Friday, July 25, 2014

Garden Update

Let me give you a little vegetable garden tour this week!

Start at the gate to the main gardens.  


First you will find the large raised bed that my mother cares for that is simply stuffed full of growing  thriving plants and an abundance of kale!


Turn left through the gate and you come into my herb garden in the spiral and a series of 4 raised beds.  These beds were designed to hold things that I would need to harvest daily: greens, beans, tomatoes, etc.


In the photo below you can see both the raised beds as well as the larger garden in the background.


This garden I call my 'manure garden,' since I flattened and mounded up a big pile of old manure to build the garden.  Despite the name, this garden is amazing.  The inner space consists of 8 mounded beds surrounded by squash on the entire perimeter.  The beds have potatoes, popcorn, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, beans, okra, tomatoes, tomatillos, husk cherries, turnips, carrots and of course a few other things I can't remember.  I'm hoping to create a path around the entire garden next year to make it easier to access the squash.






Heading back up towards the house is the children's garden with the sunflower house that is almost in bloom.


Don't forget to stop off at the patio on the way by for a break.


Now we end up at the row garden that has struggled a bit this year with the weather and some lackadaisical watering.  The corn is finally looking a bit better and the beans and squash are hanging in there.  The idea behind this garden is that we would only visit a couple times a week for upkeep and harvesting.


Up in the pasture we've also put in a series of small hills for winter squash.


Since our strawberries did not do well (see the watering problem above) we added some tomato plants to the bed for this year and will fill in as needed in the spring.


The harvest is on now, bringing new treats into the kitchen everyday.




How's your garden growing?

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 2 ways:

  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden 
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #90

This week we're settling into a more relaxed pace and finally finding time to get caught up on a few things around here. Maybe I'll even find time to get a few things cleaned around the house one of these days!!

This week's feature, from Making our Sustainable Life: Make Your Own Pectin





I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Friday, July 18, 2014

Garden Update

This week we started filling up our pantry with jams and other treats from the garden all ready for the winter: cherry preserves, strawberry jam, radish relish, rhubarb sauce, frozen fruit and juiced kale, hung and dried garlic, and black raspberry jam.  It is immensely satisfying to collect fresh food straight from the garden and end with neatly lined up row of jars in the kitchen.

The biggest challenge at the moment is using up the never ending supply of zucchini coming in.  So far we've made bread, sauteed it, grilled it, made it into pasta, and cooked it into lasagna.  We're also harvesting beans, peas, berries, kale and of course we're drooling over the tomatoes that are hanging on the vines.





The herb garden is finally starting to improve.  If seems to be the favorite spot for any escaped hens to take dust baths, and the seeds have had a little bit of trouble getting the upper hand.




How's your garden growing?

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 2 ways:

  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden 
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Backyard Farming Connection Hop #89

This week was full of visitors to the homestead and an excited morning getting the llama sheared.  We've been berry picking and jam making like crazy and finding creative ways to eat the excess out of the garden!

 From One Acre Farm: Gardening for Pollinators



I want to know what's happening, in your garden, on your homestead, in the barnyard, and in the kitchen.  Whatever is in your backyard farm and home, I would love to hear about it.

Each week I will share some of my favorite posts on the Backyard Farming Connection Facebook page.  And in case you haven't seen, I have a 'featured button' so if you've been featured in the past, grab a button.

For details on linking up visit the hop page.

Backyard Farming Connection


Backyard Farming Connection

Friday, July 11, 2014

Garden Update


The garden is producing now, and not just a little supplement to go with dinner, but a whole mess of fruit and veggies that we are eating and sharing as fast as we can.  We're quickly surpassing our consumption and finding ways to save and preserve food as we can.  We never seem to leave the house now without a bag or two of produce to unload on some unwary (and lucky) household.

There are still a few crops we're waiting for (tomatoes, cucumber, some squashes, corn, etc ) but most of the garden is going crazy.  I'm already trying to pull the bolting lettuce and find space for the fall crops to get underway.  I'm beyond excited about the current state of my popcorn (growing in back of this garden here).  I could eat popcorn everyday, so I can't wait to have my own home grown snack!






How's your garden growing?

Each Friday I share photos from our garden with an update about what we're doing, what's growing, and what we're eating.  I invite you to come play along, I love seeing what others are trying.  You can join the fun in 2 ways:

  • If you blog, I welcome you to write a post or share a post from that week about what's growing in your garden 
  • If you aren't a blogger, I invite you to join my gardening flickr group and share photos of your garden from this week
  • And last - if you don't want to blog or share photos, just follow along and check out all the links and photos and maybe share a comment with your own gardening experience from the week

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shearing a Llama


 Today we finally got Cocoa his summer haircut!  After seeing animals sheared several times and shearing our own goats, I thought I knew what was coming, but this was a whole different ball of wax.


We started off getting the llama in the barn and all brushed up.



This morning Mariacher Shearing Services showed up to to take care of the llama.  It was amazing to see someone who has handled thousands of animals work on Cocoa.  Where I am still slow and tentative, he handled him smoothly and confidently.


He started off trying to shear him standing up, but we quickly realized that wasn't going to work with the amount of squirming, bucking and craziness coming from Cocoa.


It didn't take long to get the llama on the ground and secured with his front and back legs.


(don't forget to check out the cheering squad)



Once Cocoa was down, it only took a couple minutes to get him sheared and trimmed up.


He was so excited to get outside again.


It took the goats a few minutes to realize that he was the same animal they knew.



 Now I have a lovely pile of fiber to play with!
 



Here's the before and after shot!


(thanks to Emily for the photos!)