June Farm Update

I think I have been putting off this post because I like my posts to be positive and uplifting, but when I looked at the radar this morning and saw the storm headed our way I wanted to cry. My feelings only became more intense as I saw the dark clouds roll in and the heavy rain poured down on us. I did manage to hold back my tears, after all the last thing we need right now is more water – ANYWHERE.

Not everything that is happening is negative, but our spring weather has not been favorable for agriculture in Michigan. Temperatures in April and May stayed cool and the rains came like continual ocean waves. While we are thankful that we have not experienced the dangerous flooding and tornados that have devastated other parts of the country, the weather conditions we have experienced could certainly cause hardships and effects can be far reaching. Commercial farmers are suffering because the fields are simply too wet. It has been impossible to even get into the fields and it is getting quite late in the season for corn to be planted.

All that corn that might not be grown this year is normally used in food production, as animal feed and to make ethanol. Consumers of any of these products can expect to pay higher prices as shortages occur.

Though we are not commercial farmers we are struggling as well. It was April 23 when I posted that the first asparagus shoots were poking up through the ground. I was really looking forward to picking and eating our fresh asparagus. After I posted that the cool temperatures and rains continued and it was at least 10 days before we picked those few spears. It was equally as long before I began seeing any other shoots appear. Eventually more of the plants began putting up a few shoots and I was able to pick enough to have with our dinner one night. The asparagus was still slow to produce and with only about 20% of our approximately 100 plants producing at all so we decided not to harvest anymore this year with hopes of saving any plants that have survived.

Like the commercial farmers our fields are too wet to plant. It is frustrating that we have no idea when we will be able to plant our vegetable garden for this year.

Now let me take you on a little farm tour and show you some of the things we observed earlier this week.

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Like everything else the garlic field is too wet to work in. The garlic has come up but it is struggling and being taken over by weeds. We will need several dry and warm days in a row for it to dry out enough that we can work in there.

IMG_5053The dandelions that began to blossom just a few days after we set up our 5 new bee hives

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have nearly all gone to seed.

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The grape vines are loaded with tiny bunches of grapes. Last year we did not have any grapes so this gives us hope.

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The apple trees blossomed IMG_5101and the bees and other pollinators worked their magic.

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There are now tiny apples on all of the apple trees.

With the dandelions and apple blossoms gone I was curious what the bees were foraging now.

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I discovered some on the Autumn Olives. (The bee moving caused the picture to blur.)Although these shrubs seem are said to be an invasive species, they do have their usefulness.

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They also have a lovely fragrance.

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Honey bees aren’t the only ones hard at work. This bumble bee was working over a daisy-like flower.

IMG_5144The clover is beginning to blossom, and while I was looking for bees in the clover I noticed these two damsel flies (look just to the upper right of the clover blossom). I think they were too busy to notice me.

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Though the clover is just beginning to blossom I was happy to see that the honey bees are finding it.

The blueberries have blossomed

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and the baby bunnies have left their nest.

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This little one was actually number 5. ☺

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The blueberry bushes are now in the process of making berries.

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The strawberry patch is lush and green and full of blossoms.

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While the honey bees usually don’t pollinate our strawberries many other insects do. I am not sure if this is a butterfly or moth but I thought it was quite interesting.

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The strawberries are starting to form, but at the same time some of the plants are beginning to wilt, apparently from being too wet. It is too soon to know how this crop turn out.

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The chives are in full bloom and while I didn’t see honey bees there while I had camera in hand, I had seen them there the day before.

The beautiful daffodil flowers that ushered in spring have faded away,

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but the Irises are now in full bloom. Have you ever smelled an Iris? They have a wonderful, somewhat spicy, fragrance.

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The thyme (in the foreground) and the salvia (in the background) are just beginning to blossom. These are both favorites of honey bees.

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I think it’s time to harvest some oregano.

While my husband and I were standing near the pond we noticed a bird fly out of the cattails. My husband said “don’t tell me,”

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“there is. ” When I asked what he was talking about he pointed out the nest built amongst the cattails. It is well hidden. Can you spot it (just left of center) in this photo.?

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The bird didn’t go far. She sat in the hickory tree and kept an eye on us. We are not sure what type of bird this is so if you have any idea feel free to leave it in the comments below.

Peaceful – It’s the word most commonly used to describe our farm. It’s the feeling I was seeking this morning.

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I found it in the following words.

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If you are wondering what we are doing since we can’t work in the gardens –

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I assure you we are keeping busy.

Thanks for reading. How is the weather in your part of the world?

39 thoughts on “June Farm Update

  1. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Somehow, even though I know concern about the rain must be part of your life, you managed to share joy and peace with me. Keep your feet dry.

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  2. I’m so sorry the weather has been so awful this year 😦 It seems like everywhere it’s been just sooo wild & concerning…from tornados to the crazy rain… I am nervous about the fire situation this year over here with the intense heat. For most bad weather is an annoyance (if not too dangerous), but for others it is a livelihood and impacts so much hard work, praying things get better soon! I loved seeing your plants!! That oregano smells amazing I’m sure! Beautiful scripture too, Ruth ❤ Hope you are having a nice start to the week!

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    1. Thank you Mackenzie. I am not sure how many realize that when weather has an effect on the farmers it has an effect on everyone. If there are shortages we will all pay the price at the grocery store.
      In the last few year we have seen many reports of the devastating fires out west. I can’t imagine having whole communities wiped out by fire. I pray this year is better. This week is off to a good start though the weather man said earlier that we should just write Thursday off – guess it gonna rain all day.

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  3. I love your farm, so beautiful. That bunny is so cute. We are watering our little city garden more because the heat is so intense here in the summer. We don’t have a garden for long in the summer so whatever we can get from it we are happy. Right now we are getting cherry tomatoes that taste so sweet. Our grapes are also coming in. My lemon tree did not make it this year, maybe the freeze hurt it earlier in the year. I worry about what is happening with the floods and farms in our country. I don’t see it on the news that much but you are right about prices going up. We are already preparing for that and buying extra bags of beans, rice and flour to store. Have a beautiful Sunday at that farm…just stunning. Thanks for sharing that with us all.

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    1. Thanks for visiting. I am glad you enjoyed our farm. Normally by this time of year we have our pump in the pond and the windmill is working to pump water out so we can water gardens. The weather this year has just been really crazy. I don’t know how much it is being reported or how many people realize how far reaching the effects could be. Stocking up is a great idea. The good news is we did get a little planting done this weekend and my husband did see some farmers planting fields today.

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  4. I hope your weather is straightening out. I totally understand the dismal feeling. My husband was finally able to get in the fields this week. There are spots that are too wet and will not be planted as water is standing in the ruts where he got stuck with the tractor.
    It has been challenging but I take hope that God is in control and that is a comfort. We have been having an awful gnat infestation. I am still trying to find something to control that.
    I am also still waiting to put the rest of my vegetable garden in. Take heart!!! it will dry up eventually.

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    1. I’m glad to hear your husband was able to get some planting done. The mosquitoes have gotten really bad here with it being so wet. Last year we had problems with something that I think were probably gnats. They were horrible, I was constantly itching my head. I think the only thing that helped keep them away was a hat or mosquito repellant which I really hate using.
      I hope you get you veggies in soon.

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      1. There are a few places that will not be planted as the water is standing the rows….but it could be worse. We do not have the mosquitoes yet but we do have that nasty little gnats. They really bite also.
        I am hoping the veggies are in by tomorrow night.

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  5. You sure provided us a lot of details which help us to understand your plight better – I hope the weather dramatically improves for you and the other farmers soon Ruth. I also hope the wet Springs are not going to be an annual event – I pity the poor farmer trying to raise crops around this erratic weather. If there is any good news, it is that there are three days of sunshine in store and no rain until late Sunday night. Hope everything will dry out in that three day’s time. You two have been very industrious and the baby bunny no. 5 just melted my heart!

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    1. Thanks Linda. When the famers can’t produce food everyone suffers. Three days of warmth and sunshine will help but we really could use more. We didn’t even realize there was a number 5 until all the others scampered off. This little cutie didn’t mind being picked up and posing for pictures. ☺

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      1. I wish you and the other farmers luck Ruth. I heard on the news today that possibly the Polar Vortex has damaged a lot of Michigan’s peach trees and not just a matter of them not producing fruit, but they may not survive … apparently the bark was damaged from the extreme cold. I’ve not seen any baby bunnies or adults in the Park or neighborhood lately and I worry about them and the hawks that are gliding overhead.

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      2. Thanks Linda. Losing mature peach trees would be a tragedy. It would take years to replace them.
        Hawks are a real threat. A few weeks ago we arrived at the farm one day and all the chickens seemed to be hiding. The older ones started coming out but we had to search for the young ones. We found all of the young ones except the small one we called big bird (there was just a pile of white feathers). We are certain it was a hawk the got him.

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      3. Oh Ruth – I can’t like this comment at all. How awful! That cute little baby you featured in a post is now gone and you suspect it is a hawk? I’m so sorry to hear that. I worried after I saw the Cooper’s Hawk go after the one squirrel last Summer (Stubby) right after I gave him peanuts and made him a “sitting duck” on the pathway near the pavilion area.
        And then I kept seeing the hawks circling overhead for weeks. Then I learned they didn’t just live in the Park, but in the neighborhoods and were teaching their young how to hunt birds and squirrels. People were remarking on it in the City crime forum. I am sorry you had to see that outcome. I saw the hawks circling in my neighborhood as well and my neighbor told me he “watched a hawk take out a squirrel” (his words, not mine) and that made me feel just sick to my stomach.

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      4. It was too sad to write a post about. We have accepted the fact that if we want to have free range chickens sometimes we are going to lose some to predators. It seems cruel but it is how nature works.

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      5. Yes, you are right – I could not have written about it either. I have following a woman named Sarah for a while. She lives in Dryden, Michigan. She followed me and used to comment, but it’s been awhile. She moved there with her husband and in her About post I learned a little about their business. However, what I just went searching for was about her turkey, Gladys. Sarah had been posting stories about their place and business and their muscovy ducks. Then within a few weeks time, all the ducklings they had went missing. They did not know if they simply escaped or a predator got them. But one thing Sarah wrote about was her beloved turkey Gladys. She had pictures of Gladys in her posts and a picture of the two of them on her home page. Then one day there was this post and after that she only posts quotations every day.
        https://functionalrustic.com/2018/09/devastated/

        I felt very badly about it. This is from her About page and their business: https://functionalrustic.com/about/

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      6. It is heartbreaking. Two years ago a coyote got into our chicken yard and killed half our flock. It was just senseless killing not like it ate any – just viciously killed them. Thankfully we have not had this problem again.

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      7. Oh that’s terrible Ruth – I worried when we had the coyotes in the neighborhood and down at the Park last Fall. The coyotes in Oakland County often are going after small dogs. I’m glad the coyote is staying in the wild now and not venturing near your farm.

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  6. It’s been clear blue skies here for forever. It finally rained yesterday. We might get some storms for the next couple of days, but nothing major.

    The grapes are said to be sour if the season is rainy.

    Thank you for taking us on that fantastic tour. That combined with the Bible passage instills peace in me.

    I hope your sky clears soon enough, too, and the plants go on having a great summer.

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    1. We have had years where we have nothing but clear skies and are praying for rain. In fact in the last few years that has been the case. Normally this time of year we are spending time watering gardens everyday.

      I don’t mind sour grapes since I make them into juice. If they are too sour I will sweeten it with a little honey.

      I am glad you enjoyed the tour and the scripture – it is easy to forget that ultimately He is in control.

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  7. Beautiful post… I live right by the river in rural Belgium. We had a Canada geese nest within sight recently. There have been many storms here lately, including one last night. But – touch wood – the birds and the rest of nature are surviving and the flowers are blooming.
    I send hope for good weather for you…

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  8. Hi Ruth. Do you work the hive yourselves? Like go in to get the honey? Is it dangerous? Have you gotten stung a lot? I am terrified of bees, so couldn’t have any hives anywhere near me! I am glad the farm is doing well! All those plants and fruit and veg! Awesome!

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    1. Hi Carol Anne. Yes, mostly my husband is now working the hives. It is potentially dangerous – the bees must be treated with respect and it is important to use precautions such as protective clothing and smoking the hive to settle the bees. I have gotten stung a few times but my husband has been stung much more than I have. Bee keeping is not for everyone.
      The fruits are certainly doing better then the vegetables but hopefully we will get some veggies planted soon.
      Thanks for visiting.

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out. Watching everything return to life after it’s winter nap is what I love most about spring. I realize that rain gives life – this is just a case of too much of a good thing. Thanks for the sunshine. ♥

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  9. The farmers in central Illinois are in some real trouble this year because of all the rain. Normally they would have most of their crops in by now, but this year they’re only about a third of the way done, and some of those fields may need to be replanted because of flooding. We’re praying for some drier weather real soon!

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    1. Normally the crops here are planted before Memorial Day and often we see plants emerging by that time. It is discouraging not to be able to plant but must be even more so to have all that hard work washed away and have to replant. We are praying with you.♥

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  10. Thanks for the tour! It’s been a long time since I have seen or smelled apple blossoms. We have had bad weather too just across the border from you…..the farmers are way behind and worried. I managed to get my veggies planted in my small garden plot yesterday finally, and have already had a few salads from the lettuce I planted early May. Even if the days are warmer, we don’t seem to get much sun, and had two torrential downpours again today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting Joni. I’m glad to hear you got some veggies planted. I hope they were not damaged by the heavy rains. We had those storms come through as well.
      I have some lettuce and peas growing in planter boxes on our deck and have just put green bean seeds in a couple as well. The lettuce leaves are small but we have been picking them to put on sandwiches. We also have a few tomato and pepper plants in pots. At least we are doing something.

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