Cleaning Out the Garden

Hey, hi there!

Can you believe we’re mid-September already?
This summer…just wasn’t long enough, I tell ya!
I’ve started the garden clean out and it just feels wrong. 😦
Saturday we have a chance of frost, so things have to start coming out.
The last 2 days, I spent picking tomatoes and pulling the plants out. And the clean up crew has been having a grand time with tomato plants!

nom nom nom
This good stuff, Food Lady!

Excuse the picture quality…everything is from my phone, because Voldemort doesn’t come outside when I’m working in the garden. 🙂

chicken in the tomato jungle…

She was not impressed that the jungle kept getting smaller and smaller!
😂
😂😂

Every year I try to pay attention to what grows well for us and what doesn’t.
This year we planted some Roma tomatoes that we bought through a friend’s sons school fundraiser.
Well, let me tell you, these plants were fucking awesome!!!
Check this out:

look at all the tomatoes on there!

I had to cut branches off to get to the tomatoes inside the growth of plant. Like they were so bushy and dripping with fruit.
Awe. Some.
So, they are a definite for next year’s garden.
Especially when you factor in that I didn’t do any watering, because our hose doesn’t reach. And, we had a drought this summer…
Imagine if they had regular watering!!
Oh, and if the stupid chickens hadn’t eaten so many…
Yeah, Romas are a must.

All told, once my plants were stripped, I have 5 5 gallon pails of tomatoes.
Some I’ll let ripen, some are ripe so we’ll eat those and many of the greenies will become wine.
Yum!

I thought my green beans were done and was leaving them to go to seeds for next year.
Hahahaha!
They’ve had other ideas.
Oh, some have big fat pods that are no good for anything but seed, but there’s a ton of pods that are good for eating right away.
I picked just about 2 pounds last time, and it looks like I’ll get that again.
Fine by me.
🙂

And then, that Daphne had a digging frenzy last week.
Why?
Because she’s a dog, and she can.
But she found this:

how cool is this??

It’s broken and dirty, but with a little elbow grease, I think I can fix it up. I think it’ll be perfect hung over the back door.

And finally, a picture of our Sable…

Whatcha doin’ CinderBella?

This is from way back in July, when she wasn’t feeling so good.
She’s always been a waterbaby, so we didn’t think too much of it…until we talked to her vet about and we all put 2 and 2 together.
Ms Merry Mare was trying to make herself feel better by cooling her hooves.
If it ever happens again, I’ll be sure to pay better attention to her overall demeanor, instead of just shaking my head at her antics.
It’s all we can do right?
When we know better, we work to do better.

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SHS~July 26th

I think I’m finally settling back into the swing of things here. It’s funny how a weekend of photography and visiting changes the dynamics. I went from focus on the farm work I needed to do to thinking about aaaalllll the photo editing I wanted to do. Guess which one won? 😛

This week’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday shots will show you I’ve neglected the garden…lots and lots of growth, both from the things I’ve planted and the weeds.
*sigh*
Next week will see me out pulling weeds, and trying to figure out a ground cover for the bare spots. Yes, I actually have space in my garden! It’s partly because it was finished late, and I planted late. This will not be the case next year, I assure you.

Prompts this week…Selfie, Rows, One Word, I Love This, and White on White.

Selfie

I don’t understand selfies. I don’t do them, I don’t understand the impetus behind them. Every time this prompt comes up, I work to find a way around it. It’s not that I have anything against having my picture taken, it’s just I can’t wrap my head around doing it myself. I’d much rather be taking a picture of what’s in front of my camera, than the me behind it.

That said, instead of a selfie, I’m giving you a shot of my pea patch…because my pea patch is like a thick carpet of pea plants, and it’s awesome. 🙂

Hay! That's peas! There's no Wolfie in there!

Hay! That’s peas! There’s no Wolfie in there!

Wait until the peas are ready, then Wolfie will be in there like a dirty shirt…assuming The Kid doesn’t push me out. Haha!
Thankfully these are way out of reach of Long Neck. Sable would nom these down in mere seconds, and beg for more.

Rows

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

Normally, my garden does not grow in rows. I’m a broadcast seeder, when it comes to carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach…this year though, I planted some rows.

A row of spinach

A row of spinach

I’m doing a test…I have a row of spinach, and a section where I broadcast seed as well. I’m curious to see which produces better.
As you can see, this row is ready for a good, hearty thinning. I’ll cut a bunch of leaves, eat a ton of them, then freeze the rest for winter.

A row of lettuce

A row of lettuce

This is supposed to be romaine lettuce. Any lettuce is good lettuce, imo. I love a salad made from home-grown lettuce.

Rows of tomatoes

Rows of tomatoes

Tomatoes I plant in rows…because I have to be able to move between them at picking time. Rows makes it easier. I still don’t have to like it. 😛

Corn!!

Corn!!

Mmmmmm….4 rows of Painted Mountain corn. I am hoping that this is able to produce for us. I planted it so late, that it may not. If it doesn’t give us cobs, at least The Girls will get to have the stalks.
Stalks they can munch, cobs are not allowed. Far too easy for cobs to cause a blockage in horses who forget to chew them. Remember, we have one accident prone sweetie, and so the chances of her forgetting to chew, getting a blockage, and giving us a humongous vet bill are far too great. As such, corn stalks only, for my Girls. 🙂

One Word

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Only one word I can use for this sight…LOVE.
I have waited, Dreamed, and worked for this sight for 40 years. Ever since I was a baby, all I ever wanted was a horse. Nearly 2 years ago (August 16th is 2 years!) I came so close to the Dream I could smell it…and then, in October, I met my Girl and lost my heart.

Taken the day I met her...

Taken the day I met her…

I looked into that big brown eye and knew I was a goner.
It’s been a difficult road for her and I, but I can’t imagine my life without her. And, I wouldn’t trade her for anything…she’s a MCFarm lifer!
The others are a bonus, because I can’t forget them. I love them too…they’re just as much a part of the Dream. 🙂
(in case anyone is wondering, the others are MCFarm lifers too)

I Love This

Pepper flowers

Pepper flowers

Painted Pony bean flowers

Painted Pony bean flowers

Purple pole bean flowers

Purple pole bean flowers

I love this because it means we’ll have produce from these plants very soon. That means fresh food, and some to put up for winter, hopefully!

White on White

Yeah, I didn’t really know what to do with this one…so, I took a shot of Hubby’s truck lined up with the stock trailer and the house…

White on white on white

White on white on white

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

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

Priorities

Being new to this farmstead means there is a lot of things we want to do…A. Lot. I can’t stress that enough…One of the toughest things to do is prioritize what *needs* doing over what I *want* to do.

Like this:
We *need* more fencing. I *want* a finished chicken coop.
We *need* trees planted. I *want* a milk animal.
We *need* to get the attic dealt with-there are condensation issues, and no access panel. Must be fixed before next winter!
I *want* to re-do the bathroom.
We *need* rotational pastures…we *need* to seed the back 70 acres for pasture…we *need* to get a front gate up…we *need* to build a school bus shack…we *need* to get the walk behind snowblower fixed…we *need* the range hood installed…we *need* to clean the horse shelter…we *need* a barn…

I *want* to build straw bale buildings as guest houses, and a sewing hut…I *want* to have an aquaponics set up (Thanks Paul! Your set up has me dreaming and planning!)…I *want* to get stock ready for the summer Farmer’s Market…

I want to win the lottery… 😛
I need to win the lottery… 😛

And so on, and so on…there is so much to do, so little time to do it.

So, how do we decide what needs doing first?

First is fencing. Fencing the back 70 acres is #1, prime job to be done. If nothing else, we have to get the posts in. Pulling wire can come later, but as soon as we can get out on the land, we have to get the posts in. Why is this so important? Remember waaay back in this post I mentioned how we had an issue with a neighbour? That particular person leases the land next to us…he used to lease our land from the former owner. I did not buy this land to lease to a farmer, and while I am sympathetic to someone who loses 70 acres of healthy cropland to grow on, I am not willing to give up my land, my goals, to give that person extra crop land. Not when the property was publicly listed, and the person could have purchased it himself.

So, to be sure that our land is *our land* when fenced, I had a survey done…$1600 later, I have markers telling me exactly where my land is. In order to take advantage of that, fencing has to be done first. Also, I want to be sure there are no “mix ups” with that neighbour, and “accidental” seeding of my land happening. Fencing is the way to do that.

After that, comes trees.

I have 6 apple trees, 4 pears, 14 honeyberry bushes, 2 wolfberry bushes, 5 poplars, 60 white cedars, 40 villosa lilacs, and 50 Colorado spruce trees to plant. Yep, that’s a lot of trees. Obviously, trees are the #2 priority.

Oh, and I have 1 cherry tree, that came from the house in the city, to plant too. 🙂

After that comes the garden. Seed starting happens next weekend. I traditionally start my seeds on Spring Break. Well, that’s next week, and so, it’s time! So many tomatoes to start! Plus the peppers, both sweet ones and hot! With all the snow though, it’s hard to get into the mindset of growing things.

Thankfully, there is a lot of the stuff I can do myself. Like cleaning the horse shelter…plus, once the snow in the pasture melts, the girls won’t insist on being right beside me while I do it.

We are also very blessed with many great friends who have offered to help out with our plans. Thanks to them all…and I hope after this summer, we’re still friends…because I plan to call in every offer I can, to help out. But, I promise to feed everyone really well after each and every work day! 🙂