"Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row."
We are in full swing of summer life here on the farm, and do say it's busy might just be an understatement. There are days I wonder about what we've taken on. When my garden is overgrown in grass is one of them. Luckily with my gardening method, this isn't too much of a challenge if I have a good. Which, incidentally, I do. I have several to be precise. I may have a mild love affair with my Japanese sickle. It is a true workhorse on my farm . I use it to take down 2nd year burdock, to cut all the grass around my plants and drop it on my plants, to cut herbs, to cut Comfrey (oh Comfrey! I have several bunches sitting on the trampoline that I need to tie and hang - ADD moment sorry), to cut rabbit food. The list goes on. I've even cut fencing with it (whops!).
I have more tomato plants this year than I have done since we moved here. Last year I started fermenting my tomato products and fell in love. If you are on facebook and interested in fermented products, you have to check out the group Wild Fermentation. You could spend days searching the archives alone. It's a very active group but I love it and use it often during the growing season. One of my favorite discussions on tomatoes is this one.
My tomato set up this year is a bit different. I think I have close to 20 plants with most of them on strings under a cattle panel trellis. I am planning on climbing pumpkins up the trellis behind the tomatoes. We shall see how that goes. Check it out below.
We only did 4 squash plants this year which will likely be enough once they start producing. Thanks to the good graces of one of I was able to do squash. I didn't get plants at the local nursery soon enough and when I was ready they were sold out. Ahh well, they will start producing later but I am hopeful they will be abundant.
Then we have beans. And ooh boy do we have beans. I may have gone a bit bean crazy this year. I have all my plants panted biointensively but my beans boy. I had almost no seedling losses. So I have 14 feet of pole beans and about 60 green bush bean plants. Oy! I see fermented beans on the horizon!
A new crop for us this year was corn. We were able to find non-GMO verified sweet corn. Figured it would be fun for the kids. The peas are also fun for the kids and they love them! I just had to tie the top of the peas to the trellis today as they are getting a bit unruly. But they are producing quite well for only 8 feet of peas. I have snap and shell mixed together. The kids garden is pretty much just sun gold tomatoes at this point. Sun gold's that need a trellis or cage of some sort!
Garlic is getting ready to harvest. I have a couple fallow beds and then there's my kale and cucumber bed which is rocking. I have the cucumbers on strings this year going vertical. Should be interesting! They are currently about 18" tall. We've had crazy weather so I'm grateful they are that big. My younger son also planted radishes and I planted carrots. The carrots aren't doing much but I have two rather large radish piles.
Then there's my herb garden...which is A MESS! But both the licorice and Ku-shen came back (happy dance!). My Bocking 4 and `14 Comfrey is doing really well and I had an amazing surprise this spring when my Astragulus came back (being zone 3/4 with very little snow cover last winter, I was shocked). The cat used my feverfew and mugwort plant starts as her bathroom...so they didn't take, but my lavender overwintered and is currently blossoming. It's LOVELY! My sea kale appears to have established itself which is exciting (until I have to move it again because it's in a row that's probably going to turn into greenhouse in the future). My other perennials are doing wonderfully but the garden really needs some love! It's getting overrun by grass and the paths need another layer of mulch.
This post is getting long. If there are any plants I've listed that you're interested in, please contact me. I'm sure we could work something out assuming I have enough to part with.
If you want to keep track of us when we aren't posting updates to the blog (because life has a tendency to get away from me at times, please follow us on facebook, instagram, twitter or pinterest.
I can not tell you what a pleasure it is to finally have sunshine! All I want to do is be outside. I keep dragging my children outside for every little bit of sunshine we can get as well as working in the garden. Wee man is getting more sun then I would like...he won't keep hats on. Apparently wee ones don't like things on their heads once they figure out they can take them off themselves. Makes you wonder if they are simply tolerating it up until the point of realizing, "HEY, I don't have to deal with this BS anymore! I can remove it MYSELF." And they do. Over and over and over again... I have yet to find a successful hat. But hoods, oh hoods work! They don't come off! They don't have a brim either... but much to the chagrin of my wee one, they don't come off.
I don't know about everyone else out there but my life sure has a way of being very full. The morning starts and everything gets rolling and then daddy's walking in the door and the day is over. In the blink of an eye you are literally in the future. Amazing. I am watching my infant grow so quickly. I haven't been documenting with photographs like I did my older child. Am I going to remember it all? What else have I been doing? I think back to when he was 1, 2 or 3 months old and it feels like an eternity ago...
I love herbs and have been studying at home for some time now (through Rosemary Gladstar's home course). When I was young I "helped" my grandmother develop and build an herb garden. Needless to say, now she's stuck with a garden that gets regularly overgrown with the mint family plants because those seem to be what survived! Go figure. She has kept up with the garden and now I have my own so I don't play in hers anymore, but she has gifted me several herbs which I use in my gardens and orchard.
I hope there is some interest in this area. I love herbs and hope to find others sharing their herb recipe's, nourishing infusions, salves, or herbal writings. I will likely utilized this as a place to keep track of the herbs that I am personally studying as well and the adventures I am having in herb land (a lot of wild fermenting too!). Who knows, I may even get better about pictures (and take some of my own!). Please share in the comments section any herb specific posts.
One of these days I will post pictures. I have decided that I am just not great at taking/posting pictures. I'm sure it would make these ramblings much more interesting to read. Honestly, I am lucky I get to write at all!
In the spirit of "Waste Not, Want Not" Wednesday, which I was going to start as a blog roll myself if someone didn't already have it running (which someone does so I'm just going to add my thoughts to that list instead), lets talk animal fat!
My dear husband and I were having a conversation yesterday in the car. That particular conversation sparked my husband to quote Jack Sparrow. "The problem is not the problem, your attitude about the problem is the problem." Now I'm not sure that's the exact quote but it did get me thinking. I have been wanting to write more (lets be honest, I've been wanting to write and haven't figured out how...) and as I lay it bed this morning with my two sleeping boys it occurred to me that the problem was in fact not the problem, I was thinking about it all wrong. So as I sit on the chest I made in high school in close proximity to my sleeping infant and right outside my toddlers room where I can watch him play, I think I have figured it out. Granted I am using a discarded printer paper box as my desk and the iPad as my computer, I am in fact writing.
In all our deeds, the proper value and respect for time determines success or failure. ~Malcolm X
Mini successes. I cleaned my house yesterday just by putting one foot in front of the other and sticking to one room at a time! Usually I am whizzing all over the place and picking things up left right and sideways and never seem to make it anywhere. Yesterday, I just did what I could do and it didn't take nearly as long. Perhaps this was a lesson learned? I have other tasks I am still working on catching up on but we have done quite a lot in the past week.
It's been a beautiful morning. I sat down to write earlier and little man decided it was time to get up. So after a sentence I was interrupted. But at 6:20 it was already nearly 70 degrees. Unbelievable weather for this time of the year. The guy working on our bathroom said Mother Nature made a fibber of him. He said we don't usually get grass until June but we've got grass! Oh do we have grass. I will have to mow the lawn here shortly.
Sometimes I feel like time isn't on my side. I know I have just as much time as the most brilliant minds of our (and past) centuries but man, where does it go! Since the last time I wrote here, we have had 6 lambs, canned up 4 gallons of syrup using our home made cinder block arch and an open fire, brought a mama sheep back from the brink, milked one of our sheep very successfully (they are not supposed to be milk sheep but she has wonderful production and a BIG baby), built a make shift pallet fence for part of our field, finally got our hoop house to withstand wind, and probably some stuff I'm forgetting.
“Let the beauty we love, be what we do.” ~ Rumi
It's funny, as I sit here today with the rain coming down outside and our 2+ feet of snow melting quicker then I can boil down my sap, how contemplative I am. I am feeling compelled to write. If I didn't write, my day would be unfulfilled. I have a kitchen that needs to be scrubbed top to bottom, dishes from a day's kitchen adventures waiting and a new pressure cooker waiting to be filled with beef bones to make stock, but I choose to write instead. The living room is in now better state. My mind will not quite, it's all a buzz with the things of spring, the sheep hiding from the rain in their make shift hoop house and all the thoughts of babies, human or otherwise that need to be prepared for. That's only the last 15 minutes, before that it was nutrition, health and healing...a go to subject for my ever churning thoughts.
There is also the challenge of what to title this post...
Hi there, Wysteria here. I will be writing as regularly as possible on behalf of my family and regarding our adventures in farming, food, health and things of the like. My interest range widely and my brain wanders far. Namaste.