Sunday, May 27, 2012

our homestead: garden growth updates

Here's a collection of photos I took of my garden today to document growth.
Our little vegetable garden
The lower potato patch
Peas reaching up
Golden chard and 'arabian nights' nasturtiums
'Painted Mountain' corn starting to peek out
I've started digging beds for my heirloom sunflowers
Tomatoes growing taller and taller
Check this out! Way earlier than last year!
Some of the plants are up to my hip in height
'Painted Mountain' corn I'm growing in pots to either transplant or to sell at the market

our homestead: gratitude

I'm grateful for all of the signs of summer around me.
I thought I'd take the time to write about some of the things I'm grateful for right now. Throughout my journey, there is always plenty to be grateful about. I'm grateful that summer is right around the bend. Once again, our trees are full of green leaves, the sun has been warm and plants are growing and blossoming. The vegetables and flowers in my garden and greenhouse grow taller and leafier everyday, and I've started enjoying fresh greens, tender radishes and sweet little onions from our backyard. I even have enough to share already, as I brought my friends a basket of produce from our yard yesterday.

Straw from my husband.
I am grateful for my loved ones. I have a very supportive circle of family and friends. Good people. I love my husband very much. He's my best friend and is very helpful, attentive and funny. The other day I came home to 4 bales of straw waiting for me (I'd recently run out). Aww, my hubby knows the key to my heart (haha). I was able to plump up my bird's home and nests with a fresh layer of straw and can always use straw in the garden for mulching. Lucky me!

Somebody's nibbling on the cat mint...'s a happy Ghosty Cupcakes!

I'm grateful for my silly troop of furbabies: Spyder Munggins, Ghosty Cupcakes, Oswald and Banjo. They're my snuggle buddies, floor cleaners, walking companions and co-pilots. I'm also grateful for my flock of feathered friends down below.

Two of my khaki campbell ducks and one of my buff orpington chickens

One of 14 ducklings so far...
And I'm grateful for our successful first hatching of moscovy ducklings! The last time I counted, there were 14 ducklings down below with more eggs left to hatch. My guess is we will get a second hatching in a couple of days (one clutch of eggs was newer than the other). I've never seen ducklings so small before, as often the ducklings you can buy at the cenex are at least a week old. These little puff balls are so adorable and I've been peeking in on them once a day to watch them splash in their little water tray and gobble down fresh salad greens.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

our homestead: ducklings hatching

Right now as I quickly write this blog, my ducklings are hatching down below in the coop. This morning while I was doing my normal duck routine (let the birds out, refresh their water, check their feed, check for eggs), I had the thought to check on my brooding ladies, as their "due date" was last week. I opened up the nest box and noticed a cracked egg shell and my ducks (two are brooding right now) were both sitting in the same nest box. So weird. I began to move one duck over to her original nest box and saw a tiny, tiny pair of pink feet and some yellow feathers peak out. WHOAH! DUCKLINGS! I bet the second brooder was sitting in the wrong nest box because she wanted those ducklings (talk about baby fever). I have a feeling her clutch is right about to hatch as well. Anyway, I took some hurried photos and ran around finding materials to build my ladies and their babies a separate partition from the rest of the flock (to keep the ducklings safe). My guess is I'll come home from work this evening to find even more ducklings. I'll be sure to post better photos soon...I just didn't want to disturb my gals too much or their little darlings. Anyway, here are the quick photos I was able to snag...

Monday, May 14, 2012

our homestead: garden's growing

My little garden is off to a good start. I am beyond happy that the growing season is here again. Every morning I enjoy the ritual of letting my birds out, watering the plants in my greenhouse and watching the growth of my vegetable garden while casually plucking weeds. I'm fairly tired from a busy day of working the yard and I'm about to go sit out on the porch for the remainder of this warm evening we're having to listen to the sounds of nightfall and to smell the sweet scent of my white lilac (it seems to emit the most perfume at dusk), so I'll post a few photos of my garden's current state.
Wild numbers of sunflowers are popping up every which way around my yard. Aww, we'll be so lucky when they are all flowering.
Nasturtiums, German Chamomile and poppies are all growing.
Velvety and tangy 'Apple Mint' growing taller everyday. I'm looking forward to some summer mojitos made with this. Yum!
Our main vegetable patch (we have a few other patches scattered around the yard). This is also where we grew our garlic patch last year. I made some nice raised beds and everything I've planted here is coming up.
I've already snuck a few 'French Breakfast Radishes' from our radish patch. Oh so sweet and adorable.
One of my little broccoli plants. This is my first year growing broccoli.
Potatoes! This year I planted two potato patches: one for us and one for the ducks. I read that mashed potatoes make for a good filler food for ducks, so we'll be able to stretch our feed dollars more.
Baby 'Lacinato Kale' peeking out of the soil. Waiting to be braised with some lemon and chickenstock.
Our arugula patch. Soon this will grace my homemade pizzas with pancetta and goatcheese. Oh baby! 
Itty-bitty kohlrabi: one of my favorite vegetables. When it's full grown, its stems will swell into little green baseballs. You peel them and snack on them fresh or can roast them up. They are in the cabbage family and taste like sweet broccoli.
'Arabian Nights Nasturtiums' peeking out of the ground in the vegetable garden. Their flowers are supposed to be red, white and purple in lieu of the usual orange and yellow. They'll help ward off certain insect pests and will be a sweet and spicy addition to our salads.
Fava beans! These guys are sweet and nutty, like a delicious lima bean (har har), and can be planted with peas as they are more of a colder season bean.
Snap and shelling peas coming up below my branch pea trellis.
My tomatoes are in full swing in the greenhouse. I think they are taller and healthier than they were last year at this time. In fact, I'll have to go back and check, but I'm not even sure I had them out to the greenhouse yet last year.
I also have lots of tomato flowers blooming, meaning I'll have tomatoes sooner this year than last.

Oh what have we here! My first "tomato".
Here's one of my 'English Brown Turkey' figs, leafing out.
And the peppers!
This is my happy place.