What a glorious spring we have had here at the farm. Cool sunny weather, except for the crazy heat wave that we had in the end of April. And then the hard frost that visited us on June 1st. The rains have all come at just the right time. Although we could use some now....
The peas are looking fantastic thanks to the trellis that Dan put up almost two months ago!! and all of the mulching that Elizabeth and Terra have done. Our potatoes are finally showing their heads and only a few of them got touched by the frost. We rushed to cover everything that we could on Sunday night - the prediction was for temperatures in the low 30's. YIKES! We had just put in 80 BEAUTIFUL Heirloom tomato plants...
With the help of my father, Anya, Alice, Terra and Dan we were able to get all of the tomatoes covered along with all of the rogue lettuces hanging around the pod garden and the middle garden. We just didn't have enough re-may for the cole crops. But, they are supposed to be cold hardy so I said a little blessing of protection and went to bed. Unfortunately many of the tomato plants got bitten by the frost weighing down the re-may until it touched their leaves and then burned them. I replaced as many as I thought necessary today. And our cauliflower looks pretty bad. AND the Asparagus that was up was damaged. Amazing to see how many perennials made it untouched.
We have been very busy getting bush beans planted. Cukes were transplanted yesterday. Tons of flowers were both transplanted in and sowed directly into their places. Sunflower seed saved from last year - Alice sowed it into the pod garden. Terra transplanted the perennial herbs that I started this year: feverfew, hyssop, and lemon balm. She also put in the globe amaranth and replaced some damaged Celosia plants on the perimeter. Anya, Alice and Elizabeth put the melons in - muskmelon and watermelon. And put the remainder of the leek transplants in that came back from the dead.
Anya made an incredible lunch - frittata, lentil salad, green salad, fresh bread. Then after lunch we returned to the garden to make hills in the newly turned middle garden to plant all of our winter squash with a row of flowers in between.
Tomorrow we plant pole beans, pumpkins and corn...and hopefully some more flowers!
Some friends came over for our weekly potluck Thursday and we walked with some homemade beer while the kids ran around and pretended we were giants!! More delicious garden fare from Anna and Brendan's gardens graced our supper table and the day was more than complete. Can't wait to do it all again tomorrow!
Some pictures are on the way - I will ask our apprentices to post some of their thoughts as well!!
Write us and let us know how your spring is going and what you are doing.
all of us at Stony Creek
Kate will elaborate in another post, but, as predicted, the June 1st frost came and did a little damage to our tomatoes, broccoli and other veggies. So much for getting a jump on things this year!
Well, we had to cancel our may day celebration because of the tremendous amount of work that lies in front of us to get this ecotourism thing off the ground by June. And of course the farm continues to thrive and grow - seedlings to plant, peas coming up, weeds to pull out, lambs being born, chickens to move to new grass, eggs to collect, beef cows to check on. Still, we had a couple of friends stop by yesterday. The day turned out to be gorgeous by the afternoon.
Some lambs were born in the morning - one needed some help getting to its incredibly patient mama, Angel. The little bugger seemed done for after Kate assisted it around 1 o'clock. But by 2 o'clock the little guy was up and trying to nurse on his own. What an amazing thing to watch. He continues to thrive today, with his big sister and patient mama on the lookout.
Mom and dad, aka Nonno and Nonna came over to play . We thought we were going to get some plants in the ground. Instead we put up a May Pole and buried some feathers in the hay and set up a hayride. All per Lucia's instructions, "the hay pile goes here" "is this how long the ribbons should be" Isaac slept soundly while Nonno whiled away the time playing games on his ipod.
Some good friends brought our barn cats back from the spay day at Delhi. thank you bret and laura! Their daughters Elena and Sabine had fun riding in the mule and taking a woods walk where our new tents are going to go. then Lucia and Elena turned into Laura and Mary from the LIttle House on the Prairie for the rest of the evening! Never seen two little girls so enjoy themselves!!
The newest member of our family, Elizabeth, brought her family over for a tour and walk about as well. We all had a great time eating trout lilies, talking about how amazing our creek is, thinking up names for the tents and smashing caterpillar tents (okay, I guess Lucia and I were the only ones doing that last thing).
Of course while all of this is going on Dan and his father were overseeing the excavation of three of the tents sites. Peter cutting out dead trees and dan piling them up to be wood chipped later. The Excavator did a beautiful job: nice level sites, with minimal damage to the surrounding area. Dan and I are ready to move our house over there.
So far our tents are named: sunset, trout lily, creek side, may apple, pasture walk, hideaway, - well we could change a few. But that is wehre we are for now.
Oh, and in case you think that is too much for a weekend, that was just Saturday!
At night, I drove to Delhi to pick up a prospective apprentice, Terra. She spent the night. And after pancakes in the morning we went straight to work transplanting cabbages and lettuce into the garden. We moved the sheep. Terra got to carry a newborn lamb into the new area with its concerned mama bleating all the way. Terra finished transplanting lettuces while dan and I picked up some large saplings from the tent site and replanted them near the house. After a bite to eat Terra and I headed out to Nonna's house to pick up Lucia and Isaac. After a delivery of some diapers, Terra and I headed to Oneonta so that she could catch the 3 o'clock bus to the city. A short visit that will hopefully turn into a long summer stay.
Dan did some more overseeing with the excavator, finished up some graphics work and coordinated some things for tomorrow - for we receive the tents tomorrow!! Yike-o's.
Hope everyone out there had an equally rewarding weekend!
Just a quick note that our onion seedlings are showing their heads. Some green has pushed its way into our lives again.
Well, here we are in the midst of winter. It is hard to believe it is here. But February is right around the corner...the month in which we begin planting the very first of our seedlings: ONIONS!
I was perusing our meek root pantry. (It is not underground, but just a closet on the north side of our house.) We have stored our garlic, onions, butternut and buttercup squash, and potatoes all fall and winter. Surprisingly our late dug carrots have done very well. We eat them raw and in soups and even our chickens and dairy cow get to enjoy them!
And recently we put the rest of the apples that survived the mice under our house in the root pantry too! The cabbage that I put back there - I intended to make sauerkraut - well, I never got to it and boy were they stinky when I finally threw them out in early January.
The potatoes didn't do as well - they were on the floor and conditions were simply too cold. Many of them froze. The good news is that we have about four or more five-gallon buckets in peter and karen's basement. Along with 120 more winter squash in my parents basement!!
Oh, lest I forget to mention: We have tons of Eggs!! Come by the farm or go to my parents house in Franklin! They are $4.50 a dozen and there isn't a better egg around!
Well, let it be known that I will not ever again have a garden that is too big for my britches OR across the street from my house! I pulled more than a thousand amaranth weeds from the garden today. Each one dropping oh, about a trillion tiny seeds. Talk about paying for it in the years to come!!
I PROMISE next year to only cultivate as much as I can really care for and not just kind of fake it. And we will use the deep mulch method to keep back weeds. As much as I feared putting down mulch hay (silly me I was worried about adding more seeds to the garden) in the spots where we did put it down there were remarkably fewer weeds! So there you have it: lesson learned.
It was a perfect middle fall day - mid 50's clear blue sky and two children in the garden for four hours. Total bliss for this mama. Lucia delighted in pulling milkweed seeds. They are like old friends revisiting her from last year. She has been checking them each time we went into the garden to see if they were right to poof into the air. Well, today they were. I restrained myself from telling her too many times to keep them away from the garden. I asked her once and I think she got it. Isaac went to work following his sister around and learning all of the ins and outs of the garden from his personal tour guide. And then my dad showed up in his red sports car. "NONNO!" Came the cry.
My dad went right to work rescuing the last of our potatoes that were hiding under the sunflowers. First Isaac went to work with him using a rock to scrape dirt from the piles of beautiful reds and blues. Then once he fell asleep Lucia took a turn helping Nonno dig for gold.
Meanwhile, I disassembled a garden that one of our apprentices put up. A little bittersweet. He contributed so much to our farm so taking it down I missed his presence, his inspiration, and also I wished he could be there doing it with me. We miss you Mike.
Tonight the only things that remain in the garden are the brussel sprouts and the winter keeper carrots that will get covered with hay tomorrow. Only to be discovered later amidst the snows of winter. Oh yes and many more amaranth weeds and lingering tomato plants...I will get them tomorrow..