Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Heating Up

We are having some pretty warm weather in these parts, but it wouldn’t be Minnesota without some heat, humidity, and biting insects.  Today we are in the low 90’s and the deer-flies are a particular nuisance.  I’m alternating working outside with indoor chores.  Kevin and Kurt left for boy scout camp this morning with the troop.  I know they will have a great time; otherwise they wouldn’t keep going back every year, right?

Below you will see a field that's just green.  Those are the sunflowers on the left and just a few are blooming now.  We will be back next week with an updated photo… I’m thinking the whole field will be blooming by then… we’ll see.  We’ve never grown sunflowers like this before and are hoping our combine can harvest them for us. 

Black oil sunflower seeds aren’t just for the birds to eat; the pigs, chickens, and goats all enjoy sunflower seeds.  Maybe I should look into how practical it would be to press them for oil.  Sunflower oil would be a nice addition to the goat-milk soap. 

The garden is becoming quite jungle-like.  We’ve had ample rain and with the warm weather, everything is thriving.  The peas are about done but now the beans are coming on.  There are still just a few tomatoes ripening, so I am looking forward to some quantity from them.  I’m just a couple of days away from cucumbers too. 
My sister Carolyn was up this weekend and we stopped by Righteous Oaks farm to drop off a couple of things and see how the little pigs are doing.  Here is a picture that Carolyn got with her phone.  The little guy just wouldn’t stop moving and the rest of the litter wouldn’t come out of the long grass for a photo op, so this is the best I have.    Cute though, almost as cute a goat kid!  I love the stripes!

I’ll leave you with a picture of Mickey relaxing on the deck.  I wish you all a good week.  Be well friends. 
He's a pretty hot dog!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Peas and Other Pleasures

What a beautiful weekend! 

I have a new view of the garden to show you.  Yeah!  The corn stood itself back up!  Everything is really flourishing out there.  We are getting a handful of raspberries from the new planting and today picked the first ripe tomato, a Sungold cherry.  Kori is visiting today, and she got the pleasure of eating it.
Kori took this photo with her phone... maybe should have added a pea to complete the smiley face!

It’s not all good of course.   There is a nasty little black bug eating up my Chinese cabbage and arugula.  Fortunately, it’s not eating the kale, so it’s not too much of a bother. 

You know, I’ve heard the comment on more than one occasion when someone looks at the garden.  “That’s a lot of work”.  I was thinking about that while I was picking peas today.  Here I am, enjoying the warm sun, listening to the birds and the wind whispering through the corn, enjoying a pea snack now and then… work? Hardly.  Work is what I do in my office.  What goes on in my garden is just living.

There are roses in three corners of the garden.  This one is Blanc Double de Coubert.  All of the roses are very fragrant but this one is my favorite.  Earlier in the season the bugs eat the blossoms up, but they seem to be leaving it alone now.  It’s tucked away in the far NE corner, so it’s really just there for me to enjoy.

I’ll finish up with a couple of critter pictures.  This one of Boy Pig is not very clear but I caught him on the run with his wattles flying and I think it’s kind of funny.

Javier has been such a good bird for me.  He’s pretty old for a chicken and is starting to have some leg problems so I don’t know how much longer he will be with us.  He will be a tough act to follow for the next rooster. 

I guess that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.  Be well.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I'm late! It's Monday already!

The weekend just flew by, and though I did have time to post a blog last night, we were in the midst of a nasty thunderstorm so kept the computer shut down in case of a power outage.  We didn't get one, but some of the nearby towns did suffer with trees down and other storm damage.  We just got lots and lots of rain and wind.  This was a follow-up to a storm on Sunday morning that gave us a couple of inches of rain and a little hail.  The evening storm did blow down some of my corn but I am hopeful that it's still small enough (just above waist high) to stand itself up again... I didn't take a picture, it's just too sad.

Anyway, most of the garden news is good.  We have some of these...

And some of these...

And that makes for a happy Swedish man because there is nothing Kevin likes better (really, nothing!) than that first meal of new potatoes and creamed peas.  I've heard the same from many folks, mainly old-timers and mainly those of Swedish decent.  Is it that, or is it just a regional dish?  I don't know.

The hens are not laying very well these days.  They had better step it up... their replacements are really growing!

And, just have to show you this little visitor from this morning...

Kevin expanded the pigs beyond the coop-yard, which is now thoroughly turned over so they have some grass to graze (yep, pigs do graze) and new ground to til.  They are very happy about this new arrangement.  When they eat this up and get it all turned over, we will move them again, another step out into what was the horse pasture.

This weekend went by so fast because we hosted a farm tour and pot-luck supper for our local Sustainable Farming Chapter yesterday.  The farm tour actually began a couple of miles away at Righteous Oaks Farm where Ivy (Vinca's doeling from last year) showed off what an escape artist she is!  She looks like a fine dairy goat to me and I am proud of her.  Mat, Katie, and their boys also had 13 adorable newborn baby pigs to show the visitors.... way, way cute!!!  Hopefully they will get a picture on their blog soon, but haven't posted one so far.  Anyway, when the group finished up at their farm, everyone caravaned over here and we had a great time showing them the garden, the fields and the animals, and followed that up with a great meal and just a good time sharing experiences. 
I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Ardis and Rollie, Kurt, and Kori for helping us get ready for the event.

So, thanks for stopping by the blog.  I wish you a good week, and please, be well.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Notes from the long weekend

Happy Post-Independence Day everyone!  Sunday night again.  As usual, a lot of activity was packed into the weekend, even more so than usual since it was a three day.  Friday passed in a blur of garden and house chores.  One thing really stands out though...

Last weekend I encountered a good sized garter snake in the garden, basking on the leaf mulch in the tomato bed.  Apparently the large pile of leaf-mulch outside the garden, just behind the shed was a snake hang-out because as I hauled the last of the leaves away I ran across at least three of them.  Big ones.  Then on Saturday, I discovered two of them using my garden shed for their new clubhouse....
This one was just a little baby one, kind of cute, sort of...

Now I politely knock before opening the shed to get a tool.  I'm not really afraid of them but... I guess I just don't like snakes.  Sorry snake fans.

I am pretty please with how the garden is going.  Most everything looks pretty good out there.  We had the first sugar snap peas for supper tonight.  The potatoes are pretty happy up on the hill and while I have found a few potato bugs, they are not unmanageable.
Aren't these potato flowers pretty?

I have a new photo of the view from the milking stand:

What's wrong with this picture?  Two things.  One is the haze, which is smoke from the fires up in Canada, and the other is the yellow area in the oat field.  That is mustard blooming where is not welcome.  We're not sure where it came from.

ForestRanger moved house again, or rather their house and paddock moved again today.  This will be happening every weekend as they rapidly eat everything up.  While Kevin was rearranging things, they visited with Javier and the hens in the Summer Coop yard.  The weeds that the chickens don't care to eat are very tall and we lost Forest for a while
Forest?  Where are you?

Ah Ha!
Have a great week everyone, and be well.