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!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Spider Morning

Our days are still hot, but the mornings are a little cooler.

This morning we had fog, so I roamed around the farm and took pictures that hint at the season change. Spider webs. Flourishing loofah blooms. Cedar galls. Green sweet gum balls.

 


 

The open grass was scattered with little spider web pockets.
I visited my old chickens.
 Punkin was camera-shy, so I waited until she turned around.

On their fence is a passion flower vine.
 My zinnias continue to cheer up the world! I've picked so many.
 

 I finally cut most of my large sunflower heads and put them on the front porch to dry, out of the beaks of greedy birds. I grew these to feed my own birds, who have names and give me eggs.
 Tall, bright sunflowers in full bloom are beautiful, but there's something lovely about this dried flower head too, with its curling petals.
 Virginia Creeper is ... well ... creeping, right across our front porch.
 

 I've found one, and only one, ripe, luscious fig this year :(

Today Adam declared that he would back the Jaguar out of the garage and begin the task of putting it all back together.
He drove it part-way to the farm three years ago, so it's not an issue of its not running, so much as putting all its little parts back in all their right places. The front dash is removed, and one front seat, and the wires are everywhere. When he lifted the hood to inspect the engine, he discovered that others had been there before him.
Mice. They pulled in everything they might possibly need for a massive nest in this dark, protected space. Twigs, paper, chicken food (sigh). Well, when that engine revs up, they'll be glad their babies aren't in there trying to sleep!

Last question, friends: We hope to paint the shutters on our house sometime (like ... in the next year, haha). Here's their color now, kind of a bleached-out pale blue/gray.
With the bright red roof, they look all wrong. Should we paint them:
1) black
2) green
3) red to match the roof

Please advise!!