Last winter my husband bought this fake owl in hopes that it would deter starlings from seeking shelter in our chicken coop. It did not work. The starlings were persistent, and he thought the owl was a waste of money.
Two days ago, when I mentioned that the robins were stealing our cherries, he brought the owl home and staged it near the cherry tree. I’m happy to report the owl is now paying off.
Our one cherry tree is not at the farm but grows right next to our deck at the house. It is loaded with ripening cherries.
It’s been a couple of years since we have had a good cherry crop. Last year the blossoming tree faced several nights of freezing temperatures, then it fell prey to the gypsy moth caterpillars. Our crop was nil.
Our late warm up this year seems to be beneficial for this crop.
I suspect I will be making cherry pie next week. 🙂
I want to take a minute to introduce you to our newest family member. Ruby is a lab/shepherd mix, about a year old.
We had been thinking and talking about getting another dog for quite a while, but a couple of things had to happen before we did. First, we decided we would wait until after my vacation to visit my sister. It would not have been fair to my husband or the dog to get a new dog and then have me leave for a few days. Second, on June 2 we were scheduled to have new windows installed in our home. This required a lot of preparation on our part, taking down shutters, moving furniture, curtains, blinds, etc… There just wasn’t a lot of time to spend with a new dog.
Even though we continue to be busy with the farm and spring cleaning at the house, this week seemed to be the right time to find Ranger a new friend. I had been watching the website of our local animal shelter for a while and knew they had a lot of animals in need of loving homes. As we backed out of the driveway to head for the shelter on Tuesday afternoon my husband asked, “are we doing the right thing?”
“Let’s pray about it” I replied, and we did. “Lord please help us find the perfect (for us) dog.”
Ruby was one of three dogs we met when we visited the shelter on Tuesday afternoon.
God answered our prayer.
When we brought her home, she immediately began responding to her new name (at the shelter they were calling her Chipotle). Our first order of business was giving her a shower and as I did she stood very nicely while I washed her and then she gave me kisses. She has been well behaved both in the house and at the farm.
She is trying very hard to get Ranger to love her. At this point he is tolerant and slowly warming up to her but there is a bit of jealousy on both sides as they are both vying for my, or my husbands, attention.
It is apparent that in her past life someone spent a good deal of time training her as she has only had one accident in the house at night. She knows and responds to many basic commands among them are “come, sit, stay, leave it, this way and release.” She loves to play ball and tug-of-war. She loves to cuddle and will climb on my lap when I sit in my recliner. She loves to go for rides. She loves to go for walks and spend time at farm.
She still has a few things to learn, like not to chase chickens; not to greet people by putting her front paws on their chest; and although she knows she doesn’t get to sleep in bed with us she still needs to be reminded.
Overall, I’d say Ruby is a real gem. 🙂
Addendum: I’ve been writing this post little by little each day this week and each day it seems there is more to love. Yesterday, Saturday, Ranger and Ruby had their first real play session. They ran around and chased each other and barked at each other and tails were wagging the whole time. It was great to see the kids dogs getting along so well.
Yesterday when my husband was doing some work with the bees, he called and asked me to share this message for him on my blog.
“The Carniolan honey bees (which are the breed we are raising this year) are the nicest bees.” In the past we have raised other breeds of bees and have found varying degrees of aggressiveness when working in the hives. He has not experienced any aggressiveness while working with these. According to this site their temperament is only one of the favorable traits of the Carniolan bees, but for us much of that remains to be seen. At this point we are pleased with our decision to keep this breed and if they survive though winter we will be thrilled.
As we turn the corner toward summer I’m going to back up into May and share some of the things that I didn’t get a chance to blog about as they were happening.
Sunday, May 8th was the perfect day for the Mother’s Day picnic we had planned at the farm. Before going to the farm, I took a short walk in our back yard to see if the trilliums were coming up in the woods. My mom loved trilliums and each year on Mother’s Day I look for the trilliums because they are normally in bloom. This year they were not.
All of our spring blossoms are running about two weeks later than normal this year due to cool and wet weather conditions. Our cherry tree was full of blossoms the week of May 8th and buzzing with pollinators. Last year on April 21st I blogged that our cherry tree was blossoming, and we were worried about freezing temperatures that were in the forecast.
My two youngest daughters came out for the picnic. They brought me this t-shirt from all four of my girls.
Love you girls! 💞
RAISED GARDEN BEDS
I had mentioned in a previous post that we decided to plant some of our garden in raised beds this year. With prices skyrocketing, buying lumber to use as garden beds was not an option.
We decided to use something that we had on hand and were not using for anything else -barrels.
My husband cut the barrels into various sizes.
The portions that had a bottom in them he also drilled weep holes to allow for drainage.
We put paper bags on the ground before placing the barrel pieces in place. This will keep weeds from growing up around the garden beds. After we placed the beds in place we added a layer of pea gravel to help with drainage. We then added our soil mixture which included some topsoil and sand.
The tomatoes were planted deep in the barrel to help protect them from the elements.
They continue to grow upward, reaching toward the sun.
Marigolds are said to help protect against various pests so we planted some with tomatoes and peppers.
We also planted green bean, beet and carrot seeds – they have begun to sprout. Some of the beds are awaiting the arrival of our new strawberry plants.
OTHER GARDEN NEWS
The cabbage that we had planted in the ground, earlier in May, is looking good,
as are the potatoes.
This past weekend my husband finished planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. He has also planted sweet corn, a patch of buckwheat and a patch of alfalfa.
The garlic is up and looking good.
My husband finished up the blueberry patch. It is now robin-proof (we hope). Bring on the berries!
The apple trees blossomed and are now making fruit.
I don’t remember what day it was when my husband put the pump in the pond (sometime in the first half of the month). I do remember that, in my opinion, the water was not warm enough to be in.
I think my husband agreed.
One hose connects from the windmill to the pump. It pumps air into the pump when the windmill turns. Water comes out another hose that is connected to the pump. We run that hose into a tank like the one in the picture below.
These tanks are raised above ground level and a garden hose is connected to a spigot near the bottom of the tank. When we open the spigot gravity feeds the water though the garden hose, so we are able to water our plants.
We are not the only ones who have busy. The hives are all very active. After my husband removed the feeders and added new boxes, he said this is the nicest breed of bees he has ever worked with.
When I left for my vacation the forsythia were still blossoming.
When I returned the lilacs were blossoming.
Their beautiful fragrance carried in the wind.
(I didn’t get a picture of them, but the trilliums were also blossoming at that time.)
My husband discovered these mushrooms growing near the prayer garden. While they look much like a morel, we are not mushroom savvy enough to try them. We decided just to let them be.
Lastly, I wanted to share this message. It’s what my sisters call tea bag wisdom. Some brands of herbal teas print inspirational messages on the tags that are attached to the tea bag. I received this message on my tea bag about a week ago.