Tag Archives: farming

When The Rains Came

Much needed rain was in the forecast for Sunday night and throughout the day on Monday. We were becoming discouraged as we watched the radar and saw storms to the west fall apart as they crossed lake Michigan. Throughout these days the National Weather Service forecast also changed with chances of rain diminishing from a 70% chance of rain to only a 20% chance that we would get any.

We were so happy Monday evening when the rain started to fall. We had just come from the gardens where I had taken many pictures, that I used in my previous post, and we picked Swiss chard, beets and cucumbers.

As the rain poured down we sat on the barn porch and offered prayers of thanks.

It rained for about 30 minutes or so.

And by the time it was done we had puddles on the driveway.

When the rain was coming to an end we looked to the east for a rainbow – the symbol of hope. The white spots are caused by rain drops. I know the one looks like the moon, but it is not.

It was a complete rainbow – I just couldn’t fit the entire thing in one photo.

The sun was low in the sky as the clouds moved out.

We are so thankful for this life- sustaining rain.

Note: In the early morning hours of Wednesday we had more rain arrive. It started sometime before 3:30 A.M., when my husband got up to let Ranger out, and ended around 6:30 A.M. Our garden should not need to be watered for a while now. 🙂

How has you weather been this summer?

Mid-Summer Garden Tour

We will start the garden tour in what we refer to as the main garden. This garden are is our largest and is part of our back field. In addition to annual vegetables that we plant there it contains 4 apple trees, our blueberry patch and for the last several years our strawberry patch.

Lets see how some of the annuals are doing there. This year it is mostly corn, pumpkins and squash growing there. There are also buckwheat that has mostly gone to seed and sunflowers that have not blossomed yet.

Corn and pumpkins growing together.
The pumpkins play hide and seek.
This should make a nice pumpkin pie.
Hubbard Squash.
Looks like a perfect apple.

Then we move on to garden three. This area is in the front of our property and this is our first year using it as a garden. My husband started planting strawberry runners in there last summer. Then in the fall we planted garlic in there. In the spring this is where he planted many more of our annual vegetables. Lets have a look.

Pumpkins out of control.

These pumpkins which are planted with corn have grown through a row of sunflowers and are now climbing out of the fence.

Sweet corn with melons to the left.
Bush Acorn Squash
Watering the Squash

During the dry season, when it is a challenge to keep things alive and productive, we look for innovative ways of watering. This year my husband used zip ties to attach the hose to this long 1×1 board. He could then reach areas that he is not able to get to otherwise. It’s not a perfect solution but will buy us some time until the rain comes.

Up Front – Green Tomatoes. Green Beans in the Second Row
Beets and Swiss Chard
Eggplant
Calendula
Our First Cucumber

For several weeks we have been enjoying the fruits of our labor. Thus far we have eaten Swiss chard and beet greens, green tomato, banana peppers, beet roots, and green beans (with garlic butter). We also picked our first cucumbers and they are on the menu for today.

Do you have a garden this year?

Do you enjoy fresh locally grown produce when it is in season?

Where The Bees Are

Yesterday while walking around the back field I spotted Honey bees on several different flowers. I first noticed a bee in the white clover, then another foraging in the birdsfoot trefoil. I spotted a couple of bees on Canadian thistle blossoms and there were many buzzing about in the sweet clover.

Honey Bee on Sweet Clover Blossom
Honey Bee on Mountain Mint Blossom

I then walked by a patch where we planted wild flowers several years ago to see what they might be foraging in there. While the mountain mint that grows in that patch was not part of the seed mix that we planted, it has become a favorite of the bees when it blossoms.

Honey Bee on Oregano Blossom

Back at the prayer garden I found many bees in the oregano and a few on the anise hyssop.

Bumble Bee on Anise Hyssop Blossom.

The bee in the above photo is a bumble bee. Honey bees and bumble bees often forage the same flowers.

In addition in all of these plants my husband has reported seeing the bees pollenating the squash and pumpkins and I have seen a few foraging in the marshmallow plants.

The beauty in the bees foraging such a wide variety of plants is that each time we harvest honey the result is a deliciously unique blend of various plant nectars that the bees have collected. I dare say that we have never had two batches of honey that were exactly the same.

Thanks for visiting.

The Garlic Is Harvested

Each year after the garlic is harvested I let out a big “WOO HOO!” and my husband and I each sigh in relief because it is such a laborious task. This year, however, the harvest went so quickly and easily that I thought it hardly worth a mention.

For the sake of keeping a record of it I decided to write about it anyway.

250 Garlic Bulbs Harvested July 10, 2020

We harvested the crop on Friday, July 10. It was hot and humid in the morning when I got started, but I thought it would be good to get it out of the ground before the rain and storms, that were predicted for later that day, arrived. I began digging the bulbs up like we normally do but quickly discovered that the soil was moist enough that I was able to pull the bulbs out without breaking the stems. This saved much time and energy. After 40 minutes or so I had about 1/3rd of the crop harvested but my body was telling me I needed to get out of the sun.

We decided to go home for a break and lunch. Then, despite the fact that it was raining, my husband returned to the farm that afternoon to finish the harvest. While we ended up getting a decent rain that day we did not get any of the storms that surrounding area experienced. After my husband harvested the rest of the garlic he bundled and hung the bulbs that I had pulled earlier. Later that evening I bundled the rest of the bulbs that he had pulled. We ended up with around 400 bulbs total (our smallest crop ever) and plan on saving at least 150 bulbs for seed to plant in the fall.

The garlic is now hanging upstairs in the barn where it will cure for at least three weeks before being cleaned.

NOTE: For anyone thinking about growing garlic, in the U.S. now is the time of year to start looking for seed garlic. I have never seen seed garlic it sold in stores or garden centers but an internet search should produce many options. In northern parts (colder climates) fall is the time of year for planting garlic (about 6 weeks before the ground freezes). Then it should sprout up in the spring around the time the daffodils and other bulbs start sprouting.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Dog Days Of Summer

According to almanac.com the dog days of summer run from July 3 through August 11 which is normally the hottest and most humid time of year in the northern hemisphere. Around here every day is a dog day. Just ask Ranger and Trooper. But, yes, the HEAT IS ON and it is accompanied by a dry spell so keeping the gardens watered has been the main focus for the past week or so. If you are curious about how we manage that on our off-grid farm you can check out our off-grid irrigation system here.

In the mean time I put together a collection of pictures that I’ve taken over about the past few weeks to share with you.

This is how Ranger cools off on these hot days. (Did you know beagles can swim?)

and Trooper enjoys laying on the beach after a swim in the pond.

The grandbabies love the water as much as the dogs do.

Dragonflies are yet another creature that appreciate the pond.

This one is drinking water from the sand. Check out the honey bee (on the left) that photo bombed this shot. She too was coming to the beach for a drink of water.

This beauty hung out with us on the beach, for a couple of hour yesterday evening, fluttering about and pausing now and then to rest or perhaps get a sip of water.

One last pond picture because we can never have too much cuteness. LOL.

Speaking of cuteness, here is a double dose – twins.

The lavender is gorgeous this year and the bees and butterflies are all over it.

We have transitioned from strawberry season to blueberry season. On the same day that my husband, and (daughter) Kara, picked the last of the strawberries, I took (daughter) Tina, and Jackson and Addy into the blueberry patch to pick the first ripe berries. While Kara took her 3/4 of a basket of strawberries home. Addy couldn’t wait, so she ate all of the blueberries we picked while they were still at the farm.

Start them off young – that’s my motto. They posed for a group photo then dad took Jackson and Addy, one at a time, for a ride on the tractor.

The garden is flourishing. I have harvested basil and calendula flowers twice so far.

We have green tomatoes, peppers starting to develop, blossoms on the eggplant,

blossoms on the green beans and the corn is knee high.

We cut garlic scapes (check out this post to learn more about scapes) about two weeks ago and will be digging garlic soon.

It seems that every summer our back field is dominated by different plants. This year it is full of clover and birdsfoot trefoil and I think it is just gorgeous. It’s also great bee food.

I’ll leave you with one last photo of this pair who stopped by our deck for a short visit last week. They were kind enough to stay so I could get a photo then they hurried on their way.

Thanks for visiting and remember – stay hydrated, breathe deep and stay well.

Are you having a heat wave?