Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warm Summer Morning

Here are some photos from this morning around the farm.  It's only 8:30 and it's already hot.  It's about time to close the windows for the day.  Since our air conditioner isn't working, we've been living with open windows and ceiling fans and a window air conditioner in our bedroom.  It hasn't been too bad yet.  And I got our energy bill yesterday...and it was so much less than usual, it was totally worth it. :)

My mom grew these gorgeous flowers.  She decided she wanted to learn how to grow fresh cut flowers  to sell at the farmer's market and the vegetable farmstand where Joey and I worked growing up (my sister works there now.)  So she asked the farmer who owns the vegetable farm if she could use some of his land and in exchange, he could keep the profits from the sale of the flowers since she is only figuring things out this year.

He gave her half a high-tunnel (a long, plastic-sided hoophouse), as well as the use of his water drip lines.  So she started thousands of flower seeds in flats in her basement in January and February with grow lights and then transplanted them into the high tunnel.  She direct-seeded a couple rows outside of the tunnel as well.  And now she has the most beautiful garden of zinnias, sunflowers, black eyed susans, snap dragons, just to name a few.

She has really worked so hard at being at the farm everyday, watering and weeding, and picking her flowers, on top of working at a pharmacy, a university, and taking care of my dad and sister.  Her hard work has paid off, the flowers are gorgeous!  And they look so good in my kitchen.  Too bad we live four hours away. :(

Despite the lack of rain, our tomatoes have exploded.

Our empty chicken coop.  Needs more raccoon reinforcements to prepare for our new chickens coming next week.

One of the gardens with the sheep pasture behind.  A little rain last weekend made it a little more green but it is still not doing very well.  Yesterday, Joey bought a few square bales of hay for the sheep to eat so that the pasture can recover a little bit more.

This garden has onions, lettuce, green beans, hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, basil, and marigolds and zinnias.  The spinach and the snap peas are finished for the season and have been ripped out to make room more dry beans.  The sheep enjoyed eating the pea plants.

2 acres where our sweet corn, popcorn, and pumpkins are planted.  The sweetcorn is in the foreground and the pumpkins are being planted in the middle.  We planted another row by hand last night and we have about 5 more rows to go.  None of the pumpkin seeds have sprouted up yet...keep your fingers crossed all this planting is not in vain.

Our other garden.  Red and yellow potatoes, broccoli, carrots, green beans, beets, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, cantaloupe, eggplant, dry beans, and indian popcorn are growing here.

We've gotten so much broccoli already.  This is the first time I've grown broccoli and it has been a great producer.  I bought four small broccoli starts from Wal-Mart and we planted them in the garden and then placed the cold frame over them and they have done really well.  I have harvested big heads of broccoli from each plant and now we are getting side shoots.  We've eaten a lot of fresh broccoli in salads, pasta with broccoli and pesto, in vegetable fried rice, and last night I added broccoli to noodles with a chinese peanut sauce.  I've been trying to freeze some too so that we can eat it in stir fries this fall and winter.

We're starting to get little blossoms on the green bean plants.  We planted dry bean seeds early in the season and they never germinated.  We looked all over the area for dry bean seeds and couldn't find any so I ordered some online and they arrived yesterday.  We planted two rows of beans that will be dry to add to soups or rice.  I've never grown dry beans before but I am really trying to grow things this year that we can put away for fall and winter.  

Are you as glad as I am that there is fresh produce again?  I didn't realize how badly I craved fresh fruits and vegetables until I started eating fresh peas and lettuce from my garden and the juiciest peaches from the farmer's market.  I gave my dad a jar of the maple syrup we made in February and March from our backyard tree for Father's Day and we ate it on blueberry pancakes.  Sweet.  

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