Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fall and Spring on the Farm-Part 2

 Alder's standard 50 tomato plants went in a new spot-an unused corner of the property. He just tilled rows and left room to get a mower in between-smart man!
And yes, we like spaghetti sauce and at $4 a jar this saves us about $200 a year or more. Alder doesn't mind the sweat labor in August and September to sit with a canner pot when it's 110* outside, so I'm happy to have it!

Random spot in the garden/yard...Violas, horseradish, poppy, onions, asparagus, apricot tree, and a ton of brassicas in the further garden, along with wood and kindling drying.
And a hairy "lawn". Boy am I glad we don't live in a neighborhood with rules about grass height :)

Back left is one of the raised beds made out of corrugated tin, which I believe are about 20' long. There are three in total.

Alder picking apricots

The Brassica patch-chard, cauliflower, broccoli, red and white cabbage and several potatoes that came up from the compost we used.

"The Ferny Brae" as I call it. This was originally veg garden and is transitioning to orchard, with apple, apricot, persimmon and something else in there...the asparagus doesn't mind a little shade, and as long as one doesn't try to walk through it (it's ITCHY!) it makes a great screen from the road in the summer.

 This might look like just light and shadow on a shed but it's really important and embodies a lot of things here.
When we moved into this place, everything was painted barn red. Not sure why, and it would not have been my first choice. Maybe in North Carolina to keep out the tobacco sprites, or in Maine, but here a dark color absorbs heat.
I don't know what the previous owner used this shed for, but we use it to store canned food. Since the grocery store is a once-a-week event, this is a big "pantry". I think some people think we are "Preppers" but no, this is not about the shit hitting the fan, this is about not running to the store daily, buying in bulk and properly storing the food that we grow.
The first year we were here, the heat in the morning in this shed was awful. In the winter the sun hits the back (left) side, or not at all because of the oak trees-but since we are so far north here, the sun moves up the sky an incredible amount from Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice, and from about March to Sept. this shed gets just beat with the sun first thing in the morning. So we painted it a light color. Not great for keeping bird poop from showing but it helps with the sun. But it wasn't enough. So we planted some quick-growing trees, which also happen to be nitrogen-fixers, and only really later did we learn that they are LITERALLY the herbal **key to happiness (see below).
This particular tree got whacked once by yours truly, with the weed eater, but over 2 years it has grown from a twig the size of my finger to this beautiful shade tree. One morning in March I suddenly realized the shed was incredibly cool, and snapped this photo of the tree doing it's fabulous permaculture-y, multiple functional thing. Yay shade! <3

Here's another fun permaculture "use what you've got" tip. An old screen house from our camping days
has found it's use as a shade house for our new geese. This way we can move them around the garden and they love to eat bermuda grass and other grasses, while pretty much leaving alone the artichokes, blueberries, goji berries, asparagus, etc. This is a whole lot easier on us than mowing or scything between those rows.  The solar panels power the barn.

Here are the geese-Pilgrim geese to be exact. Smaller and apparently nicer than regular geese. With this breed, boys are white and girls are grey. 

 This is the magical flower of the **The Happiness Tree- Albizia julibrissin-the one shading our "food shed". Known as Mimosa or Silk Plant, the tincture of inner bark and these gorgeous pink flowers makes a medicine that some say brings "happiness" but for most people I know it brings calm. Not like a valium or tall beer calm, but just taking everything down a notch...It's hard to explain, but it's magical. If you want some, I believe Herb Pharm and Planetary Herbals both sell it. It's great for those stressful situations (can we say "FAMILY?") when you need some calm...
So now that we have several of these, planted for shade, nitrogen boosting in the soil and for coppice wood, we will be harvesting the HECK out of these and making literally quarts of tincture.

 Here's the late summer version of the new terraced raised beds-looking (from front to back) out over the flowering radishes, two rows of carrots, to the plants in the greywater spot and on out into the gully and sheep area.
 The "Nibble Garden" right outside of the front door. This could also be named the "Que Sera Sera" garden because nothing really gets planted here. Things just show back up. Arugula, tulsi, lambs quarters, purslane, onion and chives, cilantro, dill and marigolds. I did wedge in a couple of tomato plants (for nibbling), a few parsleys and some salad burnette, oh and some basil. Any empty spot gets filled with annuals. Fence is there for the dogs.

Pomegranate flowers. Last fall we harvested a good number of fruits for such a small plant and we juiced a lot of them. It was so yummy that we froze some of the juice for a mid-winter treat, and obtained two more pomegranate bushes. So we're set!

And last but not least, a few more random shots from around the farm...

Buzzard and our local Red-tailed Hawk (who nested right across the road and spends most of her days around our area of the gulch) fighting about who's dinner it is. Hawk won.
I literally saw this from my bedroom window, snuck out and filmed the whole thing. Buzzard brought his friends and they tried to intimidate the hawk-all of them even standing their ground a loud truck went by, but it was fresh meat, and the hawk finally flew off with the whole thing.

 Abandoned barn in winter....

Cool random "look down" shot-tiny red frost-chilled weeds. There is indeed beauty wherever you look!

Morning sun through Mimosa blossoms.

 Early Morning garden tea spot by the fish pond. Not bad for five years worth of work. The small deck used to be a redwood hot tub. We don't do those, nor the fuel to heat one, so we made it into something useful.

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