Friday, September 30, 2016

Today on the Homestead

We've been working to get the foundation prepped for the construction of the waterfowl house.  Our good neighbor brought in a load of coarse fill to level out the site.  Then as an addition of more fill, he also dug dirt out of an area in the hill at the back of our property we wanted leveled as an area in which to push plowed snow.  All this coarse fill contained many, many good-sized rocks which needed to be removed.

Our dear (and strong) daughter spent the whole day yesterday working on that small job while we made a supply run to the big city.  She filled a total of 78 buckets with rocks, loaded them onto the bed of her pick-up, drove them to our designated rock pile and unloaded them.  Seventy-eight buckets of rocks!  And she wasn't finished with the task.

Papa Pea went out to help her this morning and between them both they filled 46 more buckets for a grand total of 124 filled, hauled and dumped.  If we figured each bucketful weighed somewhere around 40 pounds, that means a total of nearly 5,000 pounds of rocks was moved.  Holy. big. job.


Next we were ready for the first load of Class 5 road material which is crushed gravel, sand and clay all mixed together.  No big rocks in it, thank gawd.  One more load of the same and we should be in business.

While all this was happening, I was working in the garden doing more clean-up and tilling.


More work on the recently plowed up area designated for the new raspberry patch and other plantings.


I harvested all but two of the pumpkins from my little pumpkin patch.  (Those two haven't turned orange yet for some reason.)  The crop was good this year undoubtedly because of our hot growing season.  That largest one on the left weighed in at 35 pounds!  Not a world record by any means, but a giant for my garden.


I dressed out the window boxes in their autumnal finery.


This is the small window box outside our bathroom window.  The Virginia Creeper, which is starting to turn its gorgeous fall color, completely covered this window and window box so I gave it a shave and haircut before I filled the window box.


It certainly looks as though we're going to have our best apple year yet.  Oh, to have enough good eating apples to last all winter!  And I can hardly wait for that first apple pie.


This bed was spread with compost and tilled up exactly three weeks ago.  Since then this thick green cover has appeared.  It took me a while to realize just what it was.  This was the bed where I had planted borage which was supposed to be good food for our honey bees.  It possibly would have been if the borage hadn't attracted huge amounts of bumble bees which seemed to keep the honey bees away.  I didn't think the full grown borage plants were very attractive so will find something else to plant for the bees next year.  Anyway, I had pulled all the borage out, but apparently it is self-seeding (in a big way), and this was the result.


Nothing like a good green manure crop tilled in to enrich the soil.


Hooray, hooray!  My fall planted shell peas are starting to form pods.


This is a new "purple" carrot variety, Dragon, I tried this year.  The slices went into our salads tonight.  So far, the flavor is pleasantly "carrot-y" but not very sweet.  Wonder if the flavor will change with storage in the root cellar?

That's a bit of what went on here today.  All day I thought it was Saturday instead of Friday.  I guess that's what happens when you're retired and don't have to keep a schedule or work anymore.  (Snort-snort.)

24 comments:

Kev Alviti said...

Ive planted borage this year and mum keeps telling me how invasive it is if you let it go to seed. The flowers are tasty though.
Like your window box, no pumpkins here just winter squash which I love.
I grew purple carrots as well but mine were purplw all the way through, not as tasty as some of the others I grew.

Vera said...

Your vegetable garden looks awesome, and what energy you have to be able to use the rotovator! We are introducing raised beds next year, but not in our larger veg plots.
As for shifting those rocks...what a strong daughter you have, bless her!

Bill said...

Beautiful apples. I'm envious. Still waiting for the first year our trees produce like that.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Just found your blog. Happy I did! We have 7 acres in central Il and produce about 80% of our own food. Always looking for ways and means to do it better and cheaper. I'll be back to visit, you have a great blog!

Linda said...

Mama Pea, I've found the honey bees absolutely love lemon thyme and my patch is loaded with them when it's in bloom. As we're pulling up my once beautiful herb garden because lyme ticks have invaded it, I need to find a new spot for the thyme. It's not invasive, and you can use it to make yummy lemon tea bread.

Fiona said...

I wonder about the old variety carrots flavor...I think we have become used to the new improved carrots and their extra sweetness? Our few carrots this year were "Carroty" but not sweet like store carrots.

Ruth Dixon said...

I planted borage for our bees a couple years ago. It never goes away. I tried it in salad as the package suggested. Ugh. I just pull it out whenever I see it. I wonder if comfrey would grow for you? I bet I can send some in the mail (the roots) and it would grow? I planted winter squash and pie pumpkins that will be our fall decorations.

Mama Pea said...

Kev - They say we learn new things all the time . . . and now I've just learned how very invasive borage is!

I've been hoping to find a purple carrot that was purple all the way through, but so far haven't. What's your variety? Don't know if I could find it here in the States but I'd sure check it out.

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Using the rototiller doesn't bother me, but the heavy wood working we did yesterday did! It's all in what muscles you're used to using, I guess. Daughter said the morning after her rock adventure, she could hardly move her fingers when she woke!

Mama Pea said...

Bill - It's so hard to wait for your first good crop of anything! Good luck with your apples and thanks for commenting.

Mama Pea said...

Donna - Hello and welcome! Thanks for your nice words and I envy you for your good growing climate! With the cost of food rapidly rising as it is, anything we can grow for ourselves it worth it simply because of the economics.

Mama Pea said...

Linda - I'm putting lemon thyme on my list for next season. Thanks!

What a shame about your herb garden. You must be in an area that is unfortunate enough to have an abundance of the dreaded Lyme ticks! So sorry.

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - You have a very good point there. Some of the old-timers tell me their sweet corn didn't taste nearly as "sweet" as much of ours does now. I truly believe the older varieties (heirloom, not hybrids) had more nutrition. This Dragon carrot is the first of ours we've sampled so far. Our main crop is always the old Scarlet Nantes which we are always happy with.

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - I'm rapidly finding out that borage never goes away! We've grown a good patch of comfrey for years and years. (The flowers are much like borage, aren't they!) Such a kind gesture to offer sending me some roots, but like borage, once you plant comfrey there's no problem propagating it!!

Joy said...

Gorgeous apples! What variety? I'm looking for a good "eating apple" variety that doesn't need lots of insecticide sprays to produce reasonable quality fruit. Any advice? I have a Honeycrisp and know that's NOT it. And, btw, I'm retired and often don't know the day or date! Join the club.

Mama Pea said...

Joy - Those apples are on a Zestar tree, but we have Honeycrisps planted in the same area. We planted the Honeycrisp after tasting ones from a tree in our area and liked them. I wonder if your location makes a difference in the flavor?

We grow all our fruits and veggies organically which, I know, can be a challenge especially with tree fruit. Last year was an awful apple year for us, so we're ready for a good year this time around.

I woke this morning thinking it was Saturday, not Sunday. There is no hope for me. ;o]

Mark said...

Hearing about all you have going on makes ME tired! That is a lot of rock to move. One of my least favorite jobs growing up on the farm was picking rocks off the fields in the spring. That is sooo much work and bet your daughter and Papa Pea felt those muscles for a couple of days.

Your fall crops look great and are something of an inspiration for me to get at least some of my fall work done. Won't get to all of it, of course, but getting to some of still feels pretty good.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Mark - Hope you're feeling well and able to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. There's never enough time to get everything done in the fall that we want, but somehow we all manage to make it through the winter okay anyway, don't we?

Joy said...

Thanks for the reply, a Mama Pea. Our Honeycrisp has good flavor, but it's impossible to find a single bite without a dozen apple maggot or other larvae in it. And yellow jackets and hornets burrow inside and eat out all the flesh, leaving hollow skins behind. It seems everyone loves a Honeycrisp!

Mama Pea said...

Joy - Oh, I feel your pain! Yes, growing apples without spraying them with all kinds of bad stuff can be a real challenge. (But what's the sense if you do spray and then eat the poisons? Kinda defeats the idea of growing your own food that is good for you.) We find with our apples that different years have different challenges. This year we're fighting the Blue Jays . . . sigh. In all gardening, I've found that the better shape we get the soil in, the less insect/pest damage we have. But it is hard to see your work on an orchard or vegetables lost to varmints of any kind.

Susan said...

Thank gawd for a strong daughter! I can certainly empathize with the rocks in the dirt thing - that's all we have. You two have the most major projects going on of anyone I know - virtually or not!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Major projects? Yeah, I know. Wanna come and stage an intervention? Please?

Lisa said...

Can so relate to your rock story as we seem to grow rocks here much better than any garden produce. We furnished a neighbor with an extremely large rock retaining wall that only took her, her husband and her mom two short days of rock picking from our land. Sometimes I drive over to her house just to look at that rock wall! Love your autumnal displays! You had a great pumpkin crop this year! :)

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Years ago, Papa Pea and I took a rock building class and since then I've wanted to build a rock wall (or two) in my garden area. I'm sure we, too, could get enough material from our rock pile to build whatever we wanted! And the resource seems to be totally renewable. Unfortunately!