I love spring. I especially love spring when it extends all the way to June! It gets way too hot and humid way too fast here in Virginia, so every day that we can hold on to days in the 70s-80s and nights in the 50s-60s, we're happy. It's been a wonderful spring so far. We are enjoying hanging out on the back porch watching the flock free range and our horses graze in the evenings with our two dogs at our feet. Our baby chicks are growing so fast, as are the vegetables in the garden - and in fact, we just harvested our first beet and carrot yesterday! Reason to celebrate! Enjoy this peek at our week.
I think we've all had this happen at one time or another: you plant some mint and before you know it, you've got enough mint to feed a third-world country! I've learned my lesson and plant most of our mint in a container now to keep it from spreading, but honestly, I love mint and use it in so many ways on our farm that I am more than happy to let it grow like a weed. Here are my ten favorite ways to use mint.
Usually each Saturday evening I share some photos from from the previous week that I've taken here and there around our farm. But this week, since I was at P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm for much of the week outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, I decided to share some of my favorite photos from there instead. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Growing up in New England meant eating rhubarb straight out of my grandmother's garden, dipping each stalk in a cup of sugar and then savoring each sweet/tart bite. Maybe that memory is one reason why strawberry-rhubarb pie remains my favorite to this day. It's rare to find rhubarb here in Virginia, but when I do, it's time to bake a pie!
Back in February when I was invited to join a handful of elite garden bloggers and attend P. Allen Smiths' annual Garden2Blog workshop at Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas, I was ecstatic! The thought of visiting his beautiful Garden Home and get the chance to meet P. Allen Smith in person was so exciting! To have been handpicked to join other talented bloggers and authors who I have enjoyed reading over the years was something dreams are made of. However, to me, an impatient, type-A personality, it seemed that May would never arrive...
This week began with a wonderful Mother's Day with friends and later in the week brought our first real garden harvest - peas from the garden! We've also harvested red romaine lettuce and some spinach. We have berries almost ready to turn color, a few small tomatoes on our plants and flowers blooming everywhere. Our two batches of chicks hatched here on the farm are 9 1/2 and 3 1/2 weeks, respectively. We also had visits from a groundhog and a black rat snake which we could have done without! I also completed my intermediate herbalist certification at the Herbal Academy of New England. All in all, a great week. Enjoy this peek.
I have never enjoyed thinning seedlings. I don't like the feeling that I am playing God by deciding which plant will live and which will die. What if I choose the wrong seedling to pull? What if I thin too much? But like many aspects of life on the farm, everything comes full circle, and since we've been raising chickens, I have to admit that thinning is far less painful.
I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself,what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue, And clouds of white. The bright blessed day, The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
As you may know, I am enrolled in the Intermediate Herbalist Course at The Herbal Academy of New England. The online course consists of ten self-study units and I've been working on my certification since last November. The unit I just completed focused on the respiratory system, which is of particular interest to me personally since I suffer allergies and even more so because chickens are notorious for respiratory issues.
Flies are pretty much a given when you live on a farm and raise animals. Our horses especially have a hard time with the flies in the summer. But most conventional fly sprays contain cedar oil, pyrethrin or premethrin - all of which I worry can be dangerous, especially to our chickens and ducks.
So two summers ago, I started testing different natural herbal concoctions and I finally feel I have perfected one that works quite well to repel flies and can be safely sprayed on our horses, in their stalls, in the coop and duck house, as well as around the feeders.
This week started out soggy...and the rain just continued and continued (making for some very happy ducks)...but as they say, into each life some rain must fall, and by the end of the week, the sun came out and our flowers, gardens and grass look terrific! I spent the rainy days indoors writing and compiling photos for a few projects I'm working on - and then headed outside once the sun came out to enjoy all the new spring growth.
On the chicken scene: The Bonbons joined the big girls in the run (after mom Truffle cut the apron strings) in a surprisingly easy integration since they were born in the coop and everyone was already used to them. Annie and her little ones are now in the grow-out pen enjoying lots more room than they had in the dog crate....and the circle of life continues as it should each spring.