Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too hot to butcher

If it wasn't 108 outside, I'd butcher a few of these guys and gals... Mainly because...the young-ins have started laying! Whoo hoo! This week, I've gathered 4 pullet eggs. They are a little small, but they're layin'!

The older girls just have quit. Out of 15 hens, I've been getting 2-3 eggs a day. Well, I was until it got so dang blamed hot. They've given up almost completely on laying. But now, the young gals, who can tolerate the heat slightly better--or are too young and dumb to know that they can "shut her down" during the heat--are laying.

Which means that I'll soon need to cull the flock.

I was ready to cull last night...those "free" seven roosters who came with my 25 pullets this past spring are really making me mad. They're horny. They're aggressive. They pick on one poor rooster all the time. They're horny. They won't leave the hens alone, and, did I mention that they are horny?

I've had enough of their shenanigans and am willing to butcher, but it's just too hot.

The light birds are my 3 year old hens. The darker ones are the youngsters. That big guy in the middle is the King. He has 2 inch spurs and does try to keep those other young whipper-snappers in line, but he's just one guy and has decided that it's too hot to chase the boys around. Just call him "Rosco P. Coltrain." He's doin' his best, but the odds are against him! He's not getting culled cause he's the nicest Rooster I've ever had. He's begging me to do something about those delinquents...I will, I will...

Just not till it cools November.

Monday, July 25, 2011


It's been a record dry summer here in Southwest Kansas. In fact, it's dryer than it was in the depression. We're in what the weather experts call an "exceptional drought."

We've had less than 10 inches of rain in the past year and there's not much in sight. We've also been hammered with 30 days of 100 degree temperatures. And, again, no relief in sight. The grass crunches as you walk across it. Weeds aren't growing...neither is anything else.

This picture is of our grapes. They are green and loaded. They are also watered by a drip system. Hopefully, we'll get grapes, cause nothing else in the garden is doing well. This is our corn. By now, it should be 6 feet tall and full of ears of corn. Instead, it's 2 feet tall, some is 3 feet tall. It has ears of corn on it, but there aren't any kernels and it's burning up. And, we water daily. Kev has a drip system set up, but it's too hot and dry.

Look across those pastures--no green.

We've been watering the trees at our place, trying to keep them alive. All are young trees and we hate to lose any. But, in this photo, you can see how the buffalo grass greens up with a little bit of water. That that hasn't been watered is brown. You can track our sprinkler through the yard.

Kevin and Andy actually mowed last mowing. They only mowed the weeds that had been "watered." Mowing usually takes 1/2 a day. This time, it took an hour. Yep, it's dry.

So, if you are so inclined, please pray that it rains in SW Kansas. We really need it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In my freezer...

In the freezer, you will find packages that look like this... Or this...

And then there's this...

And sometimes you'll get a little love...

The freezer is just full of specially labeled meats that you'll never find in your grocer's freezer!

(I take credit only for the bacon wrapping. The rest were labeled by Miss this instance, the apple didn't fall far from the tree...)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harvey Lewis Woodruff

Below is the obituary of my Great Grandfather, Harvey Lewis Woodruff. I hope you can click on the image and read it. It's a pretty nice obit. Harvey led a pretty exciting life and I sure would enjoy visiting with him. I'd ask lots of questions about the things he did and the choices he made.

Harvey was born in Ohio to Henry Madison Woodruff and Adaline Law Woodruff. He was the oldest child of three. One of the stories Harvey shared with his children that's been passed down to the rest of us is that of seeing President Abraham Lincoln's body as it was returned to Illinois for burial. Since Harvey was only 9, his mother lifted him up so he could view the body. Harvey remembered one of the guards telling his mother to move along, as they had many who wanted to view the body. (My Dad can tell you exactly what the soldier said, because Harvey remembered it and quoted it for his children. I need to get that written down someday.)

Harvey's mother died a couple of years later. Her obituary is rather flowery and very "Victorian" in nature. But her death affected Harvey greatly. In fact, he saved a piece of her shroud, veil and lace that she was buried with. I have them all including the deed to her burial plot. Now, Harvey remembered that his mother died with a baby--I'm assuming a newborn. However, the obit doesn't mention a baby. All it says is that she died of consumption.

After the death of his Mother, Harvey's father migrated to Kansas arriving in 1868 and settling in LaCygne, KS. With the small family was a new mother. According to family legend, Harvey didn't appreciate his new mother, and ran away in 1870; going to Texas to live with his Mother's brother, Homer C. Law. Over the next 20 years, Harvey did a lot of living.

Harvey became a Cowboy, and drove cattle from Texas into Kansas and eventually up to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Supposedly, after one cattle drive to Wyoming, Harvey was traveling back south on a stage. The stage was also providing transportation for a black man, who was relegated to riding in the boot--the luggage area of the stagecoach. They happened to pass a group of Indians who had just killed a buffalo (or beef) and were butchering it near the road. Apparently, the women were cleaning out the intestines with their teeth. After viewing this, the black man said, "You white folks don't like us black folk, but you'll never see us do anything like that." At that point, the stage driver stopped the stage, kicked the black man off and drove off, leaving him behind.

Harvey was a gambler, gambling in Dodge City during it's rough and rowdy days. Apparently while gambling, he boarded with a local Mexican family who had a daughter named Juanita. Harvey liked the name so well that he eventually named his youngest daughter, Juanita. I've been told that Harvey stopped gambling because he felt guilty--taking away the Cowboys hard earned cash.

Being a gambler, he and his little brother, Homer, left for the Colorado mines. They mined for gold and silver both and failed. Well, that's not true...we still have a couple pieces of silver ore that he brought home. Fist sized rocks with little sparkles of silver in them--nothing to brag about, except they are pretty rocks! Harvey came back to Kansas, leaving Homer in Colorado.

Actually, Harvey didn't come to Kansas...he "homesteaded" a little "soon" in the Oklahoma panhandle before it was open to settlement. He was in Beaver County, Oklahoma in 1891 when he went back to LaCygne to marry. Even getting to the wedding was an event! Harvey had to cross the Cimarron River to catch the train in Englewood for the ride back to Eastern Kansas. Unfortunately, it had rained and the river was flooded. Not letting a little water hold him back, Harvey disrobed and carried his clothes over his head, and swam across the river, arriving in time to catch the train and get home in time for the wedding.
He and Mary, his bride, then came back to Oklahoma, moved back east to Illinois for a short time, and then came back to Meade County, Kansas where he finally stayed and raised his family. Harvey was 35 at the time of his marriage. While life settled down--somewhat, he still had his share of adventures.

For example, there was a fencing dispute between Harvey and some of his neighbors. Harvey would build fence, and the neighbors (who herded their cattle on the open range) would cut the wire. It got so bad, that Mary was afraid the neighbors would shoot and kill Harvey. However, she had gumption (she had to, look at who she married!) Mary stated that if the neighbors killed Harvey, they'd find her out there, building fence, carrying a pistol.

Harvey lived until 1937. He truly saw the development of the west and played a part in much of it...just an ordinary man living life to the fullest. Yes, I would very much like to sit on the porch with him, ask questions, and listen to his stories. He must have been quite a guy.

(In the photo above...back row, left to right, Horace Dale Woodruff (my Grandad), Hurley Henry Harvey, and Harry Eugene. Front row, left to right, Harvey Lewis, Juanita, and Mary Armstrong Woodruff.)

Monday, July 04, 2011

i'm so bad...

I have to apologize for not blogging for an entire month! That's bad. It's not that nothing has happened, I just haven't taken time to blog. So, for a quick update...

1. It's dry here in SW Kansas...we're at least 10 inches of rain below average, and it looks it. The pastures have never greened up. Grass crunches as you walk across it. Kevin has mowed twice all summer. Our garden just doesn't look good.

2. The garden doesn't look good partly because we've got a mole who ate my peanuts and half of everything else. The corn is 2 feet high, has tasseled, and has set on ears...I'm guessing it's the shortest corn on record. Pitiful... we didn't get to eat any lettuce or broccoli. Three beets came up. Three head of onions are there, but aren't doing anything. The potato's are looking good as are the tomatoes, but we haven't enjoyed any yet.

3. Miss Kat has her learners permit for driving. We're trying to get her all her hours in this summer so she can get her farm permit and drive herself to school and volleyball practice. Of course, she thinks that she is a much better driver than she is...and her "instructors", otherwise known as her parents, are just not that smart.

4. Andy moved home. It's interesting having him back home...he was here less than 24 hours when the fighting started.

5. Work has been going well, I've had every Friday off and have only managed to use 8 of my 22 vacation days (which had to be used by July 1.) Now that it is July...I have 34 vacations to use before next July 1.

6. Our camera died. (which might have something to do with the lack of blogging.)

7. I've done a little genealogy research on my Great Grandfather, Harvey Lewis Woodruff. Harvey did it all...he ran away from home at the age of 13 or 14, was a cowboy on the cattle trails, had a silver mine and tried mining for gold in Colorado. He gambled in Dodge City and then was a "Sooner" in the Oklahoma panhandle before finally settling down, getting married, and moving to the Farm. Sometime, hopefully soon, I'll post about Harvey. promise.

8. It's been hot, hot, hot here. We've had over 10 days of over-100-degree days in June! Hot and dry. In fact, it's so dry that fireworks have been banned. And it's so hot that no one wants to be outside after noon.

9. let's see...I've painted Andy's room, Miss Kat's old room (the pink and green one) and our new front door. There are now only two rooms in this house that need painting; the "office/bedroom, and Miss Kat's bathroom.)

10. I spent a day and a half tiling my brother Steve's bathroom. It's been an ongoing project for well over 2 years now. Steve is a great Cowboy, but he sucks and home improvement/handyman stuff. But, his bathroom is finally done. (If he gets the mop boards up and the trim back up around the door.)

11. I've started stitching 2 baby pictures for the newest additions to the family...Amelia and Caroline. Being twins, they will get the same picture, but to make them different, i scanned the pattern and flipped it, so they'll be the same...and yet unique.

12. We've been out to the farm a few times. We've cut more trees down, watered our blueberries (which are still alive, and green, but they aren't growing very fast.) and tried out a chipper. We're not keeping this chipper and will keep looking for one, but we had fun! Yesterday, we took Miss Kat the farm. While there, I found a young porcupine. Since Dad has requested that we shoot any we find, Kev obliged. (Porcupines will throw quills at horses and cattle. Cattle can't eat with quills in their noses, which is why Dad would like them "controlled.")

Looking at all this, it looks like I've been busy! I have, but I promise, I'll not be so delinquent next time. Heck, I just might buy myself a new camera and get some pictures taken for more posts...stay tuned!