Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farm and Garden Report - April 19

I haven't written a farm and garden report for ten months. Ten months! I don't know what happened. Why didn't I write in July and August and September? There are a few postings under the 'farm and garden' label but I guess there just wasn't enough in them to call them a 'report.' I do know it was a very dry July, with rain only one day. The daylilies came and went post-haste (I've always wanted to use that in a sentence!). We did get a lot of vegetables from the garden.

Unlike the ducky in the blog header, we are having a bit of a dry spell just now. There have been some grass fires in nearby towns. It is supposed to rain this weekend. These days of Tom's vacation week have been just perfect for gardening. Sunny, warmish, breezy.

Last year he put in a new raised bed on the other side of the fence from the patio. It turned out to be too shady for most vegetables so this year it is to be solely for lettuce.


Today I transplanted the little plants, Black Seeded Simpson


and Optima Butterhead Lettuce


which we started from seed under the lights a few weeks ago.

Yesterday Tom planted the Siskiyou Sweet Walla Walla onion seedlings and Primor French Baby Leeks in a bed which already had two chive plants. For a couple weeks now we've been eating fresh chives, the first edible plant in our garden.


Today I popped in the little Egyptian Walking Onions in that same bed. These are fascinating little perennials which you may read about here. This afternoon I'll plant the Green Arrow Peas, and that will be it until the danger of a hard frost is past on Memorial Day.

Our sheep shearer Katie came yesterday. I've written a few letters about this annual event: in 2007, in 2010, and last year. She is a joy, as always, but this visit included a sad surprise. Tom had led the sheep into a large stall three hours before she came. The goats go in too because Katie trims their hooves. When she arrived and walked into that stall, one of the goats, Bracelet, lay there dead. She had been quiet for a while and not as eager to eat but still it was a shock to find her there. Tom moved her out of the stall during the shearing and buried her later. He has buried a lot of animals in the thirty-one years we've lived here. He always does the job alone with his thoughts, and may sometime share those thoughts on the blog.

The daffodils, bloodroot, and panolas are in blossom. Those panolas! Do you know what they are? They are a hybrid between pansies and violas. Their faces are in between them in size, but they definitely take after the viola side of the family when it comes to spreading. Around here pansies are an annual you buy at the store, while violas or their other name, which I love, 'johnny jump-ups,' pop up literally everywhere. And the panolas are even more hardy and prolific. Tom's mother gave me some and I planted them in one of the raised beds. They practically took it over. We dug them up in the fall to make room for more vegetables in that bed, and now they have self-seeded in nearby beds and in the garden paths.


I'm not complaining. They are beautiful and cheery wherever they choose to appear.


The adorable little grape hyacinths (Bucket!) are up,


along with the scillas.


I got these bulbs six years ago from that wonderful purveyor of heirloom flowers, Old House Gardens. All the other flowers are up and growing but blossoms are a ways off yet.

We transplanted the rhododendron we bought last year. It was in the middle of the lawn and we feared it getting too big for that space so we put it in a corner out by the new clothesline. It is just to the left of the old stone wall. (you may click to see it better)


It looks a little sorry just now but those buds promise new life this spring.


For years now I've been posting pictures of the daffodils which grew in front of an old stone planter which was here when we bought the place. I bet we've tried four or five different things inside the planter over the years and nothing has worked. It made the corner crowded and so this year Tom took it down. Now the daffodils have a little space where they may spread.


We have a second daffodil area just across the road, amongst some lilacs.


Bloodroot also grows there.


and a clump of chives. The flowers will be gone by when the lilacs come out, and the chives grow just fine there all summer. This isn't a good photo, but it will give you an idea. I love this area.


Speaking of photos, I am increasingly unhappy with mine. I have read that my particular camera, with which I was so happy at first, may take blurry pictures as time goes on. I find I'm taking fewer and fewer photographs. I am open to any and all suggestions you may offer on a small but effective camera. Though I hate to buy another one, I really do miss good, clear pictures.

38 comments:

  1. I always love hearing about your spring planting and other duties. So sorry about Bracelet.

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    1. I am so pleased that you like these postings.
      And I thank you.

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  2. I love the farm and garden reports. I especially like your garden posts because 1) they remind me of May Sarton describing what's going on in her New England garden, and 2) I like seeing how Spring is doing in your part of the Country. Our spring is so far advanced it is pretty astonishing. I have been harvesting greens that John planted, but alas, not from seed.

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    1. Thank you! I plan to read/reread some May S. soon.
      We started to have an early spring with some temps in the 80s, but then they went back down and it was cloudy and cool again like normal.

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    2. Don't know if you can find a copy, but May Sarton's The Fur Person is a must read for cat lovers. It was published in 1957 and I have it in paperback. I've re-read this book many times and always enjoy it anew.

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    3. I knew a woman who loved that book, and I really should read it! Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. Your panolas sound facinating. I have never been able to get pansies or violas to take here. I don't know why. Sad about your goat. Don't you wish animals could talk to us and tell us what is going on with them? It is like having an toddler in some ways. Your garden is shaping up what with taking out the old planter and installing new clothes line etc. Your raised beds look great. Sometimes I get a hankering for some. I haven't taken the plunge yet. Happy Spring.

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    1. The panolas might be just the answer, then. Much heartier and vigorous than either of the 'parents.'
      Animals could be role models for us. They accept. They go with exactly what is happening. I had a grandfather who died in his barn which sounds pretty good to me.
      The raised beds have worked out very well. I definitely recommend them.

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  4. Yes, Yes! More farm reports!
    Loved this.
    We are setting out our vegetables tomorrow.
    Butter peas and half-runner beans.
    Tomatoes and cucumbers.
    Okra will wait till May. It loathes the cold.

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    1. Thank you!
      I'll have to look up 'butter peas.' We planted okra once many years ago - not so fond of it.
      Ah, tomatoes and cucumbers - can't wait!

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  5. Love your bright new cheery ducky header, Nan. :)
    And loved learning about your garden preparations. But I was saddened by the story of Bracelet. I know our animals generally die before we do, but it's still hard to reconcile. It's all hard work I know, farming and such. Shearing the sheep. (I can't help it I always smile at the very idea.) But since I've only ever pretend farmed, I hope I'll be forgiven for underestimating the 'fun' aspect. still use my imagination about those 'furry little creatures' as Hercule Poirot calls them. :)

    Hope you're having a great Spring. The weather has been wonderful here.

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    1. I was so pleased to find this old cover. There may be more coming in future months. :<)
      Since our farm isn't really a working farm, it isn't much hard work. Tom does chores twice a day in the winter, which involves hauling a couple water buckets from the house spigot to the barn; putting down some hay; and offering a little grain to the animals and chicken feed to the hens. He loves it. That time in the barn is a quiet balance to the noise of all those students. :<)
      The animals here live long happy lives, and their only 'job' is to keep the trees from growing up in the pastures. They give us much pleasure just by living and grazing. It is soothing just to watch them.

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  6. I love your early plantings. Wish we had vegetables as well, it's a condo:(

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    1. Have you ever grown tomatoes or herbs in pots? I haven't had success but I know a lot of people rave about this way of growing in a small area.

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  7. Enjoyed this post, I see the similarity between your account and May Sarton that Thomas noted. I loved her journals so I think that's a compliment. We planted a garden this week at the Early Head Start Center that I supervise. The children are mostly too young to participate much (2 months--3 1/2 year olds) but two of the older kids came out when we were tilling the ground with little buckets and picked up rocks. The children come look at the garden as it grows and help water in summer. In Louisiana we water a lot. One of my workers and I plant the garden to get the teachers outside working in the soil, because they generally don't like outside or plants. They are a younger generation who have lost all affinity to the land.

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    1. Thank you! I'm a big May Sarton fan.
      That is very sad about the younger workers. Thankfully there are still young people going into farming/gardening ventures. Here is a wonderfully encouraging piece:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08verm.html?_r=1

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  8. Hooray a farm and garden report. I've missed these. Very sorry about Braclet. I had two pygmy goats once, Frick and Frack, and they were so entertaining. We couldn't keep them inside the fence unfortunately and had to send them to live on a ranch where they had more room...I worried about them and hoped they didn't end up in a bar-b-que!

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    1. Aren't you nice to say so!
      We had three pygmy goats years ago, and they were sweet-natured and, shall we say, amenable. Bracelet and Esther were supposed to be pygmy goats but when they were delivered, it was clear that they were not, and they were definitely not amenable. I've written before in my letters about trying to cope with goats. Bracelet had a good long life here. We've had these two for, gosh, over ten years and they weren't babies when they arrived.

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  9. How sad that your goat died,it must have spoiled an otherwise enjoyable day. You're not the only one unhappy with your photos - in my case it's the photographer rather than the camera that's at fault. The photos I took in Ireland are about the worst set I've ever done. Must try harder!

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    1. I popped in and looked at your post briefly the other day and will be back when I have a little time. It is possible I've been there.
      Sorry you aren't happy with your pictures.

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  10. Nought wrong with those pictures, if you ask me :-)
    But I know what you mean; I am not entirely happy with my camera, either, but it usually is sufficient for what I want to do with it.
    In my area, the daffodils are just past; we'll have to wait another year now to see them! Love the grape hyacinths, in German, these are called "Bauernbüble", Farmers' Boys, because the blue of their blossoms is the same that farmers shirts used to be in old times.
    Sorry to hear about the dead goat :-(

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    1. Thanks for the camera thought. :<)
      Love the name for grape hyacinths. I'll have to go look up those shirts.

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  11. Don't you just love Spring? Your plantings looks lovely and so healthy. I hope they get a little drink of the predicted rain this weekend.

    But I am sorry to hear about your goat Bracelet. I know these things happen, but that doesn't make it any easier.

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    1. We did some watering yesterday in case the rain doesn't arrive.
      Thank you.

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  12. I enjoyed this post! We are in very similar circumstances. The sheep were shorn last week here as well. So sorry for your sad discovery, it's hard to lose animals, esp. named and loved ones.

    We started our seeds late this year, but have been enjoying our egyptian walking onions on salads for the last 10 days or so, thanks to the very very mild March we had.

    Johnny jump ups are "jumping up" here and there on the property and we love finding them. The grandbabies pick them and bring them to me or their mama's with great ceremony. :)

    I'm loving using the clothesline again, esp. the special new spring smell in the clothes and bedding that only comes at this time of year.

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Niki

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    1. I so look forward to the Egyptian walking onions. I may have kept mine too long before planting, and if they don't grow, I'll order some more. Love the idea of them.
      Love the story of kids picking Johnny jump-ups. So dear.

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  13. Thank you for the tour, I'm so sorry about Bracelet, I am sure she had the most contented of goat lives with you. I prefer you to May Sarton, I don't know why but about half way through her books I always ended up melancholy, maybe it's just me.
    One minute warm sunshine, the next hailstones here in the Cotswolds, ah fickle spring!
    Carole

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    1. That's what our son Michael said- something about the best life an animal could have here at Windy Poplars. Nothing better for a sheep or goat or chickens than living on a vegetarian farm. :<)
      Not just you - I think May was often sad, maybe even depressed.
      I didn't know it hailed there!

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  14. Lovely pics Nan! And I love your new clothesline. Hanging out clothes is one of my all time favorite chores but we are not allowed to ha g clothes where we live now:(

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    1. I wonder what would happen if everyone put up a clothesline!

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  15. I am so sorry to hear about Bracelet. How sad for you and Tom to discover.

    Now, I must try to find panolas hereabouts and put some in, Nan. I enjoyed this farm and garden report, a treat as always to see and read. We had bloodroot in our old house, a division from a friend's garden. I wish I could have divided it again to bring here. Enjoy.

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    1. I got my bloodroot from a friend, too. It's fun to have something so early since I don't have crocus or tulips.

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  16. I enjoy your blog very much - thanks for the garden report! As an apartment-dweller I find it curiously satisfying to see what others do in the garden -- it just makes me happy!

    I think your pics are fine, but I can recommend my camera to you. My husband surprised me with it last Christmas. It's a Lumix FZ100 -- he bought it through B & H Camera. Go have a look at a local store and see if you like it. I am NOT skilled as a photographer (that would be my hubby!) but this camera makes my candid photos really shine.

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    1. Thank you for the camera recommendation! I'll check it out. And I thank you for your kind words about the blog.

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  17. What a shame that your camera is acting up! I wonder what the trouble is. Can it be repaired somewhere, I wonder? In all honesty, I don't notice a difference here on your blog.

    The bloodroot is so pretty, but you know, I've never heard of panolas. What a cheerful little flower! I have two pots of pansies on my front porch steps and they are such a pretty sight as I pull into our driveway.

    I am so sorry to read about Bracelet! I'm sure she was well-loved and will be missed. I've only buried one animal (a kitten) and it was heartbreaking.

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    1. From what I've read it seems to be just the camera.
      Panolas are great!
      Oh, my, I can't count how many dogs and cats and farm animals we have buried.

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  18. I'd never heard of panolas, although very familiar with johnny jump-ups as we called them in Oregon -- we had a backyard full of them, self-seeded because they rode in on wood we cut. I loved them. A wonderful farm and garden report. I am sorry about sweet Bracelet.

    It is cool that you are planting Walla Walla sweets. We were born and raised in Eastern Washington, not too farm from WW (the town they loved so much they named it twice). You can eat those onions like apples (and I have done that often!)

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    1. Loved hearing about both the jj-ups and the Walla Wallas!!

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