Monday, July 9, 2018

Back to Work

As I said, we've been back to work this week.  JP, J and I have been at our jobs, and L was at Basketball Camp.  It has been a super hot week - until things cooled off this weekend (we even had our windows open all day yesterday!)

The blueberries have been producing for the past couple of weeks.  I think that I picked about 7 1/2 gallons myself this week, and several friends and neighbors picked last week and this weekend as well.  I have frozen over 4 gallons of berries, dried about 1 1/2 gallons, made jam, blueberry muffins, blueberry cobbler, blueberry cheesecake and blueberry pancakes, and eaten them with my yogurt every day!  I think they are starting to finally slow down!

I managed to get 2 beds of corn planted before vacation, and it looks like it might be starting to come up!  I spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday, just weeding the paths, and it is STARTING to look better.

My herb garden is looking good.

Clockwise from front:  Purple Basil, Oregano, Sweet Basil
Chives, Parsley, Thai Basil & Rosemary (center)

John built a shade structure for the chickens so that we could move the electric fencing for their yard.

As you can see, they completely denuded the ground behind the fencing.  They seem to be enjoying their access to greens!

That's about the extent of work at the farm in the past couple of weeks!  How does your garden grow?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Back From the Beach

We actually got back from the beach about a week ago, but I have had problems transferring photos from my phone to the computer.  JP finally moved them all for me this AM, so I am FINALLY posting about our wonderfully relaxing vacation in Erie, PA.

We stayed in a great Airbnb house about a mile and a half from Presque Isle, that was completely tricked out with screens in every room and fancy lighting.  There was even this guy in the garage (with 2 screens of it's own.)

We rode bikes on Presque Isle a couple of times.

The water was cold, but the sun was warm, and the beach had lots of flat rocks that were perfect for skipping.

One day we took a day trip up to Ontario, so that the girls could visit Canada and Niagara Falls for the first time.  We rode a boat down under the falls, decked out in red ponchos.
This is where our boat sailed...

J was completely closed up in her poncho!
This is what it looked like up under the Horseshoe Falls

We had a really great vacation.  Due to his new job, JP did not spend the entire time working.  We came home refreshed and (for a change) not exhausted.

This past week has been spent getting caught up around Poplar Ridge, and heading back to work.  L spent the week at Basketball Camp at the new Rec Center in town.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Plink, Plank, Plunk...

You may recognize the title of this post as the iconic sounds made by blueberries hitting the bottom of the bucket in the book, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey.  L and I picked over a gallon of the lovely berries yesterday.

I am thoroughly frustrated with my garden again this year, but things like my fantastic strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb and asparagus, that come back year after year with minimal attention are the saving grace of the entire space!  L and I have finally planted out all of the plants that I started from seed indoors, and we planted seeds in her beds.  I spent 3 hours on Tuesday evening prepping one raised bed and planting it with corn.

This is the issue:  I don't have 3 hours to spend just planting each of the 13 raised beds that we have, let alone keep up with the weeds, that are once again taking over the walkways that I spent hours and hours covering with wood chips 2 summers ago.  This is one of the reasons that we downsized the garden space this year.  We have tried for more than 5 years practice no-till gardening, but it just isn't working here with this soil that is mostly clay.  JP has promised to try to till the raised beds with our roto-tiller, but in the meantime, in order to be able to get some corn this year, I guess I will attempt to plant hills of corn in 2 more beds so that I don't have to work the soil very much.  Everything else will have to wait for another week, as we will be too busy to work in the garden next week.

My flower gardens are continuing to be lovely.  In fact, my goal was to have them grow so thickly with perennials that I don't have to weed or mulch on a regular basis...and it's almost there!  I go out for about an hour once a month to pull weeds and dead-head flowers, and everything continues to look pretty nice!  Here is what is blooming this week:

2 varieties of Lillies, red Bee Balm, and Shasta
Daisies from my friend, T

We finally got the pool open for swimming, and have actually been in several times.  The persistent rain is keeping us out lately.  JP is continuing to work on the deck and entrance, and on fencing the entire pool.

J has started her summer job as of Monday.  She is not enjoying it as much as last year, when she worked the circulation desk at the Library.  This summer she is working in the Literacy Department at the Library, which sees many fewer patrons, and was in need of a good clean out due to recent personnel changes.  She doesn't like to clean very much!

L has been very helpful in the garden, with the pool, and generally around the farm.

JP spends hours mowing.

The only ones who take it easy on a regular basis are the kitties.  In the summer they like to sleep on our deck chairs, or recently under the new pool deck.

Summer really and truly starts today, so make the most of it!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Flowers and Quirky Kids

I thought I'd post pictures of my outside potted plants this year.

In my big iron kettle, I've got a black and white theme going on.  I've got a "Black Magic" petunia, "Blackie" sweet potato vine, and "Wicked" ornamental pepper, along with a white begonia and a random zinnia.

Hanging in front of the main door are two fuchsias that were a bargain at Aldi a month ago.  I've never grown fuchsias before, but I want to try to overwinter them.

J fell in love with this "Candy Cane" verbena.  It reminds me of those starlight mints that you get at Pizza Hut.

The girls and I went out Thursday afternoon for summer clothes shopping.  J was having a hard time finding jean shorts that fit her body type.  At home, she is frequently wearing 20 year old jeans of mine with the legs cut off, and she says she loves the way the "mom jeans" fit.  After trying on shorts at 5 or 6 stores, we went into American Eagle Outfitters, and she stumbled upon their "Mom Shorts" style...which fit her perfectly.  Mom jeans...go figure.

When we got the summer clothes out of storage here at home, L decided to wear a light nightgown to bed.  She stopped wearing them a couple of years ago because they "aren't comfortable."  She talked herself in and out of wearing the "nightengown" for a couple of nights, and I think it has finally ended up in the donate box.

I was hoping to get the pool uncovered and cleaned today, but the girls are too busy watching Carpool Karaoke on YouTube to get dressed.  I guess swimming isn't a priority today!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

And So It Begins...

On Friday, the girls had 2 hours of school before being dismissed for summer vacation.  We attended the annual "End of School" party at our friends' house, with a bunch of other kids, and about 1300 water balloons and pizza.  Here they are crossing the line between "School" and "Summer."

 JP and I have been working on a bunch of projects for the upcoming season.

We moved the lower fence in the garden up about 20-25 feet, and took out the bottom 2 raised beds.  I just couldn't handle all of the garden on my own!  We have covered the strawberries and blueberries against bird predation, and I have picked strawberries at least 3 times.

My asparagus bed is now out in the open,
surrounding by netting to keep the deer out.

This weekend we have been trying to get the pool opened.  The stairs in the pool have broken the past 2 years, and this time were un-fixable.  We are building a small deck to attach a new ladder to.  This was all we managed to accomplish all weekend, including 2 trips to the hardware store for supplies.  The posts are pounded 3 feet into the ground, and the frame of the decking is bolted to the posts.  We still need to attached the ladders in and out, and will be putting PVC fencing all around the pool so that we can install the basketball hoop and volley ball net that JP got for Father's Day 3 years ago, and won't have to worry about losing the balls!

In addition, there has been plenty of mowing and weeding going on.

Next week, L has BBall camp, and we need to do the summer clothes shopping.

Zippidee doo dah - we're off into summer!

Saturday, June 2, 2018


This week in the flower garden:

Peony, Clematis, Yarrow and my little yellow rose...

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Now blooming:  an especially fragrant peony, pink yarrow, lamb's ears and bleeding hearts.