Category Archives: Flowers

Time Is Flying

It’s hard to believe April is almost over already. This post contains some of the things that have happened in the past two weeks.

Chicks

After a week at the farm my husband decided it was time for the chicks to learn what farm life is all about. He opened up just one side of their pen so they could roam and learn to forage. It is amazing how they instinctually know how to find bugs and worms and grubs. Some breeds are said to be better at foraging than others. It’s a trait that we look for when choosing what breed(s) of chickens to raise.

It didn’t take long for them to spread out and begin scratching and pecking. They didn’t wander too far from their pen, or the coop and they mostly stayed close together or split into two smaller group.

They also learned quickly (within one day) how to find their way back into the coop which makes closing up the coop at night very easy.

They have been very entertaining to watch (Chicken TV). It’s always funny to see when one finds a big grub or worm and the rest of the flock begin chasing it to try to steal it away. At night they all huddle together in one or two of the nest boxes. It’s a tight fit but they seem to like it that way.

This year there was also a new star in the show. It was quite comical watching Ranger trying to wrangle those young chicks. I’m not sure what he was trying to do with them, and I don’t think he knew either. He would follow them trying to keep them all together as if herding them (he never tried to hurt them). If they went into the coop through the small chicken door, he would follow them in and as they exited through the big door, he was right behind them. If one or more of the chicks went under the coop, where he could not go, (it sits about 6 inches above the ground) we would hear BaROOOO. Again, I’m not sure of his intention. Was he trying to tell us that a chick was where it shouldn’t be or was he telling the chick to come out of there? I’ve not yet become fluent in beagle. LOL!

Bee Day

Our bees came last Saturday. This year we decided to try raising Carniolan bees, a breed we have not raised before. I didn’t go with my husband to pick up the bees or to the farm to hive them, so some of these pictures are from a couple years ago. We ordered three 3# packages like the ones in the picture below.

Most of the bees that you see in these clusters are worker bees and a few are drones. In the middle of the cluster is a small separate cage like the one in the photo below. Inside the cage is the queen bee and a couple of attendant worker bees whose job it is to feed and care for the queen.

Once the bees are in the hive my husband uses a nail to put a hole in the queen candy. That is the white stuff that you see in the end of the queen cage. He then places the queen cage in the hive. Over the next few days some worker bees will eat a hole in the queen candy that is big enough for the queen to get out of the cage. The reason for leaving the queen in the cage is that the bees will stay where the queen is and there is less chance that the colony will abscond from the hive.

This year rather than feed sugar water my husband had some frames of honey that he had saved from last year’s hives. Each new hive was started out with a couple of frames full of honey for food.

It was Wednesday before the weather warmed up enough for the bees to come out of the hive.

These pictures (above and below) were taken on Thursday.

Today, Friday, my husband opened the hives to be sure the queens were out of their cages. In two of the hives the queen was out, and all was well. In the third hive the queen was still in the cage and many of the workers were still trying to free her. She was alive so he opened the queen cage and released her into the hive.

First Flowers

We began seeing our first blossoms this week.

These mini daffodils are always the first to open.

Some of the larger daffodils have begun to open as well.

The chives are not blossoming yet, but I could begin harvesting them any time.

These primroses have begun to blossom – I do hope the chickens leave them alone.

I spotted this crocus in bloom. Last year we had more crocuses, but this is the only one I have seen so far.

The forsythias are taking their time but one bush has a few flowers that opened this week.

Tie Dye

One of the things I have have been doing is sorting through my clothes and getting rid of some that, for various reasons, I no longer wear. I came across a pair of white denim capris that I haven’t worn in sometime because they had some stains on them. They still fit and were in good condition, so I decided to tie dye them make them new again.

I’m quite happy with the way they turned out. Quite stylish.

Thanks for visiting.

Do you find that time is flying by?

Spring Has Sprung

According to the calendar spring officially arrived today and the weather today was very spring-like. So, what’s a girl to do to celebrate the arrival of her favorite season? For this girl the answer is get her hands in the dirt.

Here in Michigan the ground is still partially frozen and the part that is not frozen is mud, so getting into the garden is out of the question. However, several weeks ago I planted some Johhny Jump Up seeds in small peat pots. (Johnny Jump Ups are also known as wild pansy.) My husband has been nurturing the little seedlings – making sure they have enough water and light.

Today I decided to transplant some of them into pots.

We’re hopeful that they are hardy enough to survive the cool/cold (early)spring temperatures, but I didn’t plant them all so if we lose some, I can replace them.

I also set out our bulb pots. These are some pots that I had planted daffodils and tulips in last year. When the foliage died back and the soil dried up we stored the pots, with the soil and bulbs still in them, in the barn for the winter. When my husband brought them out of the barn last week some of the bulbs were already beginning to sprout.

I set the pots in place beside the deck and will let nature takes it course.

I can’t wait to see spring flowers.๐ŸŒท

Have you seen any spring flowers?

Have you or will you be planting any flowers?

Flowers, Pollinators, Fungus and Breakfast With the Chickens

Flowers and Pollinators

The hibiscus bushes are blossoming.

There are three bushes in a row. The two on the ends have the deep red blossoms. The one is the middle has light pink/white blossoms.

This year we have an interesting phenomenon. One of the end bushes has both the red blossoms and the pink blossoms. This has never happened before.

The only explanation I can come up with is that these bushes drop seeds every year and small plants sprout each summer. I end up pulling them so I don’t know how long it would take for one to mature. Perhaps a seed from the pink bush grew up amongst the red bush and has become mature enough to produce flowers. So this is actually two bushes that have commingled.

Many of the plants are suffering from too much rain. The oregano leaves are turning yellow and orange. I have been tempted to cut them way down.

But the bees are enjoying the flowers

as are the butterflies, so I will leave them until they are done blossoming.

Dragonflies are not really pollinators but I do love having them around, especially since they eat things like gnats and MOSQUITOS. (Bring on the dragonflies!!!) This one was resting on an Agastache Kudos Mandarin plant, AKA Hummingbird Mint, that we planted this year.

The honey bees were foraging in the anise hyssop.

This patch of wild flowers attracts a lot of pollinators.

Look closely – how many bees do you see on the Mountain Mint in this photo? I see at least 3.

How about this one? (two?)

Honey bees aren’t the only pollinators enjoying these plants. The blue mud dauber wasps like them as well. This is the first year I have seen this type of wasp.

Honey bees like the cone flowers,

and I even spotted some foraging the purple loosestrife. That is something that we haven’t seen in the past.

It took a while but this beauty finally posed for a picture on a marshmallow plant.

Telling it to “hold still” did absolutely no good so I just had to be patient. I think this butterfly is called a Red Spotted Purple.

Fungus

When I did my mushroom post I had forgot about these puff ball mushrooms that grow every year on the hill where we someday hope to build a root cellar. They are well hidden beneath other weeds that grow up around them so we usually don’t even know they are there until late fall or winter when all the foliage dies. By that time they are just large dust balls.

When I first noticed these, a week or so ago, they were bright white. I didn’t have my camera with me at that time and as you can see they have since turned various shades of brown.

Each of these fungi is between 12 and 20 inches across.

Breakfast With the Chickens

Sunday morning I went to open up the chicken coop. When I do this my routine is to first fill their water dish. I then spread some chicken scratch on the ground in piles around the chicken yard, then I fill their feed dish before I open the coop to let them out. I do this because I know that the first thing they want to do when they come out is eat (except the rooster but we won’t talk about what he wants). If I were to let them out first I would likely have the whole flock following me to the feed can, then I would be tripping over them as I tried to the scatter scratch.

As I was filling their feed dish I noticed a deer approaching the chicken yard. She noticed me as well and we stopped for a minute and stared at each other. I then finished what I was doing while she moseyed over to the pile of chicken scratch that was about twenty feet from the coop and began eating. I opened up the coop and the chickens scattered around the area some of them joining her.

I decided to get my camera to see if I could get a picture of this breakfast club. It was still pretty dark in the chicken yard as it is in a grove of large hickory trees so i wasn’t sure how the picture would turn out.

It wasn’t until I got home and viewed the photo on my computer that I realized

that I had experienced an alien encounter. (Where’s Will Smith when you need him???)

Even when she got out in the light her eyes glowed.

Meanwhile the chickens went on their way,

cluelessly searching for worms or grasshoppers and enjoying their worry-free life.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great week!

It’s Time to Stop and Smell the Roses

If there is any time of year to literally stop and smell the roses it’s now while the wild roses are blossoming.

Wild roses, unlike their domestic counterparts, give off a lovely fragrance that will even at times drift in he breeze.

Technology, at least to my knowledge, does not allow me to share the that fragrance with you through my blog.

So the best I can do is share some photos.

Our domestic roses, which really don’t have a fragrance, are doing well this year also. This small bush (above) is one of 4 bushes my husband rescued from the nursery/landscape company he worked for two years ago. Had he not brought them home they would have faced certain death.

This larger rose bush (above) has struggled over the years. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughters several years ago. It first produced yellow blossoms. After being severely damaged by weather and critters I pruned it way down. It then began producing red flowers. Apparently the yellow rose had been grafted on a red rose bush and it was only the original red rose that survived. This year it is producing more flowers than ever before.

Next to that is a low growing rose bush that I have had to keep pruned because it wants to spread everywhere. I don’t know the name of this type of rose but it is very hardy. It too is loaded with red buds and blossoms.

Low growing mini rose bush (above).

My peony began to blossom last week. I think it was the most beautiful peony I have ever seen.

It may have been the stark contrast of the bold pink flowers set against all of the purples and greens that made it look so beautiful, or it may have been that I planted this peony in 2019 in memory of my Aunt Shirley who passed away that year and this was the first time it has blossomed since it was planted.

It has brought back many fond memories of her.

I had read that deer normally won’t eat peonies so I felt that it was safe to leave it uncaged. I guess the deer in our neighborhood are not normal.

Those bright pink globe-like flowers were apparently irresistible to them. There are still two small buds that have yet to open so the peony will remain caged until it is done blossoming.

While the irises are finished blossoming the thyme and salvia are both in full bloom and attracting the bees and other pollinators. The lavender is getting ready to open. I expect by this time next week it will be in full bloom.

We added some creeping phlox along the new rock boarder. We chose three different shades of pink . They have already begun to spread so hopefully by next spring they will have filled in much of that area.

Not everything gets planted in the prayer garden though. I planted four chamomile plants amongst some wild flowers and they seem quite happy.

While their flowers look similar to chamomile these are wild daisies that have made their home amongst my marshmallow plants this year.

Last but least I’d like to introduce you to Mari the pig. I’m not exactly sure how Mari came to live on our farm. My husband picked her up somewhere in his travels and she fits in quite well at the farm.

I can, however, tell you how Mari got her name. Several weeks ago when I went to plant our porch pots I discovered a plant had started growing in one of the pots. It looked like a petunia so I figured a petunia from last year had dropped a seed there and it sprouted. Since I needed to work that soil in order to put in the plants that I had bought I decided to plant the petunia in the pig planter. I then named the pig Petunia.

Over the weeks we have been watering the petunia and watching it grow while waiting for it to begin to blossom. Last week while looking at it I told my husband that it was looking more like calendula, also know as pot marigold, than a petunia. A few days ago when I took the above photo I noticed that a calendula bud was beginning to form on the plant. I told my husband that I was renaming the pig Mari(gold).

Thanks for visiting and remember to make it a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚

Asparagus, Daffodils and More

It’s an early spring here in Michigan. This week my husband noticed asparagus shoots popping up. I didn’t get any photos of it but I wanted to give a heads up to anyone living in our area who grows asparagus or hunts wild asparagus to watch for it. As I looked back over previous posts I noticed that in the past few years our asparagus has started coming around the last week of April or the first week in May so it’s two to three weeks early this year. I didn’t want anyone to miss out.

I did, however, get lots of photos of daffodils and some others things that are blossoming.

There is so much to love about daffodils.

They are a reliable, low maintenance, perennial.

They will grow in full sun

or wooded, wet, shady areas.

An early bloomer, they come in a variety of shades that say “Welcome to Spring”.

They also vary in size.

They continue to multiply each year so eventually they may need to be thinned by digging some up. The best time to dig the bulbs is in the fall. They can then be transplanted or given to friends.

They grow in harmony with other plants so keeping the area weed free is not really necessary.

We didn’t wait until fall to transplant these. Instead we dug them with a good size root ball (keeping the soil surrounding the roots/bulbs intact). We then dug a hole large enough for the entire root ball, placed the plant in the soil and filled in around it. You can see they brought some of their companions (mayapples) along with them.

Last but not least they top the list of being deer and rabbit resistant.

It’s kind of hidden amongst other plants but my primrose has more blossoms this year than it has since I first planted it. I am so happy with it that yesterday I picked up two more of these plants (one with purple blossoms and one with yellow) to keep this one company. (I should not be trusted in a store that sells garden plants. LOL!)

The forsythia have been in full boom for over a week now. It seems they are much earlier than last year because when I looked back through my photos my album from April 20, 2020 has photos of them beginning to blossom.

They create an impressive array as the backdrop for the pond. From a distance neighbors and passers-by enjoy the blast of color amidst the greens and browns that monopolize the landscape this time of year.

But walking along the berm surrounded by these brilliant yellow blossoms is an experience to behold. It felt like a natural high with my husband using the term uplifting to describe it while I found it breathtaking.

The cherry tree next to our deck began blossoming the week and while it’s delightful to see it is way too early. With snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast for next week we can expect a less than optimal cherry crop this year. I’m not ready to write it off completely though. I will hold out hope for a least one homemade cherry pie or crisp. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for visiting. What’s blooming in your area?