Friday, May 25, 2018

Falling In Love

It is that time of year when one can be swept away with the work
that goes along with rapid growth.
Planting, watering, weeding, mowing, trimming...

there's enough to do to fill each and every day.

It takes a commitment to making oneself slow down a little each day...
to stop and smell the roses along the way.

And although the work pays off...
with beautiful gardens and lawns...

the price can be exhaustion, if one's not careful.

I am being intentional about taking time to play each day...
to sit and swing,
to watch the clouds,
to spend time with my animals,
and more.

I swear - as I sit in my garden soaking in the energy of growth -
I can see the plants growing before my eyes!
(And the weeds as well... but we'll just ignore them right now...
we're resting!)

Do you remember?  At the beginning of the week I showed you the video of
my vegetable garden...
the lima beans had just germinated and their shoots had just broken the 
surface of the ground.
Now look.

Three days later that shoot has three leaves.
How wondrous is that!
It always amazes me how a tiny seed can produce a shoot that then 
grows into a massive plant.
It's nothing short of miraculous...
and it's happening all around us right now.

Spring gives us a chance to fall in love all over again...
to be overcome by the rapture of nature.

We've had the perfect conditions for fruit-growing this year:
no late frost, plenty of rain and sunshine.
The blueberry plants are loaded with blossoms...

as are the strawberries...

and the blackberries.

The grape vines already have clusters of tiny grapes.

And to think that just a few short weeks ago it snowed.

It seems to me that so many people are searching for magic and inspiration in their lives.
Perhaps they have forgotten to look outside their windows.
There's magic happening all over the place!

And if that's not enough...
there's always ducklings!

Happy Friday, friends.
It's Memorial Day weekend already.
To me, Memorial Day signifies the start of summer.
We'll be heading to the city for a large riverfront Arts Fest,
then spending the rest of the weekend here on the farm
soaking up nature.
We'll be back on Monday to share a little of it with YOU.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

This Post Is For The Birds!

There are spaces around the farm that are great for just sitting
and observing.
The pond is one of them.
It's a peaceful, idyllic setting on the edge of the woods...
and teeming with life.
Fish, frogs, ducks, birds, dragonflies and various land mammals
frequent this area.

Last week I shared just a few of the many frogs that can be found on the rip-rap
surrounding the water.

Yesterday I sat by the pond listening.
I had earlier heard the distinctive song of a Baltimore Oriole...
and I wanted to catch a photo of him.

I sat quietly for a moment just taking in the scene...
a slight foggy mist still hanging in the air over the pond,
yet untouched by the sun's early morning rays.

And then I heard it... high in the top branches of a sycamore tree.
I looked up, searching for his bright orange feathers.
Something rust colored caught my eye as I peered through the lens of my camera...

and something more...

I find fungus so fascinating.

Finally, there he was...

singing his heart out!

my favorite bird song of all!
If you don't know what their song sounds like, listen HERE.

Every year we have a couple pairs of Baltimore orioles that return to the farm.
Their return is one of my favorite Spring happenings.

Sadly, our pond duck population has had the dwindles this spring.
We are down to Stella...

and her two suitors.

As for the Muscovy ducks, only this gal remains.

And she has been trying her hardest to nest...
making this soft downy nest on top of a card table in the duck hut.
Yes, she pulled all of those downy feathers from herself.
Now that is motherly love.

It's a safe place for her to lay...
but not a safe place for ducklings.
Luckily, I don't believe she is laying fertilized eggs.

Dr. Becky and her hubby, Rob purchased a game camera and sent us these two photos from it...

A lovely turkey buzzard in the woods.

Isn't it amazing what diversity is found in the world of birds??
We live in a wondrous world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Soggy Works In Progress

Rain, to some, is a curse.

To me, it is a blessing.

Now granted, we have had a lot of rain lately...

and there is much standing water on the ground.

Luckily, the rain subsided enough for us to get out and clean the pastures.

A few days of sunshine will dry it all up, though.
And sunshine is on tap for later today and tomorrow.
The blessing is - no watering needs to be done.
I planted a lot of flowers on Monday... and yesterday's rain gave them all a good drink.

I am in the process of starting a rose garden.
To me there is nothing more wonderful than cutting fresh rosebuds to bring in the house.
And this project will give me the chance to learn something new in the gardening realm.

I am so excited about this particular rosebush...

It's name is Frida Kahlo... a perfect name for this showy floribunda rose!
I am also planting a pink "Queen Elizabeth" rose and a lemon yellow "Ch-Ching" rose.
Neither are blooming yet, so I am borrowing this photos.

Both are Grandiflora roses.
I am dreaming of creating a rose garden that encircles a seating area.
Most likely this project will be one that takes a bit of time.

You asked yesterday how it is we have ripe tomatoes.
We don't. 

But these folks do!

From the first of May until our own tomatoes are ready,
we get delicious tomatoes at this Amish farm...

where the tomatoes are started in this hot house in January.

It is amazing that a hot house tomato can taste just like a home-grown.
Lucky for us... these do!

In our own garden we are continuing to harvest a big handful of asparagus on a daily basis.
Last night I picked spinach - enough for dinner...

and a bouquet of lovely radishes.

You also asked about our sweet potato vines.
We plant the vines in the spring, and we harvest the sweet potatoes in September.
So although the entire summer's produce is in the ground all at the same time....
the harvest times vary significantly.

You also asked about this wisteria "tree".

I planted this wisteria years ago on a tall post that was home to a couple bird houses.
And like wisteria does... it grew wild and crazy.
Last week we removed all of the lower limbs and trimmed it into tree shape.
It was a matter of self preservation.
You see, every time we mowed, it would reach out it's lower limbs and try to 
strangle us.
Luckily you can trim the heck out of wisteria...
it is virtually impossible to kill.

Lastly... here is another work in progress...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Best Days

We've reached that point of spring that feels like the "sweet spot".

The planting is finished.
I have filled every possible corner with colorful flowers.
The rainfall of the past week has done it's magic and the earth
has replied with an eruption of green.

It's the time of year when my feet and my heart are light as air...
and joy oozes from every fiber of my being.

The weather is temperate.
The sky is clear.
Birdsong is abundant.
The farm is abuzz with the energy of growth.

After months of patiently waiting...
we reap the rewards.
Life is good... regardless of its twists and turns and unexpected speed bumps.
At the heart and soul of it... it is good.
A day like this is proof of that.

Now that our equines have acclimated to their grazing muzzles,
we began on Sunday night to let them out to graze for the night.
It's the perfect time to be out in the pasture... no bugs, no hot sun.

This was the scene yesterday morning as the sun rose...

horses in the mist.

They spent the rest of the day napping.

I gave them a little snack of hay mid-afternoon and let them back to pasture
out after the sun set.
I am hoping that this routine will keep them more comfortable this summer...
and keep them trim as well.

I am happy to tell you that our chicks, now one week old,
have all survived and have doubled in size.

I have never had such a robust batch of chicks as these.

And I have the sneaking suspicion that this little one, much bigger than the rest,

just might be a rooster.
Time will tell.

Our ducks have doubled in size as well.
Birds grow so very quickly.

As promised, I did a little early season garden tour for you.
I will repeat this later in the summer as things grow so that you can see the difference.

I love, love, love this time of year, don't you?

Finally, I can bring fresh cut flowers in to enjoy in the house.
These are from my tree peony...

We are enjoying our meals out on the screen porch...
a treat we can only enjoy for part of the year.
Yesterday's lunch was something scrumptious...

Grilled cheese, caprese style....
basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes.
It is heavenly... but make sure your tomatoes are those wonderful summer ones!!


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