Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I'm Not Going Anywhere

Every once in a while, an evening comes along
when I say to myself...
"Maybe I should stop writing this blog."
That thought usually enters my mind at the end of a busy day...
when all I want to do is go to sleep...
not fight with Blogger or You-tube or any number of applications that enable me to post.


But then I think to myself...
"But, who will I talk to tomorrow?"
Or, I feel this sense of responsibility because I know you will visit here in the morning,
hoping to find a smile for your day.
And so, I keep writing...and you keep reading...
and for that I am eternally grateful.


We've become friends, you and I, over the years...
friends who may have never met...
but friends, just the same.


And although I may not say this very often...
"You rock!"
Seriously, you are The Best!
Your questions and comments make me smile
and give me subjects to write about.
And, let's face it...living this rural...you are my "conversation" each day...
without you I might be quite lonely.


So... Thanks....really....Thank You

As you can see...yesterday's big activity was pasture cleaning (and garden watering, and weeding).


Of course, Sammy was there to help.


Of course.

Yesterday's blog generated some questions that I thought I would answer today.
(PS...I love questions....keep em coming!!)

On the subject of squash blossoms:

I have, up to this point...but am highly considering it...not eaten our squash blossoms.
Did you know they are edible?
Yes, they can be sautéed, stuffed, baked, fried, placed in quesadillas, etc.

If you are considering using your squash blossoms...
here are a few tips:


Harvest only male blossoms once the "fruit" have begun to form
 on your squash, zucchini, pumpkin, etc. vines.


The female blossoms are where the fruit will form, so these need to be left on the plant.
The female blossoms form near the vine.


The vine will form male blossoms (about 3 times as many as female)
for use in pollination.


These are showier blossoms that form on the end of long stems 
and will usually be seen above the vine.

Cut the stem off of the blossom and only use the blossom in your recipe.

On the subject of landscaping fabric:

I am quite happy with landscaping fabric.
Not only does it keep the weeds out of the garden,
(except in the holes you cut in the fabric)
but, it also helps to hold the moisture in the ground.


I use a good quality (thick) fabric (not plastic or vinyl) in 4 foot widths.
It comes by the roll.
I lay the fabric from one end of the garden to the other, overlapping the sides,
and use landscaping staples (6 inches long) to hold the fabric down.


Once the fabric is laid, I cut "X"s in the fabric and plant my seedlings in these holes.

At the end of the season, simply pull the "spent" vegetables out of the holes and you can re-use 
the following year.
Because my garden is on the ground, and it is its first year, I will pull up the fabric next spring 
and till the soil again.



It usually takes a couple years of tilling to get your soil soft enough.
Also, I will want to amend the soil next spring with fresh compost.
After that I will re-lay the same fabric and use just like I did this year.


I occasionally use this fabric in my garden boxes and it does a great job there as well.
I do not till my garden boxes...they stay quite soft from year to year.
I do, however, rotate the vegetables that grow in each box.

Tip:  planting green beans in your garden will actually add nitrogen back into the soil in that area.

On the subject of growing blueberries:

This is what is left of our original blueberry bushes.
They are at probably 20-25 years old.
(planted by previous owner)
These 6 bushes used to supply me with enough blueberries for eating, baking,
and making jam.

Goodbye old bushes....you gave and gave and gave!
A full grown blueberry bush is quite prolific.
These have reached the end of their life...mostly because the forest is beginning to encroach,
and has taken much of their sunlight away.

So you see, eventually we will be opening a "Pick Your Own" blueberry field.

Farm fresh and completely organic!
Blueberries like sunlight, acidic soil, and adequate moisture with good drainage.
Moisture directly affects the size of the fruit.

When we planted our 100 (bare root) blueberry bushes,
we tested the pH of the soil and amended it.
We use organic mulch (compost and tanbark mulch) around the plants,
because this also acidifies the soil.

No shortage of berries!
For the first two years, it is important to remove the fruit buds so that no fruit develops...
unfortunately you will have no harvest for two years...
but, this helps the blueberry to put its energy toward establishing the plant.

There is good information about fertilizing and pruning, etc
HERE

Sorry this post was a little wordy!
Hope this helps!

21 comments:

wendywoo said...

I used landscape fabric on my raised bed vegetable garden a couple years back, and rodents ATE IT! We are using black plastic for the second year, and it is holding up very well. What sort of rodent EATS landscape fabric? Waaay too much wildlife going on! Your gardens are amazing, I love seeing videos and pictures of them. Gives me something to strive for! Can't wait to see the pumpkins!

Lynne said...

Always informative and interesting . . . and love all the pictures too!
Happy Fourth of July week!

Peter said...

Thank you. I do enjoy my visit to your life early each morning. I feel like I am walking around your beautiful farm with all your wonderful animals.
Peter

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this gives me hope that i might still get some cukes and zucchini. maybe i am just seeing the first of the male blossoms. unfortunately, my blueberry bushes are being taken over by my woods too. i am running out of sunlight in the lower gardens. this is the price i pay for privacy though. i am glad you aren't going anywhere. your blog is at the top of my favorites list!!!

Kathy from Tasmania said...

There are several reasons why your blog is my favourite, even though you are in the U.S. and I am in Australia. Your bog is always entertaining and educational, and it is obvious that you have a huge amount of love and respect for your animals and environment. You write well, and your photos are beautiful. You have just the right mix of topics (farm/family/craft,etc). I would really miss you and all your farm friends if you stopped blogging!

Kathy

Candice said...

I would miss you if/when you decide to stop blogging...your blog is the first I read and look forward to each morning. I feel like we are friends (even though we've never met), and certainly kindred spirits in our love of the land and animals of all kinds. Have any of your blog followers ever visited? My husband and I will be visiting DC this September and are planning a short trip to Gettysburg. It would be such a treat to stop by for a tour of your place and to meet you in person. Looks like you may be 90 minutes or so away from Gettysburg?

Patsy from Illinois said...

I read your blog every day and miss it on the weekends. I don't post in comments much but have to tell you that your blog is one of my favorites. Love the log home, the gardens (I am jealous of them, lol) and the animals, especially the littles. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is so wonderful. The love and care you put into your farm is evident daily. I have a couple "city" nieces whom I have encouraged to follow you, so they can see the rewards of hard work and proper care of the land and animals. April

Abby Frances said...

I look forward to "visiting" your farm each morning! It gives me a break and I really enjoy reading about your daily adventures and seeing your wonderful pictures.

Country Gal said...

I love your blog and seeing all the farm animals and the goings on in your neck of the woods and all the great tips as you have giving here ! I am glad you decided to keep blogging all though I don't know where you find the time to with all the farm chores but hey you make it work and we are soo appreciative of all your posts and wonderful photos and how you make us all feel a part of your farm family ! Thank you from all us ! Have a great day !

Anonymous said...

I read your blog every day and love it. I look forward to seeing your pictures.Thanks for sharing!
Bob Young

Missy George said...

I know how you feel. I have much less to write about th you do. And I am not nearly as good at it. I guess we all go through that from time to time. I also enjoy all the friends that I have made out there in Blogger land. Interesting post . Stay cool.

Lindsey @ Half Dime Homestead said...

Oh, girl, I just love this blog and am so glad you keep it going!! I know what it feels like to question why we are keeping blogs. One day about 6 months ago I hovered my mouse over the DELETE button on my blogger blog and almost flushed it all away. Some time, a new platform, some pruning of old content and a new layout helped me a bit. You blog is indispensable. And I gotta tell you, I love that DOG! All the dogs! But Sammy is my absolute favorite. Sweet boy.
Yay for blueberries! Great idea for pick your own. People will be SO happy.

Laura Franken Sudderth said...

That will be alot of fun for you all and the community to come pick their own berries. Great idea. I am very worried about Minerva. Where did she go? Did she bite the dust somewhere? Did Jack Frost eat her up? You have to keep this blog up, I root for you during those brutal winters. I secretly wish I had four hours of a brutal winter storm. So, you have to stay because it is the only way I can see real winters. Hugs.

daisy g said...

So glad you are staying put! Your farm is such an inspiration to me, as I tend to be organized and like a tidy garden. Yours will provide me with a great deal of information when we move to our property. Enjoy those yummy organic blueberries!

Anonymous said...

I am a city lady, from Australia.
The way you show the love for your animals is so special & very touching.
Thank you for sharing your special farm life with us all.
I would miss your blog so much.
Summer.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

I always enjoy visiting you on the farm Beverly... It is so lush and peaceful.. Love all your dear animals.. Sammy is so good to accompany you when you are out doing your chores.. Such a dear companion and helper..
Wishing you a wonderful week.
blessings,
Penny

Sarah C. said...

Thanks for the update on the blueberries. My husband and I are looking to start a u-pick someday too, just have to pay off those dang student loans. Btw, I am making a squash blossom pizza for dinner this evening with roasted garlic spread, goat cheese, summer squash, and capers. Should be delicious!

Beverly Frankeny said...

Yummy, Sarah....what time is dinner???

Anonymous said...

Bev, your blog is the one I eagerly read every day! Even when I'm on vacation! I take my Kindle with me, and log in and find you, no matter where I may be!!!! PLEASE keep on writing, posting, taking great pictures and and giving us all something to enjoy and learn every day!!!! From Karla in Coal City, IL.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Thank you for all the gardening tips! I've learned something about blueberries, specifically why my plants aren't so big!

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