Tag Archives: gardening

Winter is certainly here!

But, it took a long time to arrive.

I timed my final harvest of carrots down to about the last possible second.

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This was the first week of December and the ground hadn’t yet frozen.  If I had gotten to this job just a day or two earlier, it would not have involved snow.

As you can see, the chickens have been moved into their winter quarters inside the garden fence where I can run an extension cord to plug their coop in for supplemental light and a heated water dish.

The garlic seed is snugly tucked into the ground and poultry net has been strung around the garlic beds in case the chickens get over exuberant.

At this point, the sheep were still getting most of their nutrition from grazing.  As you can see here, the lawn was still quite green.  Plenty of forage was available in most of the pasture.  This is really remarkable.  Often, by mid October I am feeding hay because there is no forage left, but this year it just kept right on growing until it got covered with snow in early December.

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I take pasture photos at 6 standard locations on the first of each month as a form of research and record keeping.  This was the 12/1/16 photo of Paddock 1.

Today, we are experiencing a real winter deep freeze.  The benefit of weather so cold that I’m reluctant to step outside is that I do finally get around to the paperwork and computer projects that had been languishing when I was working on outside projects.

I’m very pleased to have finally made a bunch of updates to my little online store.  Have a look: https://squareup.com/store/autumn-larch-farm-llc.  There you will find soaps, sheepskins, raw fleeces, roving, yarn and more.

If you live nearby, save the postage and contact us to set up a time to stop in and do your shopping in person.  If you live farther away, this little online store is a great option for having a look at the products available and getting them delivered right to your door via USPS.

Stay warm and enjoy the vibrant sunshine that usually comes with the bitter cold.

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, gardening, Getting Organized, Research, Seasons, Sheep

Happy Spring

I celebrated the calendar reaching the vernal equinox today by spending a little over an hour enjoying 80s and sunshine.  I didn’t travel any further than the yard.  I do love my hoop house!

It is still very messy and weedy in there because winter came so quickly I didn’t get my tidying done last fall.  But it was a joy to dig in the partially thawed soil and bask in the warmth.  I just might get seeds sunk in the soil yet this week!

We’re still surrounded by snow, snow and more snow, though this warm spring sunshine is having a strong effect.  If I didn’t wear snow shoes, I would sink in to above my knees.

Here’s a picture of my winter and current method of bringing feed and water to my sheep.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Seasons

Playing in the mud

I must preface this post by saying I really have nothing to complain about, when you compare our weather situation to the devastation that has occurred in many parts of the world.  We have not suffered from wild fires, mud slides or tornadoes.

I’m still going to complain, though.  This has been a trying year.  I’ve been speculating that our new weather/climate pattern is: Frozen Tundra; Standing Water; Scorched Earth.  We’ve experienced variations on this theme for a number of years now.

We are currently in a glorious weather pattern.  Some might complain that it is too dry, but on our heavy ground, the .2″ or .3″ we have gotten here and there have been enough to keep the pastures convinced that they should grow rather than go dormant.  And, it has been enough to fill the rain barrels so I can water the hoophouse and seed beds with rain water, rather than from the well.

But, this spring was far from glorious.  We had standing water in places where I have never seen it stand before.  And, the earth was saturated so continuously by new rains, that even the garlic which was planted in my highest garden beds suffered.  I’m just beginning to harvest that now, and I’m hoping to have sufficient harvest to save for seed to plant in October.  If I have a bit extra to use and to sell, I’ll be surprised.

The “playing in the mud” refers to my many unsuccessful attempts to prepare garden beds for planting.  This year my planting window was July.  I’m very hopeful that we have a long, mild fall so that the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beets have sufficient time to mature.

I am more grateful for my hoophouse than ever!  While it was still very wet in there in the spring, at least the new rainfalls were not landing directly on those beds and I was able to start seeds there for melons, squash, beans, onions, leeks, flowers and greens.  All of those plants did get alarmingly large before I was able to prepare the beds in the rest of the garden to receive them as transplants, but it did eventually happen with fairly decent success.

Big beans in the wrong place

Big beans in the wrong place

I looked for pictures to illustrate the wet, muddy, weedy mess my garden was this spring, but it appears I couldn’t bear to document it.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Seasons, Uncategorized

Yet another use for a zucchini

Surely this would have been funnier if I had managed to post the photo when coworkers across the nation were tiptoeing through parking lots to leave bags brimming with zucchini in passenger seats; when rural commuters wrote notes on their hands to remind them to lock up their car when they left it to go into work.

Alack, alas, I write now, when we finally have a little rain coming down and the temperature and light levels are dropping and I have to face the pile of inside work because the outside stuff is becoming more difficult and uncomfortable to accomplish.

I assure you, I was watching that fruit in amongst the vines and was certain I was seeing a buttercup squash.  One day, while viewing it from another angle, I realized my error and a new piece of furniture was born – the zucchini doorstop.

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Filed under Farm, Local Food