Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just Had to Stay

White Clover Blossom

Well, I'm still here at the farm. I really wanted to get the garden weeded. Yesterday afternoon after visiting with Lizzie I decided to get the farm boots on & tackle the garden. Boy was it muddy! I should have taken a picture of the boots when I was done :-). I got quite a bit of hand weeding done, but couldn't use the old cultivator due to the mud.

Lamb in pasture

Lizzie & the family are doing fine. I held the baby for about an hour while she was sleeping. So cute. I wish I could take a picture & show you. She weighs six lbs. 10 oz. now. One of the twins twisted her knee while hoeing and is using a wheelchair now. She hopes to be out of it by the end of the week. The other twin was learning how to sew bonnets on the treadle machine. They do all the gathering by hand.

This morning it was sunny so I got to work by eight in the front herb garden. There are so many weeds in there you can't see the herbs. I did the best I could while being anxious to get in the garden. I put up some string for the hops to climb on. They won't cling to the wall. There is some lemon balm, sorrel, chives and mint hanging on to life among the weeds as far as I could tell.
The rest of the day I spend in the garden weeding. I have been having issues with my back this spring and I really bothered me today. Like pins & needles between my shoulder blades. I had to take so many breaks and finally quit at 5:30. I think the chiropractor might get a call tomorrow when I get home.

After resting a while, I took a walk to check on the hazelnut trees. They are growing so fast. Then on to the orchard where a red-winged black bird kept circling me then landing on a pear tree. There must be a nest close by.

Comfrey is in bloom now. I could hear the bees buzzing as I walked into the orchard. We have it planted around most every tree in the orchard. Great for pollination and a nitrogen fixer besides. You can also use comfrey for a liquid fertilizer or cut the leaves to use as a mulch. There are herbal uses for comfrey, too. It is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and reduces swelling and inflammation when used in poultices or beeswax based lotions. It is not to be used internally. Comfrey in bloom

Tomorrow I head back to Illinois to catch up on work, go to the chiropractor and rest up for a weekend visit with Steve's brother & sons. And most important, see Steve. Then I'll drive back up next week for another session of the same thing. Mowing, weeding & catching up with the neighbors.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Garlic Chives in Bloom

Well, I made it up to the farm yesterday. All by myself. No big deal except it is the first time since the accident that I've done this. I took a back way around Rockford & being Sunday, Madison wasn't too busy.

It was only 58 degrees. The forecast predicted storms for later in the evening so I got busy right away in the garden. Miller Nurseries out of New York sent me replacement strawberries for the 25 that didn't survive planting so I did that first then weeded all the strawberries. Mowing was next. That took about three hours. The orchard was looking neglected so the clippers came out & I trimmed around all the trees. Finishing up around 8:30, I came inside to call Steve, eat something for dinner and check the weather. Organic cantaloupe from the co-op along with some raw cheddar cheese (Organic Valley), a fire in the wood stove and I was all set. It started thundering as I was reading the local paper. The forecast was now a warning for severe storms, lots of dangerous lightening, high winds. Fun. I really don't like storms that much but I was a brave farmer and read until the storm was over (about 12:30 am) before nodding off. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey is a great book if you get the chance to read it.

This morning I awoke to cloudy skies. I dreamt that it had snowed a couple inches so I was very happy to see green grass :-)

Now it is raining steady and the weeding will have to wait. Maybe until tomorrow. I was planning on going home tomorrow. I'll have to play it by ear. Everything is coming up in the garden, but if I don't weed, the next time I'm here I won't be able to see the plants.

I'll go up to see Eli, Lizzie & the kids next door later and wait for the rain to stop...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Pea Tee Pees & Another Busy Weekend

When I was in kindergarten, we had a big tee pee in the classroom made from poles & covered with paper we had drawn pictures on. Only three kids could fit in it at once so we took turns. I loved being in there. A little Indian. Well, I now have my own version of the tee pee of my youth.

It was pea & pole bean planting time this weekend so we brought up some bamboo poles we had left over from a job at the shop. They were about 10 feet tall. Steve pounded them at an angle about a foot into the ground (while I held the ladder). He then tied them at the top with black plastic ties made for outdoor use.Then I started to make a netting by tying cotton string first horizontally then vertically so the plants could climb up the tee pee.Here is one tee pee done. After I finished wrapping the other two horizontally, I ran out of string. It was already around 8pm so running to the store was not an option.Here they all are. The first one is Sugar Snap Peas, next is Amish Snap Peas & last is Ideal Market Bean.What else did we do this weekend? We planted:

Another row of potatoes

Cabbage-red (9) green (6)
Brussels Sprouts (14)
Eggplant (3) Diamond & Apple Green
Parsley-curly & flat
Dill-Grandma Einck's
Basil- Genovese
Leeks (about 75

We also intensively weeded around the blueberries, strawberries and garlic and did a pretty good job throughout the rest of the garden. We also added some peat moss and coffee grounds to the blueberries and strawberries to raise the acidity.

Some of the tomato plants didn't make it that we planted last weekend. I think the cool nights and wind did them in. They could have been hardened off a little better. So I lost nine Large Red Cherry, three Brandywine, one Wisconsin 55 & one Amish Paste. Let's hope the other 21 tomato plants left make it until next week.

We also finished putting tree protectors around the hazelnuts & seeding clover in the swales and Steve mowed.

I brought the peppers up to plant but after seeing the tomato plants, I chose not to put then in yet. I will be making the trip up sometime next week & plan to plant them then.

Saturday was a long day. We were out of bed by 6 am and stayed outside until sunset. We ended the day with by cooking soy brats over the campfire while the sun set.
Sunday we got up early again to get ready to leave. We left to go to a birthday party for my great-niece Addie who is turning four. It was a fun party with a " pet" theme. She asked for donations to the local shelter. Her mom Trisha served cake & ice cream in doggy dishes & had dog treat cookies & litter box chex mix complete with a scoop. The birthday girl Addie.

This weekend is Steve's dad's 80th birthday so we will be having a party for him on Saturday.
Two more therapy session to go (I hope) and I will have more time on my hands so I can blog more again. It's not that I don't like the therapy. It just wears me out. It's been almost a year since the accident (July 2nd) . Who knew we would still be going to the doctor.
The next few weeks will be busy ones for us. This weekend the party, next weekend Steve's brother Bill & sons will be visiting from Oregon and the weekend after that is the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin which we will go to on Friday and then to Minnesota for a week of vacation with family. I am going to go to the farm to plant peppers & mow sometime between now and then :-)

Tomorrow I get to see our daughter Kristin & son-in-law Tim. We'll be taking them to O'Hare airport on their way to Mexico for a week. Wish I could tag along. We kidded with them about the swine flu and having mask tan lines on their faces when they get back. I know ...swine flu isn't funny..... ;-)