Category Archives: spring

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. 🙂

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

Our Peaceable Kingdom

Visitors to our farm often talk about how peaceful it is there and my husband often refers to it as ‘Our Peaceable Kingdom’. You might see that in some of the following pictures.

Peanut, the cat, likes to hang out with the chickens. The chickens have gotten use to him and have learned that he is not a threat.

We had one hen who was old and crippled but the others did not pick or peck on her. She needed some extra assistance but continued to live with the rest of the flock. (she died last week 😦 )

The chickens have also gotten used to Ranger. He shares their food and they share his as well. Ranger and the chickens will be happy to clean up Peanut’s plate when he is finished.

We lost all of our bees again this winter but honey bees were showing up from somewhere to forage honey and wax that was left in our hives. There may be wild bees in our area or other bee keepers whose bees survived the winter or there there may be both.

Early spring, before the trees leaf out and flowers bloom, can be a bit dull looking, but it can also be a time of discovery. Last summer this nest was hidden amongst the leaves and we never even realized it was there.

I wonder who came out of this cocoon.

We did get some much needed rain but the U.S. drought monitor map continues to show our area as abnormally dry.

The North-West corner of the farm is always very wet in the spring and it is where the frogs/toads hang out this time of year. Even though I didn’t see any I’m sure they were there because they quieted down as I approached.

Yes, I do walk through all that water, but not without appropriate footwear.

Normally this time of year the pond is overflowing it’s banks and there is very little beach sand that is not under water. The lighter area along the edge shows how much the water level rose after the last rain. The dark areas are leaves that have collected along the shoreline. We will eventually rake them out of the beach area but since my husband spotted an egg nest (likely frog or toad) we will wait awhile to give them a chance to hatch.

Even though it has been mostly dry we have had lots of wind. When I took the picture above I could not see the individual blades on the windmill because it was spinning so fast. The camera, however, was quick enough to partially capture them.

When the pond is bubbling like this we know the windmill is turning. One of it’s purposes is to aerate the pond.

There were no babies rocking on the tree tops but I was still a bit concerned that the bough(s) might break. The branches in the foreground are maple and the ones toward the rear are poplar. As you can see both are budding.

The wind was really rocking these spruce trees. Good thing they have strong roots.

Momma oak is likely the oldest tree on our property. She is surrounded buy her offspring. She does not waver.

Nor does our eldest shagbark hickory. I often ponder the stories of these two trees. How long have they lived there? If they could talk what stories would they tell?

Sadly our oldest crab apple tree became the target of a wood pecker. I wonder how long she can survive these wounds.

I learned something about my crocuses this year. Last year I only had three or four come up.

This spring I had more come up in a different area. I was thrilled to see them but wondered why they came up this year and not last year.

The day after I noticed and photographed them the blossoms were gone. Apparently eaten by a hungry bunny. (I can’t blame the deer this time because there were no deer tracks in the wet soil where they were growing.)

I now suspect these crocuses did come up last year but became bunny food before I ever noticed them.

I will now reconsider my plans to plant more crocuses.

I also learned that this beautiful little primrose bears some of the first blossoms of the season – but only if the chickens leave it alone.

It was even earlier than the daffodils that were just beginning to open as I took these photos last week.

We have more and more daffodils blossoming each day so I will likely share more pictures in an upcoming post. Why so many daffodils? Because the deer, bunnies and chickens leave them alone.

Last but not least the garlic is up and off to a good start. 🙂

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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I find pansies to be such a cheery flowers.

Sunday Afternoon 

Snapshots of the farm.

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We discovered another crocus

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and another. 🙂

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Lilac buds

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and Forsythia wanting to flower.

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A lovely spring day.

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Just a bit too soon for swimming.  LOL!

How have you been blessed today?

What are you grateful for?