Photos Around the Farm in August

bright purple coneflowers blooming

August has been so incredibly hot this year. It’s been much too hot with too little rain. As a result, our garden is not fairing so well, especially since the drip system wasn’t making it all the way to the mini vegetable garden we have next to the house.

2 cows laying down near my vegetable garden
The cows lounge in the background of our mini-vegetable garden.

We still had a few good crops:

Tomatoes grow everywhere in our soil. The chickens and cows once used to graze nearby, so the soil had plenty of organic matter deposited naturally over the last few decades. The tomatoes are always grown in abundance since they are a favorite treat for the chickens.

Juliet grape tomatoes growing on the vine
The Juliet Tomatoes are Ripening on the Vine – Always a good crop!

We started just a few Italian Sweet Peppers, these are coming along nicely.

long green italian pepper growing in a vegetable cage
A small Italian sweet pepper crop.

The Jalapeno Peppers also grow easily. They are a pretty sight with big bunches of bright red peppers ripe for the picking.

bright red jalepeno peppers growing in their cage
These Jalapenos are ripe for the picking!

Our cucumbers sadly did not fare so well. This crop just didn’t get enough water to really thrive. Cucumbers are one of those vegetables where you need to increase the water once the fruit starts to form. Unfortunately for us, this is exactly when the drought hit. We got a few, but nothing compared to years past when we were giving them away by the dozen.

cucumber growing on the vine
One lonely cucumber grows up the trellis.

August is also a great time for some of our favorite flowers. We always grow a few varieties of Echinacea (aka coneflower). Not only are they stunning in the hotter months, but they also attract plenty of pollinators to the garden.

bright purple coneflowers blooming
Bees are abundant in the garden and love the coneflower field.
an orange and brown butterfly feeding from a purple coneflower
An American Lady butterfly enjoying the nectar from a purple coneflower.

A gorgeous butterfly enjoys the nectar from a purple cone flower.

As you can see, the bees and butterflies just love them. Salvia is another favorite – the black and blue salvia pictured below is always nice in the late summer garden.

salvia blooming in the garden
The black and blue salvia is always a hit.

Photos Around the Farm in July

Enjoy our photos and click the gallery below to see a slide show of the July scenery.

New life abounds on the farm in July. The farm babies were born in June and by this month they are up and around so we can enjoy them. There were a few new calves as well as a new foal born this year.

mini horse and her newborn foal
This young colt is still getting used to the big field, he rests staying close by his mom while she grazes away.
brown and white cow in the field with a young calf
A young calf looks on with her momma in the field

In addition, the barn swallow had their babies and we had the pleasure to watch them grow up right on our porch.

barn swallow nest with baby beak peaking out of it
The new barn swallows are just starting to peek out from their nest

It’s been fun to watch the new additions to the farm. At this stage, the babies are never far from their mother’s side. No new chicks came this year although we did get plenty of new older chickens from a neighbor’s farm.

The Barn Swallows Grew Up Fast

The barn swallows grew up fast. They were likely born at the end of June/early July. It was hard to tell in their nest the exact date, but by the second week of July, they were peaking out and making quite a fuss. Before the month was over, they were all grown up and started to leave the nest.

barn swallows huddling in their muddy nest
Piling in together they are just a week older here.

I was lucky enough to witness the exact moment when they all got brave enough to leave the nest. They circled in the air together and it was kind of amazing.

barn swallows perched on the edge of the nest ready to fly
By mid-July, they have all their feathers and are almost ready to leave the nest.

It was interesting, they stuck around for a few days coming home to roost each night. I would peek out the window each night after dark to see if they made it home. They only returned for about a week, before they left for good. I’m sure they are still nearby since barn swallows are a common sight here swooping around the fields.

The barn swallows stayed near the house the first few days after leaving the nest.

The Flowers Come and Go

bright yellow orange flower growing on my pumpkin plant
The bright blooms on a pumpkin plant.

It’s starting to heat up and some of the early blooms have already faded. It was a pretty sight to watch the goldfinches balance themselves on a few daisies that had gone to seed.

goldfinch eating seeds from a spent daisy
A goldfinch enjoys a feast from a daisy that has gone to seed.

The butterfly bush we planted two years ago is also really filling out and attracting so many gorgeous creatures to the garden. Pretty moths, bees, butterflies and even a few hummingbirds come to visit.

black gold and blue butterfly eating necter from a purple butterfly bush
This butterfly bush is always full of activity.

Photos Around the Farm in May

Fresh peas growing in the garden.

May is a busy time of year. Spring has just settled in and it’s getting nice enough to work outside.

bright red strawberries growing in the may garden
Strawberries growing wild in the field from an abandoned veggie plot.

Fresh peas growing in the garden.
Fresh peas growing in a container are plump for the picking

big blue geranium blooms
The geraniums were spectacular this year.

big purple clovers blooming in may
Clovers are blooming in big bunches.

animal burrow hole in the garden
I found a rabbit hole – one of many discovered during the cleanup process.

This is the time of year we start our spring cleanup. Here are the first things I tackle.

  • Cutting back older shrubs.
  • Removing any perennials that didn’t make it through the winter.
  • Picking up the twigs and branches that always find their way into the garden bed.
  • A general assessment of what new project to take on….this year it’s a new herb garden.

The beginnings of the new herb garden you see below was created from recycled materials. I started with some scrap wood rescued from the curb outside a rehab facility. I inquired if I could have a few pieces & they were more than happy to let me haul it away. What they pictured as trash, I saw as perfect compartments for a new herb garden.

green layer of my lasagna herb garden
The new herb garden created with recycled materials – this is the green layer

I started in an unused section out back that receives great morning sun. First I laid down some cardboard to block the existing grass and weeds, then moved the scrap wood on top – there are actually 3 sections that I fit together as best I could.

I didn’t want to spring for fresh bags soil, and the pile of dirt I had available wasn’t the best for planting, kind of on the sandy side. So, I amended what was on hand with garden waste in a loosely translated lasagna method.

The first layer was cardboard. Next came the grass clippings – I always bag the first few cuts of the year for this very purpose. I layered in some compost & soil from other areas of the garden, then repeated this process adding a heavy layer of soil on top since I wouldn’t be waiting months for the first 2 layers to decompose before planting.

leaves makeup the brown layer in my lasagna style herb garden
I added a nice helping of leaves gathered from around the garden.

brown compost layer of my lasagna herb garden
Then mixed in some compost & added a thick layer of soil -will let it sit a bit, then I’ll be ready to plant.

I’ll let it sit for a few weeks, mix it well then start planting in June. The organic matter will break down over time & feed my plants in the process.

Enjoy the other photos from around the farm this time of year.



Photos Around the Farm in April

Mini Horse grazing in the field

Every day when I go outside, I never know what I’ll find.  Today it was a turkey running across the back fields. When ever it rains, they seem to come out & explore.

Koda, our pup is happiest this time of year before the heat has settled in. She enjoys watching from her perch, either snoozing or sleeping with one eye open to make sure nothing is out of place. She wasn’t too concerned about the turkeys.

The horses seem happy they don’t have to dig through the snow any more to find a good bit of grass. Just another peaceful day on the farm.

But chores are always present. I took advantage of a sunny day this weekend to get to work on the brown spots in the lawn.  This is the cultivator we recommend (you can see more about it on our reviews page). Last year I did this by hand – never again.  It took me just about 1/2 hour this weekend to dig up the dead grass. This is compared to hours & hours of work last time.  We’ll post the step by step instructions on this once the new grass comes in.

Thank goodness spring is here.  It’s been a long winter & I’m grateful to be back outside again!