Monday, July 9 2012

Well, the sun finally hit, and summer, as we usually think of it, has arrived in the beautiful Willamette Valley.  The sudden onset of heat really does dramatically change the chores that I must start doing.

I REALLY don’t like to work in the heat so I try to rearrange my schedule so that I get up early and work while I am fresh in the morning.  The problem is that instead of then taking a rest at some point in the day, it means I try to cram as much as possible into a day and reach a potential burn out.  I burned out about September of last year, and it was really hard to recover from.  I have less tolerance and more burn out these days, so I try to be really careful.

The need to water seems urgent, and I find myself carrying water to our various plants that demand attention because of their new delicate conditions.  I planted more trees this week.  While it feels incredibly pointless to plant something now that won’t produce on a large scale for year.  I like to believe that the sweat and tears I put into setting up my farm this summer will mean that future summers will be full of delicious handfuls of freshly grown food.

Speaking of… we picked blueberries this morning.  We started off picking 25 pounds, and I got 30 pints into the freezer.  Not too bad for a first pick.  We plan to return tomorrow, so it will be good to possibly wrap up the blueberry pick this year for good.  We sure have been enjoying the sweet, summery blueberries this day.

Passage of Time Saturday, July 7, 2012

It has been hot around here, and when the temperatures start to climb above 80 degrees, the garden needs some watering attention.  I usually attack this chore first thing in the morning.  The plants can get a nice drink of water before having to endure the heat of the day.  It is also a time of day that no one else in my house dare be awake, so I get to work in solitude.  As I was watering the perennial herb garden I took note of my rosemary plant.  When we first moved in, some very thoughtful person had planted a rosemary, but it was planted in a shady spot with no drainage.  The plant was surviving, but barely.  When I started my perennial herb boxes, the top of one box called out as a place to transplant the rosemary.  I planted it, put some rabbit manure around it, and wished it the best of luck in it’s new home.  The next month, my friend Rebecca gave me some pruners for my birthday, and she suggested I test them out on the rosemary.  She told me to cut it back considerably and see what happened.  I was loath to torture the poor plant more, but after a few months of deliberating, I took her advice.  The poor plant, that was spindly and thin to begin with, was lopped back to almost nothing.  It didn’t look particularly attractive, and I was sad to think that we would have to do without rosemary for quite some time.

That image of that sorry rosemary was what stuck in my head, and every time I went out to the garden, it was what I saw the perennial herbs through.  Well, this morning, as the sun started to make its grand entrance into the world and I was out comfortably watering my rosemary, I realized that it had come alive!  With the love and attention and the food from the rabbit manure, this rosemary bush went from looking like a sad plant on its way to death to a healthy, vibrant, productive plant.  It is beautiful!

While I see a lot of the big changes that go on around here, new rock on the driveway, posts for barns being put up, new additions on old buildings, it is easy to miss the little things.  The project that I planted a year ago that has made it through one full season and is looking healthy and strong ready to please the eye and the palette.

I moved on to watering the blueberries, and I really took note of how the plants that I planted last year with scant foliage have come to grow into bushes, not yet full size, but big enough to bear some fruit this year, yet just a teaser for what we will see next year!  It has been easy to focus on what we will get in the future from things we have planted or are growing, but today, I am appreciating what I’ve got right now.

Blueberries planted last year waiting to be picked.

The strawberries I planted this spring have decided to surprise me as well. I expected nothing from them this year, but was surprised this morning with this little gem.


A post including the perennial herbs would never be complete without a view of the echinacea that my friend Rebecca gave to me a few years back. What a joy and a surprise to see it so happy in my care.


And of course, I’m looking to the future.  While blueberry season is upon us, we’ve decided to expand our patch by another row.  That will go in the ground in the next day or two.

I will also be heading off to pick some lavender from a farm today, but 22 fresh lavender plants wait on my porch to be planted this year.  Oh what will they look like next year after surviving the seasons we have yet to experience.



Planting Time!

During the dry spells between all this wet that we have been deluged with lately, I’ve been working on some tilling for the garden. Earlier in the year, we raised a batch of pigs on some pasture. We didn’t ring them, and we let them dig at and eat the grass down. After the pigs were butchered, we put chickens out to finish up the job. What we got in the end was a nicely fertilized patch of ground that only needed some tilling (and some holes filled in from the pigs).

I made it out to get some tilling down and managed even to get some of it done this week while the ground was dry enough (we even tilled some in the rain).

Yesterday, I managed to get the first parcel completed so that we could get some things in the ground for the garden. As soon as the tilling was done, we planted some zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions, carrots, beans, etc. I’ve got over half of the space planted out already! Looks like I’ve got the tomatoes hardened off even, so they are going into the ground in the next couple of days as well.

Of course, we are expecting MORE rain through the weekend, so my planting will be halted again, but that means that the things I got in the ground will be getting the water they need to sprout!

Additionally, I finished up some raised perennial herb garden beds. Before we moved to the farm, I had a garden for 4 years that was mainly culinary herbs and things. I pulled all the plants out of the ground at the old house and was trying to decide where to plant them. I FINALLY decided to build some raised beds similar to the ones that I had so that I could put the plants in their final places. Needless to say, they are all very happy with their new home (I filled the raised bed with the muck I took out of the cow barn during the spring cleaning).

I see lots of tasty things to eat in my future. Spring is such an exciting time, and I am so happy that I got to move my old garden into it’s new location that highlights just how much I like it.