our neighbor’s ranch hand came to see if I really took the water. When you grow alfalfa apparently you take all the water you can pour on the ground. Next I need to go out and make sure the water is flowing to all the trees. We should have four or five more rounds of irrigation water before the main canal is shut for the winter. The goal now is to charge the soil with water so it can protect the roots if it goes dry later on. We’ll probably be hand-watering come December.
Once the water is flowing ok, I’ll come back inside, put Slate down for a nap, tidy up the kitchen. Then it will be time to do some work. That’s a good morning at Stray Arrow.