The New 2021 Heifers

Every two or three years we try to replace old cows with new heifers. Over the last year we kept eight of our raised on the farm calves and purchased eight from a farm down the road. They are all black angus and all about the same size and age, 15 -18 months old.

The heifers raised on the farm made up with the new one quite well. There’s usually a animal hierarchy but so far no of these have been quite bossy.

We pulled out nine of them to go ahead and breed back in June with one of our new bulls because they were the oldest and heavier of the stock.

They are beautiful and should calve in late April.

We made the mistake of not having that group far enough away from the ones that we wanted to wait for a bit until they put on at least another 100 – 150 pounds. Well, the young bull took care of business sooner than we expected and he decided to venture through a couple fences and took care of business as soon as one of the younger heifers came into heat. We’re not sure how many he bred before we got him out but should know toward the end of May. There have two of the younger to come into heat and thought they were far enough away from the bulls BUT one heifer didn’t want to wait another year and went through a property fence and up the road to another farm. Everyone thought the cow in the road by herself belonged in that farmer’s field and was turned in directly to their bull. We got her back home two days ago and now we wait and see!!!

Heifers being fed in the Maple Ridge field this morning.
Eating and resting

Heifers are cows that have never been bred or had a calf so come spring we will have to keep a close watch on all 16 of them. First time calves can be troublesome so we will see what spring brings forth!!!

Strawberry Beds

Did I tell you I set up some new strawberry beds? My strawberries produced a lot of berries last summer but decided I needed some more not only for new plants but for the runners of my old plants. They get thick really quick and need to be thinned for bigger berries.

The four tires are my strawberry beds that were doing quite well. We did a bit of rearranging by moving them into a straight line, built covers for the tops to keep the deer from eating the strawberries and added two more tractor tires.
We had to buy new tractor tires this year so the old ones became new strawberry planters. Three became new blueberry boxes. One of our neighboring farms donated a couple extra tires too. It’s really hard to fill those big tires up with enough soil to give a good root system but they also make it easier to water because the water stays confined in the tires.
The first five are all strawberries and the three in the background are new blueberries that actually had fruit the first year we planted.

One of the things we need to make this year is framed tops with screen to go over the top of the tires to keep the deer from eating the bloom and the berries. The tops will sit about six to eight inches from the top of the tire to give the strawberries room to grow up. I will be able to water them through the screen and lift the tops off to pull in unwanted wire grass and other weeds.

The dirt would have been very expensive to fill all of those tires, but we had one of our ponds cleaned out last year and we used that dirt to fill the tires. It set up really bad but with determination and a little hard work we got it all worked up really well and the strawberries love it as do the blueberries. I topped off the blueberries with dead pine needle mulch from our woods and I can’t wait to have enough blueberries to make some more delicious muffins, cobblers and just to eat a handful when they’re ripe.

In the spring I need to do some mulching with straw on the outside of the tires because the weeds get so tall and drop unwanted seed and the beds are too close to get between with a lawn mower.

So now we wait for spring!!!

They’re Here

I put my hummingbird feeders out every year on April 15th and I’m so excited because my first little feathered friend showed up at the feeder about 30 minutes ago. My daughter thinks I need to crochet him a jacket so he doesn’t freeze tonight!! NOT!! Feathers work better!! ūüôā

The formula for the syrup is four parts water to one part sugar! NO DYES!! They’ll love you for it during this migration and when those little feathered friends come to stay for summer I’ll have lots of red, pink and orange blossoms for them!! They also love my moonflowers and blue balloon flowers.

Here’s a few of photos of past hummingbird visits:

Bufflehead and Canadian Geese Visit

I wrote in an earlier post about our new ducks and how much I’m enjoying their eggs. I now have a dozen of their eggs ( two each day) and plan to make some custard pies with them. I made a huge batch of french toast to share with our daughter last week and it sure didn’t last long.

But my post today is about visitors on the pond this morning. We have two adorable Bufflehead ducks and three Canadian geese.

We have a pair come every spring and makes me wonder if they have come to set and raise their young.

According to my “Native American Wildlife” book these birds grow in length 12-16 inches. They’re small ducks with a white head patch and in flight there is bold pattern on the male and a white wing patch on the female. Their habitat is ponds, lakes, rivers and sheltered saltwater in winter.

Buffleheads

In years past they’ve stayed around about a month and I’m hoping they stay around for awhile because I can watch them for hours. Our domestic ducks pay them no mind and vice versa.

The geese didn’t stay long with us this morning because Sadie runs them off when they start squawking. They are beautiful birds but they leave such a mess on the pond bank in spring and it’s not much fun dodging their droppings which are huge and lots of it. We let them swim and rest on the bank for awhile and then Sadie sends them on to a neighboring farm!!

They came toward the house yard until they saw Sadie and then flew back in the pond for about an hour.
Geese in flight and a Norwegian Elkhound named Sadie right behind them!!!

I also want to remind you that you might want to get your hummingbird feeds out and sterilized for they will be returning to our farm around April 15th which is 18 days away!! The hummingbird mix is a ration of 1cup white sugar to 4 cups of sterilized water, no food color, please!!!

These were our visitors in 2017 and we had so many all summer.

2020 Color To Help Make It Through the Winter

Happy New Year!!! It’s a dreary day here on the farm but these blooms give me hope and make me smile!

A bouquet of salmon iris
Peach rose
Iris
Pink rose
Blue iris
Hibiscus
Peony
Zinnia
More roses
Columbine
Bellflower

My seed catalogs are already getting very thin and worn!!! Hope you enjoy the color and that it helps you think pretty thoughts until spring!!

HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!!

Hours Later, All Gone

We went to bed with 39 degrees and woke up to frost.  In just a few short hours its ruined!

Pear trees blooming.

Peaches next to the house.

Peaches at the end of the garden.

Green gages at the other end of the garden.

Second green gage and full of bloom

The apple trees are not blooming yet and one of my pear trees are just at the bud stage.¬† Three years in a row we’ve lost fruit to frost.¬† We have cherry trees high on the mountain and in our back orchard that may not have been hurt but this is April and frost is a normal spring thing!!!

Cherries in the mountain hayfield.

Cherries in the end of the other mountain hayfield. 

With this bloom gone we just have to pray that there will be enough other bloom not damaged and the honeybees will have enough to live on until we have more bloom.

A Little Bit of Yard Cleanup

When Mother Nature allows I get out and play in the yard.¬† Last week I spent three days and completely cleared the debris and now I’m ready to rearrange my flower beds and fix it up!

Two weeks ago this yard was full of leaves from the leaf drop in the late fall, limbs from numerous storms through the fall, winter and spring.

All of the leaves and tree debris are gone and now I wait for warmer weather to sow some new grass.

East side of the house would be great for a flower bed along the side of the house but because of the maple trees there only a very short time for anything to get enough sunlight. I’m thinking about those shade loving hostas but I need to wait until next spring for them because we need to do some major work to the floor of the enclosed porch on that wall this year. It is nice and clean on that side of the house though.

West side of house, big cleanup. I would still be working on it if Eddie hadn’t use the leaf blower to get around the house and the wood house. The wind seems to rotate most of the leaves in this area.¬† This side of the yard will need the most grass seed and straw.¬† It’s covered by shade from June until late fall.¬† When we have ice, it’s worse on this side and longer to leave.

The flower beds are ready for some new growth and I’ve started flower seeds for the “dinner bell” flower garden and I’ve expanded my rose bed.¬† I’ll be replacing six roses, last falls cleanup left me with the area in front and behind the yard fence and I’ll be working on a new project between the front yard and the gazebo by the pond.¬† More on that to come soon.

 

SUGAR TIME

Maple sugar time is upon us and because of the freaky weather we may not get to make any this year.¬† It’s either raining or icing our world and we’re sure the sap has come up but we’re expecting 20 degree weather over the weekend and next week.

This is a tree tapping we did last year.

Pints and quarts of heavenly fresh maple syrup in 2018

We’re still waiting on the heifers to drop their babes but have only had one of fourteen to calve so far.

The one little calf needs/wants a playmate so much.  Today he was running laps around his mom for fun!

Goodbye February!¬† We’re anticipating the March winds, have had enough showers so April can be semi-wet and bring in some of those beautiful May flowers!!!

RHUBARB SEASON IN THREE MONTHS

I’m thinking ahead to spring when it gets so frigid that you want to bring the cows in!!¬† One of the first crops we see here in mid to late May is rhubarb.¬† A lot of folks don’t like rhubarb because its so tart but I have a remedy for that.¬† Before I give you that little tidbit let me tell you what I did last summer before the first leaves of rhubarb showed itself.

For two years I had not cut as much rhubarb as I thought there should have been.  I used a huge tractor tire for the rhubarb bed because moles kept eating the tubers when I planted them directly in the ground.  I placed the tire on the edge of the garden where it would get lots of son and on top of some heavy black garden fabric that I folded to fit several times to keep the moles out.  It worked!

The tire was filled with good soil and chicken litter and four rhubarb tubers.  The tubers produced but the stems were thin and spindly.  In the spring of 2018 I decided to thin the tubers and see if that helped and I was also concerned that maybe I had amended the soil with too much litter.  I cleaned up two more areas on both sides of the tire of weeds and only amended that soil with some rabbit litter but not much!

This area was filled with two tubers of rhubarb taken from the first tire.

This area was filled with tubers from some old plants from our Ruble farm and some from the mansion garden.

 

Neither of these areas produced anything but I kept them moist and sprinkled with epsom salt in hopes of new rhubarb patches in spring 2019.

The original tire went crazy!!  I took off three batches of rhubarb and we have plenty in the freezer for the coming year and the year after that.

Early batches of the thinned patch proved to be the best move I could have made!

Three fresh baskets of rhubarb and homemade rhubarb freezer jam!!

Now for my recipe for the freezer rhubarb jam:

5-6 c. of fresh rhubarb, cut in 1″ cubes

Water, just enough to keep the rhubarb from sticking in sauce pan

2 c. sugar

1  3 oz. pkg. of strawberry jello, cherry, raspberry, or even blackberry

Cook the rhubarb in the water until soft.¬† Add sugar and take off the stove; stir to combine and sugar is completely melted.¬† Add the jello, stir and cool completely.¬† I then pour into small containers and freeze.¬† It’s wonderful on biscuits, bagels, toast and fresh sliced bread.

Spring Plans to Ward Off the Cold Weather Coming

Do you have a gardening journal?  I have journals for everything but love planning for changes in my flower gardens the most.  I started a Gardening Journal late last summer.

This is my 2018-19 Flower Gardening Journal

Back in the fall when I completed my rose garden to MY satisfaction I immediately started thinking about my perennial garden.¬† I knew I needed to be able to remember where everything was at the point in all of my flower beds so I started my journal.¬† This journal has been active all through the fall and this winter with notes of whats to go and whats to stay.¬† I’m including a few pages of my journal with color photos I took and diagrams of things to come.¬† It’s relaxing to sit in my recliner on frigid nights going through the journal and my new seed catalogs planning for that precious spring to return!¬† If you click on the pictures they will enlarge so you can see the notes and work ahead for the spring.

4 x 6 photos help me keep track of the area in the yard as well as what was there in 2018.

Some of my photos don’t have many notes because I’m still not sure of what will change in the area. I have lots of thinning and replanting to do in so many areas.

I have lists of plants that I gathered seedlings from and lists of seeds I ordered at the end of the season. They are being kept in a cool dark spot.

This is a diagram of a new bed that I plan to put in outside of the yard. My yard only has one area that gets a lot of sun so I’m spreading my wings to the yard between the house and pond.

Pinterest is a favorite go-to site for finding colors or plants with height or ground cover. When I find things I like and want to look into adding to my garden, I copy and paste a large group on a page and print it off and add to the journal for reference.

Are you thinking about your flower and vegetable gardens yet?  Are you working on an orchard?  Try a journal and see how things progress in the future!

In Our Backyard

The last two weeks have shown us a beauty of nature that we rarely see.

Lovely little American Goldfinchs gather on and under our bird feeders in our back yard.  The red house finch is in the middle of this little flock.

Adult males in spring and early summer are bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches both above and beneath the tail. Adult females are duller yellow beneath.¬† We normally don’t have them at our feeders or in the fields until late spring, early summer so this is a real treat.

At one time this week I counted over thirty on the ground under feeders eating up the sunflower seed that had been picked out of the feeders.

I love watching all the birds from my kitchen window.
We have finches, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, long-tailed blackbirds and several mourning doves every morning.

Since they’ve arrived so early I’m hoping with all my heart that spring is truly just around the corner.

From Inside the House

This morning we woke to snow on top of last weeks snow but we had a beautiful blue sky.¬† Last week we got about 10 inches of snow and the most we’ve had all winter. Over half had melted and this morning we woke to five more inches on top of the leftovers.¬† It was 25* when we woke this morning and now its 38* now.¬† The best part – we didn’t lose any calves this time.¬† Here’s a touch of our beauty in western Virginia and Craig County on the mountain:

It’s melting now and by mid-week we’ll be in the 60’s and rain.¬† It will be a sloppy mess but needed for our crops and gardens.¬† We haven’t had snow like this for a couple of years and we all knew it was time.¬† I’m not saying the spring snows are over but sure hope they are.

We have six more cows to calve from our spring herd and these mom’s and their little ones could sure use a break.

My chickens don’t like the snow either and a few got trapped under the grainery last night and refused to walk through the snow to their warm house but it looks like they all survived and are ready to see some green grass and mud!

Everyone be safe and spring is here even though it doesn’t look like it!!!

 

Our First 2018 Thunderstorm

March 17, 2018 and we have a huge thunder and lightning show around 8:30 last night.¬† We were sitting in the living room watching TV and I saw the flash and heard the boom immediately and it just about rolled us out of our recliners!!!¬† I jumped up fast and ran to the computer to unplug everything, hoping it wasn’t too late.¬† In the past I’ve had three computers, phones and phone jacks burnt up by lighting rolling through our phone lines.

It’s a beautiful sunny morning on the farm today!! Chilly but gorgeous!

It’s so hard to believe how green everything is.¬† We expecting more winter weather on Wednesday and hoping all of those spring calves come before or after this weather gets here.¬† Hubby is out feeding now and checking the fences to make sure the lightning did not hit the fence chargers.¬† It does that a lot around here when we have these storms.¬† When we know the storms are close and coming our way we unplug the chargers.

This little gal was the first of the year born on March 4th. She can run like the wind and keeps her mama in a tither all the time.

But for this Sunday we will enjoy and feel blessed to have such a glorious day!¬† Yes, there’s lots of mud but we will take the rain soaking up our fields, pastures and garden for now.

I think I’ll cook up some fresh trout, pinto beans and fried potatoes for our dinner tonight which will top of the spring day!

Spring Calving Season is Here Again

Our first calf was born on March 4th and since then we’ve had six more, two this morning.¬† I didn’t get to see any of them until Sunday and those four were quite lively.¬† They’ve all been smaller than usual and one of the two born this morning in low 20 degree temps and high winds is not doing well.¬† Eddie says it’s very weak but is getting up, when it’s up his mom is laying down.¬† He took me to see the spring her and their new babes on Sunday afternoon.

They were spread all over the hill eating grain until they heard the old gray Dodge start down the driveway. By the time we got to the field gate, they were all there except the little guy born that morning.

When the cows see that white bucket they know there’s some grain in the troughs.

This is the spring herd getting some grain and bringing their youngsters to meet the old woman on the farm (me)!

This little gal was the first of the year born on March 4th. She can run like the wind and keeps her mama in a tither all the time.

Daylight Savings Time bought this little guy to the farm.

A closer shot of the newborn.

 

 

 

 

 

After feeding the grain and we were leaving the field I got this closeup and he was looking for mama and bawling.  She went running!!

Mama, where are you???

We went back to the stable to refill the buckets. This gives you a view of the gray Dodge (1970) and the feed wagon.

Inside the feed wagon is three ton of corn gluten. The cows love it!!

The little ones born this morning are doing better than we expected but we’ll keep a close eye on them and in the meantime, we have another mama trying to deliver while I’m posting this little ditty!!

Dish Flowers

Winter time can get very dreary when looking out the windows.¬† No beautiful color from the flowers anywhere to be seen.¬† I’ll admit the snow is beautiful before the animals track through it or the vehicles drive through it but it’s not like looking at beautiful blooms in our yard.

I FOUND A REMEDY!!

Take a look at these beautiful glass flowers I created from old dishes!

Three bowls glued together with E6000 and allowed to dry. On the back of the set I glued an old medicine bottle and the opening of the bottle sits on a 3-4 foot piece of rebar in my flower gardens.

I took four different sizes of clear dishes and glued them together. It’s a beautiful flower that sparkles all kinds of colors when the sun hits it.

E6000 is the glue I used but there are other options to try when you check out my Pinterest site (https://www.pinterest.com/NanaCountryFarm/glass-flowers/).

Some will be heavier than others but the rebar placed well in the soil will make it stand up and shine!

Check out my Pinterest site https://www.pinterest.com/NanaCountryFarm/glass-flowers/ for more ideas and more links with detailed instructions.

This gives you an idea of how the glass flower will look on the rebar standing in your flower garden.

Imagine the sun hitting the pinks and reds on this glass flower.

Now get busy putting those old dishes to good use and think SPRING!!!

It’s just about time . . .

This little fat guy came to visit in 2015 and we had almost thirty that year. I had five or six feeders out and had to fill them twice a day.

April 15th is my deadline for putting out the hummingbird feeders. Last year I was late getting them out and didn’t have near as many. ¬†This year I’ve got the jump on them I hope by putting out two feeders on the front porch this morning. I’m early but they might be too!!

First feeder out and ready!

I’ll start with two feeders and always in bright red. That seems to be their favorite color and I plan to have red and purple flowers all over the porch and yard this year. I’ll be watching out for the first fuchsia plant to hand on the porch too. Their vibrant colors really attract them.

Last year the few hummers that I had loved the butterfly bush, geraniums, bleeding hearts and the columbine.

That beak looks deadly, doesn’t it?

We have the ruby-throated hummingbirds here at the farm.

We think they’re stunning birds!

This was last years batch and I think the most we had at any given time was 10-12 and that was toward the end of the season.

Get those feeders out this weekend and let us know how many you have and when you first sighted them!

Here’s my recipe for the feeders, all natural: ¬†1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water. ¬†I mix it up in a pitcher and put it in the microwave for 6 1/2 minutes to sterilize it and keep it from fermenting. ¬†I let it cool to touch and then pour in the feeders.

 

Spring Prep

Warm weather has us in the mood to clean even though we know there’s probably still some winter weather ahead of us. ¬†I’ve worked in the yard several day and got some help from hubby to get those maple leaves out of my flower beds and around the house.

Maple leaves were in abundance but protects a lot of my perennials during the winter.

We have cleaned out all of the yard except for the corner of my rose garden.

This is the rose garden in the east end of our yard and the most colorful, I think, throughout the summer.

The rose in the very corner and tallest stems you can see is an old-fashioned rose planted by our ancestors shortly after the house was built. ¬†The bloom is white with a hint of pink around the edges and they’re about two inches across. ¬†It blooms most of the summer if I keep it pinched back (faded blooms). ¬†Another one just like it but much smaller is at the entrance of the front gate. ¬†I have to clip it back ¬†all summer long. ¬†The fragrance is divine!!

This corner will soon be cleaned up and I’m hoping to add a couple new roses to it during late spring. ¬†I don’t have a lavender or a blood red rose in that bed and think it’s time. ¬†I had a hibiscus in the middle of the bed and it just towered over all and lots of pretty bloom was missed unless you walked through the bed. ¬†Last year I planted some sweet william in the front row and they have survived the winter. ¬†I hope they will add some color while waiting for the roses to bloom.

Here’s a photo album of the rest of the yard clean up:

Both sides in front of the house/porch are all cleaned up and hostas that get as big as bushel baskets cover that area.

The flower bed in the corner with the dinner bell is full of perennials such as day lilies, poppies, primrose and lots more.

I forgot to get a photo of the backyard but it was the quickest and smallest area to clean up.  All I have to do back there is hang our swing and wait for the hostas, shasta daisy and daylilies to spring up.

Tree limb cleanup-this is what came out of the front yard from the maple tree. It’s been hauled away now!

Now I need to take care of the outside of the yard including some new planting at the gazebo at the pond.

The gazebo is another “getaway” spot. I love to go there right before the sun goes down and listen to the spring peepers and birds going to roost, watch the mallard pair that spend the night and wait for the fish to do their evening feeding and the frogs start croaking!! There’s peace all over the farm if you’ll just watch and listen!!

Spring Calving Season

Our spring calving season began on March 13 with this little girl (heifer) and it was such a beautiful day.  

This little bull started our calving on the 19th, followed by the next two within minutes of each other. Now we wait for the 25 to come!!

Hydrangeas, Bleeding Hearts, & More

Proof of spring and early summer!

IMG_0004 IMG_0003 IMG_0002 IMG_0001

Lavender & purple Iris
Lavender & purple Iris

Siberian Iris
Siberian Iris

Columbine
Columbine

Peonies
Peonies

 

Peony buds
Peony buds

More peonies
More peonies

IMG_0008

Can you tell I absolutely love peonies and have them all over the yard!?

Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns' Creek.
Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns’ Creek.

Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I'm making sure I choose just the right spot.
Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I’m making sure I choose just the right spot.

Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart

Purple iris
Purple iris

IMG_0027

Hydrangea
Hydrangea

Beige & peach Iris
Beige & peach Iris

Peach Iris
Peach Iris

Two year old rose
Two year old rose

Old fashioned rose
Old fashioned rose

Siberian Iris
Siberian Iris

And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.
And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.

This is what is blooming at our house right now, the last day of May!!!

1st Hummingbird of the Season

It's amazing how something so tiny could be so fast!
It’s amazing how something so tiny could be so fast!

This is a 2015 hummingbird but looks much like the one that arrived yesterday.
This is a 2015 hummingbird but looks much like the one that arrived yesterday.

My first hummingbird of 2016 arrived around 6:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. He’s a fat little male and so beautiful! He was too quick to get pictures but they have arrived!! I hope you have a very blessed 2016 spring!

Spring? ? ?

I know that spring is just around the corner because I found these in my yard yesterday.

Crocus

 

Crocus

Aren’t they beautiful?? ¬†Spring is coming in like a lion and I have two little orphans because of it. ¬†George and Prissy were born on March 15th& 16th consecutively. ¬†It’s was the worse days we’ve had all winter. ¬†George’s mom decided he should be born and baptized at the same time so she had him in a wet weather spring in the middle of a blackberry patch in 0* weather. ¬†He was so cold he could not get up to nurse and when Eddie found him Mom left to go eat. ¬†Eddie packed him up in the tractor cab and carried him to our cellar. ¬†Twenty four hours and lots of warm towels, heat lamp and propane heater, he was toddling around and taking a bottle.

George is curious and very pushy!!  Normal little bull.
George is curious and very pushy!! Normal little bull.

Prissy was delivered to the main house the next morning covered in ice and snow and barely alive. ¬†I didn’t make it to work that day because of the snow and ice and I think Eddie was glad to have me there. ¬†He found Prissy covered in four inches of ice and then snow. ¬†Beside her, the mom was cleaning and trying to make her dead twin come back to life. ¬†Eddie scraped off the snow and loaded her in the tractor and brought her to me. ¬†I got out an old cutter quilt and he laid her by the woodstove. I grabbed old towels and blankets and started drying her off. ¬†Sassy helped by licking her face. ¬†I was certain she would die because her tongue was cold and she was so lifeless. ¬†Sassy and I worked on her all morning, shifting her from side to side and warming another old quilt to lay over her. ¬†We gave her about an ounce of warm milk every hour or so trying to get her warm on the inside and the outside. ¬†Around 9:00 p.m. she started trying to get up on her own and by 10:00 she had taken three ounces so we decided to move her to the cellar with George.

Prissy-very quiet and docile.
Prissy-very quiet and docile.

Thankfully both calves are doing well. ¬†George has been a little rough on Prissy and stepped on her the first night they were together and she limps from her left front leg but we’re hoping time and some loving care will fix that. ¬†She’s a lot smaller than he is coming in at around 45-50 pounds and Eddie says George weighs over 75 pounds.

Here’s some more pics of them from the last two weeks and I’ll update their growth and shenanigans as time goes on.

DSCN6630

Prissy is trying to making friends with Cuddles, the cat.
Prissy is trying to making friends with Cuddles, the cat.

Curious calves.
Curious calves.

George has a voracious appetite, funny, big kicker, and is constantly sucking on Prissy's ears.
George has a voracious appetite, funny, big kicker, and is constantly sucking on Prissy’s ears.

Prissy is watching the chickens.  George usually chases them.
Prissy is watching the chickens. George usually chases them.

Prissy and George enjoying the sunshine.
Prissy and George enjoying the sunshine.

George climbing out of his hutch and Prissy wondering "why?"
George climbing out of his hutch and Prissy wondering “why?”

Feeding time!!
Feeding time!!

It's not as easy as it looks when there's only one person feeding them.
It’s not as easy as it looks when there’s only one person feeding them.

George tries to take Prissy's bottle when he empty's his first!
George tries to take Prissy’s bottle when he empty’s his first!

Just to let you know how I feed them, we buy powdered calf milk that is medicated and high in protein and feed them two quarts every eight hours. ¬†The powdered milk is mixed with water and the first couple of feedings they are given colostrum to get the immune system going that they couldn’t get from their natural mom. ¬†At three to four weeks, we start introducing them to the small grains.

More to come!!!

 

Gardening in the shade

View of the house from the front yard
View of the house from the front yard

 

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.

Swinging table covered with cacti, begonia, and more.
Swinging table covered with cacti, begonia, and more.

I have found a few flowering perennials that like the shade but none better than hostas, begonias, impatiens and bleeding hearts.

Impatiens love the shade.
Impatiens love the shade.

Bleeding Hearts
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.

West corner of the front yard.  Not very pretty.
West corner of the front yard. Not very pretty.

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???

Spring rains

Storms brewing!
Storms brewing!

Skies menacing!
Skies menacing!

 

They came and went and now the cold will return.  The skies are awesome to watch from the hill behind the house right before a storm brings in the cold spring rain!  It left us with 2.5 inches of rain so far in May.  Those beautiful green pastures are welcome sight to us and the cows.

Spring planting

Seed Potatoes
Seed Potatoes

Potatoes cut and ready to plant
Potatoes cut and ready to plant

 

We got all the seed and garden had been plowed and ready to work down.  Now the weather channels are calling for a hard frost tomorrow night and chilly temps tonight.  I brought in all of the flowers and herbs I potted last weekend and pulled what I could under the covered front porch.  I went to my little green house this evening and put up heat lamps and on the way back to the house was admiring all of the tiny little fruit on all of the apple and plum trees.  The peach and pear trees are also full and the aspargus was all pulled to keep it from freezing.   I am so ready for warm weather!!

Spring flowers on the farm

 

 

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daffodils

A pop of color all over the yard makes my heart sing and swell!! ¬†I love flowers anytime of the year but these sure help get rid of the winter doldrums. ¬†Spring is in full swing in our area and the cars are covered with pollen and the honeybees are so happy that we’ve already had our first bee swarm! ¬†It left for the mountains before we could capture it. ¬†Of course, the fruit trees in full bloom are helping them, too.

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Easter lilies and wild hyacinth

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Daylilies and huchera

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Poppies

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Daffodils and columbine

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Daylilies

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Goldenseal in the backyard

Allium
Allium

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