Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time for the Irrigation System

We've had several quite hot dry days now and it's time to get the irrigation system up and running. After experimenting with a couple of different kinds of drip irrigation over the years we have found that T-tape
works best for our situation. We pump irrigation water out of our pond for most of the season and even though we run it through a filter we get algae growth in the tapes. This system clogs less than others we have tried. The pictures above shows asters, godetias and carnations getting their first drink.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Spade up a Garden Bed

Today we were visited by four students and a teacher from Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, CA. They spent an hour with Joel learning how to properly spade up a garden bed. There is a real art to it and Joel is the best. You never see a single spot of green on any bed he has spaded. The kids were great, they did up a whole bed and learned a lot about preparing ground for a garden. We use a rototiller a lot but there are times when a shovel is really the better tool. You can prepare a bed for planting in one session as you can turn all the weeds under completely. With a tiller you have to come back a few days later to do it again. Also you can spade ground that is too wet to till and thus get into it sooner in the season. Spading also doesn't destroy the soil structure as tilling does and this benefits all the critters like earthworms that live in the soil and contribute to its fertility.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I was standing on the porch talking to my granddaughters this morning when I noticed this piece of cat food moving. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me but when I looked more closely I saw this tiny, tiny ant pulling it along the rocks. I tried to take a video with my camera but the batteries died after about a second. But the still photo still gives you an idea of the size difference between that little ant and the kibble. Amazing creatures, ants.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harvest Day

I love harvesting all those gorgeous vegetables. It's so satisfying to have all that abundance. Oh, yeah, it is hard work and at the end of the day we are sore and stiff and tired, but after all, another word for hard work is exercise and we are most of us a bit short of that these days.
Here are the first filled boxes of today, lettuce, rhubarb, chard, kale, spinach, herbs, broccoli, and arugula. And above Joel is harvesting radishes. We'll shortly be off to market. This being Memorial Day weekend here it should be a good one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Apple Blossoms

It's apple blossom time. That's the beautiful Almata apple. It has dark pink flowers, dark reddish leaves, and red apples with deep red flesh. It's a beauty. Around the farm are a lot of other apple trees, some from the old farm and a lot that we have planted in our time.
Also all over the place are wild crab apple trees, some with the tiny fruit of the native trees (see the picture below) and other which have obviously crossed with domestic apples as they have much larger fruit. We have grafted eating apples on some of the trees as they have the advantage of being willing to grow in much wetter sites than the rootstock of most domestic apples.

And in the fall the birds love the fruit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lilac Interference

It just poured yesterday afternoon and evening and we had no internet connection. This happens often with heavy rain as it affect the signal to and from our satellite dish. But this morning it was clear and sunny and still no signal. So Joel went up on the roof and discovered that the flowers on the lilac bush next to the studio roof had gotten so heavy with rain water that they had fallen down in front of the dish. So now I have a lovely bouquet of my favorite dark purple lilacs in the house and we are back in communication.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finished Rugs

Well, the dark grey rugs are off the loom, fringes tied and tags applied. This one is actually in my Etsy store. The weaving is the fast and fun part of production. Then there is all this finish work to be done before any of my products go before the public. Phew.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Birch Tree Garden

One of my favorite little garden spots on the farm is under our big birch tree. This huge tree is one of several huge trees that are part of the original farm of 100 years ago. Under this tree I have planted bulbs and they bloom through a really lovely succession in the spring.

First are the snowdrops. They appear out of the dead grass in February and make a white carpet under the tree.
Next are the daffodils and grape hyacinths.
And now the bluebells. All the other flowers have died back and it is a carpet of blue. We carefully mow around the area until all the bulb leaves have died down so as not to ruin the prospects of the repeat of the display next year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dark Grey Rugs

I finally finished the second group of wool rugs. The wool for these varies from a very dark brown, almost black to dark greys flecked with tan or brown. I love the colors. The really dark fleeces come from the first shearing of the black lambs. Most sheep's wool turns grey after that first shearing so those really dark colors are in short supply.
Now to get the fringes knotted and the hems hemmed and wash them all. I hope to have some of these dark ones and some of the lighter greys from the previous warp ready for market this weekend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Pictures

So what do new Grandmas do but share baby pictures. So here is Charlotte Hope with her big sister Iris May, mom, Marilla, and dad, Jay. I can't wait to see this young lady in person.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Flower Seedlings

I spent yesterday and today planting out little flower seedlings. On the cart are three flats of asters and two of tall, single stemmed stocks. Today I planted three flats of statice. The weather has been great for transplanting, cloudy all day and now, this evening it is raining. All the little plants will be so grateful.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Market Customers and a New Baby

Another great market day as Lucy with her armful of napini and purple sprouting broccoli can attest.

BULLETIN: We have a baby. Daughter Marilla, gave birth to her second daughter and my fourth granddaughter, Charlotte Hope last evening. Pictures will follow when I get some.