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.

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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

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! 🙂

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. 🙂