Saturday, April 30, 2016

What's in Bloom and Miscellaneous things on the Farm

Good Saturday morning!

and it is a good one.  We finally got some measurable rain and no storms accompanied it.  It did turn much cooler which is also a good thing for pastures.  Fescue grass which is the major grass in our area will quickly go to seed if the weather gets too hot.  The quality of it for grazing and hay goes down rapidly.

We have had way too many trips to town to suit either of us......some for MIL.  computer, printer, clock  batteries, alarm clock set wrong.....etc.  Her internet just isn't happening.  They won't come out to check until Thursday of next week.  Also the men who work for the assisted living facility came  and tried.....knowing zero about anything!  I saw a plug laying (unplugged) on the floor behind  her  computer......followed it to its source.  It was her oxygen machine!  She would never have found the issue and she has to have oxygen most of the time.  I plugged it back in and she is now safe.

The other trips were initiated by me....I needed some outside work tee shirts....and Max wanted to check out yard tractors.  I quickly got him off that notion when we looked at those monsters.  They would be nice for a large open space but our yard is filled  with shrubs, flower beds and trees and has very little open spaces.....even the orchard would be iffy.

i wanted to check out mulch at Lowe's but I was so tired after other shopping including the monster mower that we passed.

Maybe we can schedule yet another trip to town!!! and maybe not.

We did get the yard mowed before the rains,

I made two tours the  day before the rains started and in the few hours between this clematis opened fully, The President

These next  two pictures are from the same peony bush.  I don't remember the pinkish buds before,

Remember the budded peony of a couple of days ago?  Well here is what some sunshine will do:

The singles are nice landscape plants because they do not droop  with heavy rains.  Very few are fragrant however.

Another iris opened (and more yesterday but I haven't taken photos is raining),  I call it California Gold  but really should just call it an heirloom.  The previous owner planted it way back


I have very few roses left because of  Rose Rosette Disease but one is a very fragrant rugosa, Blanc Double de Coubert

I hesitate to show this picture because it was taken in full sun and the color is not accurate but most of you are familiar  with it anyway.  This is a bed of poppies, perennial that are being swamped by cheat grass.  I show it for a record of what is blooming when for  my use.

This is my one remaining dark lavender hesperis matronalis, Dame's Rocket.

Nepeta Walker's Low is in full bloom in the Kerria Bed,

This is a very hardy perennial for our area.  I see Lowe's has it around  their drive now.

I found another peach seedling tree.  It is in the chicken yard.  I left it purposely and now it is loaded with peaches.  These seedlings are much hardier that the ones you buy and they don't take that long to produce.  I have peaches on the 4 seedling trees and I don't have a single surviving peach tree on the place. The last one, I see is dying.....

FYI:  I am trying to keep to a spray schedule this year.  I have done a dormant oil and one regular fruit tree spray.  My next is due the first day the sun is shining.  Most of the sprays I use are safe up to the day of harvest and I never spray when bees are present.

Next post will be about the Ruby Locust tree that wasn't  and my first seedling clematis.

Random Chicken Shots

These are just of my heirloom girls, Dominique (also called domineckers and the Pilgrim Fowl)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A too long Catch-Up Post

Well, it is catch-up time again.

I am having a hard time trying to keep up with everything and am failing........

We finally got 1/2 inch of rain last night and might get a shower or  two more.  It was appreciated.  I had just planted some very late spinach and turnip seeds.   The newly set strawberries and potatoes will be happy.

I can pick lettuce for  lunch is small but needs thinning.  I have the bunching onions from my Oklahoma friend Ilene so wilted lettuce will be on the menu.

I have yet to plant the warm  weather crops:  corn,  pole beans, sweet potatoes and squash. 

My pepper seeds failed miserably after almost a month two little  red cheese peppers came up.  We were out doing MIL errands yesterday so I bought some very high-priced plants, 3  different varieties of peppers and Greek oregano.  I didn't see any sage plants so will  have to chase that one down.  It really kills me to pay those prices for plants I can grow at home!

I have been cleaning flowers beds and the cheat grass is so thick everywhere that you have to just look directly at what is in front of you and do it.....if you look around and see the 18 inch tall grass everywhere you would be tempted to throw in the towel.  

Humming Bird Bed. 
We hung the feeder out the 23rd and saw our first tiny male hummer the very next day.  We can't hang it on the porch (now screened in) now so it is outside the kitchen window hanging in the peach tree.  I didn't get a picture of him but did catch the first female visitor yesterday.

Look closely; she is well camouflaged.  Max  had to point her out to me.  I thought I just had a picture of the feeder.

Side note:  I dropped my little Canon Powershot on the floor several days ago and the lens wouldn't come out.  I tried it several days and then we picked out a slightly better Canon PowerShot.  Just after ordering I thought that I should just toss the old camera and just for kicks turned it on before dropping it in the trash can.  I  worked perfectly!  It will become Max's dedicated farm picture taking camera now.  That is not a bad thing. 

Back to the HB bed,   I finally got it cleaned and it took several hours.  It made me very happy to be done with it.

I have finally decided to buy mulch for the bed.....I have held out hating to spend money for mulch but if that is what it takes for me  to keep  some of my flower beds, I will do it.  My Sis has been mulching for years (she has a very citified country property)We garden totally differently.  I have naturalized cottage-style beds and she has mulched beds with spaces between all plants.  Not  my style but hers are quite beautiful and easier for her to manage with her eye  sight as bad as it is.

This is taken from the south side of the bed looking north (the debris is still laying on the grass).

This is taken from the north side looking southeasterly:

This is the east end of the bed.  I will be filling in the bare center with zinnias and cosmos and whatever else I can find,

New Blooms

Tradescantia in west end near bird bath in HB bed

I have lots of self-seeded Dame's Rocket (hesperis matronalis) scattered over the yard.  This clump is on the garden fence border, another candidate for lots of mulch.

I have mostly white now, but I spied (amongst the cheat grass)a very dark purple one out in the front ditch.  I may try to save seeds.

This clematis Nelly Moser.  This is one I cut back way too far two years ago and she still hasn't reached her proper height.

This is a China rose which shouldn't be doing well in my zone.  I have had it for twenty years or  so.  It has its own micro-climate on the south side of the well house and the west side of the outbuildings, well protected from cold winds.

A few iris are blooming,

The weigela opened up overnight,

This next picture will show you exactly the kind of  gardener I am.  This is where I  tossed the  dead poppy plants after shaking out all the seeds (I thought).

I have very few within beds so I now have a dedicated bed right in the middle of the grass.  Be fun to see it in full bloom.

Random pictures

I looked out the kitchen window and was surprised.  Max had seen her a few days ago on the west side of the yard.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Good Day's Work (for me)

Well we have been promised rain but it is beginning to look pretty iffy.....Accu weather says rain in 78 minutes.....we shall see.

Max  and I went out early this morning around 7:30 to begin our chores....his was the cows and mine was gardening.

I wanted to  re-till the strawberries and the east end of the garden before the rains came.  Grass was beginning to grow.  I decided to water the strawberries so I let the sprinkler run while tilling.  They needed it badly;  I didn't water them in when I planted them a few days ago because of promised rain.....

Tilled garden with very dark  red lettuces.  (Note Martin house in upper right hand)

and, at long last and a month  too late,  the Martin House in an upright position.

It took  a long time to get the cow man's attention but he did it!  So I am not complaining.  I will never take it  down again.

I have been working on cleaning the border along the edge of the New Bed and Light Pole bed.  I am happy to report it is done.

This was this morning's work:

and I did this a couple of days ago,

I was happy to see some remaining  peaches and pears after our freezes and  winds.

My first iris is in bloom;  from a neighbor so I call it Lisenby's iris,

Still blooming:  Kerria, lilacs, one lonely self-seeded money plant (lunaria), the ugly iris, two clematis, an odd daff or two.

I will risk planting sweet corn very soon (as the  oak leaves are the size of mouse ears).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Yard Tour

Had a good night.  I still wake mid-night  and then finish in my chair in the kitchen....odd, but so be it.  At least, I am sleeping.

It is partly cloudy today and still very cool.  I think tomorrow is promised to be warmer.  I did manage to brave the breeze and do a yard tour.

The first clematis to bloom:


I have forgotten the name again.  One of these fine days I am going to identify all my clems and  tie a permanent marker on them!

There are some late daffs blooming and they all seem to be the same type:

This clump is hiding the compost pile (just barely if you are laying on your stomach in the grass)

These are in front of my Nelly Moser Clematis (see I did know one!)

I should have started this as I came out the back door but here we go now.

We are  down to 4 older cats and for some reason they are now hanging around the house,

This black one is slightly crippled after some injury.  We never knew what.

The old cistern planter and the  surrounding ground is now loosely called my herb bed.  I have chives in the planter and lemon thyme that has survived three winters now.  On the ground on the east side is common thyme, self-seeded parsley, and more self seeded chives.

I usually plant cherry tomatoes in the tub and will this year with basil at the base.

This is one of my two surviving hostas.  One year they just didn't  come back.....never knew why.  This on is Wide Brim from my  Sis.  It is in a perfect spot, full shade and near the hydrant.

I see the Virginia Creeper is creeping back.....can you ever kill it out?

The lilacs out  front in the old shrub border are coming seems to me there are two different varieties here:

This one is first to bloom on the north side

and these are from a thicket of  growth facing the south.  They seem a deeper color and later??? could just be because the north one was not cut  to the ground and is old growth.

I could smell  them from the middle  of the drive!

This is another clump of the same late daffodils,

This is the kerria japonica pleniflora near the drive in the old Ash Tree Bed.  I wanted to show the blooms up close.

It will bloom  sporadically all season.

I have made the circle and here he is again:

I hesitate to show this poor cat.  He is a tomcat and seems to come home wounded on a regular basis.  The side of his neck you can't see looks like something had him by the throat and half the skin is missing.

Another comment on gardening,  I finally got egg plant, tomatoes and pepper seeds planted.    So far not a single cheese pepper has come up.  I am so disappointed.  I called a nursery , the biggest one on town, and they never heard of cheese peppers!  Drat and blast!  I still have some in the freezer but not enough.

Even the Jalapenos haven't come up.  Maybe I am just getting anxious; I hope so.

I am  working on using our excess of eggs.  Day before yesterday I made a three-loaf pan pound cake for the freezer (well, we ate one) and today I mad DH's favorite, chocolate pie.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Almost a Month between Postings

I have set a new record(low) for posting.  Not by choice. I have had non-stop company for two weeks and one weekend and then more MIL issues plus another bout requiring a trip to the rheumatologist.

I will attempt a  little bit of a catchup,  mostly for my records.

Weather has been very cool and extremely windy.  I did my second mowing (a week or so ago).  I finally planted tomato and pepper seeds and they are coming up.  I used a heating pad on the bottom to speed things up.  I am about a week behind with them.

I gave up planting and finally just heeled in my order from Stark Bros.  I did get 6 each of kale and broccoli planted.

All the peaches have bloomed and now are just have some sporadic blossoms here and there.  Maybe there will be a peach or two not claimed by frosts.

Apricot and plums dropped petals several days ago.

Seckel pear and Moonglow have bloomed, some still on tree despite 30 mph winds.  Kieffer blooms a week earlier and all petals have dropped on it.

The apples are beginning to bloom. (both those in the ground and those still in large pots)

All Clematis are pruned and growing well.
These are two dark purple that I finally had the nerve to cut back to l8 inches.  They have responded well.  I hope I will have lots of blooms.

and this is Jackmanii Superba on a makeshift trellis (that may become a permanent one.)
From Drop Box

I still haven't been able  to trim the beds  but did  cut the dead tops from the agastache bed.

I now have both the golden and the green and think I will leave some green this year.

We had the front shrub border next to the road cut to the ground a couple of years ago and I was worried that I would never see my lilacs again, they are back.  This is the common syringa vulgaris.  I will have to thin it relentlessly but at least this one near the house side is in a good place.

and this is the Persian Lilac,

The old Ash Tree Bed which should now be called the kerria bed is beginning,

There are some clumps of late daffodils blooming.  These all came from a 50-bulb order from White Flower Farm and I love the mix,

Blackberries are leafing out and I see some beginnings of buds.

I am noticing the trees more this year.  The oaks are the latest to bud, the Pin Oak is before the white or red oak and the swamp oak.  The Birch is somewhere in between.  The Amur Maple is fully in leaf.  The red locust is just now showing signs of life.  The Red Maple is start to leaf and has lots of seeds as always.

All  for now.