Cleaning up Greenhouse

Not perfect on the outside but the inside is a mess consisting of empty dirty pots I’ve used so far this spring!!!
My work station is a mess and covered up with empty pots. Today I will have all of them washed up and drying. Tomorrow the sorting and storing for next year will take place.
The shelf under the growing table is perfect for storing all of my most used pots.
The pots I’m currently using for transplanting and re-sowing are placed at the end of the workstation within reaching distance. Sadie was after a chipmunk under the grapevines and broke off these stems from the blue end of the vines. I’m going to try to save them and hopefully root them, I’ve had a request for them.
I use this tote filled with a water, a touch of Dawn for cleaning all of my pots. I have a stiff brush that I use for getting excess dirt out of the pots and then a bottle sponge for more thorough cleaning.
After washing and rinsing I stack them on large trays upside down to dry.
Pots with hangers are hanging from a wire overhead and will be filled as soon as the weather warms up and I can move them out of the greenhouse.
I have lots more to plant in the ground too!! Vegetables are the second planting, herbs are small and waiting for warmer ground and flowers will fill all of my flowerbeds, and pots.

I’m not a professional greenhouse keeper or gardener. I do this for fun & hobby, and I learn new things every year.

Road Trip With Friend

What an awesome day!!! My friend Carol came from Christiansburg, and we spent about six hours together talking, laughing, eating, celebrating her birthday, shopping and everything girlfriends do!!!

She got here around 11:00 and I gifted her a cookbook from the small town I grew up in, Paint Bank, VA put together by the Paint Bank Ladies Auxiliary. My family members contributed to the book along with other residents of the small town. After getting her gift, we wrapped up because it was quite chilly, loaded up in my Toy (Camry) and took off for Fincastle and Daleville, VA.

First, we stopped at one of my favorite shops in Daleville called Ikenberry’s which is a country story with lots of extras and I never leave without buying too much. I love to go in the fall for apples and pumpkins but they’re open year-round with a wide assortment of candies, vegies, fruits (peaches on this trip), butter, cheeses, dried beans, ham, all sorts of meats and flowers and all the goodies that go with flowers. If you need an extraordinary gift this is the place to go.

After lunch we had one more stop at Heritage Family Market where we filled our baskets full of all sorts of cooking/baking goodies and this is where I get my wonderful bacon and the seasoned flour. They were out of it, but new shipment comes in on Wednesday and we’ll go back. This family can fix you ANY sandwich your heart desires and on their homemade breads!! Order a sandwich, grab a bottle of tea and step out back to their gazebo and have your lunch in the peach and fresh air of Daleville!!!

We had a wonderful lunch outside of Tizzone’s, our first time there and loved it. My children and grandchildren are always raving about Tizzone’s and now I know why!! We went to Tizzone’s between the two shops and enjoyed our meal outside with no disturbances!!!

Carol and I had another wonderful day together and I’m sure we’ll be together again very soon, either on her turf or mine. She loves coming to the farm to chill and soak up the farm atmosphere and can you blame her!!!!

I didn’t have my camera with us and couldn’t get the businesses to respond to permission to use their website pictures. Hope you enjoy the post anyway!!!

Fried Apple Pies

Our favorite dessert is fried apple pies or a big fresh apple pie! Recently I made up a batch of the fried apple pies which we had for snack and breakfast.

They are very simple to make and all you need is five canned biscuits. I use the small cans for this, and they roll out just thin enough to handle easily and fill with your favorite apples.

I use the store brand mini cans of five biscuits and roll each one into a 5 inch round. I sift some bread flour on the table to make it easier to roll out the dough.
Last year I had just enough Wolf River apples to cook for these and froze them to use as I needed. I don’t cook them up like applesauce, I cook to the point of soft cubes and add some sugar to sweeten. When I want to make pies, I add a half teaspoon of vanilla and a two teaspoons of apple pie spice to a pint of apples and stir together. You DON’T want to cook them to get thin like applesauce. We like the chunky apple bits.

Roll out the dough, drop a couple spoonsful of apple mixture in the middle, fold the dough over and press edges together with a floured fork. It very easy! Get your oil hot at 375* (I have a deep fryer, but you can use a large skillet, the oil has to cover the pie to cook thoroughly.)

They will puff up and golden on both sides (you have to flip them with a fork while they’re cooking). Remove from oil onto a parchment covered sheet pan. I sprinkle mine with powdered sugar or make a icing of powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over the pies.

Let them cool and then place in an airtight container and place in cool area. Mine don’t last long enough to spoil!! They’re so good!!! For a special dessert for guest, place in a bowl and top with your favorite scoop of ice cream (mine is butter pecan). I use the same recipe for fried peach pies.

Bell Garden Challenge

I so enjoy my flower gardens but this one has and is my biggest challenge. That being said, I have a good reason which is the huge maple tree beside it that soaks up all of the moisture in and around it. It’s well over 50 years old and it provides a wonderful shade throughout the summer and it’s why my bell garden doesn’t do as well even though it is full of shade loving plants.

For several years I’ve planted columbine seeds with only a few actually surviving and the colors are quite vibrant but there’s not enough.

I add growing medium every spring such as compost, Miracle Gro, and would add more but for losing the plants that do return every year. I’m thinking that this fall I should dig up the growing plants, turn over the soil, add manure, ash, and new compost and turn over again.

The roots of the maple tree are everywhere making it hard to dig in and change. I’ve even thought of just turning it back to lawn grass which grows well here in the shade. All of the existing plants get two hours of sunlight in the morning and four in the afternoon. They’re watered 2-3 times a week. The following photos will show the poor quality of the soil but when I move anything out of the shade of the tree they do better. The following photo of the Lily of the Valley picks up the quality I’m talking about.

I’ve placed rocks from the farm as steppingstones and markers of certain plants in rows. What you are seeing now are the columbine and how sparsely they’ve grown. I would prefer a full bed of them and most of what I have were grown from dropped seeds. They are blown all over the bed and in the spring, I replant their second spring. Some make it while others don’t depending on the weather.

These are bleeding hearts, two types, and this is the first year, after planting three years ago, to bloom. All of the flowers I’ve mentioned and shown are shade lovers. They get some morning and some afternoon sunshine. All bloom at different stages of the season. I will probably have to move the ones on the right and left to give them more room to grow and flourish. This was my plan in the beginning but planted closer to each other than I should have to see if they would even grow.

Behind the bleeding hearts lies the tall phlox which will bloom in June through August. They’re beautiful and drop seed each summer for more bloom the coming year. It has a large cluster (size of my fist) of blooms in a beautiful pink/purple color that makes me smile. They’re very easy to grow and I have them in several places in the yard.

Behind the dinner bell I’ve planted cleome, also known as spider plant, in a beautiful pink and white flower that grows to four feet tall. They have huge blooms and also drop seed for the coming spring. I’m more worried about these than any because two days after planting the chickens got in the yard and before I could find them there, they managed to dig every plant up and scatter. I saved about half of them but it’s still iffy that they make it.

In this photo you can see a small area of the maple tree which is four to five feet wide and the background of the bed covered in daylilies that spread like wildfire!! A friend of mine is visiting today and I hope Carol can advise me on what to do with this bed to make it flourish!!!

The Herb Garden

I’ve got my new herb garden set up and planted some of the herbs from the greenhouse.

The rows are marked and some of the herbs are in.

I planted some oregano and lemon balm last year that came back and are doing quite well. They are pictured about midway in this photo. The white placards down the outer box name each herb that has or will be planted. The herbs I’m trying this summer besides the oregano and lemon balm are Opal basil, summer savory, thyme, marjoram, sage, Italian parsley, Italian basil, dill, lemon balm, tarragon, lemon basil, lavender, cinnamon basil, lemon savory, rosemary and fennel. I spoke of these in an earlier post about what was growing in the greenhouse. I’ve since added cilantro, chives, and chocolate mint.

During the summer reading I hope to add to my knowledge how to harvest, dry and save the herbs for my cooking pleasure.

Opal basil is one I’m growing for the beauty of the plant as much as for the flavor.
The placards are more for my benefit when I start drying and saving. Also, they will let me know what’s growing well and what is taking over the herb bed.
I think if you open the photo and enlarge you can see what I see when working in the garden. The end of the bed holds the dill which tends to drop seed everywhere and the wind blows the seed quite easily. I hope it doesn’t end up in the rose garden.

I will update the progress of the herb as the summer passes.

Planting Corn and Beans

A full week of gardening for veggies, herbs and flowers.

Potatoes in the ground.
Onions in the ground and growing quite nicely!
Sweet peppers in the ground.
First tomatoes in the ground.
Silver queen corn and Tenderette green beans in the garden and starting to sprout. Cabbages and romaine lettuce in the ground. Big spot in the middle waiting on cucumbers, more corn and beans, zucchini, more peppers will complete the garden.

We have another smaller garden that will be planted in the next couple days with more potatoes, sunflowers, pumpkins and watermelons. We love growing things!!!

Flower Boxes Painted

Yardwork has been the name of the game for the last week, and it’s still only partially done.

Looking back to 2020, hubby made me these primitive flower boxes for the front porch.
Back then I filled them with a new plant that I’d not grown before, Arizona Red Gaillardia! They were beautiful and the hummingbirds loved them.
They grew fast and I was so proud that I had grown them in my new boxes!
Last year they were full of coleus. This year they got a coat of paint and are now full of marigolds of bright orange and reds.

There’s two on each side of the porch with a pop of color in between.

The pot on each side of the porch has a red geranium, purple sweet potato plant and a green vine that all came from Walter’s Greenhouse.

The Hosta’s in front of the porch, as usual, are showing off their beauty. I think I may just live on my front porch as soon as it warms up.

Just A Swingin’

Forty-degree nights definitely don’t mean summertime but when the porch swing goes back in position summer is not far off.

I love porch swinging and reading a book. I love porch swinging and listening to nature. I love porch swinging and listening to country music on my jambox!

She got a board replaced and a new paint job. She got new chains. All she needs now if a soft cushion, some corner pillows and a warm quilt or blanket. I’ll make those pillows and cushion sometime this week.

The entire family loves swinging and can’t wait for the grandkids to join me this summer for some easy visiting on the front porch!!

These two love the porch swing as much as I do.
Lying stretched out on it at night listening to night sounds is so comforting!

Can’t wait for friends to visit so we can sit together catching up on happenings in our mutual families!

Thankful For My Children

They’re four years apart and love each other very much. They’re smart, caring, hard workers, loving parents, and will fight anyone that tries to hurt the other!!! I couldn’t be more proud of both of them! I was lucky to be in my twenties when I had both of them and we played together all of their lives, even now. They are comedians, scholars, farmers (each in their own way), country, and no kinder adults than you would ever meet unless you hurt one or the other.

As teenagers they were always cutting up and making me laugh!!!

As adults, they still clown around together and always making me laugh!!!

They’ve given me two beautiful grandchildren and I’m so proud of them as well!

I had a marvelous Mother’s Day with them all except Declan. We may see him sometime in June.

Shawn, Heather and Victoria, I love you all and thank you for making my Mother’s Day the best ever!!!

Consequences and Negative Acquaintances

I’ve recently listened to someone very close to me about how hurt and upset they’ve been about negative conversations and hurtful remarks that were truly uncalled for. That conversation is the reason for this post and if you follow my blog, you will know who you are.

There have been people in my life very much like, no, exactly like, this that are controlling, negative, power seeking, and rude. They are tiresome. Their opinions are gospel. They are mean. They are toxic! I have moved on and my heart and soul are so much better off without them.

The less you respond to negative people the more peaceful your life will become. Toxic is when you are rude and negative. Toxic people acting as a victim is the saddest most negative act EVER! When a toxic person can no longer control you they will try to control how others see you. TRUST OTHERS TO SEE THE TRUTH! Those others know who you truly are and will learn quickly how the toxic person is trying to turn on.

Forget them and get on with what is a beautiful world without them!!!

There will be toxic people in your life that you have to let go of. The only way to win with a toxic person is to not play. Truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy, and they take a lot of each.

I love this quote by Daniell Koepke–

Positive and heartfelt thoughts will make you the better person and a joy to be around!!!!

New Chicken Run-Go Away Mr. Fox

It’s been a month in the making but the chicken run is finally completed. The hens won’t like that they can’t run free all the time, but the fox won’t be getting any more of my fat laying hens.

The fencing has 2×3 inch wire sections.
Eddie hauled in three large pine trees to brace against the bottom of the fence to keep any varmints from digging in from three sides. I stapled the fence about every thirty-six inches to the post from the inside of the pen. There is no give at all for anything to get under.
We built a new gate with hooks to keep it closed or to keep it open. We used the same wire on the gate. It’s as tall as the fence. He also put an electric wire around the outside for climbing varmints. If they touch it the entire fence will electrify. It also keeps the cattle that graze around the lot from rubbing the corner and brace posts and making them loose. Wide boards were placed on each end of the coop to keep the hens in and varmints out.
Each corner of the fence was as pulled in at an angle to keep the top of the fence from swaying and fluorescent ribbon was placed sporadically across the top of the fence to blow in the wind and scare off hawks, eagles and owls from swooping in and catching our flock.
An old feeder was placed in the center of the pen for water. It’s in the center to prevent the chickens from getting on top of it and trying to fly out. My hens are so heavy I don’t think they can attempt that height but you err on the turn of caution.
Their safety is utmost in having a good laying flock and I think we have that now. I intend on letting them out of the enclosure a couple times a month just so they can forage all the bugs and worms they need. They graze just as much as the cows but not consuming every blade of grass.

Life is sooooooo good!!!! 🙂

Strawberry Boxes Protection

My strawberries are full of bloom and have tripled the bed in three of the beds. There won’t be enough to freeze but hopefully there will be enough for fresh strawberry bread, muffins, milk shakes or in a fresh salad.

I grow mine in big tractor tires that have no other use. I can get 10-12 plants in each tire. They easier to work on when they’re raised a bit off the ground. The black tires warm the dirt inside that makes for a bit of a early harvest. Last year the deer got the strawberries before I did or the birds and this year a chipmunk has taken up residence in one of the tires. Sadie will take care of them for me.

I made tops out of some of the old fence wire we took down to keep the deer from devouring all of them. We have two does and three last year fawns that bed next to the greenhouse every night.

This tall circle of woven wire will protect from deer scavenging..
This tire just has three layers of short pieces of woven wire laying on top of the tire.
This strawberry planter has an old piece of window screen attached to four wooden sides that keep the varmints out, but the screen is too heavy and is mashing the plants. I will replace it with woven wire like on the first two.
The deer got about half of this one before I took action. I need to place another square of woven wire over what is there to keep their noses and teeth OUT!
This planter is where the chipmunk has taken up residence and Sadie and I will take care of that soon with wire and some more plants for it and the previous one.
The strawberry planters are to the right of the greenhouse and in front of two cherry trees.

Strawberries are easy to grow when you can keep the critters out of them. Fresh strawberries are delicious and good for you as most fruit is. Above the strawberries and behind the greenhouse are three tires with blueberries that are starting to bloom even after two weeks of freezing weather. We still may harvest enough fruit for a few milkshakes or some homemade ice cream, but that’s another post for the future.

Plans for Summer Canning & Freezing

I’ve took a good look at the cellar shelves, and I do have a little canning I must do this summer. We’ve planted the potatoes and onions so all we do is wait for them and a productive summer.

Onions and potatoes are in the ground and we’re waiting on the ground to get warmer to plant the beans and corn.

The list isn’t long, and all depends on the weather and how well the garden grows. The top of the list is green beans, and we’ll need at least six canners of seven quarts. It will be at least the end of May before they go in the ground leaving me a late July or early August to get those canned. We usually have good luck with growing beans here and we are cutting back some this year. They’re so easy to can! I’ll have my instructions on my canning/preserving page.

The list for preserving is fairly long but not anything unusual. It includes green beans, corn, pinto beans, sauces (i.e., barbecue, tomato, pizza and spaghetti), pickle relish, carrots, sweet green and banana peppers, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin. The squash and pumpkin will be winter hardy and stored in the cellar in baskets on the floor. I have plenty of pumpkin already canned and the sweet potatoes will be bought at a farmers’ market because I never can find the plants early enough to get them grown and cured before first frost. This is my normal preserving along with any fruit we harvest. This year we had four heavy frosts and two freezes while the fruit was blooming and I’m very thankful I canned all of it last year.

Hopeful to fill like I did in 2021 and 2022!!! Mother Nature will help make that happen.

%d bloggers like this: