Blooming and growing

We had more rain last night and this morning, and while we have some sun as I’m writing this, we’re expected to have more rain and thunderstorms tonight.

The plants and trees are loving it!

The lilacs near the house are so heavy with clusters of flowers, the branches are bowing down with the weight, to the point that even short little me has to duck to go under them!

This is our fifth spring here, and I’ve never seen the white lilacs blooming and well as this year.

The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden had to recover from storm damage a couple of years ago, then the late May killer frost last year. It’s been a while since these have bloomed so heavily!

The nearby honeysuckle did all right last year, as they start budding later than things like the lilacs and did not get affected by the last frost as much, and it looks like this year they will do even better.

Even the hawthorn, which is thoroughly shaded, is blooming.

After uploading the photo, I could see that it has some sort of insect infestation under some of the leaves!

Also, just look at that thorn! Yikes!

Shrubs aren’t the only thing we’ve got blooming right now.

Yes! We have blooming tomatoes! These would be the Sophie’s Choice, which we started very early indoors, then restarted after the seedlings got eaten by cats. An early start was recommended for this variety, even though it is a short season variety, so I’m not too surprised to see flowers on these ones. To see them so soon after transplanting, though, is rather awesome!

While checking the various garden beds, I could finally see the purple carrots are starting to sprout. They’re still very hard to see, but they are making an appearance. The yellow Uzbek carrots are being much more enthusiastic about sprouting! I can’t tell about the Napoli and Kyoto Red planted near the south fence. They were pelleted seeds, so we could space them further apart, which makes it harder to see if those tiny leaflets are carrot, or some weed!

The peas that had already sprouted at the trellis are getting noticeably bigger. In the old kitchen garden, I’m finally seeing some beets, though for all my efforts to pull up and transplant the mint out from the bed last fall, they are still coming up strong, along with some other weeds. The beet seedlings are too tiny and delicate to risk disturbing them while trying to weed.

In the lettuce bed, the buttercrunch lettuce germinated a while back and it won’t be long before we are able to start harvesting baby leaves while thinning the rows. Another variety, Lunix, if I remember correctly, as also started to sprout, but like the beet bed, efforts to pull up the weed roots were not very successful. My mother had planted some very invasive flowers in this bed, and they are incredibly difficult to get under control!

The Kulli corn is still looking a weak, but the bush beans planted with them are starting to come up! I’ve got arrows pointing to the bean seedlings that are in this photo.

Meanwhile, all around the various beds, we’ve got onion sets coming up, and the onions started from seed seem to have all survived and are getting stronger. All of the transplants seem to have not only survived being transplanted, but are handling the heavy rains we’ve had, just fine. The first spinach that was planted are growing their true leaves now, and it won’t be long before we will be having fresh greens to eat!

I am so looking forward to when my morning rounds will start to include harvesting fresh leafy greens, beans, peas and summer squash, regularly again!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: good news, bad news

Just a quick post about what I found during my morning rounds, before I have to head out. It’s a bit of a mix!

Before I go into this morning, though, here is the progress I got last night in the new corn block.

I got about 2/3rds gone turning the sod before stopping for the night. It was past 10pm by then – the temperatures were lovely, but it was starting to get too dark! LOL I am hoping to get it done today. The corn really needs to be transplanted soon.

This is what greeted me this morning, when I came into the dining room.

Cheddar and Keith, enjoying the morning breeze while watching the birds outside. 😀 The cats just LOVE this set up.

The door is secured with cord, just in case. Although it is locked, sometimes it simply pops open on its own. Which is not a problem when the inner door is closed, but would be kitty disaster otherwise!

After feeding the outside critters, I started taking the plants out of the sun room. One of our disappointments was that one tray with 3 different gourds in it had not germinated. Still, I kept them watered, and have started to take the tray outside, too. This is what I found this morning.

A single Ozark Nest Egg gourd has sprouted!

It’s way too late in the season, but when the time comes, it’ll be transplanted out and we’ll see how it does. Who knows. We might have a long summer this year.

Also, do you see all those seeds scattered about? They are EVERYWHERE!!! And this is why I’ve developed a hate-on for the Chinese Elm trees. We’re going to be fighting these in just about every single garden bed. 😦

While checking out the furthest garden beds, I had a bit of a disappointment.

Four Mongolian Giant sunflowers in one row had their heads chopped off. The one that had been eaten and pulled up before was in the other row, which originally had 13 transplants in it. This one had 11. So of the 24 we started with, we’re down to 19. At least the direct seeded ones are coming up, so we do have more. As long as they don’t get eaten, too!

My daughter and I had moved the trail cam over to this corner, but it’s not the wide angle camera, and I wasn’t sure if it caught this area at all. In fact, I was pretty sure it didn’t. So I shifted it and it now faces down the corn and sunflower blocks only.

When I checked the files, I found I was right. This row as off frame. I never saw what ate the leaves, but I did find this!

We had a raccoon pass through! Until now, the only evidence we had of raccoons here was the tip of a tail going past the camera when it was facing the tulips. It just wandered through, sniffing at some weeds.

The raccoon would not have been responsible for the sunflowers, though. I’m sure that was a deer. There was one other night time video, but whatever triggered the motion sensor was no longer in frame by the time it started recording. If a deer had jumped the fence nearby, it could have walked right past the camera and out of frame before it started recording. That’s the down side of setting it to video. It takes more time to start recording than just taking a still shot. I’m not using still because the shortest time delay between triggers is 15 seconds, regardless of whether it’s set to still or video. That’s a long gap, and much would get missed. At least with video, there’s that 15 seconds (or up to 1 minute, if I wanted to) of video to catch what’s going on.

Finding the damaged sunflowers was a disappointment, but I wanted to end this on a more positive note.

The honeysuckle bush in the old kitchen garden is looking amazing! It’s in full bloom, and absolutely dense in foliage and flowers. When we dug up along the house and laid down blocks and bricks to make a path, much of the soil that was dug up ended up around the bases of the honeysuckle and two rose bushes nearby. Between that and the extra watering they’ve been getting this year, they’re all looking better than ever. I’m very happy with how great they are doing this year! Even the little pink rose bush that got broken by something over the winter (likely a deer) is doing very well, after having the tree branch that was shading it pruned away, and a garden bed built up around it. There was just one stick of it left, but it’s now full of the biggest, healthiest leaves it’s had since we moved here!

So overall, we’ve had more increases than losses, so far! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

New Growth

I found some lovely new things growing this morning!

The first was the sudden appearance of these mushrooms on a dead tree.

They were not there, yesterday!

Meanwhile, my mother’s honeysuckle just exploded with flowers!

It is so good to have the rain, after last year’s drought!

The Re-Farmer

Staying cool

Today has been a day to stay inside, where it’s cooler – and to allow my body to recover from yesterday a bit more.

Which means I’m feeling decidedly unproductive.

I did manage to finally clean the windows on the outside, around the house, and on the inside in the sun room.

The kittens didn’t know what to make of that!!

I tried to get some pictures of bees, too. The problem is, with the bright sunshine, I can’t tell if my phone is focusing where I want it to, or not!

I did manage a good one, though.

This is a smaller variety of our native bumble bees. So pretty. 🙂

One of the things I tried to do today was remove those bottom hinge pins on the gate posts. We’ve been spraying them with penetrating lubricant regularly, in hopes that would help.

It didn’t. The hinges themselves can rotate freely, but those nuts are just not moving. My older brother had managed to get a few turns on this one, and that was as far as it would go.

I suspect they will need to be cut off.

The next thing to consider is how to clean these in preparation for painting. I’m hoping the detergent we got to wash the gates I’ve been painting will be enough to remove the lubricant.

As for the gates, they’ve been flipped in preparation to do the other sides, but if I am able to do it at all today, it will be after things start to cool down!

Looking at the forecast, it looks like we’ve finally reached that time of year where the only productive work outside will have to be done in the early hours, or the evenings, to avoid heat stroke.

The Re-Farmer

Yard in Bloom

With all the yard work we’ve been doing over the past while, I’ve been really appreciating all the blooms.

The ornamental apple trees and plums are long since finished blooming, but now we have all sorts of flowers, scenting the air!

Right by the sun room door is this white rose.  There are others in the flower garden, but they are not as prolific as this one is!

After clearing away the vines that had climbed up the lilacs by the people gate, I could finally see that they were blooming!  I’m sure my mother told me, at some point, that these were white lilacs.  Not that I can remember one way or the other!  So it was a nice surprise. 🙂

This is the huge lilac bush with teeny, tiny leaves and flowers, that I’d cleared a maple tree out of, earlier.  I’ll need to go back to this garden and finish cleaning and clearing it.  It, too, is inundated with vines!  There are regular lilac bushes at the other end of this flower garden.

This is also technically the “front yard”, and the door in the middle of this side of the house is the front door.  Which isn’t used.  In fact, I still haven’t been able to open the screen door; it’s still stuck at the base, and I don’t want to force it and break something.

If all goes as planned, though, that is the door the ramp we hope to have added will be installed at.  Depending on the dimensions, it may be necessary to remove this garden.

The post in the foreground had a bird feeder on it.  I took it off after I turned away from pruning a branch and smacked right into it with my glasses, knocking them askew.

Thankfully, the base was designed to lift right off.  It needs to be cleaned up and repaired, anyhow. 🙂

In the big flower garden, off the old kitchen, is this honeysuckle bush, in full bloom!  When talking to my mother about clearing this garden, one of the things she requested as to save this bush.  It was being choked out by the invasive undergrowth!

I can see why she wants to keep it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer