Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A photo update on 3 sis, cottage and container gardens

Well the three sisters garden has finally started to ascend. The corn is a bit taller than my knees (knee high fourth of July!) and the beans are happy to have something to grow on. Unfortunately so are the squash. I can't imagine the corn will support both so I worked this morning on separating the squash tendrils from the corn plants. Oh Tedium!

The cottage garden by the door is in full swing. The roses have finished and the monarda has grown up to take it's place on the trellis. I shouldve taken more photos of this bed. It's pretty spectacular.

The pickle bucket and cardboard box container gardens are doing well. As I hypothesized, the cardboard can be a little on the damp side. The cardboarded plants are still growing about as well as the ones I put in the actual soil, just not flourishing like the ones I put in pickle buckets. This photo is a sugar baby watermelon. No baby fruits yet, but the vines are holding up well. I found my first spot of powdery mildew this morning. Time to start spraying (organically of course) for that. This week is supposed to be cool and dry so hopefully the dry air will help me get a handle on the mildew before it gets a little crazy.

This last photo is one I snapped in Ann Arbor last night while out with the horse ladies (Kay, Katy, and Laura). It's a red redbud! I couldn't help but snap a photo. I had no idea these existed. Very cool.
While in Ann Arbor we went to eat at the Jolly Pumpkin, a brewery owned by Ron and Laurie Jeffries. It's by far my favorite of breweries and they now have a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Traverse City each! The food there is unique and amazing (I had the truffle pizza- goat cheese, shitake and truffle oil- heavenly!) and the prices are great! I highly recommend it to anyone visiting any of those places.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The eradication of the Fleabane

Mwahaha. I have successfully pulled every visable fleabane plant from my meadow garden. I spent more than an hour this morning carefully tromping through the garden pulling them out one by one.

Before shot (same as the other day):

After shot:

There were hundreds of them! I also pulled several thistles and decided that I really need new garden gloves. Hah. Ouch!
The bed looks so much better it's amazing.

Ah blanket flower. What a wimp. You'd think if it wanted to grow three feet it might try to grow upwards rather than out.

So not everything in here is native. Somehow allysum has snuck in, and I admit I planted some brown eyed susans. Also, that monarda is at least six feet tall! I had no idea it could get so tall.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Meadow Garden

Well summer has finally begun and many of my perennial beds are in full swing. I've already fallen behind in cutting things back this year, but the one garden I've kept up on, partially because it's slower growing, is my meadow garden.
Last summer, in a fit of madness I set out to dig, destroy and replace a large patch of grass at the bottom of the yard. What began as a small native border quickly became a massive project entailing hundreds of plants, seeds and transplants. I now have a pretty sweet little meadow of natives and naturalized species (as well as weeds) at the bottom of my yard.

The bummer is that the damned fleabane is everywhere. I've pulled hundreds of these buggers out and they just keep popping up!
Anyway, I get the impression this garden is going to be pretty spectacular late summer.

On another note, the black raspberries are in full swing. I picked a bunch for breakfast this morning and I can't remember a better year for them. Last year the spring drought destroyed the whole crop, but this year seems to be pretty durned delicious!

I can't wait to bake black raspberry scones... Mmm.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Caterpillar day!

So apparently I didn't get the memo. The longest day of the year appeared to also be the annual pesky garden caterpiller emergence day. A brief stroll through the vegetable garden the other morning revealed no less than a hundred little wormy caterpillars of various sizes and shapes. Needless to say, a bout of OCD and a need to adhere to organic gardening practices led me to spend at least an hour squishing worm upon worm upon worm, and by worm I mean caterpillar.

Those little bastards skeletonized my currant bushes!
Ooh. On top of that there were weird little wormies on my tomatillos that were mysteriously excreting browngreen slime on their backs. It was probably a predator deterrant but I didn't bat an eye at it. (Okay, I did hesitate briefly, and uttered a few words like "gross" and "blechk"...)
The poor tomatillos weren't even skeletonized. They were just little stalks.
Ah well. It's a fact of veggie gardening. The heat hits and the veggies flourish, but so do the nasty creepy crawlies too. I am an avid advocate for insect and arthropod rights, and I have saved many a spider, ant and millipede, but don't $&@% with my garden. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Ice Cream!

I decided to do something a little different for father's day this year, and like so many of my past great ideas, it involved the confusion, humiliation and irritation of my family.
I started out by having everyone stand in the kitchen with quart size zip bags to which I added:
1 c half and half
1Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3-4 strawberries (home grown of course)

After sealing the zip bags, I had everyone squish their strawberries around like crazy, and then use a second quart bag to double up. Finally they were given a bag of 8-10 c ice and 3 Tbsp rock salt, told to place their quart bags inside and seal, and thus the shaking began.

I get the impression I may've been the only one excited to shake my bag for fifteen minutes straight...
Anyway, after all of that we emptied our original quart bags into my favorite dainty little china tea cups and I had everybody eat their icecream with antique jelly and sugar spoons. :)

It seemed like a huge success and everybody seemed to really enjoy it.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Scyths and Simplicity

Just a quick post while I'm out enjoying the air conditioning at the local m-m-m-mall... We are still without power and planning to spend a lot of today out and about since it's too hot outside for me to garden and too dim in the house for Jeremy to draw.

In the mean time, I've been reading up on the "Austrian Scythe" which is a lighter more efficient alternative to an "American Scythe"... I've got to find some way to mow the sheep field before they come home and I think I've found it! The grass out there is nearly as tall as my head and it's going to have pretty much zip nutritional value if I don't cut it soon. I'm really hoping to find a funky local garden shop (maybe downtown home and garden Ann Arbor?) that has these locally. The shipping is killer!

Here's a quick video on mowing with a scythe... This guy's web site is great, too.

This Photo really made me happy. I found it on a blog called "The Shambles under Highland Butte" username "Skepweaver"... Unfortunately I have to run for now so I don't have more time to explore this blog, but check it out at http://skepweaver.wordpress.com!

Powerless in Plymouth

After a pretty intense series of thunder storms last night, we are left without power, as is the horse farm where I train. Bummer! What's more, the heat index is supposed to reach 91 today. Ugh.
Seems only natural that we head out to the dollar theater for a movie. Heh.
I just hope the power comes back before the freezer defrosts. We have five of our free range chickens from Roheryn Farms in there!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 18, 2010

Typed this up earlier and lost it. Boo.

As much as I hate retyping things, I really want to share my afternoon.
Jeremy (my fiancé) and I went with his dad to visit Donald Staebler today. Mr Staebler is Jeremy's dad's mom's cousin and owns a large historical farm on Ann Arbor Rd known as Crick(creek) in the Back. It's a beautiful piece of land that I have driven past and admired countless times. Mr Staebler has recently signed a contract with the county stating that his farm will become county land and will never legally be divided or developed for anything other than farm/agriculture. Rightly so, as it's easily the most beautiful farm for miles.
The point of our visit was to drop off a drawing that Jeremy did as a tshirt design for the 2010 family reunion centering around Mr Staebler's 100th birthday.
This is a man who is completely fit, mobile, coherant and has the hearing of your average 50 year old. In fact, if I hadn't been told of his birthday celebration, I'd have thought he was 75, maybe 80 at the most! I have always loved agriculture and have daydreamed about farming for many years. To meet a man this hearty at 100 who has farmed his whole life was a real inspiration.

Here is a quick snapshot of the soon-to-be-sheep-pasture. I spent nearly two hours pulling hundreds of nasty thistle-like weeds out of this field earlier. I should have snapped a before shot! The difference is great. It looks like a grass field now instead of an abandoned meadow. :)

This is my first year trying to container garden. Here's a snapshot of my alpine strawberries, charentais melon, table ace squash and ambrosia cantaloupe. So far these guys are doing much better than their garden-planted siblings. I'm not sure if it's their location or planting method. Maybe it's because I talk to them more... Hmm...

On another note, I've finally started a cable knit project. I worked on this (a pattern of my own design) for a few hours and plan to complete my lopi wool hat sometime this week. Of course, it's supposed to be 89 degrees most of the week, but heck! I'll be ready for fall!
I got the yarn for this hat at a great wool shop in Traverse City while we were camping up there for a comic convention.

In case you're just dropping in, my fiancé is a comic book artist and a very patient man. He creates and illustrates Cursed Pirate Girl (cursedpirategirl.com) and is the most fantastic camping partner a gal could ask for. We had a blast camping during the C3 convention and will likely do it again. I also managed to find a new favorite Riesling from Arcturos (Black Star farms in Leelanau. I'm a sucker for all things sweet and this wine is sweet, crisp, and fruity but not sickly sweet like some. It's the kind of Riesling that could stand alone without cheese or fruit, IMO. I strongly recommend it, and pretty much anything in the Leelanau/Grand Traverse area.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Baby veggies! (er... Okay technically they're fruits.)

Nothing like the sight of a

two inch early girl to brighten your day! I found this while sprinkling (organic) fertilizer around my fruiting plants this morning. This will be my first year fertilizing with anything other than an occasional sprinkling of composted manure. I can't wait to see if there's a difference.
I also spotted a young summer squash this morning that seems to be this first one to be pollenated and developing. Hooray! I spent some time planting marigolds around my squash, melon tomato and pepper plants to try to help the pollenators locate my garden a bit more. Next year I'll definitely do borage, since the strawberry plants are having no issues at all. I wonder if it's too late to do borage now... Hmm...
So this is my first shot at blogging with only the (first gen!) iPhone to get me going. Wish me luck!
Er. I guess if you're reading this, wishing me luck is kind of silly. Eh?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Tanglewood Farms, Plymouth, MI

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A quick shot of the three sisters

I'm testing this thing out a bit. From what I've heard, this program will let me post numerous photos to one blog post. Let's see how it goes when I leave the safety of Katie's wifi tonight to travel to the near-hermitage I call home.

The first photo is the seedling stage of my "Three Sisters" garden of squash, beans and corn in various varieties- all heirloom except the ruby queen sweet corn.

The second is another shot from this morning. Can't wait until the corn starts to gain some height!

I went to weed whip around the bed this morning but by the time I got over there with the whip I'd overheated the poor thing. I'm working on a few paths through the field, orchards and gardens. I'm so hard on tools. Yeesh. That's when I decided it'd be worthwhile to read up on 2-cycle engines... Heh.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Blank Slate

Well, I've had to swap blog servers. We've only got access to the internet via iPhone out here so we're restricted to whatever apps there are available. Seeing as the WordPress app goes all glitchy when I use it, I've decided to come over to this here pasture to graze a bit.

This'll have to be a short one, for now. I'd love to do a massive post on the last year of my life in the next few days. If you're unfamiliar with the recent ongoings in my life, here's an adorable photograph of my cat, Harrison, to tide you over.