We do make an effort to shop at locally owned businesses, but yes, we use Amazon too. Chris ordered something specific for over-wintering his bees and it was delivered as promised…
Until the guy tried to back down our tree-lined long driveway. I still don’t understand exactly how this happened, but this is what we found when we came home from running errands. Apparently he backed down, turned around, drove over an old telephone pole held in place with two metal fence posts, landed in the meadow and continued to drive towards the road until his truck sunk up to its axles. He called his supervisor who came out with some sort of grip pads for under the back wheels and told him to just back up and go out the way he came in (yes, up a hill, over the telephone pole and back on to the driveway?!?). When that plan didn’t work, they called a tow truck.
Hopefully the next thing we order will be less eventful!
A time warp has settled in over the farm – has it really been six months since my last blog update?
We survived a winter with several snow storms. The first one was pretty, the ones after that became progressively less beautiful and more of a nuisance. This storm was pretty.
As the snow melted I started my garden seeds under grow lights in the basement. I moved them to the greenhouse in March. It happened again this year; I accidentally planted 192 tomato plants. The seeds are so tiny, and I had eight varieties I wanted to try. I planted 12 of each, but it just didn’t look like very much in the potting tray, so I decided I better do 12 more of each variety… just in case.
In addition to planting too many plants, I ALWAYS say I will be more patient and not start my seeds so early. They tend to outgrow the greenhouse before our official planting date. Two weeks after the last frost generally falls around Mother’s Day for us, and invariably, there are still a couple of chilly days, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. Those 192 tomato plants, along with peppers, squash, cucumbers and herbs had the greenhouse bursting at the seams. I only planted 45 tomato plants in the garden and I gave the rest away (such self-restraint – or maybe it was lack of space). They looked so nice all freshly planted and trained to their string trellis system.
By the end of May, the strawberries started to ripen. I was determined to finally get a good crop of strawberries. I worked hard on the strawberry bed; yes – the one that I have relocated 4 of the last five years that we’ve been here. But this time, I think it is finally in the right place. We picked over 40 pounds of strawberries this year – sometimes 4 pounds a day! Strawberry season is finally over – but now the blueberries and raspberries are ripening faster than I can keep up.
We added two barn cats to our menagerie. “Meow” our previous mouser – who ironically had no voice and never meowed went on to greener pastures. We missed her presence on the farm, especially when the mouse population increased. We now have Toby and Teddy – two year old males from the local SPCA. They are currently residing in their cat condominium while they become acquainted with the sights and sounds (and smells) of the barn where they will live. Hopefully after several weeks acclimating themselves, they will choose to stick around when we open the doors for more than feeding and cleaning the litter boxes. They look like twins – I’m not sure how we will tell them apart.
Here we are at the end of June and I’m already busy with the harvest. Today I pulled garlic, red onions and shallots so they can dry on the porch for a while before I hang them in the basement. There are peas, zucchini and patty pan squash to pick daily.
But what I’m really waiting for is that “race to the red.” Yes, the first red tomato of the season. Those 45 tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes – a few are starting to blush a light pink. I’m hoping for a plump, juicy, red tomato to accompany the burgers on the grill for our July 4th picnic.
And the best news of all on the farm???? I officially retired from that “real” job three months ago. You’d think that being retired I’d have more time to keep up with this blog, but we’re busier than ever!
It’s hard to believe, the gardens are coming to an end – we had a light frost on the roof the other day. The house is decorated for fall with corn stalks and ornamental corn from our garden. The pantry is full of home-canned goods. I still have loofah sponges hanging on the vines, they need every last growing day they can get before a hard frost. It’s been a good summer but I’m not done gardening just yet – the garlic and onions need to be planted so they’ll be ready next year.
We were away for a week or so visiting family over Thanksgiving, but apparently Santa was busy at the farm. He left sleigh tracks back and forth on the front yard. I think his reindeer were practicing their take-offs and landings. But the curious thing is that Santa seems to have delivered a load of pine boards. I wonder what he’s building us for Christmas?!?
But that isn’t the only strange happening here on the farm. This was my view out the window this morning. I guess Pono (the horse) was standing on Peter’s back (the goat), who was standing on the picnic table – all to get a better view of what Santa is building!
You never know what you’re going to find on this farm. Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise — something beautiful, or something useful – or maybe even both. Sometimes, it’s disgusting, useless debris. We’ve found some of both lately.
In anticipation of getting our goats, Heidi and Peter, we cleaned up a part of the pasture that is overgrown with brambles and shrubs. Under the brambles we found some old construction debris – broken toilets, scrap metal and junk. We worked most of the day pulling the stuff out and smoothing out the dirt so that it wouldn’t be dangerous for the goats. Just as Chris thought we were done for the day, I saw a piece of ugly, green shag carpet sticking out of the dirt no bigger than a carpet square. Four hundred and fifty pounds later, we had the back of the truck bed full of dirty, stinking, rotten carpet that necessitated a trip to the county dump. Oh, and an old sewing machine that popped out with the carpet.
But, it was the same week that the violets were blooming all over the lawn – really beautiful, deep purple violets. I picked a colander full, put them in jars with some white vinegar and created a violet flavored, slightly pink vinegar that has been a great dressing (with a little olive oil) on our home grown lettuce.
So you never know around here – dirty, stinky carpet or beautiful, purple violets. It’s just another day around here.