25 May 2015

going Rogue

Its been dry here at Stratheden Farms. The last decent rain, half an inch, was a fortnight ago. In the interval, it has been warm and breezy, sucking moisture from both soil and plants. The subsoil moisture was enough to sustain life but today there are signs appearing on both trees and smaller plants that they are in need of water. The national Weather Service has forecast rain every week for the last three weeks, and only one has materialized, noted above. The forecast beginning tomorrow is for about five days of precipitation, which would be very pleasant.

Many farmers have used this dry spell to mow & bale their hay. We are hoping for this rainy spell to give one last boost to the plants before mowing. Like everything else in farming, its a gamble. This time last year produced a record hay yield from the farm but this year will likely be less than 75% of that amount. Below is a photo made today along Highway 8 between Floyd and Christiansburg with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

It was a red letter day for Mr. Fuzzy. The venerable 2004 Honda CRV has 200,000 miles on it now and some of the electronics have developed pesky problems. It has performed yeoman's work on the farm for six and a half years, towing trailers full of gravel, mulch, fencing supplies, towing the tractor out of the mud, etc.But its reliability on a long trip is now in doubt.

After much research, inspections, test drives and cogitation, a new Nissan Rogue was purchased today from New River Nissan in Christiansburg. The salesman, Stanley Foulkes, was nice to work with, a good person and extremely knowledgeable. Here he is about to hand over the "keys" (its a keyless car, that and many other high tech features are going to take some learning at Mr. Fuzzy's end). Very few automobiles met all my criteria, which included:
all wheel or four wheel drive
good sized cargo space
good ground clearance (4WD is pretty useless without it)
at least 30 mpg on the highway

Ye olde Honda will be have its category changed at the DMV office to "farm use only" which will cut the cost of keeping it to almost nothing. It was worth less than $4,000 to trade in and this seemed a more noble application. The CRV will still perform the hard work, including local hauling & towing tasks, thereby allowing the Rogue to remain pristine (with some luck).

Let's hope the Rogue gives such good service as the CRV. It should.

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