So we’re solidly into summer now and going about the usual activities. We’ve had some funny weather with both a good amount of really hot, sunny days and lots of rain. Overall it seems the garden likes this.
We went to our friend’s farm the other day and got to bottle-feed their baby goats. It was a joy for us–though for them it’s a bit overwhelming–they had 6 babies (now 8 I believe) and each goat needs 4 feedings a day so they’ve been doing 24 bottles a day and that is keeping them busy! They bottle feed partly to make sure that the babies get plenty of milk but not ALL so that they still have milk for their own consumption.
Hannah and I spent one of the beautiful, hot days with friends at Mackworth Island. It’s an island you reach by causeway and there are beaches all around and plenty of fairy villages to engage in some construction work.
The other day Hannah and I were back by the swingset and I saw a couple of wild strawberries. We decided to look out front of the house as we’ve had some growing there before and this year (thanks Chris for not mowing!) we found more than ever! We got about 3 cups of wild strawberries and I filled a bowl for Hannah and sprinkled a bit of sugar over them and she ate them with a spoon. Yum!!!
We then went down to Boston to meet my new niece and went out for lunch. I just had to share a picture of a gorgeous nut tart we drooled over at the local cafe. Laura said she tried it once (they make small ones) and it wasn’t as good as she’d hoped–but they are just SO beautiful!!
Back at the ranch, the garden is thriving in most ways. I can’t tell if it’s the weather or the sheet-mulching or a combination of both but I feel like the plants are growing faster and stronger than in the past. The lettuce and arugula has already gone by, but the peas are shooting up and we’ve been eating peas, greens, and broccoli. The rose bushes have really matured and are very prolific.
I learn best by doing, and I feel like each season I’m able to tuck away a few more skills and growing tips. For example, it’s hard to sow seeds in the spacing dictated on the seed packet. Each packet usually says something like 1/4 inch deep and every 3 inches–but it’s hard to be that exact and what if one seed doesn’t germinate and you’re left with a gap? Some people put the seeds in as exactly as they can–others employ the sprinkle tactic that I use and end up with too many seedlings popping up. What to do? I hate picking out perfectly healthy seedlings, but I also don’t want to stunt the plant’s growth by overcrowding. A friend gave me some good advice–(for beets for example) pick the seedlings as they grow bigger and eat the greens in a salad. You need as much room between the plants for as large you want the beets to grow. So I can let the crowded greens grow-then pick and eat them, then let the rest grow a bit more and pick the mini-beets–then let the most widely space plants be until the beets fill in and are large for big beet-eating. Great advice for healthy plants and MORE food.
The first of two types of snap peas…
Green bean plants…
Last weekend we went strawberry picking with some friends and it was tough work–the two organic farms we know of didn’t have pick-ur-own this year so we went to Jordan’s farm. They’re not organic but they do say, “At Jordan’s Farm we employ sustainable farming practices. This means that we use green manure ground covers, amend our soil with compost and use chemical pesticides and herbicides as little as possible to preserve the natural nutrients of our soils.”
A Good Picker (with a mouthful)
It was hard work for the little I picked (all that bending and rising up in the heat) but I managed to bring home enough for a batch of jam and hulled and froze the berries for a day when I have more energy.
We ended that day back at our friend’s house where Mike made us Watermelon Jalapeno cocktails. They were so beautiful in color and tasty to boot!
So the fun’s being had and the food’s being enjoyed–please come visit us here and share!