Category Archives: Gardening

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™‚

The Garden Is Planted and Other Farm Happenings

We got some light rain yesterday and there is more in the forecast for tomorrow. Boy is that a good thing. Our garden is planted but we haven’t had much rain so we’ve been watering plants to keep them alive.

On Saturday, May 15 my husband put the pump in the pond so we could begin filling the tanks that we use for irrigation.

It may or may not have been my turn to put the pump in the pond but here’s how that works each year.

My Husband: “It’s your turn to put the pump in the pond.”

Me: “Ok as soon as we have a couple of consecutive days of 80 degree F (26.6 C) weather for the water to warm up I’ll do it.”

My Husband: Puts the pump in the pond when temperatures are still in the 60’s or 70’s F.

OR some Years it goes like this

My Husband: “It’s your turn to put the pump in the pond.”

Me: No honey. Last year was my turn. I know you did it but it’s still your turn this year.

My Husband: Puts the pump in the pond.

I didn’t get any pictures of the planting or the garden as of yet but I’ll tell you what we have planted. Potatoes, onions and cabbage were plated first and are all doing well at this point. Tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, melon, cucumbers and basil were planted as seedlings or young plants. Beets, carrots, Swiss chard, green beans, three types of squash, dill, sweet corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, and broom corn were planted as seed. ** My husband brought home a package of okra seed yesterday and we are going to plant some. We have never grown okra before and I have only eaten it a few times but we decided to give it a try.

While it feels good to have the garden planted we realize the work has only just begun.

Now for other farm happenings:

Puppy Playground

This spring we doubled the area that we have fenced in the back field. It’s an area where we have apple trees, our blueberry patch and our strawberry patch. It is now known as the puppy playground. It’s over 52,000 square feet where Ranger can safely run off-leash and sniff ’til his heart’s content.

Prayer Garden

As always the prayer garden is a work in progress.

We decided this year to add mulch to dress it up and for weed control. I started by weeding then edging.

Then we began adding the mulch.

It’s nearly done and I hope to have it finished by this weekend.

Salvia and Thyme

Mean while we have watched the transition from mostly yellow blossoms to lots of purple and some pink blossoms.

Irises
Dianthus
Chives
Lilac

Chicken Coop Construction

We are in the process of building a new home for the chickens. It’s a slow process because it gets worked on in between other things that need to be done. I don’t have any photos yet but as we get further along I’ll share some of the process. Hopefully by the end of June our chickens will be in their new home.

Bees

Our bees arrived as scheduled on May 13. It was a lovely day for hiving bees and my husband had the two new hives set up before noon.

My husband and I agree – it’s nice to have bees on the farm again.

Mowing

It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time mowing grass this spring. According to the mower it’s been over 18 hours. The task has been made easier by this new mower we purchased last month.

Outdoor Dรฉcor

When the local greenhouses opened in the beginning of May we stopped by a new one just down the road to purchase flowers for our hanging baskets and porch pots. Their prices were a little higher than the one we usually shop at but we wanted to support this new local business.

They did have a nice selection.

Thanks to my husband’s diligence in taking them inside on the frosty nights and making sure they have enough water each day they are all thriving.

The one above has a volunteer sunflower growing in it. Not sure how it got there but I see it as a gift.

Play Time

It’s not been all work though.

We’ve been blessed to have a couple visits from the grandkids (and their parents).

And we’re looking forward to many more of these.

Thanks for visiting. Do you have a garden planted?

It’s Still Winter but…

We have had very spring-like weather this week – so much so that I did some work in the garden. As far a I can remember this is the earliest in the year that I have worked in the garden.

Thyme

After pruning last year’s dead foliage off some of the plants and raking dead leaves from their winter resting place I discover that the thyme is growing green leaves

Oregano

as is the oregano

Sage

and the sage.

It’s not only the herbs that are coming back to life. I also spotted dandelions, winter cress and some other UIP’s (unidentified invasive plants) which means that before long the weeding will commence.

In addition to my work in the prayer garden my husband fluffed up the straw mulch in the garlic bed in order to assist the shoots that are beginning to emerge from the ground. We also raked out the straw that was blanketing the strawberry bed and discovered bright green leaves forming on the strawberry plants.

The chickens have been loving this weather. They spend most of their days out scratching and pecking finding bugs and grubs and bits of green vegetation. They did however think that seeing me or walking towards their coop was their cue to fall in line.

Others came running to greet me.

I didn’t have any treats or table scraps for them but they were satisfied when I scattered some scratch on the ground for them.

I then went on to gather eggs – a full dozen that day. ๐Ÿ™‚

We have come a long way since December when we were getting one egg every three or four days. In November our flock went through a late season molt. I didn’t take any pictures of the molting hens because they looked so pitiful with their half naked bodies and new feathers poking though their skin that I felt sorry for them. Molting takes so much energy from the hens that they stop laying during that time. It was some time in early January when egg production gradually began to pick up again.

In December, for first time in 5 or 6 years, I ran out of eggs. Thankfully in the spring of 2020 my sister and her husband started their own flock and by fall their hens were laying well. Chickens don’t molt their first year so they did not experience the egg drought like we did.

It was strange a strange feeling, and we had a good laugh, the day I called my sister and asked “do you have eggs?” The tables had turned. For many years she had been calling me every couple weeks and asking “do you have eggs?” I couldn’t have been happier when she replied “how many do you want.” ๐Ÿ™‚

It is time to consider adding to our flock so that our egg supply will continue through this upcoming winter. Perhaps rather than buy chicks we will allow a hen or two to brood some chicks. I’ll let you know what we decide.

Have you been experiencing spring weather?

Woo Hoo The Garlic Is Planted

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I last wrote about having the garlic planted. This is something that I blog about each year, mainly so I have a record of when we planted, how much we planted and how the weather was.

If you are curious about how we plant garlic you can check out this post from 2016.

Relying on the 7 day weather forecast it’s always a gamble, but I must say that our plan came together quite nicely this year. It was Wednesday, a week prior to planting, that I looked at the forecast and noted that we had a nice weekend coming up and temperatures were suppose to remain good through the following Wednesday, October, 14. Monday night was supposed to bring rain followed by dry days Tuesday and Wednesday.

It would have been prudent to plan our garlic planting for the weekend, as my husband suggested, but I really wanted to have the kids over for a picnic since I didn’t know when we would have the chance to do that again. We decided to roll the dice and wait to plant until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday were prep days. On Monday My husband tilled up the ground where we were going to plant and I began splitting the seed bulbs into cloves. We had rain, as predicted, on Monday night, but Tuesday was warm and mostly sunny giving the ground a chance to dry up some. I finished splitting up the bulbs on Tuesday.

It was shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday when we made our way to the farm to begin planting our 2021 garlic crop and it was right around 5:30 when I said “WOO HOO! the garlic is planted,” followed by a short prayer “Lord please bless our efforts.”

In that 3 1/2 hours we planted nearly 1100 garlic cloves. The soil was moist and loose making for ease of planting, but having to continually chase chickens out of the area, so they didn’t dig up the planted garlic, slowed us down some. We also lost some time when I had to take the boys home after Ranger decided to run though a patch that we already had planted. After all the garlic was in the ground we enclosed the patch with a temporary plastic fence that will deter chickens and dogs and deer that may be wandering in the area.

Today I am even more grateful that we planted the garlic on Wednesday since we had rain again on Wednesday night and on and off on Thursday. Friday and Saturday were dry but the rain started again last night, continues on and off today, and is in the forecast for each day in the 7 day forecast.

It may seem odd but I have begun to think of garlic planting as the beginning of our growing season – almost like the New Year – something to be celebrated. Perhaps next year we’ll have champagne and fireworks. LOL.

For anyone who may be considering growing garlic next year, in northern parts of the world now is the time for planting. Garlic takes about nine months to grow and we try to plant about 6 weeks before the ground freezes. This gives the garlic time for it to establish roots. Ideally the garlic will not sprout green leaves before the freeze comes, but in past years when we have had this happen the garlic did not seem to be damaged by the leaves freezing.

Thanks for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

Garden Meals – Eating Well

Despite not following some of the gardening strategies that I had mentioned earlier this year, like planting by the moon and companion planting, our gardens have produced abundant crops. For the last several weeks we have been blessed to be enjoying meals prepared with fresh home grown vegetables. We are thankful to be eating well.

Some of the meals we’ve enjoyed include:

Yesterday’s DinnerBeef Stew (with home grown potatoes, swiss chard, celery, tomatoes and garlic)

Thursday’s Dinner Pepper Steak over White Rice (with home grown bell peppers, tomato and garlic)

Wednesday’s Dinner T-bone Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Acorn Squash and Sautรฉed Swiss Chard. (with home grown potatoes, garlic, squash, and Swiss chard)

Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed Cabbage

Spaghetti – with home made/ home grown sauce

Corn on the Cob

Green Beans with Garlic Butter

Swiss Chard

Cucumber Salad

Tomato Sandwich

Banana Pepper Poppers

All this, my friends, is why we do what we do.

The Banana Pepper Poppers are one of our favorite side dishes. They are easy to make so I decided to share the recipe. (Please note that I am one of those cooks who does “a little of this and a little of that” so the amounts do not need to be exact. Feel free to put the word “about” in front of each ingredient listed.)

Banana Pepper Popper Recipe

6 – 3 to 4 inch banana peppers

4 ounces cream cheese softened

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

three strips of bacon cooked and cut into bits

a few shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)

bread crumbs (optional)

Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem and seeds. Place in baking dish. Mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, bacon bits and crushed red pepper. Fill each pepper half with cheese mixture. Sprinkle each pepper with bread crumbs (optional). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes (until peppers have softened). Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator they are even good eaten cold.

Are you eating any in season vegetables?

Do you have a favorite seasonal recipe you would like to share?