A couple of weeks ago we noticed that the guy who owns the property that adjoins our farm was putting in fence posts. I remembered when he first bought the land he mentioned having horses, so we thought he might be putting up a horse paddock. When my husband got a chance to talk to him, he learned we were correct. The horses, Colby Jack (the large one) and Bernard (the miniature horse) moved in last Sunday.
Ranger was very curious and spent a lot of time either trying to welcome them to the neighborhood or get them to leave. ( I still am not fluent in Beagle.) All I hear is BaRooo BaRooo.
The horses don’t pay much attention to him, but at least they haven’t tried to squash him to shut him up.
After talking with their owner, and getting permission, my husband bought some horse treats and began visiting them each day and giving them carrot and apple treats.
Friday, when our grandkids visited, was the perfect time for me to go over and meet Colby Jack and Bernard and take some pictures.
As we approached both horses came to the fence. They were very friendly.
They seemed to enjoy the attention
and the treats.
Jackson and Addy enjoyed meeting them as well.
These two are a nice addition to our neeeighborhood.
Saturday was a productive day. We accomplished several projects at the farm.
We made great progress in the blueberry patch – a project that we had been working on for a few days. Our soil at the farm is mostly clay and despite working straw and other composted materials into it each year we have yet to turn it into an ideal garden loam. This year we decided to add some sand to the soil. A couple of weeks ago my husband had a truckload of masonry sand delivered.
We decided to use some of the sand in the blueberry patch for weed control. Two years ago we put black plastic down between the rows and bushes and while it was largely effective in keeping weeds down it tended to slide out of place or was easily moved by a hunting dog, (Ranger) who had picked up the scent of a mouse hiding under the plastic. (He is relentless.) Water also tended to pool on the plastic creating puddles that took a long time to dry up. After putting the plastic back in place we covered it with several inches of sand.
The blueberry patch project is not completely finished as we still need to put up the plastic fencing around it and the netting on top to protect our crop from hungry robins. We hopefully will get that done this week.
We put our first plants in the garden on Saturday.
My husband had identified an area that was dry enough to till the soil and that is where we decided to plant potatoes and cabbage – both cool weather crops.
He broke out the rototiller he bought a couple months ago. It is a Champion 19-inch, rear tine, tiller. After tilling up the patch where we would plant the potatoes and cabbage he reported that he is very pleased with the way this machine preforms. We spread a layer of sand on the patch. He then mixed it in as he tilled the area.
We planted six 17-foot rows of of potatoes.
and 12 cabbage plants.
I saved some of the cabbage plants to plant in the raised beds we are making. Since the ground is still very wet, and still having much rain in the forecast, I’m not sure how well things will do that are planted in the ground. You may remember last year we had many vegetables that were lost because the ground was just too wet. This year we will be making some raised beds and I hope to plant at least a portion of some crops in the raised beds that will be better able to drain excess water.
When the Hen’s Away
The chicks will play. The chicks still sleep in the nest boxes at night, while the older chickens sleep on the roosts. During the day while the older hens are out of the coop or using the nest boxes for laying their eggs, the chicks like to spend some time playing on the roosts. Perhaps they are practicing for when they too are old enough to sleep on the roosts at night.
From a distance to forsythias create a stunning array.
But standing in the midst of their intense brilliance is mesmerizing.
Our first dandelions have started to blossom so I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a pollinator conservation campaign that I recently learned about. It’s called No Mow May. According to Bee City USA “No Mow May is a conservation initiative first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but which is gaining traction across North America. The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. This is particularly important in urban areas where floral resources are often limited.” (Click link to learn more.)
Now I’m guessing that there are a whole range of responses to this – from people who would love any excuse to not have to mow the lawn for a whole month and those who will be happy not to spend the money on gas for the lawn mower, to those who would never consider not having the perfectly groomed lawn. Even if you are in the latter group the Bee City article is worth reading. It offers alternative ways to support pollinators such as planting flowering lawns (I love this idea), planting flowering trees and bushes or planting patches of native wildflowers. It also tells of a study done in Massachusetts that found that mowing every other week seemed to be as beneficial, if not more, than mowing every three weeks. That’s good news for those who, like me, think that letting the grass grow for a whole month is a bit too extreme – every other week’s not that bad.
Being a beekeeper, people often mention to me their concern about the decline of bees. However, they often don’t realize that honeybees are not the only pollinators that are in jeopardy. The difference is that honeybees are the pollinator that we humans attempt to manage. It’s not necessary to be a beekeeper to promote the wellbeing of pollinators. Simply creating a pollinator friendly environment will help.