Thursday, April 27, 2017

INSPIRATION THURSDAY

For some reason, I'm unable to load photos while I'm trying to create this post. 

SO, since we can't post something that we found that inspires us, how about we do something different?

SHARE SOME OF YOUR INSPIRATION!

Just share whatever it is that you feel is good inspiration.  

Maybe it's a link to a favorite farm/gardening related website?
A gardening or seed catalog online?
A quote that reminds you of what's important?
Some wise old gardening advice?

Tell us what inspires you!

INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CREPE MURDER CHOPPING

Here is a great example of what is commonly called around these parts "Crepe Myrtle Murder".
This is at a building near my office. 


I took this photo a month or so ago when they first "pruned" them.  This is how many people handle the pruning of a these trees.  I waited a few weeks and then I took the next one.  They do this because when they grow back...


...they look like this.  It's also called "topping" and the purpose is to create this look.  Sure it's nice and symmetrical in a way, but come on, it's certainly not a natural look.  It creates permanent scars and damage to the tree itself, often shortening the life of a tree.  Crepes are often described as one of the most beautiful flowering and branching trees.  They are like lilacs with a weeping, branching aspect to them.  This eliminates that natural look.


We scored these two last Fall for free. Always the best kind of deal, ha.  We've babied them on the porch through the Winter and now they are doing great.  It's about time for me to find a home for them.  I'm still leaning toward the bee yard. 

Anyway, love crepe myrtles!  
Don't murder them!  


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

HORTON HEARS A WHO FLOWERS IN BLOOM

For some reason, these don't always appear at the farm each Spring.  Because of that, we love that somehow they are rarer than the other things popping up on a regular basis.  

Dr. Seuss flower?
Sure enough, last weekend, they were in a few patches around the farm.  The first time we ever saw one, the FIRST thing we both said was...



HORTON HEARS A WHO!!!!!!!

The iconic Dr. Seuss character who finds a whole world living on a speck on an awesome looking pink and yellow flower. 

Horton Hears a Who flower
The only thing missing on ours are the striped stems, ha.  They are SO pretty and so unusual, even if it is "just a weed", we love having them around.  

I thought about cutting some to put in a small vase and see how long they last...and maybe we'll just have to start listening a little closer to them.

Hmm, just thought about it, maybe I should try to press some in my flower press? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

GARDEN UPDATE

Haven't done a garden update in a couple of weeks so here it is...


Eggplants are doing fine.  Putting on blooms but haven't set fruit yet.  One plant looked like something had nibbled on it, more insect like, not animal, but I didn't see anything.  I'll have to keep an eye on it.  

At the other end of this bed are the jalapeños.  Missed the picture of them but they are getting bigger and also have a few blooms on them.


The two okra plants are getting larger, slowly but larger.  They love the heat so once it gets warmer and stays warmer, they'll be happier.


Tomatoes are putting blooms on so hopefully small toms aren't far behind.


The zucchini is getting HUGE!  There is a yellow squash in this bed too (just off camera) but it's much smaller than this.  I might have to sacrifice it to let us have zucchini.


Cucumbers are climbing the trellis like CRAZY!  I can't believe how fast they are growing.  

I looked on the underside of the trellis and...


...a baby cuke!!!  And as you can see, more blooms in the background!  Not sure how many we'll end up with but I hope it's prolific.  It's our first time with cucumbers so this is an experiment for our garden. 


The herb bed is growing as well.  This picture doesn't show all but here are the basil, lemon thyme and Italian flat leaf parsley.  Off camera are chives and oregano.  I did harvest a bit of basil.

The garden is doing great and is becoming somewhat self-sufficient.  By that I mean I don't have to worry about watering now, looks like the timer is on the right cycle for the soaker hose.  The straw is keeping weeds down to almost non-existent (and the ones that do pop up I just pull in about 2 seconds).  Using the weedblock fabric on the ground has almost eliminated those weeds as well. I just kind of go into the garden, wander around looking at the plants and that's all I have to do.  I know it won't stay like that but for now, it's working great and I like it!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

EARTHDAY WEEKEND UPDATE




The weather has been incredible. 
Disconnected from electronic devices.  
Sleeping with the windows open. 
Got all the mowing done. 
And the edging.
Planted some things.
Weeded in the garden.
Cleared more areas.
Worked on some other projects.

But best of all, picking and eating wild dewberries warmed by the sun with a cool breeze blowing and the smell of honeysuckle filling the air...well, there is no better way to spend Earth Day weekend.

I'll catch up on comments later tonight and of course updates during the week.  We hope your weekend has been equally productive and enjoyable!



Saturday, April 22, 2017

EARTH DAY AT THE FARM


Off to the farm today, we actually have COLD weather coming!  40's later this weekend.  40's for almost May is unusual for sure.  I hope to get the yard mowed, that's the biggest project but we've had some rain this week so I'm not sure how "wet" it will be.  Any day out of the city is a good day.  

I have some big plans for another project that I hope I can get done this weekend, but we'll see, the weather needs to cooperate.  I might only get half of it done and have to finish next weekend.  


I'll have an update post later.  Hope your Earth Day weekend is off to a good start.  Get out there and enjoy the Earth as she is meant to be enjoyed!


Friday, April 21, 2017

FLOWER PRESS TRASH TO TREASURE FIND

Regular readers know that I have a new favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock, for people to put things they don't want.  I've found several cool items so far.


And here's another.  I love that some people just sit items at the side so they don't get lost to the trash forever.  Case in point, this was leaning up against the dumpster in the building's loading bay.  I knew immediately what it was and snatched it up.*

*(cue 2nd Man eye roll)

Flower press
A flower press! 

And from the looks of it, probably homemade. It still had some cardboard in it and even paper towels between sheets of paper and thinner cardboard.  I was hoping there might be some flowers still inside but alas, they were all gone.  

Homemade flower press
One thing about it, the bolts that screw down to tighten it (and create the "press" effect) stop before it's squashed down very far.  I'm guessing that maybe there are a few missing pieces of thicker cardboard?  Or maybe the thickness of flowers adds to that as well?  

We have so many wildflowers around the farm pretty much all times of the year, and a bunch more are planted or about to be planted, I'd really love to get into that.  And I'd love to decorate the top to make it more of "our own".

Anyone ever used a flower press?
Any tips/advice?  




Thursday, April 20, 2017

TREE STUMP DINING INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Tree stump dining set up, image courtesy of Southernliving.com
This is just cute.  And pretty.  And rustic.  
And well, it just hits all the points that we love.  I'm not sure we have any trees that could but turned into stump seats like this but hey, maybe someone nearby does.  It would make a nice little breakfast table in the woods for sure.

Be inspired!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE RECIPE

Here is a great dish that is just a simple, good combination of flavors and really, isn't that what eating is all about?


It's sausage and butternut squash.


2nd Man took a butternut squash, peeled it and diced it into little cubes.  Instead of roasting them in the oven like one might normally do, these are cooked in a skillet with a little olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste).  Cook over medium heat. 


Next he minced up two small shallots...


...and added them to the sautéing squash.  


Finally, he sliced up a pound of Andouille sausage.  Andouille is a specially seasoned sausage that works wonderfully with the sweetness of the squash.  


This sausage is fully cooked (at least the kind we get) so it's just a matter of sautéing it with the other ingredients until everything starts to get a few brown bits (flavor!) and the squash is fork tender.

Butternut squash with Andouille sausage dinner
We served it with a side of mashed potatoes and was just delicious. We love the combination of flavors because it reminds us of the flavors of Fall or Winter.  I know we're in Spring now (at least in this part of the world) but if you can get butternut squash and sausage, it's good anytime of year.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USING CARDBOARD IN LANDSCAPING AND GARDENING

 When we moved to the apartment, we found the holy grail of cardboard for all of our gardening needs.  Our building has a special recycling area that keeps empty "clean" boxes separate from the regular trash.  I guess with the amount of residents moving in and out there are always a plethora of boxes, not to mention, everyone ordering mail order items and having boxes left over (gotta love Amazon!).  


  We went down a couple of months ago and picked up a bunch, loaded it all into the car and drove it to the farm to store in the barn. Then I spent an hour pulling off all the tape (always pull off the plastic tape, it WON'T break down) and it was ready for use.

Cardboard in raised bed garden
I've used them in the raised beds for both the garden and the orchard.  They kill grass and weeds better than anything I've found.  Best of all, after a few weeks under the dirt, they just become their own compost as they break down.


I've used them to make the flower beds in front of the garden fence, it makes life so much easier.  I liked having the 'flaps' to use behind the landscape timbers.  It has kept the grass from encroaching behind the fence.

Cardboard in flowerbeds
They looked great when they were first done.  Then I just filled and topped it off with soil.  The beds are doing great and so far, they are weed and grass free, a month out from building.

Cardboard in flowerbed
Most recently I used some in the front flowerbeds when I made them.  It's a great way to not have to take up all the grass and weeds, this will just smother it out.

The next plan is to try just putting cardboard sheets down (in the future bee yard) with maybe some rocks or bricks on top to hold it in place and then hoping it will smother out the grass.  Then I plan to just put soil on top and plant some flower seeds directly into the soil.  No timbers around it or outline of a bed, just a "flower mound".  

Anyone ever done anything similar?