Monday, July 24, 2017

Assistant Gardeners And A Brief Respite

With all of the gardens here on the farm...
it's nice to have help from time to time.
It seems the birds are always happy to help...
especially when it comes to planting sunflowers.

This particular blossom is growing out of a pot of black and salmon petunias
that I planted on my front porch.

Originally there were just these...

and these...

in the pot.  However, a few weeks ago I noticed a volunteer growing up tall
from the blossoms.

I knew it was a sunflower and decided to just let it grow where it was.

It sort of represents my approach to gardening these days.
I no longer strive for order and symmetry...
but instead just enjoy the journey on which Mother Nature leads me.
Things no longer need to be the kind of perfect that I sought in my younger years.
Now, the perfection lies in the essence of the being... be it plant or animal.

You might notice when you look at the front of our house that we once again have 
quite a prolific patch of milkweed growing in the garden.
Technically a weed, yes, but food and shelter for traveling Monarch butterflies.
And so, once again, I don't have the heart to pull it.
It is perfect right where it is and serves an important purpose.
Who am I to pass judgement on that!

Oh how I love summer meals.
After years of working to get gardens and orchards just the way we had dreamed...
we are reaping the rewards of our labor...

with daily harvests just like this.
Delicious, fresh, chemical-free, and economical.
There is nothing better for your body, soul and purse than a home garden!!

We spent 48 hours off of the farm this weekend and relaxed at our friends' house
at the Chesapeake Bay.
(cue the music... Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay)

For two days I slept in ( 7 AM is sleeping in for me!),
ate delicious food, kayaked, boated, and sat by the dock relaxing.

It was wonderful... the perfect weekend retreat.

I made a new friend this weekend...

Although I don't think he liked my singing...
because I no more than got out the words "Sittin' in the morning sun..."
when he took off across the water.

We were sent home with this enormous Italian zucchini...
it's over a yard long.

The seeds of this zucchini lie within the thick part at the bottom...
and I will be harvesting those seeds to plant in next year's garden!
As for the rest of the zucchini... ratatouille, of course!
I can remember the days when zucchini only became zucchini bread...
and then I discovered ratatouille.

We returned home yesterday afternoon to stormy weather...
which prevented me from any lengthy visits with the animals.
While we were gone they were well cared for by our friends.
(Thanks to all who made this fun weekend possible!)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Misty Morning

Our current heat wave has been giving us misty, moist mornings.

We've had our share of thunderstorms... late afternoon dark clouds gather...
giving us enough rain so that watering has not been a necessity.

Mornings are my favorite time...
and truly the only time that is comfortable for being outside.

The animals seem happiest in the early morning hours

 as they contentedly graze.

By mid morning, everyone is ready to retreat to the shade.
I walk the Littles down from the upper pastures, Hubbs... the ponies.
As for Moonbeam... he takes himself back to the barn every morning, 
hooves thundering across the field.  
I love that sound!

Yesterday morning, the runner ducks went on quite a walkabout.

They nonchalantly walked down the lane almost to the sheep...
much further than they had ever gone before!

At some point they must have realized how far they had gone, 
and headed straight back for the barn...

By the time they made it to the barn they were running....and ran straight through their pool...
which, by the way, they had not ventured into before.

Later in the day, however, it was obvious that they had again been in the pool.

I tried my hardest to get a photo of them swimming...
resorting to the use of a game camera...
but no luck.

As we've all seen before, these gals are not always cooperative when it comes to photos!

Peach season has arrived!

We picked our peach tree yesterday...
the first harvest ever for this tree.

Enough for a pie... it's a start!!

Hopefully by the end of the weekend, this heatwave will be over...
for the sake of the animals, I am hoping!

Have a terrific weekend... and stay cool!
We'll be back Monday to share our weekend adventures with you.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This Was Wednesday...

From the bottom of our hearts,
we thank you all for chiming in regarding Sammie's torn cruciate.
Thanks for the recommendation regarding Previcox, also... we will try that as well.
Making decisions for our pets is difficult in that 
they unfortunately don't have a voice.... we have to be their voice.
Hearing your experiences with the same issues helped assure us that we are
making the right choice for Sammie.
Enough said.
(I'll let you know how it goes in the coming weeks!)

I did something yesterday that I have not done in years:
I played 9 holes of golf with Hubbs and some dear friends.
As expected, without practice, I mostly stank.
However, I did have a few nice shots.
I have found that even with practice, though, I mostly stink... with a few good shots.
That might just be the way that game goes... at least for the majority of us.
Or we could just blame it on the heat!

As for the farm, we are spending most of our chore time filling water containers...

refilling with cool water to help combat the heat.

It's no surprise that the pigs are spending a good deal of time in their pool.

Surf's up!

It's also no surprise that the runner ducks have not touched their pool yet.
Too scary!

We are in that time of year when I rarely need to go to the grocery store.

Dinner is usually chicken or fish from the freezer and whatever veggies are in the garden.
Last night we had broiled wild-caught Alaskan salmon with this lemon dill aioli...
We are lucky to have access in this area to (sustainably caught) Wild For Salmon...
A company owned by a young local couple.
They own a fishing boat in Alaska and fish for salmon each summer...
flash freezing it and shipping it back to our area to sell at their store and local farmer's markets.

Yesterday while weeding the garden, I happened to notice these eggplants...

and these...

and these...

Ratatouille is one of my favorite things to make and to eat...
so a good crop of eggplant is most exciting!

We pulled the last of the broccoli plants out of this box...
leaving behind the rosemary that I planted between the broccoli.
I am happy to report that the rosemary seemed to keep the green broccoli worms away this year...
I could find none of them on my broccoli....for the first time ever!

The heat has not affected egg production,
as each day we have our choice of  turkey, duck, and chicken eggs.

The chickens are happily digging holes and taking dust baths!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sammie's Saga And More

We started yesterday thinking that the day would end
 with Sammy having surgery.
He did not.
After several veterinary consultations with several vet/surgeons, X-rays, and exams,
we have decided to forgo having his cruciate ligament fixed.
This was not an easy decision, however we have peace with it.

Sammie is an unusual dog.
He does not like to be messed with... even if it is to help him.
He totally falls apart emotionally... stops eating and drinking, etc.
He has to be totally sedated in order to have his nails cut.
He hates to be confined in any manner, 
(he destroyed a metal crate when he was younger).
He is old and arthritic and has slowed down considerably this past year.

The surgery is a big deal with a very long recovery.
Just the two weeks of wearing a cone around his neck would be impossible for him.
He would be the dog who destroyed his cone...
and then destroyed his surgery.

After his surgery, his leg would not feel normal to him,
and so we fear he would refuse to walk on it anyways.
The Vets have assured us that he is not in pain... 
his leg just feels unstable when he puts weight on it.
They have also assured us that walking on three legs will not cause the other leg to break down.

Our old boy loves to ride on the gator and accompany us wherever we go.
But once he arrives he prefers to lie in the sun, or the shade depending on the day.
The limits that his injury place on him are in line with his current lifestyle.
Surgery would be torture.

So, after much consideration and much research,
we have decided to just let Sammie live with his inconvenient handicap.
Perhaps with time the ligament will scar down and give him a more stable feeling.

Yesterday afternoon, Annie was very interested in this flower box.

I thought perhaps there was a bunny nest somewhere in it.
Instead, I found Ethel nesting in the middle of my flowers.

We had a little discussion about this location for nesting...
I suggested she might want to find an alternative.

We are in the midst of a heatwave.
Keeping everyone cool as cucumbers is part of my daily chores.
I filled a small pool for the Nellies...

hoping that they might enjoy splashing around a bit.
As you can see... the water remained clean...
with the N's giving it wide berth.

Part of the reason that I plant the flowers that I do
is so that I can cut them and bring them in the house...

The heat gives me the opportunity to get some indoor projects finished.
Yesterday I sewed a fitted sheet and changing pad cover for the newest member of our family.

The theme of his room is cars...
 the pattern of this fabric is tire treads.

And lastly...
it's cucumber season!

Marinated cucumbers are one of our favorites.
I hope wherever you are spending today that you are cool as a cucumber as well!!


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