Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wow! Time Flies!

That's how busy we've been!  The weather was very dry in May and we were constantly watering crops:  lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peas, beets, strawberries, newly planted bedding plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes.  We watered newly planted seeds just to get them to sprout.  This year was another first:  we watered our potato field and onions.  We had never done that before.

When June arrived, we finally started getting rain.  The first decent rain was 4.5 inches.  The next was 2.5 inches.  Rain is predicted again tonight.

The strawberries, lettuce, spinach, and radishes were all delicious.  They are finished.  The green onions will be good for about another week, and then they'll be too large to sell as "green onions."  We'll let them grow to get larger.
This was the first basket of Yukon Gold potatoes.  They taste so good.  Dylan dug several pounds and sold them all at Pony Express Farmers' Market in St. Joseph this morning.  He also sold sugar snap peas, green onions, rhubarb and turnips.

The green beans are blooming and starting to set beans.  The broccoli is developing and the cabbage heads are growing.  With the lovely rains we had, the weeds are growing too.  Weeding is our daily exercise plan.  We don't need to sign up for a yoga class; we have our own version of "garden yoga."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

We started the day with an omelet which included pepper jack cheese, then topped with homemade salsa.  We ended the day with soft shell tacos, including guacamole.  The avocados in the store are so good now!  Today was a good day for working outside.  We planted zucchini, cucumber, and cantaloupe seeds.  We're moving our tomato and pepper plants outside each day so they can "harden off," (get used to the wind and the direct sun).  They're doing pretty well.  They take a lot more water when they spend their days outside.

Tom changed the oil in the tractor today to keep it in good condition.  We did more weeding on the strawberry bed and the asparagus.  The strawberries are blooming like crazy and we can see little berries starting to set on.

We hoed dirt up around the broccoli plants.  The wind has been blowing so hard that the plants need the extra support so they won't break off or fall over.
The peas and beets are doing well.  We have done a couple of plantings of green beans and sweet corn.  Next on the list to plant is okra and then winter squash.  Stormy weather is predicted for later this week, so we'll wait until next week to put tomato plants and pepper plants in the ground.  They don't like cold weather, high winds, or hail.  Neither do I.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cold Again!

The temperature has been hanging around 49 degrees all day and the wind is blowing.  The wind chill must be 32 degrees.  If not, it feels like it.  I only went outside once today, wearing my hooded sweatshirt and holding a hot cup of tea.  I may have stayed all of 2 minutes.  This is ridiculous!  I'm wearing out my sweatshirts putting them on and taking them off.  The temp. is supposed to be in the 80's nest week.  Typical spring.

To stay warm today and to justify staying indoors, I made 2 batches of hot pepper jelly and 3 batches of cherry jam.  I used the remainder of cherries I had in the freezer.
I have several people who always want hot pepper jelly when farmers' market starts and I've had some requests already for cherry jam, so I figured I'd better get started.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Colors!

This is what we've been waiting for!  Winter colors around here were brown (trees and ground), blue (sky), white (snow), and maybe an occasional pink sunrise or sunset.  Now we're ready for some serious, strong colors such as these.

The jonquils, grape hyacinths, and flowering quince are all going crazy right now.  It sure makes us smile to see all these pretty flowers.  The Bradford pear trees and strawberries are blooming too.  They're pretty, but their blossoms are white.

We've been working hard and now some of our plantings are starting to show up.  The onions are growing.  The potato plants are beginning to come through the ground, as are the peas, turnips, radishes and beets.  The lettuce and spinach is growing nicely.  We've planted our first patch of sweet corn and our first patch of green beans. The cabbage and broccoli plants have acclimated and are beginning to grow nicely.  We've been picking asparagus for a few days now and it's delicious!  We've planted 60 new red raspberry plants and 30 new peach trees.  We planted a couple of cherry trees and a couple of plum trees last year.  The year before last we planted 30 apricot trees.  The fruit trees are all planted in our yard, so hopefully, when the surrounding fields are sprayed, our fruit trees will not be killed.  If they all survive, we'll be living in an orchard.  I'll like that.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Afghans Finished!

In the winter I crochet hats, neck scarves and afghans.  It's a warm thing to do.  I made one of those 5 1/2 hour afghans previously which is crocheted on a giant crochet hook using 3 strands of yarn at the same time.  It took more like 5 1/2 weeks rather than hours; part of that time was used trying to get used to working with the giant crochet hook.

When my daughter needed a baby afghan made to give to a friend, we decided to try using lighter weight yarn, a smaller crochet hook, and the same pattern.  It was much easier to crochet and came out looking quite nice, I think.  The colors of yarn are pumpkin, light grey and a variegated grey.  The yarn my daughter chose is very soft, so the feel of the afghan is wonderful.
 I had never made a ripple afghan, so I decided it was time to give it a try.  I had some leftover yarn that I needed to use and it seems this chevron pattern is showing up everywhere in fabrics and clothing.  (I'm so concerned about being on the cutting edge of fashion)!  Anyway, I did enjoy crocheting the ripple afghan.  I may make another one next winter!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

So Dry!

It is so dry here.  Yesterday I watered rhubarb and raspberry plants.  We water the lettuce and spinach every morning because they are in raised beds with a growing medium other than soil, so it dries out quickly.  Dylan and I water the cabbage and broccoli plants as well as the row where we planted beets every other day.  And, this morning we also watered the rows where we planted the sugar snap peas.  If we don't get rain soon, we'll also start watering the asparagus.  It is just beginning to grow.  Thank goodness the plumber came last week and got the repairs made on our water pump, so we can water using the well.  That water's free except for the cost of electricity to run the pump.

The apricot trees started blooming last week.We had a couple of nights below freezing after that, so we'll see if they make it this year.  The trees are not all the same age, so some have yet to bloom - maybe they'll produce this year.
 Harvest Hill Farm is in the chicken business now!  We had Rhode Island Reds delivered yesterday.  They are around 10 weeks old, so should start laying eggs sometime in June.  We're pretty excited about having our own eggs and, hopefully, having some to sell.
 The chicken house and chicken pen is at Dylan's house, so he'll be in charge of that part of the business too.  He has a lab pup who likes to watch the chickens, so we're counting on the dog to keep predators away!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Planting Has Finally Begun!

Yesterday Tom spent a lot of time on the tractor, cultivating and using the bed shaper to make the rows for potato planting.  Dylan and I planted spinach and lettuce and spent several hours cutting seed potatoes.  Behind Tom and Dylan you can see the ridges made by the bed shaper.  It pulls the loose dirt together in rows and makes potato planting easier.
 Don't get the idea, however, that potato planting is too easy!  Dylan and I spent about 3 hours today planting.  It's good exercise, but my back got pretty tired.  I'm glad we ran out of rows.  Tom will run the bed shaper tomorrow so we'll have enough rows to finish  the potatoes.  Then, onions will be next.
Tom kept the buckets filled for us.  Dylan cranked up the rock and roll music so we could plant and then dance when our backs needed a break.  The wind was blowing so hard that at times it was hard to hear the music!