Thursday, May 6, 2010

What a Beautiful May Evening it Is

View from the front pasture at dusk

It's been a few days since I posted an update on the farm.  We continue to have a very beautiful spring.  Good weather for growing peas, broccoli, and bok choy.  Can't wait until we can eat some of those.  In the meantime, we tenderly care for them.  We replanted some potatoes that didn't come up. Strangely, mostly in one row.  We also planted carrots and beans and we hope to seed all the rest of the crops this weekend.  We will also go to one of the many tailgate markets and pick up some of our warm weather transplants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  If we can swing it, I'd like to get over to Greenlife Grocery in Asheville on Sunday and buy some from my research specialist who has started her own little farm and sells at the tailgate market in the store parking lot.

The blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries look strong and healthy and are covered with little fruit. We need to find some time to get them weeded soon and build the trellis.  The posts are just leaning against a tree right now!  The asparagus ferns are also coming up in abundance.  I look forward to eating lots of it next year.  We only ate a little bit this spring since we moved the plants and wanted to leave the crowns lots of energy to get re-established.

My daughter has covered the back patio and front porch with all of her containerized plants and many flats of flowers.  We are going to till up a bed for her to grow her flowers since it doesn't look like she will be back into her own place before they need to be planted out.  It will be nice to have flowers for cutting.  The rest of us will concentrate on vegetables, herbs, and perennial flowering shrubs.  We have never planted a cutting garden before.  It will be a nice addition.

The half of the front pasture that was fenced off and fertilized grew well.  Unfortunately, it still has far too much clover.  Looks like we are going to have a slobbery horse again this summer!  But there is no bare ground exposed, so we are making progress bringing the pasture back from two years of drought followed by a year of excessive rain.  Now we have the other half fenced off and fertilized. When that part is done, we are considering dividing the pasture up into thirds and rotating the animals around them.  The side pasture, however, looks fabulous.  The best grass you'd ever want to see.  So we will have plenty of good quality grazing land for our boys.

The chickens are doing well, too.  They are so funny.  I have spoiled them rotten.  Every time I go out to see them I have a treat in my hand, some bread, weeds, fruit, or veggies.  Now they expect it when anyone walks up to them and they loudly express their displeasure if you don't have something for them to eat!  Two of the Dark Cornish look like they are going broody again.  So I'm going to have to start isolating them from the nests for part of the day so the other girls can have a turn to lay.  I really like the Dark Cornish breed except for the tendency for the three we have to do this.  It's kind of a pain.

 Plymouth Rock and Jersey Giants
We use fly eliminators, parasitic wasps, as the main portion of our fly control program.  Last year we were very pleased with the way that worked for us.  We started the program on time this spring, but our second shipment arrived very late and the wasps were mostly hatched out when we opened them. We distributed them and the company sent us a new batch, but in that little window of time, the flies got pretty bad.  The flies were really annoying the horse's eyes, so my daughter put fly masks on the horse and donkey for the first time.  They both tolerated them very well.  That was, until we went to remove them.  The horse did fine, but when my daughter released the velcro on the donkey's mask, he panicked at the sound.  Now he takes off anytime we rip apart velcro.  So we are working at desensitizing him to it; one of us feeds him treats while the other rips velcro apart nearby.

The flowering trees and shrubs are beautiful around here right now.  Rhododendron, azaleas, cherries, and my buckeye.  Like I said before, this is a BEAUTIFUL spring.  

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