Tag Archives: garden

Crafty Weekends

This is what my past weekend looked like…

Weaving a little surprise on a Kromski Rigid Heddle loom. Super quick project (4 feet of weaving took 3 hours start to finish including warping!).

Some wee baby lettuces in a window box, waiting for warmer weather.

Oh it’s been so nice to be inside on a cold day, weaving and drinking tea in my rocking chair.

The Garden As It Is

So, I started an obsession with pickling things over this past winter. Something about trudging through three foot snow drifts made my brain start to crave books about canning. Luckily the library is well stocked and it was pretty easy to start researching whatever it was that caught my fancy (pickled grapes, anyone?). And, fortunately or otherwise (I’ll let you judge for yourself) seed catalogs started appearing in our mailbox. I always love poking through them and usually have no overarching planting schemes in mind… until this time. I flipped straight to the cucumber section and picked out a nice packet of pickling cucumbers and I even found a nice paste tomato that started a spaghetti sauce researching binge.

Now, several months later my cucumbers all died within three days of settling into real dirt outside. So, I trotted down the road to the Saturday Market and bought a flat of six for $1.50 (it was a flat of six containers but it turns out that each container actually held two plants… that’s TWELVE cucumber plants!). I didn’t want to plop them all back in the same place the last cucumbers met their untimely ends in, so I put half of them in an Ikea tupperware bin (the lids don’t lock onto the bins making them practically useless for cramming things into so I didn’t feel much of a twinge when I drilled drainage holes in the bottom) and crossed my fingers.

Here’s the mildly rag-tag “container garden” that’s camped out in the parkinglot. Basil on the far right, depressingly stunted cilantro next, tomatoes in the next container and the wee ones in front, and lastly, cucumbers climbing their way up a trellis in their cozy, useless-for-storage box!

The basil is doing just fine… so far.

Still achingly small tomatoes. I hope they do their tomatoey business before those snow drifts descend again!

And here’s the second half of the garden. Joe and I carved an area out of an old, overgrown vegetable garden on the other side of the parkinglot and planted the cherry tomato plant I bought from the Craftsbury Academy’s plant sale, two acorn squash ($1 for two at the Saturday Market!), three bell peppers (free from the Ag. Program at Sterling) and the other six cucumbers. Linus has been unwittingly indispensable, that blue bucket is full of bunny fertilizer just chillin until we need it! How exciting…

An acorn squash-to-be!

So that’s the garden. In other interesting news down at the lower dorms, Steve is keeping seven of the meat rabbits from the barn out on pasture to compare their weight to the ones still cooped up in the barn.

He refitted a chicken tractor with wheels and scoots them around next to the potato patch.

A California bunny with muddy-red paws… which are perfect foreshadowing. I was buttering my toast this morning and, glancing at the parking lot out the window, saw a delightful little white rabbit calmly meandering around. All seven bunnies had gotten out AGAIN. Between three people we caught six after about and hour of chasing and scrambling… the seventh is nowhere to be found but there’s a mysteriously large pile of white fur in the driveway. The rabbit above squeals like a wounded pig when you grab him. It’s an utterly terrifying sound.

One Day

It’s been one week since I started at Bonnieview and I’ve gotten to milk sheep, make cheese, harvest sunflowers and potatoes, collect eggs, feed chickens and pigs and live in a yurt. It doesn’t sound like much… but it adds up to a long, happy week. I found my camera yesterday so I took some pictures throughout the day yesterday so you can get a glimpse of farm work in rural Vermitt.   DSCN0288

Liza and I milked the sheep yesterday morning at 8. I start milking them on my own next week. These sheep are a mix of several breeds, one of which is a Tunis (I only remembered that because one of the Tunis rams is named Tuna and has one of the coolest faces I’ve ever seen).DSCN0290

Here are twelve sheep standing on the milking stand. You can milk six at once with the setup we have. The sheep put their head in the headlocks where the grain is and the whole thing slowly (oh so slowly) pushes them back to the railing so that we can reach them. We wipe their udders and then stick the cups on and then spray them with a disinfectant after wards to keep their udders happy.

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Here’s an udder before it’s been milked. Liza and were joking that we should make a memory game where you have to match the pictures of their udders to the sheep’s faces because we know them all by their udders but there’s no way we could recognize who is who when they’re staring us in the face. DSCN0293

And here it is post-milk squeezing. Saggy baggy udders…DSCN0294

After milking I herd them back to their field about 1/4 of a mile away on a dirt track. You can see the guard llama in the background there guarding his sheeps. DSCN0298

Everything you see here is Bonnieview farm land, it’s so pretty and rolly out here. After I herd them down I head back up to the farmhouse for breakfast (which usually turns into an extended lunch) and then out to do the piggies!DSCN0334

Penny and Roger eat everything that we don’t plus the whey from the cheese making process and a wee bit of grain. I try to avoid them at all costs because they’re very tall (up to my waist) and I’m more than a little afraid of being eaten.

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Penny was trying to suss out whether my camera was food or not… turns out it wasn’t.DSCN0308DSCN0312

One of my other chores in the afternoon has been harvesting sunflowers. That looks like me attacking them one at a time with a pair of hand clippers then gathering in bunches of about ten and tying them together with bailing twine then hanging them in the greenhouse to mature and dry. They’ll use them to supplement the chicken feed in the winter.DSCN0314

These are all the sunflowers I’ve done so far. It’s about three afternoon’s worth of work and about 1,000 sunflowers. There’s still 1/2 a field left to do and it’s so overgrown with weeds that it can be a little tough to negotiate.DSCN0320

I found this spider when I was tying up a bunch of flowers yesterday. I have no idea what kind it is but it looks very much like a mushroom and a spider were amalgamated together to form a wicked cool little critter.DSCN0333

And here are the babies! These little guys just reached their official birthdate the other day and they’ve been so cute and squirmy that it’s been hard not to sit there and stare at them all of the time.DSCN0340

And here’s their older sister, Tressa helping us harvest three bushel baskets of potatoes from the garden. She’s been so helpful and sweet, you’d never know that she just gained two little sisters and one brother just a few weeks ago. DSCN0345And my favorite chore of the day is collecting the eggs from the henhouse. I usually get about 20 every evening which then get washed and sold at the farmers markets in the area. There are about 50 chickens but some have gotten out and successfully made several batches of baby chickens. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll be one of my jobs to round up the chickens for winter so they can roost in the greenhouse where it’ll be warm.

That’s it for now. I think we’re making cheese on Monday so I’ll try to get some pictures of that. Until then you should close your eyes and imagine all of the smells and adventures with poo that you’re missing because you’re not here with me.

Garden Update

This one is going to be an up close and personal update because so many changes are happening on a small scale.

beans63The beans are getting their pretty little pink flowers. They’re so delicate and nice…
peas76And the peas! ALL THE PEAS! The ‘rents have been eating some in the week I’ve been gone, but there are still plenty out there.
squash65The yellow summer squash I planted has these funny light blotches on their leaves. I think I even spotted a teeny tiny yellow squash forming!
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The potato flowers that have already bloomed are now turning into funny little fruits… I swear I put potatoes in the ground. What’s going on!?
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Remember that little baby rhubarb I was coaxing into life on the windowsill? Well, here it is! Impressive… I know.

It Feels Good to be First

Finally! Some edibles from all that raging greenery along the house! It’s a good day for peas. The snap peas are almost all ready and the shelling peas are getting there too… there are more shelling peas on the vines than there are snap peas… maybe next year I’ll augment the numbers so that I have more of both.

peas85The snap peas in all of their glory.
peas78Hey hey my my! Those are some nice lookin’ peas! They taste so good straight out of the pod. Who needs to cook them?! Seriously…

Garden Update

Well, it’s Wednesday again (there’s nothing like doing something on the same day every week to make you realize how quickly that week goes by!) so here’s a little snapshot of the garden.

garden_45The carrots are still doing their thing, you know… growing, greening, leafing, etc.
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The peas are looking great, but peeking at the little pods makes me feel like I just stepped into a B grade horror film about aliens. When the sun is shining through them you can see all the babies lined up and the little plant veins feeding them… it’s a little like walking in on someone in the delivery room.
garden39The strawberries are still trying to send out a massive number of runners and I keep clipping them back. I don’t want ten million strawberry plants competing for the same amount of sunshine next year.
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The beans are all doing their thing and so are the squash. I need to push that grate off the squash to give them some more breathing room. The beans show no signs of flowering or beaning yet, so I guess we’ll have that to look forward to later.
garden37Those darn potatoes are still going bananza in their box. I can’t believe how tall they are! That’ll be a harvest I can’t wait to photograph.

Garden Update

UPDATA time! Look out! I know I did a mini one on Monday so you’ll just have to suffer patiently, you saint, you!

blueberries62The blubberies are doing quite well. Dad built them a little pen because we caught Willow licking all the bushes. Hopefully this will keep the robins, jays and Willow out long enough for some of them to get ripe enough.
starts61Look at these babies do… something. They’re still way too tiny to let outside very often, hopefully it’ll happen before winter. The basil is on the right and sage is one the left.
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Look at all these bush beans! Mummy got four Indian Runner beans which are climbing up the poles in the midst of all their bushy cousins. There’s tons of squash coming up on the other side of the boxes. Most of them are seeds I saved when I went through my squash baking faze in the winter (note, the squash in the recipe pictures isn’t the one whose seeds now reside in the yard).
potatoes_64Holy POTATO! Check these out! They’re up to my waist now in all of their potato glory.
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The yukon potatoes have their first flower! And surprise surprise, it’s a much lighter color than the blue potato flowers I took pictures of on Monday.carrots_70Those is some carrots. They sure are purty. I’m still not convinced that they’ll be worth it, but since they’re already here I’m going to let them do their thing and see what happens.
parsnips_68The parsnips are getting bigger! They even have some real leaves.
peas_67Look how big and happy those peas are! They’re making lots of pods but we’ll have to wait a little longer before they’ve filled out properly.
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We have more tomatoes stashed in the garden (two beefsteaks, one cherry and something else) besides the two plants on the deck.
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This bush is producing ‘maters like mad! They’re getting bigger and bigger every day! Dad was suggesting some fried green tomatoes, we’ll see if that happens. I’ve never tried so it’ll be a fun experiment, no?