Adventures on Dirt Rich Farm (City goes Country) Part 2

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Good morning everyone! I made some new discoveries today while out with the pups having my first cup o'java this morning. I worked on a new flower and herb bed by the back kitchen door last night and only forayed into the for...errr garden area to clip off the experimental zumpkins (borrowed word!) and sasquatch in order to see what might grow once those monsters were removed. I confess, I left the zumpkin though.

Anyway, while I was standing there with my pupslippers, I looked back up at the house from the drive, and lo and behold! Blackberries, at a height that I can reach! Of course, I'll have to sneak over there to get them, because they are in the 'no-puppy-zone' by the first flower bed :) It used to be that when they were sleeping, if I was reallllly quiet, I could sneak around and do stuff. Not so much anymore. If they spy me or hear me, HELOOOOOO MOM, thought you'd never come out of that house and how are you we haven't seen you in fifteen minutes or so and it seems like a year and HEY there are your feet!!!! You get the picture :)

So here's my lunchtime project - snag a few of these babies (amongst other things....LOL!)

Thumbnail by Hineni
Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm pretty sure that the birds planted these, as they are growing in....a boxwood hedgerow! The pups love to get under those boxwoods; however they are inconveniently located behind where I planted my first flowerbed :( A couple of my heucheras are already showing that they can't handle pupslippers lounging about on them in the heat of the day, and even dogs must like bee balm, as it gets nibbled and I find the stems about the yard. Gotta come up with a solution for that.

So anyway, here is where those luscious berries are peeking out from. Pretty cool huh?

Thumbnail by Hineni
Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

I was aiming for a 'cool' theme of pale yellows and lavendar here (and of course, rock). In the early morning light, it looks a little washed out though :( The pups really like the yarrow, as Bonnie was caught with mouthfuls of it twice this morning...bad dog!! Do you think I need more color here, or will it grow into a good look? Maybe some coneflower seedlings next year, or some hot pink cosmos? What do you think?

Thumbnail by Hineni
Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

And this is the other side. The dirt is very poor here; it grows weeds really well though! I just can't amend it right now, so I aimed for the 'potted' garden look with some lavendars, thymes, rosemary and a cuphea that J lovingly bought for me. I've got some scallions in there too. The pots on the hibiscus don't really 'go' with the look I was aiming for - but I'll have to wait until I find some large and inexspensive clay pots to put them in. I figure they will have to be moved in the winter anyway due to the low temps - either to the greenhouse or in and out the door each day.

I left a lot of the plantain and amaranth as I use the plantain and I can't get the *^&%%() amaranth out of the ground. Kind of a touch of peopleness in the midst of the wild. Suggestions are welcome, as I don't really have an experienced garden eye yet. I did plant three Creme Brulee Corepsis in the ground to see how they would do on that side. I hear they can grow even in pretty lame soil, so we shall see!

I hope everyone is having a terrific Thursday, and thanks for helping me make my homestead a 'home'!

This message was edited Jul 17, 2008 8:55 AM

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So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sunny... I just found this thread... and the first one too. I love how you write of your adventures! In mere days it will be time to plant a fall garden and it looks like your garden area will be ready!

I think you were wise to cut off the overly large squash... they aren't good for anything except the compost pile! I wouldn't even save any seeds... they are probably too crossed anyway. FYI... most gourds I've ever seen growing never get orangish colored except the mini decorative ones you see for table decorations. My one volunteer squash from last year is a mostly zucchini with some straight-neck yellow squash color bands down the length although I wouldn't call them 'striped'. They taste just fine, and I'll have regular summer squash and zucchini soon enough.

My beans (like the plants I gave you) are now over 9 feet tall, and although covered in Japanese beetles, they look healthy. I expect flowers any time now.

g_m, Sunny is just further down the same river that my creek flows into. There's not enough fall either place to do any microhydro... I have around 1,000 feet of creekfront and I doubt it falls more than a foot (if that) in that distance... plus with drought, the water barely covers the creek bed. sigh.

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks Darius. It comes out funnier after the fact; usually it's pretty frustrating while it's going on...not to mention dangerous at times...haha! I've decided to leave part of the garden in the 'weedy' crop as a buffer between the neighbor's garden (which he says has blight and aphids and all kinds of things); plus, I've finally identified what I have there, it's called 'Tree Spinach' - Chenopodium gigantium. So I'm going to try some in lieu of spinach in the next day or so. I LOVE spinach, so this will be a great plant to tide me over until I get spinach in for the cooler temps to grow well, if it tastes good :)

I also discovered some small melons growing outside the garden fence. I need to get out there with the camera, as I'm not sure what they are - melons, winter squash? I feel so retarded some days, I mean, how can you NOT recognize a plant for goodness sakes! I picked another gargantuan yellow squash today - I'll probably just take out the seeds and compost it, as it's huge and I have about 15 2 inchers out there that will be ready by end of week probably, especially if we continue to get rain like we did yesterday and today. I got some lettuce seedlings out at lunchtime in the bed near the house.

I've got my stakes and string, and I'm thinking of doing that hole composting thing - just have to make sure that I don't have any errant seeds in anything that I put down for compost...LOL! J brought up some of my seedling flats so I'm trying to gather my seeds together and start my planting soon; plus I'm preparing a seed order for those things that I don't have. My beans are about....1 foot high, as I just got them transplanted out about a week ago.

I believe I will have my first tomato tomorrow...woohoo! Cherry - just not sure if it is supposed to be orange or red as they were 'pre-existing maters' - so I thought I'd give it another day or two to show me it's colors.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Yah i found your thread. Was wondering where you were :)
Yeah on all of the pics . So pretty.
I love the name of your farm too that is great name.
We are thinking of Bottom dollar farms LOL since it has take us down the last bottom dollar LOL so it feels like :)
congrats on the first tomato
Im not ready for them yet .still doing green beans
How are them adorable pups of yours !!!

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Hiya Sue. The pups are a real sore spot with me right now :( They have destroyed my first flower bed, eaten a whole new bucket of potato seedlings, decimated a seedling flat in a crate, dug up my tarragon and dragged it all over the place, eaten my stargazer lillies, found the garden markers and toted them off and chewed holes in the compost bags. They are on restrictions!

Hopefully we can build a pen for them this weekend when J is up here for three days. I just can't handle the stress of having to watch them every moment. They are caged while I work, with about 4 hours of run and play time during the day when I can watch them. Then a couple hours of free time at night when they don't seem to be so destructive. They sleep in the cage at night now since we had a visiting boxer pup show up - I'm afraid they'd just run off with! We've got a second cage in one of the barns, so we'll put them in separate cages if we don't get the pen build this weekend. They fight a lot in the cage, even though it's the largest one I've ever seen!!

Since I hurt my back almost two weeks ago, I haven't gotten much going; surely not all that I had planned :( I've been mostly working in the kitchen canning and drying herbs and other summer produce that I can't can. And my oldest daughter came down from Lynchburg to visit and we went berry picking. I sure enjoyed having them here and look forward to more visits.

I've made triple berry jam, roasted tomato sauce, and stewed tomatoes in the last week. The rest of the week will be pickles, drying squash and canning corn. I was overcome by corn lust and bought 9 dozen ears; Silver Queen and Peaches and Cream. I didn't realize I'd have to use the pressure canner. I really, really wished I had bought a freezer now...LOL! I'm still contemplating it, and maybe just waiting until next year for a wood stove. Dunno yet.

The garden is very weedy and I haven't felt up to getting out there with a hoe; I guess I'm just going to toss back some Aleve and tackle it while the weather is cool. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do! I just can't do it with the dogs around and I don't want to short-change them on their 'free' time. My beans just started producing and the tomatoes are starting to turn, so I suspect I'll have a few more weeks, then I'll be canning again :) Plus, gotta get those berries we picked turned into jam too! The garden in GA is producing like gang-busters, so J is bring up produce from there! Apparently my okra there has taken off, and the pods got away from him and are pretty large now. I told him to pick them and put them in a paper bag in the fridge then bring them up. If not worth eating, at least I'll get some hearty seeds! Our cukes down there are over 12 feet in vines and making babies like nobody's business.

I like your farm name too, and can relate! It doesn't look promising anymore for J to be here full-time by September 1st like we had hoped for :( Now it's looking more like mid-November. I'll have to experience our first Fall season here by myself...and Fall is our favorite season. But you never know, it could change.

We recently have a new flying, stinging arrival at our farm - I don't know what it is but it is HUGE and that's about the only thing I really am afraid of outside (other than poisonous snakes). I don't want to get close enough to it to take a photo either...haha! It resembles a hornet, so I'm going to try to look it up on the Internet. The weird thing is, it is out at NIGHT too. I spent about ten minutes in the middle of the yard last night around 11:30, as it was between me and the house door...LOL! It apparently loves our porch, and would land on the porch light and try to repeatedly sting it. Finally it flew to one corner and I dashed in, forgetting to cage the pups and leaving the phone outside. I turned off the light, then waited a little while and went back out and got the pups into the cage and grabbed the phone. I am glad my neighbors go to bed early, they probably thought I was looney!
Our wood stove chimney outlet isn't covered inside or outside at the ash door, and I worry that something will get into it and get into the house. Preferably not THAT thing 0_0

I did get some of my furniture up here...yay! We didn't have time (and I wasn't frisky enough) to haul it up to the bedroom, so I'm looking forward to moving it upstairs this weekend if I'm feeling better.

Your place is looking lovely, you are doing a great job supervising!

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

hope your back feels better
LOL with the big hornet on steroids . Yikes . i think i would be just as bad with it on my porch.
HOpe DH plans change for you so you and he can stay together this fall.
Way to go on the tomato sauce and your food gathering. man i wish my cucs were doing that good.
Poor pups , :( getting into all that stuff. Grrrr the joys of puppy hood i guess. Love and hate it. Good thing they are cute. I tell my kids that all the time. LOL
take care

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Don't look for the destruction to end anytime soon. Our "puppy" made a year old back in January and he still destroys everything he can reach. But he is a great watchdog so I put up with his antics. I also love him to pieces. LOL His name is cowboy. His mom was a bull mastiff / boxer cross and what his dad was is anybody's guess.

Thumbnail by CajuninKy
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

darius, is it possible that the riparian rights might allow you to build a small flume/sluice system to create the required water drop for a micro hydro? During the gold rush, the miners built a number of flumes and sluices along the creeks. Some of them are still workable.
Just a thought. Hopefully the droughts won't last too long. They seem cyclical to me, although the current one is having more impact since the population has grown.

Hineni, sounds like your pups are getting old enough for school (obedience) lessons. :)
Please keep up the wonderful & inspiring stories! Perhaps the zumpkin can become a Zack O Latern for Halloween?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sunny and Joseph were by here for a few minutes today, to fetch their organic amendments I picked up while I was getting mine... 100 miles up the road. Saved freight. Anyway, they had a VERY busy day of stuff yet to do before he goes back to GA tonight. I'm sure they are both very tired people tonight.

g_m, I doubt I could get enough fall even if I built a flume. Best I might be able to do is a small undershot wheel once I get my spring dug out... assuming that increases flow. Thanks for the thought!

Norristown, PA(Zone 6b)

Hineni, I'm so happy to have found your thread. I love reading about your new life. Hope your back is better soon!

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Well, as promised, here is an update on our escapades! Due to some unforeseen issues, we ended up having to move to Tennessee just a few days after DH quit his job and moved to the farm. It was a blessing disguised as something else, so I'm really trying to get over the losses and move forward, but sometimes I'm still a little hurt and puzzled. We left behind a full asparagus bed (with transplants from MsRobin), a full garlic bed (with gifts from Darius and a neighbor), an Alpine strawberry patch, three 5 year old blueberry bushes, two Cripps Pink apple trees, Damson plum trees, two peach trees, a Sugar Mapleand some huckleberry bushes that we had all bought and planted at the VA property. We contemplated digging it all up but decided that was too mean-spirited and just too time consuming in addition to having to move all of our just-moved-to-VA stuff now over to a new place.

But the new place...ahhhhhh, it is a wonderful, quiet and beautiful place in the boonies. Yes, I should change the heading to City goes Country goes to the Boonies! We have a little rental house on an acre that sits on the edge of 130 acres of pasture and woods. Our landlords live on property on the 130 acres, but you can't see them nor they us! In fact, we can see no neighbors at all here. The closest actual neighbor is probably a half mile away on the road. We share access to a nice large tobacco barn which gave us adequate storage space for all of my extra "stuff". Our house is larger, with three full bedrooms (with real closets!) and a much larger kitchen with cabinets and a large utility/storage room. While I'm not completely unpacked yet (maybe 2/3's done), we still have more functional room even with boxes taking up nearly one full bedroom and 1/3 of the living room, and NO DUST OR MUD! Yay!!!

The best part of all of this is on behalf of my Great Pyrs - they are finally happy and free and no one cares that they bark at night, or investigate the pastures or play in the creek. The change in their demeanor is worth everything we've gone through over the last 6 weeks! They assist with watching the cattle in pasture, so they are getting to do some of what they are bred to do. While they still have a great affinity for my pots and plants, we hope to work on that over the next few months.

Here is a photo of our shared barn and the cattle cage thing that will be made into a temporary potting shed for me by utilizing a tarp over the back half of it. It's the reddish metal thing with the arched roof. Currently it is keeping my tempting plastic milk jugs out of puppy jaws :)
There is also a nice maple showing in the photo and one of the three forsythias on the property. Behind the barn is the corral, which is currently full of cattle preparing to go to auction next week. Which means....FREE POOP! One of the wonderful gifts of sharing this property is all the cow poop I wish to pick up and wheel back to the compost bins and garden. Only a gardener would be so thrilled with cow poop, I know. But hey, it saves a buck, yes?

Next post, the virgin garden site!

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Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

That barn has tons of potential. I am so glad for your dogs. I wish mine could run and play.
Sorry you had to leave behind so many plants and so much of your gardening heart. We left lots of things in the ground down the bayou in La that I would love to have been able to take with me. Including my 300 gallon pond and waterfall. But so goes life and we move on. It's good to hear you are so happy in your new place.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Sunny what a shame you had to leave all that behind. But looks like you got alot of blessings in return for it.
Im so happy for you. !!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Hey Hineni, how's it going over your way?

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

I need to do some updating and new pics now that the garden is tilled up and awaiting fencing :) And as you can see, I don't get onto DG like I used to and want to - still unpacking, sorting through jun...errr treasures of a lifetime and makin' new stuff. Made soap and tallow candles last week and working on seedling flats.

I decided my 'free' day of relaxing for my b'day would include some DG catch up time!

Thanks for asking about me! Seems hard to believe that this is what we were looking at just a few weeks ago. (no cows were harmed in this photograph...haha - and they are not my cows)

Thumbnail by Hineni
Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Henini, ♫♫♫ HaPpY BiRtHdAy! ♫♫♫ Hope you're having a great day!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hey, it's great to hear from you. =0)

I sure hope you'll tell us about your soap and candle making. Where did you get the tallow?

Don't be a stranger...

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy MsRobin the gypsy woman (how does everyone make those cool musical notes?)

Jay, they don't get much stranger than me ;) - the fat came from our local abbatoir as a bonus when purchasing some organ meats for our dogs. Unfortunately I received wayyyyyyy more than I could process at the time. We still have some rendered tallow to use for more soap. I found a simple recipe on the web and it worked wonderfully - at least it LOOKS good, it is still curing right now. We did a citrus w/orange oil and then a palmarosa oil block as well. We can use them in a couple more weeks, so I'll let you know how it turns out.

I was putzing around in the kitchen one night and made two tallow candles - a cinnamon and a rosemary one, just to see how they would set and burn. This week when I went to town I got different wick material because I used old clothesline cotton for these (hey, it was lying around not being used...heh) and it is way too fat for normal use I think. I also want to mix it with beeswax next time, after I see how these burn, length and smell and whatnot. I used small cans like tuna cans for one, and a glass jar for another one, to compare how the containers did when burning as well. With the glass jars you can at least close them up until the next use. I am just playing around with stuff, in case we have a need in the future for our own home lighting.

Till next time...!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

If you ever get a place of your own there will be no stopping you! I'd be real interested to know the recipe for making soap.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

And I'll be interested to hear how the candles smell...

I think it's just so much fun and I feel more connected to my G'ma and G'pa who were pioneers. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Were they for real pioneers? You have to tell us about them.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yep, came out to Texas from Missouri in a covered wagon. Seems to me I've even seen a picture of that wagon. I don't know a lot about them, but they settled near Amarillo. My G'pa died before I was born and my mother didn't want me to know my G'ma... she was a coarse and common woman and not fit company for her precious daughter. {{snort}} My mother was born to Los Angeles society folks... ran off and married a cowboy. It's one colorful history, my family. LOL

I did meet my G'ma a couple of times and liked her quite a bit, but by that time the farm had been lost and she was living on welfare and dumpster diving for beer cans to cash in. She was a rough hewn woman, and kind as life would allow her to be.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

It's a shame you didn't get to have a relationship with her. It seems that you are much like her.

Where were you raised? Was your Dad a cowboy by profession?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Well, I'm probably as plain spoken as she was. For better or worse. =0)

I was raised in the Four Corners... AZ, CO, and NM. My dad was a raised a Texas farmboy, worked as a cowboy on the Goodnight ranch before everything was fenced out here (he tells stories of the chuckwagon, the hoodlum wagon, and the remuda) for a couple of years as a young man, then got called up for the service, managed not to get shot at and served his rotation stateside (which made him real happy), then went to picking lettuce and bussing table in AZ, where my mom met him. Lawdie he was a handsome fella. She was rebelling against her blue-blood society family by working as a waitress at a tony dude ranch, the same place my dad was bussing tables and wrangling dudes on the ponies. So they ran off to Vegas, spawned me, and then 3 other kids. Along the way, my dad ran his own dude ranch, trained several good race horses, and had many affairs, but only one half-sister to me as far as we know. LOL

So I guess it'd be accurate to say he's more of a horseman than a cattleman. He likes his well-done. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

He must have some great stories. Are your folks still living?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

My dad is, my mom passed away a couple of years ago. We weren't close... I was a great disappointment to her, and I got tired of hearing about it.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

That is a shame. Does you Dad live close to you?

My Dad passed when I was 8 but he was sick for most of my life and knew he would not live to see me grow up. So I hardly left his side. I went to school just often enough to pass. He wanted me to remember him and I have lots of memories of him because of it.

Mom is still living and has remarried twice since. Her second husband passed away after 3 years of marriage and she later married his younger brother. They have been married for 24 years now.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

My dad and I don't get along... last time I saw him was about 9 years ago and he tried to break my arm. 70 years old and still meaner than a sidewinder. Sheesh.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

That is so sad. Do you and your siblings still live in the same area where you grew up?
My Mom still lives in the same area where she raised us. My brother lives in the house where we were raised and he has raised his family in the same house. My sister left home for college, married while she was in college and had moved around quite a bit with her husband's work. They settled in Dallas and raised their boys and they are still there. DH and I have moved around a bit with his work. We raised our kids. for the most part, a couple hours from where we were raised and our kids moved back to where we were raised when they grew up. DH and I now live 14 hours from there. Mom's siblings have a family reunion once a year at TG. We have family spread out all over the country so everybody doesn't make it every year. Several times we have missed 3 years in a row. But the family has a yahoo group that we all subscribe to so we can keep in touch. It's nice because when we do see each other, it takes less time to catch up and leaves more time for visiting.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I'm a couple of hours from my dad and one of my sisters, the other lives in CA. We're not a close family.

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