It’s really JUNE 2018??? I thought sure that May would slink by slowly and it rained most every day leaving us with a total of six inches in the rain gauge. May was wet but beauty abounded on our farm and I’m going to show you just a touch of it!!
Three years ago I bought some rhubarb tubers for my garden.
We had some extra old tractor tires that I decided to use for the rhubarb bed. I didn’t put them directly in the ground because we have such a problem with wire grass. Wire grass regenerates itself by spread roots underground and it’s really hard to get completely out of any garden bed and flower bed. I laid black cloth under the tire and then filled it with garden soil and manure from my chickens and rabbits and mixed it up really good.
I expected it to grow but not as much as it did. The tire bed is 12 inches deep and 44 inches around. Three years later the bed is too crowded and my rhubarb it way too thick. I dug out two of the four plants in the bed and and divided the tubers into six pieces each and started a new bed near our quince tree in the corner of the garden.
The tubers are 12 inches apart in up and down the bed and across the bed. I fenced it off to keep the chickens from digging it up since we haven’t fenced off the garden yet.
The tubers in the tire bed have twice the room to grow and now maybe they won’t bloom as quickly.
The rhubarb stalks were getting about 8 inches long and then blooming, not good!! I always pull off the blooms to send the energy to the stalks.
I froze a lot of rhubarb last year. My favorite recipe is to clean and cut the stalks into one inch cubes (about four cups) and pour just enough water over the cubes in a saucepan and slow cook until the rhubarb cooks up. I take it off the heat and add two cups of sugar and box of our favorite jello. We especially like strawberry or raspberry jello but I’ve also used cherry or blackberry, yum!! Let it cool completely in the pan and serve. This usually makes enough for four pints of fruited rhubarb and I pour it in plastic tubs and freeze three of them. It freezes well and it’s fantastic to eat like applesauce or on toast like jams/jellies. DELIGHTFUL!
These cutting remind me so much of forsythia but they are in fact willow tree branches from a very old tree at my husband’s grandfather’s farm across the road from us.
Our daughter loves weeping willows and has bought several and planted at her new home on our family farm but they have all died.
Hubby and I decided to get some cuttings from Granddaddy Harry’s farm and see if I could get them started in a bucket of water. We cut about 50 branches of new starts, old branches and broken branches. I put them in a five-gallon bucket and filled it with water and placed the bucket under the roof overhang of the east facing side of our house/ They set there for about two months and the roots that came out on those branches were quite plentiful and very healthy.
In April, I set about 20 of the healthiest starts out in buckets of very fertile soil and the majority of them have lived.
Now all she has to do is decide how many she wants and where she will plant them. If they don’t make it there will be no money lost and my time was worth the wait to watch them become little trees. I love growing things!
I’ve worked hard since moving here 15+ years ago to have an ever-blooming yard of color. I think it’s been worth the hard work and determination. I’m including some more of the beauty that is showing now.
But we can’t forget the natural beauty out in the fields!
Go for a walk every chance you get and enjoy the beauty provides us everyday!
Yesterday was the first pretty day I’ve had in over a week without the wind trying to blow me off the mountain!!! Hubby was turkey hunting and our daughter was working on the yard at her new house so I decided to tackle the rest of our yard and it was bad!
I started raking around 1:00, I think, and finished about two hours later. I hauled my big wheelbarrow away with six packed-down loads. Now the entire yard has been cleaned up and I’m ready for some gorgeous flowers to brighten my life!!
I just took some empty jars to the cellar and took an accounting of what is left from summer 2016 canning.
We have a huge pile of potatoes leftover and will probably sell them in the coming months. I’ll can about 15-20 quarts but the rest will go in the garden for seed and we’ll eat some more until they start sprouting. They’re bakers and peeling size and have been so good throughout the winter.
Hubby has plowed the garden and we’re hoping we’ll get some spring rain on it before we disk it up for planting.
It also seems to get bigger each year!!! This year we’ll plan the usual crops of green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, melons, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and in the fall some turnips and field greens.
Hope your planting season is grand and praying we have an abundant season this year. In the coming weeks I’ll be cleaning off the various asparagus patches we have and watching the rhubarb show its sprouts already. I had six grape vines started new last year and they all survived but one. I bought this red grape to replace it.
We also went to Food Lion yesterday and bought three dwarf apple trees for the orchard at the mansion.
We’ve cleaned out the garden and everything has been stored, frozen or canned. Hubby did till up a few spots and planted some turnips as a winter crop. He loves them boiled and with almost every meal. I like them raw!!
I washed them good on the outside, split them in half, scooped out the pulp and seed and then sliced them to make peeling easier.
I diced them up in 1-2 inch pieces and put them in an old canner. I put one quart of water over them to cook on the stove on medium low heat.
They need to cook slowly to keep from sticking/scorching. I don’t add any seasoning until they’re to be used for pies, cookies, or pumpkin bread.
Once they’re tender enough to stick with a fork, I drain off the water and run the pumpkin through my sieve. It’s very important to get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible before mashing. I usually let the pumpkin set in the sieve for about 15-20 minutes so the water on the pieces will drip out. Dump this water out before pressing.
Out of the four pumpkins, I canned six pints and three quarts. I can’t wait to start baking with them. My pumpkin recipes will be added to my Recipes From My House To Yours page tomorrow.
I hope you can enjoy your garden harvest as much as we are. With Hurricane Matthew charging up the coast and a cold front moving in from the northwest I’ve used some of our harvest today to make a big pot of homemade soup!!! It’s suppertime!
It seems all I’ve accomplished this summer is canning. That’s not a bad thing but when you work so hard all summer and it all fits in one room it’s kind of underwhelming!!
We still need to harvest and freeze some more corn, dig the potatoes and sweet potatoes, harvest the pumpkins and late cabbage.
We froze 16 pints of corn this morning and it’s so sweet. During the summer I’ve kept busy filling these jars:
We froze 24 bags of broccoli and we we’re STILL waiting on the Brussel sprouts. We’ve never raised them before but the plants are about two feet tall, still healthy and a beautiful green. We see lots of little heads at the bottom of the stalk but not enough to harvest yet. They seem to be waiting on something.
I froze 25 half-pints of rhubarb and a few pints of applesauce and don’t need a lot because we have some left in the freezer from last year. I diced six gallon bags of green peppers.
We’ve fought potato beetles all summer and they seem immune to everything we’ve sprayed on them. The potato bin is empty now but looks like we’ll have a good harvest again. We were afraid with all the rain we’ve had this summer that they might rot.
I hope everyone’s harvest has been as wonderful as ours. The garden is still full of tomatoes and corn but I think we’ve put away all we need this year.
The hens have sure enjoyed all the scraps!
Please forgive my silence. Between the garden, animals and the issues unforeseen, I’ve just been inundated with work and only open the computer a couple times a week.
Our granddaughter graduated from high school in June and starts college in a couple weeks. Where has the time gone!!!
On top of that we have a brand new grandson born three months early and he’s in New Jersey (450+ miles from Virginia). He’s in a neonatal unit at Children’s Hospital in New Jersey. His mother had some major health issues which caused toxemia and the baby had to be delivered early on July 8th. He weighed 2 pounds and 2 ounces and 14 inches long. He’s a little fighter and gained some weight and now weighs 3 pounds and 15 inches long. Declan Bryant is his name. He’s having some serious issues this week and the little guy is exhausted. Shawn, our son, is in New Jersey this weekend to see him for the second time and he’s keeping us updated.
I’ve been canning and freezing green beans, broccoli, cabbage, pickles, squash, apples, rhubarb and Eddie told me last night that I’ll have more beans in the coming week and corn after that. We’ve pulled the onions and waiting on the brussel sprouts. We have a crock of kraut fermenting now and hope it’ll be ready before anything else comes in.
I’ve taken on two part-time jobs working on websites for two sisters and working away from the house on one of them 2-3 days a week. The other one I do from home. It’s a little extra spending money. Our big yardsale/estate sale was for one day and we cleaned out one house on the farm and made around $2500.00. I’m in the process of filling it up again from the other buildings and we may have one more sale next spring just to get rid of it all.
This is enough news for now but will catch up again later. I haven’t touched my blog in some time but haven’t given up on it.
One more bit of news, neighborhood dogs that aren’t watched after cleaned out our duck population in one night back in June, I think, and another one got in my chickens this week. I’m down to 21 hens and two roosters at this point.
This is just a quick catch up and I’ll hopefully be back soon! Love you my friends and want to ask you all to keep our grandson and son in your prayers.
While I wait for the freshly swept, mopped and waxed floor in the living room to dry I’ll take time to write about our 2016 garden. We thought we were very late getting it started but in fact this is the second year in a row that spring has come early to our farm and this neck of the woods. We had three, maybe four, heavy frosts/freezes in May but did get the old and new garden spot plowed, worked and tilled (three or four times).
We started planting the last week of May and it’s all worked out really well. We’ve had lots of rain but with a couple of days of dry weather and the wind we could get in to till and pull weeds.
Last year hubby said we would cut back and only plant about half of what we normally plant and I smiled!! 😉 He says this every year!! Not only do we have most of the old garden plot full, we also have the new plot which is attached to the old full. I’m going to be very busy come the middle of July!!
We’re currently bringing in black raspberries and freezing them. Soon there will be transparent apples to make applesauce and apple butter with.
Don’t you just love growing your own food????
I’m whipped in a good way and made a major accomplishment with the aid of my wonderful husband today.
This morning hubby tilled up the entire area for me and afterwards I worked for three hours raking, leveling, pushing, prodding and now we have a really nice bed to show off some of my favorite flowers.
It turned out a lot bigger than I had originally planned but it will be beautiful when all the plants are up and blooming.
I’ll be filling it full of tall flowers of hollyhocks, hibiscus, and coneflower and others as I find what I want but they’ll all be perennials and I’m planning to put a snowball bush as the end closest to the driveway but on the outside of the bed. There’s a young peach tree full of pink buds today at the other end of the bed. I will be planting all of the seeds in a couple of weeks after we warm up just a little bit more. I have a friend in Colorado that has just had another snowfall and I want to wait for that system to pass us by.
I think it’s going to be beautiful and will show off the side of the house as well. I can’t put a lot of perennials in the yard because there’s too much shade but this bed will get sun all day and will be somewhat protected from the north and west winds.
Our home and yard is surrounded by huge, beautiful maple trees. We use them for shade while relaxing in the yard, cooling the house in the summertime and making maple syrup in the spring. They’re beautiful in the summer and fall BUT they shade most all of my flowerbeds and I do love my flowers. Towards the end of summer I asked hubby if he thought trimming the lower limbs on the big maple in the front yard would damage the tree or change the cooling factor in regards to the house. He studied on it and we decided that during a real cold snap we would take off the bottom three largest limbs.
I will not give up the tree because we spent our afternoons when it’s hot and evenings there all summer long.
We did do the trimming this year and from the front porch it’s like a whole new world has lit up by just removing the bottom three large branches. I can only imagine how it will look during the summer. I have bulbs and tubers all along that fence that have a few blooms and I’m hoping this will improve their beauty and blooms.
It’s nothing major and won’t hurt the structure of the tree and hopefully the grass and flowerbeds on this side of the yard will benefit from the trim.
My beautiful daughter knows me so well and knows that in May I’m thinking about my flower gardens and what to hang on the porches, in the gazebo, in my antique wheelbarrow and anywhere else that I can find a hole to put some spring color!! The last couple years it’s red and purple and blue and white. Here’s what she came up with and presented to me for Mother’s Day 2015:
Few words and lots of photos of this years rose garden that I am so proud of. I thought I had lost most of the new roses I planted in 2014 due to the horribly cold weather we had but low and behold here’s what I’m singing praises for.
The rain and wind has battered them today so this evening after the storm passed through I trimmed off all the dead blooms, cut a vase for the kitchen table and now I’ll wait for them to all rebloom (I hope)!!
As you can see from the picture our house is surrounded by the beautiful maple trees which provide lots of shade in the summertime and maple syrup in the spring. We love the trees but it has been a real challenge finding plants that grow well in the yard and grass that survives the shade and our cold winter. The left side of the house gets the morning sun and grows well and most of my roses are on that side and in the front. The left side however is the challenge. Hubby built this hanging table for me last year for Mother’s Day and I keep it covered with lots of my indoor plants in the summertime and bird feeders in the winter.
I have found a few flowering perennials that like the shade but none better than hostas, begonias, impatiens and bleeding hearts.
This corner of my yard gets hardly any sun due to the shade trees and this winter my planning will be filling it with shade lovers.
Daylilies and tiger lilies do well but the blooms don’t last long enough. I’m currently looking through all of my seed/plant catalogs in search of the all summer shade garden to dress it up with the dinner bell as my focal point. I think astilbes, bleeding hearts, hostas, lamium, lilyturf, and monkshood will compliment each other and layering them from the dinner bell post to the front by height will look nice. Primrose, Lenten rose, coral bells, bergenia and false spirea are some good prospects, as well. I need to amend the soil with some good compost and garden soil and maybe a little chicken manure they should all get a good start.
The plants in front of the stones are herbs and they just did not get enough sun. If any survive, they’ll go in a raised bed near the grape arbor beside the garden and be covered with chicken wire to keep the lovely ladies out of it.
I’m thinking spring!!! How about you???
Back in late summer I decided that I had to get rid of some of my houseplants. I had about 50 different colors of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cacti, herbs, orchids, violets and ivy’s. I picked out one of each color for myself and re-potted the rest as I divided them for two friends that love plants as much as I do. Here’s a few:
The list goes on and on and something had to give plus the fact that my daughter and husband gave me several hanging basket throughout the spring and summer that I wanted to save. They included these beauties:
I had one problem! I re-potted most of the cacti in topsoil instead of potting mix and left them out in our summer rains. I’m not sure how the one’s the girls did but mine started dying because I could not get the water out of the pots. During my winter break from the college I re-potted as many of what I kept in good potting soil and they’re starting to show life again and are blooming. I learned my lesson, don’t use topsoil and do use potting soil or garden soil if you are trying to save your plants. I have a great start for 2015!!
My cactus was moved the week before Christmas after all of their bloom dropped off and this is what they look like now!