Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Ent Hall - A Magical Willow Room

Today, while we all messed about with a burn pile in the pasture and watched the dogs play,  Adam started a long-desired project: growing a willow dome room. Here are a few photos from the internet to give you an idea:

Image result for willow dome room

From the inside, looking out:
Image result for willow dome room

Thankfully, we have an old swamp willow tree on our property, and from it we've propagated about twenty young willow trees (plus one lovely weeping willow tree grown from a slip a friend gave us). 
The "mother" willow looks pathetic because
she was hacked of many limbs today.

This is her stump, which fell over years ago.

Our stand of little willow trees

Our one pretty weeping willow tree
In addition, we live in a place damp enough that, if you stick a willow slip in the ground, it will grow into a tree.

Today's work looks like this:

But within a month these sticks will have leafed out, and in a year they will have grown at least 6 feet. We will trim any branched growing the wrong ways, and begin to weave the branches together into the dome. I want seating inside, and maybe candles of some sort, or lanterns.

But in the end, this willow dome is for one purpose: for grandchildren to play in. So we must get a start now!

Friday, November 15, 2019

All Quiet on the Farm

I've not posted anything here for months. It was a difficult year on the farm. We suffered under severe drought conditions during the late spring and well into August. Weather like that will kill off a garden quickly, and we could not afford to water the entire garden. However, we continue to learn about both ourselves and our little farm. Here are a few take-aways from this year:

1. The vegetable garden must be redone to allow Adam to mow it with the riding mower. Weeds take over when paths between the raised beds only allow a push mower. Adam will remove one or two of our long raised beds in the spring.

2. We have too many raised beds in the garden, and we continue to attempt vegetables that don't grow well here. We'll focus on crops that thrive here: okra, sweet potatoes, peas, asparagus, strawberries (we hope).

3. I'm moving all my tomato plants out of the veggie garden next summer. They'll be in large pots in the house lot. I'll only plant Matt's Wild Cherry tomato plants. My tomatoes in the garden got progressively more diseased year to year, and they take up so much space.

4. I will never, ever try lavender again. I gave it my absolute best try, and it all died ... again.

5. Elderberry bushes, however, do quite well! I want more of them.

6. My gourds did well. My herb beds continue to flourish. The willow saplings are doing well too.

Now for some photos of what's been going on.

Henny Penny hatched four chicks in late summer. They're now ten weeks old. I think I have two hens and two roos.

I continue to weave occasionally.
 Adam installed a new water filter in the kitchen.
 I continue to paint many watercolor cards and sell them. Here's a roo.
 Adam vastly improved the chicken run with a supporting pole for the netting and new mulch underfoot.
 He built himself a desk in the house too, for all his writing/editing/podcast/youtube work.
 We had enough figs to make my mother a few jars of preserves in August.
 We had wonderful okra! I planted it late, so it produced after the drought had mostly passed. It did well when nothing else did.
 I continued to knit for autumn.
 Adam and I sold my wares at the farmer's market each week.
 We survived Hurricane Dorian. The north side of our house was splattered with shredded leaves.
 I painted the walls and floor of the guest room.
 Adam pulled out the entire termite-eaten floor in the little building.
 And he put in a new floor after treating/killing all the termites.
 And I painted it.
 Our trees and shrubs are so very confused after two hurricanes in two years. The crabapple tree is now used to blooming in October.
 Molting season has arrived in the chicken coop. Poor Sheena looks awful!
 I picked a few herbs before frost, hoping to make sachets with them.

This is the extent of our sweet potato harvest! So very sad. Adam worked hard, and dug out a very long bed. That's what a drought will do to you.
 I'm saving dried okra pods for next years planting.
 Drying herb leaves in jars. Tarragon flowers also.

 And one last woven scarf.
We are keeping busy, but farming/gardening has been a disappointment this year. We're hoping for better rains in 2020, and healthier crops. It's raining right now! Praise the Lord!