Archive for the ‘homestead garden’ Category

Having one of those weeks where I feel like I am getting nothing done. 1) chard is going to seed 2) wormwood needs to be planted 3) front planting bed needs to be weeded 4) various other plants need to go into the ground 5) the hens need access to a dust bath that does not endanger plants 6) kale is going to seed 7) gooseberries are suddenly splitting and dropping to the ground 8) potato plants need to be hilled up and 9) clover needs to be worked into the garden beds… and this just covers the things I actually took pictures of ;0}

But then I am reminded that there is bounty in my garden as well – flowers for the bees and fruit and herbs for us ;0} Italian plums, lemon balm, raspberries, valerian, pears and lavender… and so much more that isn’t pictures here!

I had the day off from work today… which always seems to create a day of urgency, instead a day of accomplishment. It was a 1) rain-boot kind of day! so pulled them on and cuffed up my pants 2) I finally got around to installing the fairy pool and homes (from a local artist group at Kennedy Creek Pottery – they call them bird feeders =0}) 3) went and picked up a few things at the Olympia Farmers Market – had some market dollars burning a hole in my pocket 4) just couldn’t resist the Blondköpfchen (“little blonde head” in German) tomato plant – I grew up in Austria and was blonde back then :0} 5) picked up cherries for hubby and tossed in some garlic scapes 6) added a few more tomato plants, a couple of peppers and a tomatillo 7) in the afternoon, a movie date with my niece (did I mention that I got a picture-text around 3:30 am, from one of four – that’s right, FOUR pregnant sisters (okay! one is a sister-in-law ;0}) in Virginia, with the news that my newest nephew had arrived? James Stephen arrived three weeks early and weighed in at just over 8 lbs.!! The movie choice seemed appropriate – What to Expect When You are Expecting.) 8) met hubby and his work colleagues for dinner… almost stepped on this guy outside the restaurant… he seemed to be enjoying his meal ;0} 9) finally got around to some of my herbs… transferred the dried Calendula to some olive oil to infuse, bottled up dried violet leaves and lemon balm leaves. Then spent an hour collecting feverfew leaves and set them up in the dehydrator.

All in all, a good day… but still so many things to do!! Pulling double shifts the next two days, but then I’ll have a half-day and a day off again! Don’t worry… I’ll find time to take pictures… I always do ;0}

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Decided to drive down to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm last week… wanted to try something different. I usually drive up to the Skaggit Valley Tulip Festival. This time I was killing two birds with one stone… I was heading down to attend a presentation by Marisha Auerbach on how to grow your all your own produce in 2.5 years (if you ever have the chance to attend any of her presentations or workshops, do!! She has great info, like this: Perennial Forage Handout), so I looked into other things to do near Portland.

All the way down I-5, it poured! So much so, that I almost changed plans. Yes, I have gear to protect my camera, but it gets pretty cumbersome. I was 5 miles out, when the rain stopped!

It was a little field… but enough to keep me busy wandering around as storm clouds rolled around the field.

It turned out to be a great tie in – tulips are edible!! I’ll be adding lots more tulips to my garden!

Someone was there blowing bubbles… it was pretty windy, so I had to move fast to capture them ;0}

Just as I started to head back to the car, the rains came down again!

 

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Spring has definitely sprung:

hellebore

Loshka and Vandana

rhubarb and alpine strawberries

garlic and leeks

happy together – Suki, Loshka, and Vandana

sedums

viburnum

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I am so glad this week is over! I knew it was going to be one for the record books… but I didn’t think it would be anything like it ended up being!

We are not used to snow around here. It rarely happens, and it certainly doesn’t last more than a day or two. Most of us were braced for the coming storm. We were warned, that we could break a 30 year record, of 14″ of snow, in a 24-hour period (missed it by an inch or so).

The snow came, as promised. It was beautiful… as it always is, when it first falls. And then it began…

Car Damage

I still don’t know where the car came from. I am a cautious driver (learned to drive in Michigan snow). I make sure to give plenty of room to the cars around me, knowing that they may slip/slide in the snow. So, when I was hit from behind, it was an utter surprise… as it seems to have been for the other driver… as will the $10K estimate for damages. Am I ever grateful that he is insured!

The next morning, I walked the 2 miles to work. It had been my plan, before the accident. The banged up car just made it easier to stick to the plan ;0} I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take me. The sidewalks were not cleared (few of us actually own a snow shovel), so every two steps forward, I slid one step back. I arrived exhausted, but ready to spend the day selling warm coats, snow boots, hats and gloves.

I was anxious to get back home. I had the next two days off… so I knew I would be able to spend time in the garden, with my camera…

there’s a garden under there somewhere

 

things iced over quickly

Tree Damage

While I was taking pictures, I could hear the branches, thick with ice, snap and shatter. Each time, my heart stood still… bracing myself for a branch to fall on my head…

There was good reason to be concerned! Luckily, all the damage happened to my ornamental trees (a lilac and a sumac) and not any of my fruit-bearing trees.

Chicken Damage

My girls weren’t thrilled with all the snow or noise. I shoveled them a path, so they could get to their favorite place… a spot under the eaves, along the house. They rewarded me with two eggs – haven’t had eggs since the end of November.

By morning, the path was covered again. Goldie took one look and turned back around, choosing to spend the day in the coop. It is in the coop, where her lifeless body was found, Friday night. I could find no signs of trauma. No cause for the death. I am hoping she was simply startled by a loud snap of a branch and her little heart just simply stopped.

Vandana (my black hen) is alone, surrounded by snow. She quietly clucks, waiting for a response…

In a few weeks, it will be as if the storm was never here… well almost. The car will be, as good as, new; the trees will be scarred, a fence board replaced and the cold frame repaired; and there will be two new hens, Natasha and China, in the place that was once Goldie’s.

It is a storm I wish to forget, but I don’t believe I will be able to… at least not anytime soon.

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As I watched War Horse, the movie, this weekend, I found myself paying attention to the farms and homes. There were baskets hanging from the beams. Bottles, jars and jugs to be seen everywhere. Some were stacked, waiting to be filled, and others were filled with herbs, and others with jams. There were herbs hanging from hooks. I was in heaven, checking out all the details…

I was perplexed by the lack of chickens, goats, and cows. There was a goose, with quite a personality. Was it a choice in telling the story, or did they really not raise any kind of meat or have a source of dairy? The farm seemed so quiet without the chickens clucking in the background. Even my garden has chickens clucking ;0}. It got me to thinking about a picture I knew I had, of my Grandma Ruth working in the garden, as a child.

Pulsipher Farm in Cache Valley, Utah

As I searched for this one, I came across several others. It warmed my heart, to realize, that homesteading is in my blood – isn’t it in most of ours ;0} Now if only I could ask them how they lived their day-to-day life. I would love to be in the garden with them, working side by side, picking their brains, asking when and what to grow, and how much. Then step into the kitchen and learn to can and prepare a meal on a wood-stove… oh the list goes on… as does the list of skills I want to acquire this coming year. I’m excited for this source of inspiration!! Here are the other images I came across:

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Bee Bum

Oh to be a bee, flitting from flower to flower in the sunshine!!!

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There is nothing better than walking into my garden and seeing it come into fruit…

arctic and fuzzy kiwi

I have a fence on the east-side covered in kiwi vines. I have both arctic (small and grape-like) and fuzzy. The mild spring seems to have done the kiwi good… there has never been this much fruit waiting to ripen. Last year we had fruit drop… so keeping my fingers crossed =0)

cherries

THIS is the extent of our cherry harvest – yep, all three!!… I knew it was going to be small… but this small? It was too cold for the bees to be out when the tree was in bloom. I should have hand-pollinated (it’s a dwarf tree)… it has been noted in my garden notebook for the next time we have a similar spring… which hopefully won’t be anytime soon =0)

strawberry patch (1st two pics are woodland strawberries)

There is a little sunny patch behind the little house… a spot that I forget about, but luckily the sun doesn’t =0)  I had more strawberry plants than I knew what to do with two summers ago… I knew it was sunny back there, so I filled the hill with strawberries. There is a little woodland strawberry tucked into a corner… it was one plant two years ago… now it is several… love the self-propagation of strawberries!! There wasn’t much fruit last year… so I didn’t expect much this year. Was I ever surprised this morning… the hill is filled. I ate to my heart’s content and there is still plenty left =0)

Can’t wait to see what comes next!

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