I am definitely a country girl that loves to garden, quilt, preserve, hunt, and read. I love my family more than anything in the world. I live with my husband of fifty years. We have a son, daughter, granddaughter and grandson. We live on a 500+ acre farm in Virginia with about 75 cows & bulls, thirty chickens, and three dogs.
Two hours later and a blister between my thumb and pointer but it’s done. The southeast yard looks pretty darned good, I think! All it needs is some warm days, lime and fertilizer.
The big flat rock at the bottom step of the back door has been hauled off to be used somewhere else on the property.
I’ve got a nice flat bed in front of the chimney for a bunch of zinnias, and I made sure they wouldn’t be in the way of the chimney sweep (my husband). The bricks have been taken to our brick pile. They were placed at the bottom of the chimney clean out but they’re not needed there now.
In the corner of the chimney is a wooden nail keg holding hen & chicks given to me by a wonderful friend and they seem to love that spot where the sun hits them first thing in the morning.
Last summer I started a hen & chicks garden in the old stump at the back fence of this part of the yard and it survived the winter which was mild to say the least.
I have bird nesting spots all the around the building to the left which used to be a milk house when dairy cattle were on the farm. Now the building is used to store all of my gardening tools, small firewood for the kitchen woodstove, lawn ornaments stored for the winter and 20-30 bags of leaves in the fall/winter season for the chickens and the dog bedding. On the outside of the building are the nesting spots of Carolina wren, house finches and sparrows.
Next stop, rose garden and front yard which are both the worst of all. I don’t think I’ll be working on it today unless the wind lays and it warms up a bit, so I’ll concentrate on the inside of the house.
I promised a gardening and greenhouse page and it is now active but far from complete. It’s hard to remember everything so I will continue adding to the page and will do an alert post when I have. Hope you enjoy and will ask me questions anytime about it. Just remember, I’M A NOVICE AT THIS!!!
Spring cleaning outside as well as inside the house will be happening the next two weeks.
Yesterday was beautiful and while hubby was busy with his chores, I started cleaning the southwest corner of the yard. It only took about two hours, but I got it done and it looks really nice. Now it ready for some lime and fertilizer because it has lots of moss and the grass is patchy.
Next area is the southeast yard on the other side of the house, and it should take about an hour. Depending on the weather this should happen tomorrow.
All of the peach and cherry trees have budded and killed. Fruit from them this summer will be a miracle.
What’s really weird is the apple orchards, most trees are just started budding and one crabapple in the orchard beside the house is in full bloom and leafing. It’s always the first to come out. The early blooms are great for the honeybees on these unusually warm days in March.
Then this week one of the peach trees rebloomed but I think next weekend, end of the month, cold temperatures are coming back.
Guess we’ll just wait and see what Mother Nature provides!!
Spring is here according to the calendar but not quite for a gardener and farmer in our neck of the woods.
What a mess! I need to do some research on one end of this concord vine because it has had lots of new growth, huge leaves but no grapes. The other end just started producing two years ago and it’s a red grape. We have several arbors of grapes mostly blue and one small vine that wraps around our woodhouse that has wonderful white grapes every year. They’re not huge nor are the other grapes but they’re all super sweet. I also need to figure out how to get the grapes to grow bigger. All of them now are about the size of a marble. I want some about an inch around. Any suggestions?
I didn’t cut it back as far as I usually do because for some reason the last two years we got a huge amount of new growth and leaves but not many grapes. We’ll see if this thinning is better for grapes than years past.
Hubby helped me dig it up because I couldn’t get the shovel to go in the ground at this spot. He dug up 14 large clumps and I dug the holes inside the garden fence for their new home. I’ve never seen such a tangled mass of roots in one little two-foot space. Last year it produced quite well but was overshadowed by the pear tree on one side and the grapevines on the other side.
I’m not sure we will get any produce from these transplants this spring or not but I’ve covered them with a little chicken litter and watered well. Now we wait!!!
After we finished this I pruned the grapevines and hauled the trimmings from them and the plum trees to our special spot to die, decay and make another rich place for planting. It’s also a good hiding spot from the hawks for the wild rabbits and squirrels.
Next will be our very messy yard but it will wait until this next wind/rainstorm passes through.
As soon as you think you have everything you need in the way of equipment something breaks down or wears out. Such is the case with our hay tedder. What’s that??? Well, it’s a piece of equipment that speeds up the drying process of the hay that has been cut and that usually saves at least one day, sometimes two, depending on the heaviness of the hay. The most important function of the tedder is it fluffs the hay to let air flow through the rows of cut hay, and it also brings the bottom of the hay to the top and exposes it to sunlight, which leads to faster, more uniform dry down.
Our wore out tedder is a single row machine and since we had a good last sale of our calves for 2022, Eddie decided to buy a double row machine to make things go even faster. She’s a beauty and she’s ready for the hayfields.
The hay tedder is also a fantastic tool to dry hay when we get an unexpected shower after the hay is cut or if a fall cutting gets frosted after it’s been cut. We let the sun dry the top and flip with the tedder to dry what was on the bottom.
We’re always looking for ways to improve our farming work and time and make life just a tad better. Now we just need for Mother Nature to do her part.
These are a few examples of trees I’ve started in pots in the greenhouse. Some others are apples, cherries, peaches, English and black walnuts, grapes and plums. Now before getting too excited, the apples will not come out true to the tree I got them from, but we get them started and then use them for root stock.
Three years ago, I started several apple and plum trees from the seeds from fruit trees on our property. I’ve also used seeds from apples and plums I’ve purchased at the farmers market when we didn’t have any fruit due to frost. I’m afraid this will be true again this year due to the warm January and February weather we’ve had. Those apple trees were planted last spring in one of our smaller orchards and probably next year we will graft them if the rabbits, deer and vermin don’t eat their bark or roots first.
To plant the nuts and fruit, I take the seeds from their parent and store in the refrigerator until the following spring. If the nuts have shells which most do, I crack the seed out of the shell and place in a four-inch pot that has fresh, moistened potting soil in it. I cover the seed and keep the soil moist but not wet throughout the summer months into the fall. If they sprout, I take them into a protected room in the cellar of another house on the property, wet them down and leave until the following spring after any expected frost. Most of the ones that have been through this process will grow another 6-8 inches in the small pot. In mid to late summer, I transplant them into 10–12-inch pots with new soil added, fertilize lightly and start introducing them to the out of doors until fall arrives and then they go back into the cellar one more winter where they go dormant again. The following spring, they are brought back to the greenhouse to sprout again and midsummer they will be planted in an orchard to get a good root system going prior to winter. We water them well throughout the summer and fall until weather turns cool and then they’re on their own and hopefully thrive.
Last summer three almond trees were planted behind my greenhouse. At the moment I have about thirty seeds, mostly fruit, in the cellar waiting to move back to the greenhouse. It’s very gratifying to grow this produce from seed just like we do in the garden.
The first thing I want to tell you is this is NOT out of the ground yet!!! With all the sunny warm days we’ve had I’m a little surprised but it’s way too early for anything out of the garden or around it. Though, you couldn’t tell it with all the trees budding out and the lilies pushed six inches out of the ground. We had a hard frost the last three morning and I’m expecting all of those buds to drop to the ground.
I’m kind of glad we’re in for colder weather for about 10-14 days because I haven’t got the asparagus transplanted. I have a small patch outside of the garden between the grapevines and the pear trees. It has to fight to survive in that spot so I’m going to move it.
Now, let me tell you that I’m not a Master gardener or any kind of expert at anything. The posts that I write are the way I/we do on this farm. It’s not saying they won’t work for everyone, but it does for us.
All of the asparagus patches on our farm originated on a fence line as is the case of the one I want to move and were started by wild birds. In the fall, they eat the red berries from the dying plants that grow wild all along our state road and then the bird will fly off to a fence post and leave their droppings. Those droppings contain the seed after the bird has digested the berries which are full of teeny, tiny seeds. Wallah, we get asparagus!!!
This patch I want to move fights for nutrients against the fruit tree and the grapevines and is losing the battle. I’ll prepare a bed against the interior of our garden fence and fill it with lots of nutrients from the chicken litter and crushed eggshells so that the asparagus will have lots of grand nutrients all its own. I’ve done this with all of the eight spots I have along the west fence of the garden. It’ll be next year before it produces well but then again, I may have asparagus this year since it’s been producing for about four years in the bad spot.
This is a closeup of the transplant! Looks like a bunch of dead weeds and sticks but that what it looks like in the winter months.
Asparagus is not something I can or freeze because since its makeup is mainly water it will turn to mush just like it does if you overcook it. We love it fresh and as long as I keep it picked off, watered and weeded it produces most of the summer. I guess that why we so look forward to it in the spring. Next step, move it next week while it’s cold. I’ll prepare the bed for it tomorrow.
We started on the bull lot fence Monday and got all of the bad wire fence down and the broken posts pulled out. The new posts have been placed and the wire tighteners on the end posts. The brace post where the gate entrance is, has been put up and then we had to stop. The weather isn’t that cold, but the winds are blowing at 20 – 40 miles an hour. We just can’t tolerate that now. Here’s a few pictures of what we got done in about two hours.
If Mother Nature allows it, we hope to have the wire strung and nailed on next week.
I love working outside with hubby and accomplishing as much as we do at seventy+ years old.
We just put up the new fence and it looks awesome but I’m afraid the bull next door (leased by another farmer) isn’t satisfied with his herd and has been trying to push the new posts out of the ground to get to our ladies. The leasing farmer may be putting up a new fence again.