Archive for the ‘Farm’ Category

Dung Tag Mulch

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
Dung Tag Mulch

Dung Tag Mulch

No, it’s not snowing in VA (Thanks be!)  That’s one of our latest projects, mulching the baby fruit trees with dung tags. What is a dung tag, you may well ask?

Well, when sheep are sheared, if you’ve got a good shearer, it all comes off in one sheet. Then, the spinners only want the cleanest parts, from the upper body. They don’t want the stinky parts from the legs & bellies.  So the next process is skirting, when you trim off those bottom parts, which are full of stickers & leaves, and yes, dung.

While they aren’t good for spinning, dung tags are super for mulching. They’re thick, so the weeds don’t stand a chance (yay!) and all the “organic matter” makes for a terrific slow-release fertilizer. One caution- they shouldn’t touch the trunks. Also, they’re good for some plants, but not others. (Don’t put them on peppers, for instance, or you’ll get lots of leaves & not many peppers.)

That’s today’s lesson from the farm. Oh, and I added some more photos to flickr. We’re coming into lily season, and things are starting to look beautiful. There’s also a photo of rows of beans, showing how big the weeds actually are. I’ve become a big believer in mulching, that’s for sure!

Catnip & Snow Peas

Monday, June 15th, 2009
drying catnip

drying catnip

Got a lot done today… Weeded a couple rows of peas & got a good start on the strawberries, planted more peppers (the bell-types). I didn’t know that you can’t plant hot peppers w/mild peppers. Now I know.

Picked the first of the snow peas. Last wk they were tiny; now they’re all over the place. I got 2 quarts & didn’t even finish the (double) row.

Also found out there was a rogue catnip plant (bush, really) in one of the flower gardens, so I pulled that out, and then sat near the well, stripped off the not-so perfect leaves & then strung them up to dry. Now I’m knitting little pillows for them in the evening for some favored cats. Tried to explain to Cain about catnip. He still thinks I’m crazy.

Went to the bank to deposit a check for Mom today & got another inquiry about her health. I’m going to make her a t-shirt that says “No, I’m not dying, but thanks for asking.” Evidently, my sister & I show up rarely enough that it’s cause for alarm.

Oh, and I made some refried beans. I wonder if Cain thinks the tv is lying to him, and all these fancy Americans are sitting in their McMansions eating quesadillas & refritos, washing them down w/horchata.

Oh, and on the development site (putting in an “adult care community” across the road) they’re starting blasting today. They came & took pix of every little crack in the property a couple wks ago. So far haven’t felt anything, but it’s a little spooky to drive past a “Blasting- Destruction Zone” sign on the way home.

Tomorrow’s planned adventures: Going to Southern States (like Cenex) to get chick grit and to the library to get a card & sign up to volunteer.

Farm photos

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

farm-061309For those of you who’ve been asking for photos of the farm, I’ve posted a few on flickr.

It’s been a really REALLY busy wk on the farm, but I’m starting to suspect that they will all be busy. I guess that’s what farming is about? Anyway, between trying to keep the antebellum farmhouse  in order, and keeping up w/the weeds in all the gardens, I’m about shot. Add to all that, dealing with a very unfamiliar climate. Humidity is something else.

Here are the things I’m liking the most: cardinals, lightning bugs, thunderstorms, clotheslines, and really friendly people.

I kept asking if my hair was ok, or if I had spinach in my teeth, b/c people were looking at me oddly. Finally figured out, they were just looking at me and smiling. That’s so weird after living in the NW for so long.  Not looking at people is an art- not getting into their personal space. But here, a stranger will say “Hi, how’re you doing?” before sitting down nearby to make a phone call.  And they seem to care how you’re doing.

Rainwater harvesting

Thursday, June 11th, 2009


It seems strange to be planning for drought when we’ve had a thunderstorm daily (for about 2 wks) but drought does happen in Virginia.

There’s a cistern under the big house, deep underground, that’s fed by the roof gutters.

But part of the screen porch renovation was to add 2 of these huge cisterns for its roof, as well. There’s one on each side and each holds 65 gallons. And they have cute little hoses which can be hooked to regular garden hoses.

The first day it was hooked up, we had another thunderstorm (a real gosling drownder as they call it here) and the cistern actually overflowed. That’s one side of a fairly small roof! Think of all that wasted water! (Now go and look at your roof. Hmmm….)

The screened porch is one of the big projects this summer. I’ve been campaining for its resuscitation for quite a while now (ok, nagging.) It’s about 80% done, so will have pix pretty soon (if it ever stops raining so we can finish w/the painting.)

It’s going to be a terrific place to sit in the evening & watch lightning bugs & read & eat salads. I may even sleep out there, we’ll see. But no bugs, which is the purpose of a screened porch. Having lived so long in the NW, I’m a smorgasbord  for every biting insect in Virginia, so the screened porch can’t come soon enough for me!

Spanish words for the day: aranas (spiders) and moscas (flies)– ’nuff said.