It has been nearly two months since I have made an entry on the Timber Butte Homestead blog site but it hasn’t been for lack of things to write about.   This has been such an eventful summer that I found it difficult to put aside the time to document it.   In June our son Brook was married to our new daughter in law Andrea and as I previously reported we hosted a sit down dinner in the barn for some sixty people after a major barn clean up and painting party. What a blessing that was.

During the first weeks of July I took two weeks off from my normal work schedule to put up our year’s supply of hay. A job I could have never accomplished without the help of friends and family who not only helped keep the mower and bailer running, but bucked hay from the field to the barns.

Nancy worked endless hours weeding, watering, harvesting and fighting to organically repel wave after wave of new grasshoppers. Even with the grasshopper battle our garden has been as beautiful as any we have ever grown. The root crops of potatoes and onions were especially amazing. With the help of my friend Rand Thompson I added a top rail to the ten foot deer proof garden fence which not only improved its looks, but made it a lot more functional.

We finally got around to planting a lawn which not only made things look more established but gave us a better fire barrier around the house.  We also completed the first phase of our new vineyard as well, which required another learning curve. (More on what we have learned about grapes later.)

One of the great joys of the summer has been to host several pairs of swallows that discovered our homestead as a place to nest and raise their young. They decided that the barn, hay shed and house were a good place to construct their mud nests and in some of them they raised two different hatches. This has been a delight to watch but also a feeling of responsibility protecting their babies during their solo flights from Max and Pat the cats.

Nancy acquired sixteen new Bard Rock chickens from our friends, Tim and Tempe, and commissioned me to help her build another chicken house and run which out classed the duck run we had built in early June.  She is talking about eventually putting bird runs clear around the garden as part of her war strategy against the grasshoppers.

One thing that occupied us the most all summer was our battle to save our horse Dusty. With the help of our friends Paul and Sheila Hudson we had trailered him to a vet in southern Idaho in hopes of a solution to a chronic foot injury we have been fighting for some ten years. We spent most of the summer doctoring him only to lose the battle for his life last week.  He was buried on a knob above the ranch which brought sorrow to everyone who had known him.  He was a wonderful and amazing animal who gave us great joy for some sixteen years.  Craig our neighbor has been fighting a similar battle with a chronic infection that has kept him bedridden for almost a year.   Many of the neighbors have jumped in to help him get in his hay and keep his ranch operating. He has been a wonderful friend and farming mentor to us and we continually pray for his healing.

All in all it has been a productive summer, even a rich one, but surely not one of ease.  We have fought a grasshopper war, mourned the death of an animal that we all loved, been on an extreme learning curve on many fronts and worked most evenings until dark.  Nancy’s and my vision for all the Lord wants to do here has never faded however and because of it we have pressed through and have never lost our hearts of thankfulness and of the deep feeling of being blessed.