A Leap of Faith

Yesterday, I made mention of how gardening is a leap of faith. It really is. At least, to me.
I spend winter Dreaming of the seeds I want to buy, start, and plant. I Dream of the food I can grow and put up for the next winter for my family. I also Dream of the day when the bulk of our food comes from the Farm.
I hate going to the grocery store. There are places in my world that I enjoy going, where I enjoying seeing the people and the atmosphere is awesome…the grocery store is not one of those places!
I would really love to have us at the point of the garden supplies the veggies, and the pasture(s) supply us with meat, eggs, milk and the resulting products made from the milk.
We’re getting there. 🙂

For now though, I am just happy to see growth in the garden. I swear, I am giddy like a school girl meeting her first crush when I see emerging plants from seeds.
Last night, I hollered with joy to see this:

Knucklehead pumpkins emerging...

Knucklehead pumpkins emerging…

That’s 6 of the 8 seeds I planted. Yay! I love pumpkin. I love to have jars of chunks put up, so when I want to make a pie, or cookies, or a cheesecake, or, even when I need it for upset puppy tummies. Canned pumpkin is handy no matter what. In fact, the year we lost OldWoman, I blew through 25 of my 48 jars in 2 weeks time. The only thing my poor old girl could keep down was pumpkin and rice. So, I happily fed it to her. As much as she wanted. ❤

I found this box growing as well…

See those sprouts?

See those sprouts?

Exciting! Painted Pony beans. Named for the American Paint Horse. Any surprise that we grow them here? With our love of Paint horses?
There are 36 beans in this box. This is the grow-out box for seeds. Come fall, Mother Nature willing, we should have some for sale. And, our packets will have a very pretty Painted Lady on them. 😉

Yup, it's Cookie. <3

Yup, it’s Cookie. ❤

The other thing I’ve been celebrating the growth of is trees. It seems we’ve lost a few of the fruit ones. 2 apples didn’t come back, so I’ll be watching the year-end clear outs for replacements. I lost 1 pear pollinator to a tractor tire. I’m not going to be too mad at Hubby…after all, it was when he was dumping dirt into the big garden bed with the tractor. We still have 1 more pollinator. As long as it survives(and it’s doing very well!) the 2 edible pears should be just fine.

We were also given a few free trees. Friends chopped a few limbs off of trees in their yard, stuck them in a pot, and now, the trees are being moved to permanent farm homes.

Tree!

Tree!

I know it doesn’t look very big, but it’s about 24″ tall. It has easily grown 6 of those inches since it was potted. Can’t complain about that! I still have 3 more to plant (there is another one out there in the long grass, but I couldn’t find it in the picture. 😉 ), plus, I chopped some branches off a poplar stump that’s trying to re-grow. So far, the branches are a bit wilty, but they seem to be rebounding.
Free trees on bald prairie are great!!

One last picture for today. Just because. 😉

Sleeping Ruby

Sleeping Ruby

She was having a snoring good time while I was taking her picture.
I do love this big goofy sweetheart.

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Sprouted Seeds

I started my seeds. In a complete moment of optimism-and really, when is gardening, or farming not about optimism?!?-I started a multitude of seeds. Tomatoes, peppers,  sunflowers, poppies, geraniums, and some forget-me-nots. Give it another 2 weeks, and I’ll start a few cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins. Everything else will be direct seeded in the garden. If I can ever find the garden under the foot of snow still covering it.

Remember back in the “Hope” post, I talked about the seed stand we were gifted by friends? Here’s a picture of the stand:

Awesome, right?

Awesome, right?

It currently resides in our extra bathroom. Yeah, there’s a bathroom in the basement, with one of those grinding pump toilets…that’s going to be leaving. 1 bathroom to clean is plenty, and frankly, we can use the space for other things. Like growing plants. 😉

Poppies peppers sunflowersThis tray has flats of peppers-Fat ‘n’ Sassys, Purple Beautys, and some random colored ones I bought at the end of a season seed sale. The green carpet looking flat is poppy seeds. I don’t what kind they are. The seeds came from the same wonderful folks who gifted us the stand. You can see a sample the varieties flowers here. Gorgeous! I can’t wait to have them growing all over the farm! There’s 2 flats full of sunflower varieties, and The Kid’s one lone geranium at the other end of the tray.

tomatoes041814I started 106 tomatoes. Each marker is a different variety. All open pollinated, all with the potential to produce seeds for sale in early 2015. When you’re shopping for tomato and bean seeds for next year’s garden, please keep Midnight Calico Farm in mind! Once I have seeds available, I’ll post a full list with prices.

Once these grow another set of leaves, I’ll transplant them to their own cups, and keep them under the lights, so they grow strong stems. All the while, I’ll be waiting for the snow to melt, and the nights to warm enough to start hardening them off.

Then, we’ll plant!

I’m really looking forward to that!

Linking to Friendship Friday at Create With Joy

Hope

In the depths of darkness, there is always a spark of Hope, if we are willing to see it. When we bought this place and moved out here, we were warned a few times by Hubby’s friends who farmed in their early years…Summers will give you the highest of the highs, but Winter will bring you the lowest of the lows.

It’s true, I tell you. Winter is very trying some years anyways, oh, but this year…between record snowfalls, crazy drifting and bone numbing cold, it’s been tough. This winter has definitely shown us how tough we can be!

Ah, but there is hope, like I said. We’re 2 days away from March. A few weeks into March, seed starting begins. Tomatoes, and peppers. I have a very good selection of heirloom tomato seeds to start this year. One of the plans for the farm has always been to have a small-scale heirloom seed business. Much of what I bought this year has been with that in mind, as well as, what will grow in this zone.

Cottage Gardener has been a great resource…

Seeds from The Cottage Gardener.

Seeds from The Cottage Gardener.

Included here were seeds that I must have in my garden, and, weather willing, hope to have for sale next year. Seeds like “Aunt Ruby’s German Green” tomato, and “Painted Pony” bush beans. How can I resist the Painted Pony beans? They are, in fact, named after the American Paint Horse…which I have a gorgeous speciman of out in my pasture! Yes, Cookie will become the new face of the Painted Pony Bean…at least the ones Midnight Calico Farm will have to offer. 🙂 Same with our own Ruby, she will be the face of the Aunt Ruby tomatoes.

I also bought seeds from T and T Seeds this year.

T and T seed purchase

T and T seed purchase

Giant bags of:
1. peas ~ hopefully, I’ll have enough to put some jars up this year.
2. carrots ~ I didn’t have a chance to can any carrots last year, so we’re totally out. This year, with a much bigger garden, there will be more carrots to can.
3. kidney beans ~ this is a new one for us. We love home canned kidney beans, and they are supposed to grow very well in our climate. It’s worth it, imo, to give growing them a try.

I still have some of the white carrot seeds I ordered from Baker Creek a few years back. Us humans didn’t care for them-they are a forage carrot-so I’ll grow a plot of them for the horses.

Once we start seeds, I’ll share pictures of the fantastic light stand we were gifted. We have some amazing friends, who were also neighbours in the city, and when we moved out here, this was their house-warming gift to us. I cannot wait to use it. No more kitchen table filled with seedlings, and, where we put the stand in the basement, I can close the door and keep cats out. No more vomited up tomato plants on my pillow. Yay!

In all, I have 14 varieties of tomato to start, 2 bell peppers, plus a package of mixed color bell peppers. Chances are I’ll start a few hot peppers as well, just because I love them.

Spring will also bring the chance to plant trees. Goodness gracious, we need trees! I have bought 6 different apples, 2 pears, plus 2 pollinators for the pears(which, apparently, the fruit is not tasty to humans, perhaps for horses, and later, bison?), 50 Colorado spruce, 60 white cedars, 40 Villosa lilacs, and finally, 5 poplars. I also bought 14 haskaps (honeyberry) bushes, and 2 wolfberry plants <- aka goji berries.

There will be lots and lots of planting come the spring! That’s my little spark of Hope in the darkness of this Winter. 🙂