Friday, February 8, 2019

Turning the Garden

We've had a spate of nice warm days. Adam is challenging his winter muscles to regain some summer strength. He's turning beds.
 The onion bed/strawberry bed was first.
 But the bed that needed reworking is one of our trellised bed. It was lined with some old tiles that didn't give an adequate barrier against encroaching weeds. Since getting a new roof, we have lots of old metal roofing that Adam can use to line the beds.
 Now that's a liner! This bed had tomatoes last year, but will have peas this spring.
 I put peas in the first section between the two wooden posts. In 2 weeks I'll put the next section of peas in.
The dogs like to help Adam. They give moral support.
 He also put the greenhouse together for me!

 I started some onion seeds, and I put onion sets into the ground in that bed.
 These seed packets were only 88 cents each. I sprinkled them into the front beds near the road. I want a splash of color this spring!
 I love the color variety from my hens these days.
 But the yolk color is always just like this:



My first daffodil of the year!
What a happy sight!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

One Warm Day!

Yesterday (Jan. 23): 63 degrees outside, not much wind and a bit of sunshine!
The sun peeked over the clouds in mid-morning.
I'm eager to be outside, eager to put my fingers in some soil! I hauled two loads of dark compost in the wheelbarrow up to my newer herb bed, spreading it out to nourish that soil.

The next project I've been eager to do is clean out two little tire planters on either side of our driveway. I planted annuals in them last spring/summer, but they were full of weeds. I also noticed some random daffodils bulbs peeking up in the yard where they ought not be. After cleaning out the tire planters I rescued the bulbs and put them in there.

 The two planters, ready for spring!
Daffodils are also well up around the big fig tree.
 The fig tree looks awful because we've gradually been pruning it back hard. At last all the branches are reachable.
Daffies are up!
 The new branches of the fig tree are loaded with buds.
What was Adam doing all this time, while I labored in the yard. Aside from filling the wheelbarrow tire with air, he was diagnosing my dying washing machine.
It still ran, but agitation was very slow, and it would not spin the water out of the clothes well at all. He took it all apart and discovered a bad clutch. (Who knew? My washer was a manual shift?) He's ordered the part and soon I'll have a happier laundry situation.

I spent some time studying the vegetable garden, planning locations for the crops this spring. Here's a rough diagram, based on rotating plants away from where they were last year:
Monday is Adam's date for getting started in the garden, weeding out the beds and prepping them for spring. I need to get onion sets in the ground soon. I already have my seeds for peas and early greens. And this spring we'll be eating our asparagus for the first time! I can't wait.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January Farm

Our little farm is about as snoozy as we are in wintertime. The greenest place is definitely the front porch, which Adam enclosed in plastic again this year.
 I have three leggy tomato plants. Today I noticed two little tomatoes!
 I dug herbs from my beds and plunked them into pots in late fall. Now I have: dill, cilantro, basil.
 My young hens are laying through the winter. All are part silkie (I think?), but only the youngest one, who started laying just a few weeks ago, gives me a true olive-colored egg. See?
 I have six hens and a rooster I don't like, but he does his job. Well, he does half of his job. He protects his ladies. Not sure how effective he is in the romantic side of his job though!
 Today is barely warm, so farm doggies are outside. Trixie:
 Ned:
Our strawberry transplants are surviving on the front porch too.
I was asking Adam today when I'll likely be able to start working in the greenhouse, as I love doing in the late winter/early spring. He'll cover the greenhouse next week. I should be able to start fiddling in there in mid-February, I hope.

Lastly: gourds. They are curing well on the front porch.
See all that lovely mold? These are the largest ones. I've been practicing on smaller ones that dried first. Here's a summarizing video of what I've done with gourds thus far:
By the time I get to the largest gourds I should have my style perfected, haha! Thanks so much for stopping by to check on our sleepy little farmette, where not much happens and we're mighty peaceful about it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

December Farm

Hello, farm friends. Not much happening on the farm these days. December is such a perfect, quiet time in the South. Today was on the warm side -- 72 degrees for a high. It was lovely being outside. Adam is hauling beautiful composted soil to put on my herb beds, fortifying them for the year to come.

He also raked and hauled piles of decayed pine straw for the shade beds beside the house.
Later he'll cover that with fresh pine straw too, and that bed will be tidy for winter too.

I went hunting for plantain.

The warm weather and the hurricane caused many plants to have a resurgence this fall. I picked plantain, dandelion, and yarrow.

 This was early, and they were wet with dew. I dried them on towels.
plantain (left and top), yarrow (center bottom), dandelion (right)

 A blogging friend who is most kind and generous peaked my interest in making tinctures, a natural progression from all the other things I enjoy making. Tinctures are liquors (usually) infused with herbs for weeks and taken in small doses for many ailments. Here, my morning herbs are beginning their close relationship with a quart of vodka. Plantain and dandelion are good for the gut, and yarrow helps prevent cold and flu.
 My friend sent me some tincture herbs, which I used last week to make a tincture of passion flower, kava kava, and skullcap. It's good for anxiety. I turn them each day.
I strolled the farm, the garden. I realized that if you have land, you always have food, if you know where to look. We have greens in abundance on the farm, although they look like weeds. Sorrel, for instance, is a fine edible plant. I chewed on a pretty plantain leaf today to sooth a toothache.
volunteer sorrel in the garden

 All the herbs in my bed could be eaten in a salad. It's a comfort to know that we're not really dependent on WalMart for our sustenance.
I've only seen thoroughly black wooly bears this year, and our squirrels are stealing every available pecan and stripping the pine cones down to their spines. They must be stocking up for a cold winter. Today, it feels so mild. I should've pulled my Christmas decorations from the garage ... I really should've, rather than waiting for a freezing cold day. But I haven't decorated yet. It's a pensive time of year for me still, that autumnal pensiveness, rather than the December feeling of festivity. None of the children are coming here for Christmas this year, and I'm finding it hard to decorate. Well, that ... and the fact that all the stuff is in the garage. I need two Christmas boxes instead of ten, and I need to keep them handy :)
Lady Grey, a silkie
 The hens say hello!
Brownie, Penny, Sylvie, Sheena, and Arthur's tail feathers.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Post-Florence Farm

Our farm fared pretty well through Hurricane Florence. We had no flooding in the house at all, but still, a hurricane levels your garden and blows all the pecans from the trees. 
Only one cedar tree fell during the hurricane.
We had tentative plans for a fall/winter garden of greens and such, but no longer. Adam still has potatoes in the ground, but otherwise our garden is asleep for the winter. He stripped down the greenhouse before the storm. My gourds are drying nicely, and I'm harvesting loofahs now.

Our HVAC system was wrecked by the flooding, and Adam pulled it all out - the unit and all the duct work. Like everyone else, now we wait until a crew comes and removes it from the side of the road. 

where the old central unit sat, at ground level
We were thankful to have a window AC unit! However,  two days ago it also bit the dust -- just when the weather turned cool!

 This was a nice unit, $350, made by Electrolux. It had already paid for itself with lower electric bills this summer.
In order to get a replacement unit from the company, among other things Adam had to cut the power cord and send them a photo of it:
We bought it in April, and the company is sending us a new one. However, the big central unit must be replaced by another comparable system (for the mortgage company, and for selling of the house whenever that might happen), so Adam will be installing a multi-split system, a very quiet, energy-efficient system that's becoming more popular and doesn't place any duct work under the house. That will happen when the insurance check arrives. It looks like this:
Image result for multi-split air conditioner
They're placed higher on the wall and can be zoned in the house.

All the chickens survived the hurricane too, and egg production is just fine!

 The large black hens are my "teenagers," only 24 weeks, and not quite laying yet.
Below is my mama silkie and her "baby," who is now about 12 weeks old.
I noticed some panels missing from our soffit above the front porch. The pieces had blown into the yard and Adam put them back ... carefully.
I've been cooped up in the house all summer because I absolutely loathe working outdoors in the heat. But this morning I felt the cool air and asked myself, "Why can't you go outside and work now?" So I did. I cleaned out parts of the barn, organizing my gardening/potting stuff on some shelves that I moved from the greenhouse. 
It's not the most clean or impressive barn on the planet, but it's better than it was ... a little. Maybe that'll be my autumn project: to tidy up the barn one bit at a time. It's pretty frightful out there!

Thanks for stopping by. Not much happening on the farm right now, so I appreciate your visit!