Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cherry Pickin' Time

We are still hot and dry here and now we can add very windy.  A slight chance of storms.....hay men have promised they will be finished baling tonight....Still have another 20-30 acres to do.  so far; so good.

We had the yard mowed today....still no lawn mower.   This was a first for me.  He used a tractor type mower....OK but I still like my Zero-Turn and think it does a much better trim job up close to things.  From the looks of things we won't need to mow again if it doesn't rain soon.

I got the berry patch soaked good yesterday so they are on their own for a while.

While I was in the berry patch I noticed the cherry tree......ready to be picked!  So I picked them yesterday morning just what I could reach standing on the ground.  I also picked up enough apricots (they fall to the ground when ripe) to make a 5 cup batch of jam.

I also picked a handful of the snap peas that did fill out a bit and were much sweeter....stringy though.

I froze 5 - 5-cup packages of cherries and can get a lot more with the ladder and my assistant.  The holiday weekend means company so all will have to wait until company leaves.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weeding, the never ending job for gardeners

 Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 at least for this gardener.
 My Iowa sis buys bags (truck loads) of mulch and weeds and then mulches but I am too cheap to do that so it is a never ending job for me.

It was so cool this morning, 43° that I had my little heater on in the kitchen.  Today is supposed to be another cool day so I plan to take full advantage and do more weeding in the berry patch.

Yesterday I got about 2/3 of it done and see I have a few ripening raspberries already.  They are tiny things; our lack of rain hasn't been a good thing for them.  When I get the weeding done, I intend to soak the ground there thoroughly.

I also chopped some tree seedlings  growing from the middle of the abelia shrub by the front door and cut the Awakening rose  (a sport of New Dawn) way back.  I am pretty sure some branches have RRD!  I try to cut them out for as long as  I can before  giving up and digging out a rose.  While out front, I also  watered the little curved bed in the front shrub border again.

I makes me so sad to see the thick beds of daylilies turning yellow due to the lack of rain and way too hot temps!

We still do not have the riding mower back from the shop.  I am  trying to talk DH into a second back-up mower.  I would love to have a heavy-duty one that I could use to mow the smaller lots near the house.  The bull pen and calf lots are so small it is difficult to cut them well with the tractor and the 7-foot cutter.
They are so darned expensive though.......


Hay is always a big item when you have cattle.  We have had our fields custom cut; we have bought hay.  Trying to find good, dependable custom hay men is about as hard as finding good, dependable people to do anything!  The first man we used back when we moved over to this farm quit doing it and for several years we tried first one man and another....nothing we were every really impressed with. Then we decided to just buy our hay.....we did that for  3 or 4 years.  We never got what we thought was outstanding hay...then the high prices hit last year and paid $70 per bale for some just so so hay.

Our on  again/off again farm helper mentioned that the first man we had ever used was back  doing custom hay work again. Their farms are adjoining. We called; he was interested.  He went over  the fields with DH last evening and was happy with how they looked and said he would cuts as many fields as we wanted.  We are just delighted.  We didn't fertilize this year,thinking we would be buying again but the cows have been fertilizing it so that helps.  We will lime this fall and fertilize next spring and be ready!  I  figure we will have about $30 in each bale if we fertilize  and that will be cheaper than buying and we will  know  what we have and when it was cut.

Farm life is nothing if not  challenging. You have  to stay on top of things.  Nothing is every static and you have to be ready to go with the flow!

Lauren's Grape Poppy (somniferum )is back to her true colors this year.


Monday, May 21, 2012

My Gardening Background and other tidbits

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It was a flannel shirt morning!  I did get out by 730 AM and planted 20 tomato plants in the orchard garden.

I had a moment of real fear when DH met me at the back door and said cows had got into the newly fenced orchard. Wouldn't you know we had only one weak spot where we had lapped panels but hadn't put a post in the middle of the long span......evidently the bull shoved against it and where there is an opening, animals will calf and one large bull.  They weren't there long enough to do too much, just a couple of limbs here and there but nothing real serious.

We have now fixed the weak spot!

I planted a mix of Granny Cantrell, Mortgage Lifter and Mule Team, all heirlooms.  I have lots of  volunteers in the backyard garden that I will let grow too.  I planted the 4  sorry little eggplants in the backyard garden.

Next week I will plant sweet potatoes that I grew...not very many,  but enough.

I plan to check over my seed supply and find something to fill in every bare spot in the garden....probably mostly annual flowers.

We came in at 9 AM for a coffee and rest break.  I may stay in.  I want to do a round steak smothered in cream of mushroom soup lunch, snap peas, mashed potatoes and  salad.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A cool, high 50's morning.

The round steak was good and so were the snap peas.  I didn't snap them; I stir fried them in oo and butter.  They weren't as sweet as I like.  I won't do these two varieties again.

When I do round steak I use the leftovers in gravy with biscuits the next morning.  I just leave the round steak skillet unwashed,  make gravy and dice the steak and add.  Delicious and one of our favorites breakfasts.

 I have plans to do some weeding and trimming this morning.  Still no call from the mower man......

Mama Pea asked me how I learned to garden and  I have often wondered  about my love of both vegetable gardening and ornamental gardening.  I know I got the vegetable gardening bug from my Dad.  We used to have a running competition for who would get the first tomato, the longest Missouri Wonder bean pod.  He also would keep me on my toes about getting things out of pots and into the ground, scolded me if I had a weedy garden, get the idea.  He did not do flowers at all.

Mom only put out a few annuals; she wasn't really into gardening.  She was the kitchen person who canned and froze everything and then cooked the most delicious country meals with all that good produce.

My maternal grandmother had some permanent things but I wouldn't really call her a gardener.  She had a bed of iris and a bed of a pink flowers on the west side of the house.  I can remember how thrilled I was a few years ago to see them on the internet and know that was Grandma's pink flower.  It was the oenothera speciosa that I now have in my front ditch and here and there all over the shoots seeds a long way.

It is funny that my Sis who had the greenhouse does not remember those flowers at all!  Strange how we all remember different things from our past and also how we perceive those remembrances differently.

Back to the subject of me and gardening.  I started seriously doing flowers  way back  before we moved to the country in 1976.  I began by joining the Organic Gardening book club and started a collection of gardening books.  I have the original Rodale Organic Gardening Encyclopedia and Ruth Stout's No Work Gardening book.  She wrote for Rodale and was published by them.  I have a lot of gardening books.
I once saw a piece in a gardening magazine that suggested we should all learn the botanical names of our plants since that was the universal  and correct name.  That way when we were talking about them, no one could be confused.  I did that over the years.  Sometimes now I forget and have to look them up but I still like knowing the correct name.  It makes me crazy to look at one of my plants and not know what it is.

I became a collector of plants....not necessarily a good thing!  I wanted one of everything...I have stopped that over the years and just stick to what is tried and true for me.  I also am desperately trying to cut down on all the work required but I just can't bear to mow down good plants.  Slowly I am filling in some blanks with ornamental shrubs that do not require spraying or pruning....note I said slowly.

I still love seeing all the blooming things in all their glory but I also have learned to appreciate my very shady west yard that is just trees and grass with the occasional flare of bloom.

I don't do books or magazines anymore now that we have the internet.  What a boon for gardeners.  I learn something new each year about plants and gardening.  I love the internet.

Miscellaneous Pictures

The backyard garden.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

After several years of  very scant blooms, she is finally strutting her stuff!

The only negative is the new growth comes up above the current blooms so I don't think the plant is as showy as it could be.

Here is the bush from the front,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We are having some pretty nice weather.  The 80° is a little too hot for me, but I can work in the early mornings.  It is still too dry though.  The nights are in the delightful 50's.

I am assuming frost is past and have begun planting the warm weather plants.
Yesterday I planted 20 pepper plants and 4 Little Fingers egg plants.

I have been watering and still have a little  more to do today to get the vegetable garden soaked.
A friend mentioned that my very tall sugar snap peas may be the kind that does not fill out.  I think I will begin harvesting today.  Thank you Kris.  I will have some for lunch today and see what the verdict is.....may become chicken feed.

The strawberries have greened up nicely and the rhubarb is sending up shoots finally.  I think it will be a nice red.

The yard is needing mowing badly but the mower is back in the shop.  I think the gas tanks aren't letting out the gas and the mechanic agrees.  They didn't look busy in the shop so I hope he gets it fixed quickly.

If not, for the first time in my life, I will have the yard mowed!  Egads!!! DH made the arrangements with our farm worker who also has his own lawn service business.

I keep getting interruptions in my days that really cuts into my gardening time and makes the catching up project fall farther behind.  Two days it was a run to the sale barn with DH and then the trip to Bolivar for the mower.  At least I hit Walmart there and killed two birds with one stone.  They are now carrying flour in re closeable bags by Wheat Montana.  I bought a 5 lb bag of unbleached white flour.  I still have plenty of whole wheat and white whole wheat in the freezer.  It was $3.76 which is high but I wanted to try it.

I have learned to beat the interruptions by getting out early while DH is checking the cattle and doing at least an hour of gardening before he comes up with something that requires me.  That's how I managed to get the peppers and egg plants in yesterday.....I know when I get back from these 'errands' I will be too pooped to work outside and it will be too hot. 


After the last tornado, an arborist told us that the large maples out by the road in front of the house were basically hollow and would eventually have to be removed.  He suggested that I start some replacement plantings now.  Well the problem with that is  the existing shade and tree roots.  So I decided to do a mid front yard shrub and small tree border for privacy when the trees have to go.....hopefully they might outlast me!  It still needs some more plantings but is coming along nicely.

It will have very few flowers and be an easy care, no  trimming kind of thing.  It is on the left side of the picture. I currently have an oak leaf hydrangea, a Limelight hydrangea, an Amur maple, a river birch, then a circular bed of daylilies and allium (just started them), a viburnum, a self seeded and replanted native redbud and at the end  my Annabel lilac.  There is a forsythia in there too that has had maybe three blooms on it.  I  don't have great success with forsythias and I don't know why. 

I have growing in the yard in various places some more I can dig up and use:  Burning Bush, mock orange, a variegated forsythia and some lilacs.

The chickens are still laying well.... a dozen a day or more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's a beautiful morning in the Ozarks!  but a little chilly and so much dew that I got wet almost to my knees checking a  calf in the east field.

See that tiny head peeking over the grass?  I thought it was a new baby but on closer inspection saw that it was one born a few days ago.  I saw more ongoing problem.  We have decided mowing is the best method of control.  I don't like herbicides and it gets pretty expensive to keep spraying.

While I was out doing my 'walk about', I turned on the sprinkler in the garden and at the dining room porch  beds.  While we aren't seriously dry, I thought they could use a drink.  I will leave them on about an hour which figures about l inch with our pressure on the well.

I haven 't accomplished a lot over the last week.  I did make us a rhubarb pie from the rhubarb my Sis gives me each year.  DH wasn't  thrilled but he ate a piece whenever I did.  I hope she won't have to supply me next year.  I have a year-old plant and just ordered two Starkrimson Rhubarb plants from Stark Brothers (who else).  The are currently residing in two large flower pots and have already sprouted large leaves.  It looks like they will have a nice red color (I hope).  I did my normal routine of cooking and housekeeping (very little).

We did have DH's mother out for Mother's Day.  We had picked up the new corn-fed beef on Saturday morning so we were able to test out some steaks for dinner.  We all thought it was very good, tender and juicy.  There was lots of marbling in the red meat which is what we were striving for by feeding corn for 90 days.  She requested a peach cobbler, but I had to substitute apricots....out of peaches now.  She brought  me  a 'hostess' gift.  It was a new large rain gauge that I can read by just looking out the back door.  No more bringing the can in the house and measuring with a ruler!  She's the best MIL to be had.


I finally planted the sweet corn and Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans (that's what I am watering this morning).  I also got my long row of new strawberries planted. I hadn't ordered from Stark Brothers in Louisiana,  Missouri in a very long time and was very pleased with the product and quick service.  I bought 25 strawberries and two rhubarb plants and received them within a week or less.

I hoed out the row of cauliflower  and broccoli but didn't quite finish the tiny little bed of spinach and carrots.

I harvested a gallon bag of cilantro (all self-seeded).  I washed, dried and chopped it.  Then flash froze it and put it in a gallon bag.  I should be able to measure out what I need easily.  I use it in my salsa recipe.

I still need to get the tomato and pepper plants planted and hope to begin that today.  I keep getting interrupted with something.


I am currently working on the light pole and new bed around the generator.  The goal is to finish that today.  I did two hours day before yesterday and then the trimmer refused to cooperate.   DH was going to finish mowing the west yard and the mower died.  I hate to let him near my equipment.....he always has bad luck....I will see if it will start this morning, if not, a trip to Bolivar is in our future.  I am sure I just flooded the trimmer.............

The snap peas I planted this year were new to me and the jury is still out.  I keep pulling pods off and they don't seem nearly as sweet to me as previous ones.  The are lush and very tall.  I did two different varieties as you can clearly see.  I keep waiting for the pods to fill out more but it seems very slow to me.  I  will water them deeply today and see if that helps....if not, I will just harvest at  this stage.

One the strong winds blew part of the row off the fence.


This always amazes me.  For  two years now this rose campion has grown out of this stump in the humming bird bed.  It seems to do as well as the ones growing in the dirt.

This is the first year  my clematis Jackmanii Superba has bloomed nicely.  I manage to accidentally cut it down a couple of times while  trimming the last two years....that doesn't speed up things at all.

As you can see by the feeder, the hummers are back.  We saw  several  Sunday. Still no orioles and not too many butterflies. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Sale Barn Again - a Rainy Day-Clematis and Lilies

Day before yesterday we got another 1/2 inch of rain.....on my recently tilled and dry garden.  A wonderful gift.

That meant yesterday was too wet to work outside in the garden so I made doesn't take much to get me  cooking.  I am having two small ones with cream cheese with my coffee  right now.

From Blog May 2012

I was right at the stage of putting the dough in the bucket to raise when DH popped in the back door slightly wet from the showers and asked if I was  ready to go....Go where?  He had loaded a cow we wanted to sell and was sitting in the drive to go to the sale barn.  He always wants me to go with him. At first I thought I couldn't and then decided we could get  there and back in about an hour....the rise time.

Well, we almost made it.  The dough was just pushing the lid off the bucket  when we got back. It didn't hurt a thing.

Part of farm life is getting rid of animals that don't pay their way.....this heifer calved last year and we had to have the vet  with her.  He suggested then that she was probably damaged by the difficult delivery and we should move her on.....we did.  Mondays are Cow and Bull sale  day so off we went.  Next project will be rounding up more calves.

This is the first day of our 'cool down' and the high is supposed to be 70°.  A perfect day to work outside.
DH has promised to put up cattle panels in the new garden/orchard area and I will put the tomatoes back there.

I have all of the backyard garden tilled and will put peppers there.  I will also put pole beans and sweet corn  out....not all on one day!  but hopefully, this week.

I need to harvest the self-seeded cilantro and freeze for later salsa.  I also found several self-seeded basil plants and tomato plants.  That saves me some work.

Colorado Potato  Beetles showed up overnight on the potatoes.....I resorted to Sevin dust.  I suppose it is all washed off....I need to keep a close eye on that.  They can strip the plants quickly.  I wish I felt safe going completely au naturel, but certain pests are more than I know how to handle.

I am still fighting fireblight....cutting more limbs off the two trees most affected.   Now I see some of the papaver somniferums(poppies, annual) are curling over and turning black....looks exactly the same as the trees.  I am leaning heavily toward the idea of cutting down the pear tree that is so bad.


The first of the lilies are blooming.  This one was recently rescued from being surrounded by weeds in the driveway bed.  It is Dani Arifin.

I see I missed a little cheet (on the right with the seed heads).

and the clematis, Harlow Carr,

This is a wonderful, vigorous clem.  The picture was taken on the garden side of the fence.  Most of the flowers on the garden fence bloom the most on the north side of the fence , the garden side, because the sun comes up and hits the fence first.  At first, I fought it and tried to tie various things to the other side, but it was a losing battle...then I thought OK, I can just enjoy the fence when I am gardening and sometimes that is a pretty long time.  I get to see dark pink roses and white and purple clems and soon white lilies while working which is very nice.  I think there are also two pink clems. 


I am trying to restructure the blog so finding things will be easier.  Bear with me while I do some trial and error working on this thing. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Four days have slipped by me.....without posting.  I do jot a brief  entry in my written journal to try to keep track.

The most important news is the vet came Thursday and de-horned Willow's two heifers.  He also preg checked Willow and she is due for mid-August.  I thought I wrote on the calendar when we thought she was bred but I am not finding it.  I will take the vet's word and will dry her up  around July 15.

We sold some calves and were very pleased with the prices.

Mostly we have been just keeping up....mowing, some weeding, tilling and other mundane gardening chores.

We are both looking forward to next weeks promise of cooler weather.  Surely I can get the rest of the garden in.  DH will be setting cattle panels in the new orchard garden for the tomatoes.

We had the first humming birds yesterday evening so I put out a feeder this morning and already have seen two different birds.  They are late this year and I have seen no Baltimore Orioles yet.

In my daily tour of the yard this morning, I found more self-seeded foxgloves.   I hope I can keep these going for a long time.  I love the tall spiky look in the flower bed.

and more at the end of the porch,

I think the clematis are  more lush than last year.

This is the one behind the Buff Beauty Rose that I showed last week.
It is in full glory now,

This is a closeup of the nigella bloom.  I have a huge spread of these by the porch, all self-seeded.

Garden Pests:

I thought I had escaped potato beetles this year....not so.  Several plants were stripped so out came the Sevin.

Also the dreaded baby slugs have devastated the hostas and this was after putting out egg shells and  grapefruit halves.  I have now spread wood ashes around them.....I should have spread a light coating of sharp sand over the entire bed before they broke ground.  They are only 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and it is easy to miss them. 

Garden Disease:

Several of the annual poppies are curling over and dying....looks just like fire blight that I am having on some of the fruit trees.  My feeling is I should just cut down those trees affected and make my gardening life easier!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another Tour

Well, since I blogged last, we have had some lovely rain, 2 inches total and no wind or hail!  Things are growing by leaps and bounds.

General catchup:  I have been weeding the driveway bed that I said I was going to just mow down........when those flowers began blooming amongst the cheet and milk weed, I just couldn't stand it.
I started yesterday the enormous job of pulling and string trimming the weeds.  I am about 70% done.

This is a work in progress:

The iris are finished, the papaver somniferum is just beginning, two different lilies are budded out.  My poor edging of lavender were almost choked out.  This will give me some bare room to plant some annuals....zinnias probably.

We took some calves to market today.  I am excited to see the prices.  DH will go in later to pick up the check.

Tour of the Foundation Bed East and South

This is the bed in front of the kitchen window.  It has hibiscus moscheutos, Endless Summer hydrangea (lots of buds), a clematis climbing the hibiscus stalks from last year, campanula, daffs from earlier, and others I am missing.

and to the right of this bed is the Hummingbird Bed that has very little in bloom now.

Then moving to the left or south is the Dining Room Porch Foundation Bed.

This shows the end of the porch bed where nigella damascena almost took over as a ground cover.  There is a two year old clematis Jackmani Superba getting ready to bloom on the porch corner.

This is the nigella that is beginning to open and some tight buds of gaillardia.

and on to the front of the dining room foundation,

Later there will be poppies and feverfew and daylilies and who knows what else will pop up.

and the rest of the bed,

A viburnum and a spirea, there are a few seedling grasses and, of course, the vinca minor escaped its bounds again.

This takes us to the Living Room foundation, not much to see here so I will skip it now.

I heard the loudest birdsong while touring and chased it all the way to the back garden to get a photo.
I was amazed it was a tiny House Wren.