Borage and Other Garden Stuff

I had winter sown some borage seeds.
I waited a long time to finally see the wee teeny seedling come up.
And then I forgot about it in the container for a while.
Finally, I got around to putting it into the garden…not in any particular spot, just in a “oh, there’s a space, let’s plant something there!” spot.
I had no real expectation of it doing much of anything…

Until this morning when this greeted me:

So, now I’ll let this plant self seed for next year.
One of the things about winter sowing is that the plants that *do* come up and produce are best to save seeds from (or let self seed) because they’re acclimatized to your micro climate.
Since my micro climate can be incredibly harsh (even though we’re zone3 over all, my micro climate can oft times be zone2) anything that acclimatizes here (that we can use) will be encouraged.

Other goings on include:

Volunteer tomatoes coming up all over the place.
There’s easily 6 of them, maybe more in the weeds….shhhhh, we won’t talk about the fact that I’m behind on weeding…
These are from composted tomatoes from Loop.
Who knows what kinda tomatoes we’ll get from these plants, but if they’re tasty, I’ll save seeds from them and give them another shot next year.
There’s also a whole lot of ground cherries coming up…I was warned that growing them once typically means having them forever…that’s fine with me!
Ground cherries are delicious!
So having a whole bunch of volunteers come up is awesome.
I hope to have enough to make a batch of wine with them.
I think they’d make a very tasty wine.

And the mullein (and a few other of the medicinals) are growing beautifully.
They’ve been getting a weekly application of the stinging nettle tea, so they’re just about ready for a small harvest…enough that thins them out nicely and gives me enough for winter tinctures.

Plus, the stinging nettles, that some lovely horse 🙄🤦‍♀️ decided to munch the beautiful tops off of, are ready for another harvest, and to made into a tincture. As well as more dried for winter teas.
And the bonus is, the stems will be chopped and fermented into fertilizer.

Slowly but surely, we’re getting things done.
🙂

The Gardening Begins…

It’s a little chilly out there today, but we’re in full on working in the garden mode now.
The ducks and TD (TallDuck the sweetgrass turkey who thinks she’s a duck) are going back to their yard today, now that flood waters have receded enough.
Then, I start hauling loads of straw to mulch the areas of the garden where grasses tried to take over.
We garden no-till, so straw is my best friend at this time of year.
🙂
Next week I can start planting out my onion sets, my spring garlic and any cool weather seeds…beets, carrots, fava beans, lettuce, spinach, and the like…
We are absolutely going to get a few more nights of frost, so I’m not even thinking about my tomatoes going outside yet.
Soon I’ll start hardening them off tho…

The medicinal plants are doing much better, now that they have their chance under the grow light:

There’s been a growth explosion since this picture above too, so for that I’m glad.
And the reseeded mullein is starting to grow too…mullein is going to be a big one for harvesting (I hope!) this year, since it’s main usage is for respiratory issues. So between what I seeded this week, and hopefully what grows in the the winter sowing jugs, I hope to have an ample supply!

The stinging nettles are up.
Nettles are a nutritional powerhouse, and an excellent medicinal.
Last year I was sad because I thought we didn’t have any growing…then I realized, we have them literally all over the Farm, but the birds (turkeys mainly) were getting them before I found them…and then when I did find them, they were big and older.
Now I know *exactly* where the best stands grow and the turkeys are still in the garage, so *I* get to them first!

And the rhubarb plants are coming back, as well as my asparagus and the honeyberries survived being buried under 5 feet of snow, and the apples trees…well they took some damage, being buried under drifts of snow, but they’re budding and I think they’ll be okay.
So, all in all, we’re getting onto growing season, albeit a wee bit late, but now the spring/summer work begins.
Days of hauling straw, planting, mulching, weeding and maybe even some watering…
I’m looking forward to longer days outside in the sunshine.

I’m still working on the garden expansion out front too…cardboard down, bedding from the duck house next, some rotted horse manure than another layer of straw and finally topsoil.
I haven’t ordered the topsoil yet, but that area is going to be for the peppers (that survived 🙄🤦‍♀️😭) and some tomatoes, so I’m not in too big of a hurry for the dirt.

And just now, after moving ducks, I checked more of the winter sowing jugs and lo…there is growth in quite a few of them!!
For that I am excited.
Later on, I’ll go out with my list and see whats germinated and perhaps (like the plant nerd I am) share some pictures.

Oh, I am so grateful for spring!!
Winter this time ’round was way too hard and we *need* the growth of Spring to rebalance ourselves.
🖤🖤🖤

Almost Done

So after too many whining about the weather posts, today is not that.
We’ve had a few lovely days, that even with a bit of wind blowing, have led to a lot of digging out.
We were able to get the ducks out of their coop for some fresh air yesterday, and today I have the oh so lovely task of scooping out their coop…it needs it.
Ducks, while cute and funny and really tasty, are gross little goofs who love to make every single thing wet with either water or shit.
😂😂😂
Their bedding makes excellent compost tho…if only I could get to the garden expansion spot.
Not that I’m worried about that, since the little brats just keep shitting.
There’s a never ending source of fertilizer for the gardens.

The warmer weather really has the green thumb itching.
Yesterday I grabbed up my pile of gallon milk jugs and set out some more winter sown seeds.
This time it was 2 types of peppers, mullein, and 4 types of tomatoes.

Now, this method doesn’t make things grow sooner.
What it does is give the seeds the chance to grow with Mother Nature, and in the end, makes for hardier plants, because they’ve adapted sooner to Ma Nature’s proclivities than if they were started inside and needing hardening off.
For our micro climate (which, in case you haven’t noticed, can be quite brutal) plants that adapt and produce well here are very desirable.
If I can select seeds from short growing season varieties that prove hardier than most, welp, then I can create my own seed bank for this space.
That’s a good thing.
(I am assuming that makes sense to more than just my short-on-coffee-brain this morning)

I’m poking at the husband to keep drinking the milks so that I have a few more jugs to set out before spring comes…I have some native perennials that are also medicinal to get going and I want to try both the outdoor and indoor method for starting them.
I’m sure those who drop in are confused by my mass of milk jugs sitting in the garden.
But if this works?
Then I can start a lot more seeds for a lot more things.
That’s a good thing.

Stupid turkeys are doing well.
Oscar is dancing and a couple hens are letting him do his job.
He and I had a “come to Jesus” meeting on Friday.
Since I’m not letting the hens sit yet, I’m collecting eggs.
Well, Oscar has decided that I am a threat to his hens that must be run off.
Oh Oscar.
So we had a…discussion…one that reminded him that *I* run his little flock, and he defers to me…so when *I* want the eggs, he will move his tail feathers out of the way and I will collect them.
Poor guy.
He’s just trying to be a good horny bird, protecting his ladies and making like a big man.
But, coming at me with them spurs while I’m picking up eggs?
Stops now, or he goes to Freezer Camp.
I do believe we have come to an agreement now.
Hopefully.
I really don’t want to butcher the guy for doing what his hormones tell him to do…he just has to remember his manners with the humans.

And then yesterday, the feathered assholes broke out of their cage in the garage.
Hubby was thrilled (not) to find them all over the place.
😂😂😂
They only shit on the tractor a few times, so it wasn’t *that* bad.
And I cleaned it up, so he can’t complain.
😉

So now we just have to get through March.
Hopefully it won’t be all lion-like and kick our butts with more snow.
I keep tellin’ my 2 that “we’re hardy prairie ponies, not pony princesses…we can do this”
And they look at me like I’m nuts.
Eh, maybe I am.

So off I go to dig some more, fling some poo…and then perhaps grab my favorite Paint and have a discussion with her about how she needs her hooves trimmed.
That’s gonna be fun.
Everyone is overdue because the weather has been an asshole.
Nicer weather means we have to get them Merry Mares back on track.
Yeehaw.

Mid-February

Alright, so we’ve made it past the middle of February.
We don’t do the Valentine’s thing here.
I don’t need a corporate day of spending money for Hubby to “prove” he loves me.
Nor I that I love him.

Pfft.
The fact that he doesn’t run screaming away from the Farm, and that he freezes his ass off to clear snow for my nags is proof enough for me.
And for him?
Always cold beer, hot food, and a little lovin’ on those nights we don’t fall face first asleep into our pillows.
😂😂😂
Hallmark ain’t got nothin’ on us.

But, getting past that annoyance of marketing frenzy means only 32 days ’til Spring.
I’m starting pepper seeds this weekend.
Poblanos and shepherds.
Peppers just take so long to germinate.
Tomatoes will get started in about 5-6 weeks.
Well, those that I’m starting in the house.
I have winter sown a whole bunch of tomatoes, and will do a few more containers this weekend.
Same with some of the peppers.

Now one of the good things about that annoyance day, is yesterday we got a Loop load.
YAY!!
With truck problems, I had to find others to take our pickups because the rental car couldn’t take the loads.
(For anyone who missed it…Loop is the local food waste recovery program…we sign on to pick up out dated, short dated, not for human consumption food from grocery stores that would normally go into the dumpster…instead, we (and other farmers) get it to feed to our animals), but finally, we are back to getting our pickups.
Yesterday was Valentine’s cake day.
My fat, fat horses are gonna *love* them some cake.
😂😂😂
Outdoor cats scored a bounty of lamb.
Those little fatties are doing great too.
I’m glad, because outdoor life can be rough on felines.
All my kids are upwards of 6 years old now, and doing very well.
The only one who wasn’t born here is our Maxamillion:

Maxamillion!

Our old man has helped raised many a kitten that wasn’t his.
He came from the local Humane Society as an “outdoor only, unsociable” cat.
Ha!
He’s my buddy who follows me all over the Farm, and loves to sit in my lap for morning coffee on the deck.
He was only “antisocial” at the shelter because in 2 weeks time he’d been brought in, neutered, sent out on adoption trial, brought back, then shunted off to the “barn buddy” program.
It took me all of 2 weeks to convince him that life was good here and his belly would never be empty.
That was 8 (almost 9) years ago, and he’s been my best buddy ever since.

Where was I?
Oh right…the cats scored a bounty of lamb for their next few meals.
Max sure does love him a lamb chop!
My picky cats tho…they prefer their meats cooked.
Unless it’s liver. Liver they gobble raw.
I have to fry their meats in a bit of butter (leaving them rare) and then put it out for them.
Spoiled rotten cats.
But, they do hunt and they keep the rodent population near non-existent.
Considering we’re surrounded by grain fields, that’s pretty awesome.
So I will not complain about my “please cook my lamb for me Food Lady” felines.
😂😂😂

So that’s it.
Mid-February.
Mother Nature is kicking our ass with all the snow She shorted us the past 4 years.
And we’re dealing with it using alcohol and rage.
Sure ain’t any winter weight being gained here…anyone who wants to get in a helluva workout, let me know. I have snow every where you can shovel.
Cardio and weights all in one!
😂😂😂

January 1st

Well, so we’ve finally made it out of the ridiculous year that was 2021.
Here’s hoping that 2022 is better in all the ways.

Today, in an act of incredible hope…because I really do hope that 2022 is better than the last couple of years…I started some seeds.
Remember I told y’all I had discovered winter sowing?
Well, I figured the very best way to start this year off right was with seeds going into dirt.

The loose seeds are red hollyhock seeds that were given to me a few years ago by a friend in the city…former neighbours of ours from back in the big city. 😉
I finally got around to doing something with them.
I love hollyhocks…they are so very pretty and as it turns out, the entire plant is edible.
Pretty and food?
I like that!
So I harvested a pod and started some of them.
Hopefully I didn’t wait too long!

All the containers are from things we got in our Loop pickups.
Trying to reuse as much as I can, without turning into a hoarder with tons of garbage around.
I think that is my biggest complaint about the program.
I absolutely LOVE the extra feed…and so do the animals.
But the recycling and the garbage…
It can get overwhelming at times.
Especially when our dump is only open a few days a week, and the closest one is not just down the road anymore…they closed *that one* last year.
*sigh*

But we’re doing the best we can to recycle what we can here on the Farm and then what we can’t, we take to the dump to add to the recycling there.

Fingers crossed the winter sowing works and we have an abundance of plants grow for the garden and Farm yard come spring!

Happy New Year folks…
Hope 2022 treats us kindly and gently.
🖤🖤🖤

Ready For Spring

I’m ready and rarin’ to go!
First of the seed orders went in on Sunday.

I went through my seed stores as well.
I saved *a lot* of seeds this year too.
Some things will be grown just for the animals…like the tons of pumpkin and squash seeds I saved.
Those ducklings sure do love them a pumpkin…and they work great as feed bowls!

And I’m trying something new (to me) this year.
Winter sowing.
I have a tiny house.
And really not enough space to start aaaaalllll the plants I want in the garden.
Which is why the push for a greenhouse (plus I can grow extra plants through the summer in there).
Then I found the Winter Sowers group on Facebook and decided to check it out.
I have an abundance of seeds.
I have an abundance of containers (hooray for Loop!! I can re-use the containers we get stuff in!).
I have nothing to lose but a bit of dirt (that will go into the garden later anyways) to try it out.
So that’s my plan.
On the Winter Solstice, I’ll prep my containers and sow my seeds.
I’ll let y’all know how it works out for me.

So now, I figure the only things I *need* to order are peas, yellow beans, and carrots.
Probably beets too, just because my store of pickled beets has dwindled.
Must have pickled beets on the shelf!!
I still have this years beets in storage and can pickle them, I just haven’t gotten to that yet.
🙂
I’ll probably order some extra of the Blue Lake pole beans too…I’ve read that they are incredibly prolific, tasty, and excellent for canning.
Those will go in the greenhouse.
Just because it’s so damn windy here.

I’m also ready and rarin’ to go on making more growing space.
With all the boxes from Loop and the compost/fertilizer from the animals, I have big, big plans.
lol
I have the space to do it.
And a source for more straw for mulch…

Plus, in just a few short months, the incubators will be fired up again.
And in spring a new turkey coop/yard will be built, while the ducks get the shared yard they’re in now.
I’m ready for it.
I’m rarin’ for it.
C’mon Spring!!

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.
I am extremely thankful that we made the move to the Farm when we did, that I have the skills to grow this much food, and that we have the ability/wish to share with those we can.

Sooooooon….this will be happening again!
🙂