Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Around the Farm & the Garden

I used to post more of what was going around the farm and in my garden when I started blogging 2 years ago. But farming is basically the same every year, even though every year bring different challenges. I think all of my posts on Blogger have been about quilts so now it is time to talk about something different.

All the fields on our farm are on a rotation. The field on the south side of my garden was planted to wheat last fall. It has just started to head out. 
Do you see the yellow things on the individual soon to be wheat kernals? That is the flower. You can smell the pollinating wheat, it is a sweet scent.

Here is this year's garden. On the east (left) end are flowering sunflowers, sweet peppers, 2 rows of broccoli, 2 rows of potatoes, the amaryllis bulbs, garlic, onions.

I like to have flowering sunflowers on the east side. There were a lot of plants that came up volunteer, I had dug them out and replanted them in a row. I covered several of the plants with these row covers the farmer made me but there weren't enough for the whole row. Something has eaten the leaves on the uncovered plants. The stems are starting to leaf out again, I don't know if they'll recover or not.

Last week I had planted several rows of green beans and they are starting to pop up through the soil. On the right side of the beans are the tomato plants.

Monday's job was to mulch the garden. The tomatoes have been mulched with ground corncobs. They have a nice aroma. After we harvest corn in the fall, we take the corn to the mill. They run the corn through the dryer the lower the moisture content to keep the corn from spoiling. That is what the cobs smelled like, the smell of the drying corn. It smells wonderful to me.

I used sawdust on the rest of the garden because that is what is available. It is a dusty and dirty job but I'd rather work hard mulching the garden a day or two and than pull weeds! 

In the evening I sprinkled blood meal beside the beans and other plants. That will keep the rabbits and other critters from munching on the plants. When the beans plants are taller, I'll mulch them too.

Last years garden didn't do very well, June was too wet and rainy. I never did get all of the garden planted. Hopefully 2016 will be a better growing season, for the garden and the farm.

Not everyone enjoys growing a garden but I do, and I hope to keep on as long as I am physically able. 

We enjoy blackberries and there is nothing better than blackberry cobbler in the winter. The plants are planted in the corner of where the west barn intersects the west heifer shed. That way they are fairly close to be picked, but out of the way so they can sprawl all over. I keep them mulched with chicken litter.

We had 3 extremely busy days a couple of weeks ago and had all the hay big baled and wrapped by the custom baler/wrapper crew

After baling, it was time for one of the fields to be plowed under. In the crop rotation, you follow alfalfa with corn. Alfalfa enriches the soil with nitrogen which corn loves. This is late planted corn and will be chopped for corn silage this fall.

The big hayfield on the west side of the garden has started growing again. We'll be making the next cutting of hay later in June. This field is getting older, not yielding as well, and will probably be plowed down in 2018.

Here are some random photos from around the house and farm.
Heifers grazing in the pasture on the south side of the house. We have fawn and white cattle called Guernseys. Not many dairy farm raise them anymore.
This stump is what is left from the old maple tree that broke off from The Storm of 2014. The center was hollow so I dug out some of the rotted wood, mixed it with potting soil and planted the geraniums and vine in the center of the stump, just for something different.
The peonies are starting to open. I love their scent. I have several colors, light pink, dark pink, dark magenta and white ones. 

Behind this light pink peony is false Indigo, at least I think that is the name. It was planted so long ago, I don't remember what is it. Love the pretty lavender-blue flowers. 

There are several bleeding hearts blooming, this one is behind some hostas.

I think clothing and towels dried in the clothesline in the summer smell so fresh.

I have this weed growing in my yard with purple flowers called spurge (?). It just spreads and I can't get rid of it! I've even resorted to using a yard fertilizer with a weed killer in that is supposed to kill the spurge. It hasn't done a thing. I just try to keep it out of the flowerbeds now.

I plant my own planters. This fall I'll bring these geraniums inside the house and over-winter them.

My laying hens are slowing down on their egg production. I'll get new chicks to raise for laying hens after the broilers are processed.

The broilers grow very fast. Right now they are 4 weeks old. It is hard to imagine, but they'll be ready to butcher in another 4 - 5 weeks. 

The barn swallows are building their nests. This nest doesn't have eggs in it yet. The nest is made from mud and is adhered to a barn beam.

Several Sundays ago, we had a swarm of bees in our lilac bush. We called our neighbor who has an apiary. He came and collected them or whatever the correct word was. 

I know this post has gotten lengthy but I do so enjoy springtime and the return of flowers and the color green. 

I hope you have a great day!

Link up to My Quilt Infatuation, Bits & Bobs


  1. Lovely tour of your farm and gardens. I gave up the vegetable garden a few years ago when the arthritis got worse. We are getting ready for our first hay baling of the season tomorrow.

  2. I enjoyed your post so much because I grew up on a farm and miss it a lot. Thank you for sharing your lovely daily life and farm.

  3. Farm life is so wonderful. Sad to see that we do not have as many as we used to. Love the post. I am sure you love those fresh veggies and pies during the winter. Great post Gretchen. Have a blessed day!
    PS - The farm life is hard work also, but so great to see the fruits of one's labor.

  4. You have a beautiful place there; I like the idea where you planted flowers in the tree stump. Laundry on the line.....such a pretty shot. I usually hang my sheets out in good weather months and the scent is so sweet and fresh.

    1. I especially like to hang sheets on the clothesline when we have hay down in the west field. They smell so good on the bed that night. Blessings, Gretchen

  5. This made me smile and brought back memories of growing up on a farm. The geraniums in the stump especially brought a fond memory. That was a sure sign of spring, along with pansies in an old milk can, and antson the peonies!

    1. The peonies are dropping their petals now, they never last long enough. I have volunteer violas growing in a flowerbed. Glad you enjoyed the post. Blessings, Gretchen

  6. I grew up on a dairy farm too, and really miss it. I love the cycle of work and change. Your garden looks nice. Mine is doing well, we're having good weather this year though..... we're close to Muncie, IN. Love your post!

    1. We've been having some very dry weather, just 4/10th of rain this last month, after it rained all of the first part of May. Glad to hear from a fellow Hoosier. Thanks for commenting. Blessings, Gretchen