Category Archives: spring

Colors of Spring

Each year the first color we see in the spring is yellow.

Then as spring progresses and the yellow flowers fade away we see a lot of purple.

When we landscaped the berm that boarders our pond we planted forsythia bushes alternated with lilacs. Once the forsythia is finished blossoming the lilacs begin. On a breezy day the lilac fragrance fills the air.

The lush green of the trees evokes a feeling of peace and harmony.

The daffodils that ushered in spring have been replaced by Iris’s, chive blossoms and salvia.

The dandelion blossoms turned to puff balls that were scattered by the wind. They have been replaced by white clover that will offer the bees a bountiful food source throughout the summer.

These are but a few of the delightful changes I have observed in the past week.

Thanks for visiting. 🙂

Do you have a favorite spring flower?

Our Little Piece Of Earth

Several blogs that I have seen this morning have reminded me that it is Earth Day. In fact it is the 50th year that this day has been celebrated. It is really just a coincidence that I have prepared a post with lots of pictures of our little piece of this earth but I invite you to have a look around.

IMG_6405 (2)

Even though we lost all of our bees over the winter we still have two hives that have some honey in them. On the days that are warm and sunny they are being visited by what we assume are wild honey bees. Since there is little available for them to forage this early in the year these bees are eating the honey that remains in the hives. It is good to know there are still honey bees in the area.

IMG_6407 (2)

Daffodils are blossoming and the bushes in the background are forsythia just beginning to bud out. We have never had the forsythia blossom so fully. Last year we decided not to prune them but to wait until after they are done blossoming this spring. It seems to have worked.

Yellow is a happy color. 🙂

IMG_6410 (2)

It shouldn’t be long before the forsythia is fully blossomed. I think it will be a stunning backdrop for the pond.

IMG_6408 (2)

These small daffodils and white hyacinths were planted 5 years ago in memory of my husband’s mother. My husband had bought them for her to brighten up her room when she was in the hospital. After she passed away we brought them home and planted them in the prayer garden. They are the first daffodils to blossom every year.

IMG_6430

The garlic is doing well. I love seeing them come up in neat, orderly rows.

IMG_6409 - Copy

These small red shoots are a peony bush the I planted last year in memory of my Aunt Shirley. I am so happy to see it coming up.

IMG_6423 (2)

I spotted the first dandelions to open. They were growing in the middle of my oregano patch so I will likely dig them out. Personally I love to see dandelions in bloom they just don’t belong in my oregano patch.

IMG_6422

Above are cosmos and below are primrose. Both were added to the prayer garden last year. They were given to my husband by a lady whose home he was working at while he was working the landscaping job.

IMG_6418 (2)

The cosmos continued to flower all last summer and were not touched by the deer, but the top growth on the primrose died off after being transplanted. They then formed new leaves but did not flower. I guess I will find out this year if they are deer candy or not.

 

IMG_6432

A cardinal was visiting the chicken yard. This is not unusual. Many birds (and rabbits, and squirrels and even deer) visit that area since there is always food available.

 

IMG_6441

Blue berry bushes are beginning to bud out as are apple trees (below).

IMG_6435We witnessed something we have never seen before on Sunday. Honey bees were foraging in the daffodils.

IMG_6452

We have had daffodils growing since before we began keeping bees and if you have been following my blog for very long you know that I always watch to see where the bees are and what plants they are foraging.

 

IMG_6447

This is the first time in eight years that we have seen the honey bees collecting daffodil pollen. Since I am not skilled enough as a photographer to get a picture of the pollen attached to their bodies you will just have to take my word that they were collecting pollen to take back to their hive.

As I was working at the farm on Monday I noticed this egret land near the pond. He or she quickly swooped up a tasty treat. I’m not sure if it was a frog or a fish.

IMG_6458

It then continued to make it’s way around the edge of the pond.

IMG_6461

 

IMG_6466

 

 

IMG_6467

It was about 45 minutes later that I saw it fly away so I can only assume it left with a full belly.

Not everything that is happing at the farm is as passive as this appears.

On Sunday I decided it was time to start preparing the ground around the apple trees for the companion plants I am going to put in.

IMG_6456

Since my husband was working in a different area, we put Ranger on a tie near where I was working. When he saw me digging in the dirt he decided to come and help. I have to admit that he was much more efficient digging with his paws than I was with a trowel. Unfortunately after digging for a short bit he sniffed the area and realized there were no mice hiding in that ground, so he was done.

I finished removing the grass and top layer of soil around the base of the tree – only six more to go. I will then be planting chives which are said to ward off insects and prevent apple scab and nasturtiums which are also reported to repel insects. We won’t know until summer if these methods are working but lets all hope that I’ll be posting pictures of beautiful apples later this year.

Now this post is getting long and we’re heading out to work in the asparagus patch (it should be coming up soon) so I’ll save the information about the work we are doing there for another post.

Thanks for visiting and until next time be well.

How are you celebrating earth day?

 

Blessings At The Farm

In spite of the state of the world right now we continue to count our blessings each day.

Inside The Hoop House

Saturday April 4, 2020 – around 2:00 P.M.

IMG_6381

The outside temperature was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C) while the temperature inside rose to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C). The sun had been  shining earlier but the clouds had covered the sky. Rain showers were on their way.

IMG_6378

The seed trays on the left are cabbage seeds that my husband planted this past week and the boxes on the right are lettuce, spinach, beets and swiss chard. I expect to see all of them sprouting soon.

IMG_6379

My husband bought me two flats of pansies from his former employer and I happily potted them. He knows how to make me happy. 🙂

IMG_6380

I find pansies to be such a cheery flowers.

Sunday Afternoon 

Snapshots of the farm.

IMG_6389 (2)

We discovered another crocus

IMG_6390 (2)

and another. 🙂

IMG_6383

Lilac buds

IMG_6382

and Forsythia wanting to flower.

IMG_6388 (2)

A lovely spring day.

IMG_6384 (2)

Just a bit too soon for swimming.  LOL!

How have you been blessed today?

What are you grateful for?

Time Marches On

Wow! It’s hard for me to believe that March is over already. I have to tell you that despite the chaos that is going on around the world in many ways things here haven’t changed.

Let me show you.

Spring has sprung –

IMG_6286 (2)

– things are greening up as they always do.

IMG_6303 (3)

Trees are beginning to bud.

 

IMG_6335

Chives, daffodils and Irises are awakening from their winter nap.

 

IMG_6334

There is no longer ice on the pond. But there is mud everywhere.

IMG_6308

Strawberry leaves are turning green, as are thyme, oregano and some others that I do not have photos of.

IMG_6307 (2)

The garlic is sprouting. 🙂

IMG_6325

 

Our gardening season has begun. The first seeds we started currently reside in our dinning room along with some of our house plants. My husband set up extra lighting for them.

IMG_6361 (2)

Here we have nasturtiums, calendula, and marigolds. Since only a few marigolds sprouted I replanted them two days ago. All of these will be used as companion plants within our garden to keep various pests away. Since this is the first time we will be doing this I plan to report the results in future posts.

IMG_6345

Last week my husband spent countless hours building our hoop house. “It’s not pretty” he said but as long as it’s functional we agree we can live with it. He worked until dark on Friday to get it put together before the rain arrived on Saturday and the wind on Sunday. If it could pass the weekend weather test we would be ready to start using it this week.

With a few adjustments it did withstand the heavy rains and 40-60 mph winds we had over the weekend. As I write this he is preparing to plant lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and cabbage.

IMG_6314

On Thursday, when he was still in the building process, he had some help. Peanut (the cat) who hasn’t been around much this winter stopped by for a visit. He and Ranger spent some time getting acquainted.

IMG_6305 (2)

This chickens are very happy this time of year. They enjoy a diet of bugs, grubs and fresh greens.

IMG_6337

The farm had been drying up a bit but the rain that came Saturday caused puddling and ponding all over again.

IMG_6332

That is a typical spring in Michigan.

IMG_6342

Perhaps it was also the rain that brought this crayfish out. When we crossed paths in our back field on Sunday he had no objections to me taking his picture.

While our world has changed so drastically in just the last few weeks I find peace in looking at the ways that it has not changed.

What things in your life have not changed?

Will you be planting a garden this year?

 

 

 

Frogs on the Farm

“Frogs on the Farm” was originally written and published on March 30, 2017, a time when I had very few readers. I have decided to share it again today because for various reasons I haven’t got my usual “Spring is Springing” post ready. Be assured that spring is here: the birds have returned from their winter homes, the trees are beginning to bud, the daffodils, iris’s, lily’s and even the garlic are emerging from underground and the frogs are singing. More on that soon. 🙂

Original Post published March 30, 2017

Last week on one of our sap cooking days, in addition to helping keep the fire going, I took on the secondary chore of raking the leaves out of the pond. As I came up with one rake full of leaves and shook them into the pile just beyond the beach, this frog hopped out of the leaves.

IMG_2362

I felt kind of guilty about awakening him or her, because I was yet to see or hear any frogs this spring. It did however spend a good deal of time sunning itself on the beach. It wasn’t until one of the chickens came running up behind it that it took a three foot leap back into the safety of the pond.

It was two days later that we heard the frogs for the first time this year. I remember my mom telling me, that her mom had told her, that after you hear frogs for the first time in the spring you will have three more freezes. Although I’m always excited to hear the frogs in the spring, I haven’t really tested this theory.

Frogs and toads lived on our farm before we put in the pond. I remember the first spring there were tadpoles that had hatched in a puddle of water and my husband was dumping buckets of water in the puddle to keep it from drying up before the tadpoles reached their adolescent stage of life.

Our property does provide the perfect habitat for frogs and toads. The pond offers conditions needed for frogs to lay eggs, for the eggs to hatch into tadpoles and for the tadpoles to live until they grow legs and their lungs develop so they can leave the water. This can take over a year for bull frogs. Even mature frogs, who can live out of water, continue to need a wet area to keep their skin from drying out. Not only does our farm have the pond but we have wooded areas where the ground is covered with dead leaves that keep the ground moist even in the hot and dry summer conditions.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources article that I have linked below of the more than 3400 species of frogs/toads only 13 live in Michigan. I am certain we have at least 4 species that populate our farm.

Frogs and toads are wonderful for pest control. The aforementioned article relates that a single frog will consume thousands of insects per year. Last year we discovered that we were reaping the benefits of this. As we picked our bountiful harvest of strawberries  https://donteatitsoap.com/2016/06/30/strawberries-at-last/ last June my husband and I spoke several times about the fact that we did not have any slugs eating the berries. This is a problem the we have had with strawberries we have grown at the house in the past. It wasn’t until my husband told me that he had been surprised by a frog hiding in the strawberry patch, while he was picking berries, that I realized that this frog was probably enjoying a regular diet of slugs and any other pests that threatened to consume our strawberry crop. I am hopeful that a frog will take up residence in the strawberry patch again this year.

Frogs are a good indicator of the health of wetlands, ponds, lakes and such as they do not survive in polluted areas. The Michigan DNR article that I have linked below explains that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a threat to frog populations; not only can the chemicals kills frogs and toads, but the pesticides also reduce their food supply.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12145_12201-35089–,00.html

The frogs on our farm are also entertaining. In the summer time when we walk around the edge of the pond the frogs jump into the pond one right after the next. It’s kind of funny because there may be 50-100 frogs sitting around the outer edge of the pond. The dogs like to chase the frogs but rarely are they able to catch them. Last year Scout spent hours in the evenings looking for frogs along the edge of the pond, he enjoyed the search immensely even though he never caught any. After dark we are often treated to a campfire symphony, in surround sound I might add, as the several different species of frogs sing from different areas of the farm.

While not everyone has the luxury of being able to put a pond on their property I have included the following link for those who may be interested in creating a frog habitat. I would encourage you to read through the end of the article, as it does explain that the best way to introduce frogs to this habitat is to let them come to it naturally and this may take a year or more. It also explains that not all parts of the U.S. are favorable for creating frog habitats.

https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2000/Want-to-Host-a-Garden-Party-for-Frogs.aspx