Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bubblegum Bugs!

I was peeking at the cucumbers last night and look at what I found:

That cucumber is about 3 inches long.  Isn’t it amazing how perfect it is?  I mean, it’s a whole cucumber, just …  little!  It’s all right there, just waiting…

Then I noticed that one of the plants isn’t doing so well... In fact, it was that plant with the cute little 1 cm cucumbers that I showed you a couple of days ago.  I bent down to examine it and noticed that something has eaten through some of the stems.  It was just like that Bible story where Jonah was sitting under a vine and the worm ate the vine!  I’ve always wondered how one little worm could kill a plant overnight… well, now I know.  If the stem is destroyed of course the nutrients can’t get to the rest of the plant and the plant withers up and dies and (most importantly to me) that means… no cucumbers.  When I was looking at it, I even found the little bugger who is responsible:  A squash bug!  I tried to take a picture of him, but he blends in so well and moves too fast for my photographic abilities.  Well, where there’s one nasty bug, I’m willing to bet there’s more.  Anyway, Papa the farmer told me that after you squish a squash bug, it smells like bubblegum… Personally, I am too squeamish to test this theory, so I won’t tell you how I know this, but you know what?  It’s true!  It really does smell like bubblegum!  At first I wondered, “Why would God create a little bug who comes along and kills your plants, and then smells like bubblegum after you squish it?”  But I guess the real question here is, “Who came along, squished a squash bug and thought to himself, ‘Hey, I know!  Let’s make a sticky substance for people to walk around chewing just like they’re eating, except they’re not really eating… and let’s make it smell just like a squished squash bug!”

Who thought that up?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mysteries on the Farm!

Two strange things have happened here in the past couple of days.  I’m not sure if they are related or not.  First, last week I was hanging diapers up on the laundry line.  (Yes, we still use cloth diapers, and yes, I still hang laundry to dry in the sun and wind!)  I looked down and noticed….
Someone has been digging in our garden!  I wonder who.  I will have to keep an eye out for any potential suspects…  At least whatever it was didn’t get the tomato plants… Obviously it’s not a vegetarian!  Something has been digging for grubs is my guess!
I noticed the other strange thing this morning.  Here is what I found in the mulch right under one of the plum trees:
a brown egg shell!  We are vegan-vegetarians, so I know this didn’t come from our garbage.  We don’t have chickens so that can’t be the explanation either.  The only thing we can think of is that we do have neighbors with chickens.  Maybe there is a raccoon who is responsible for this, but my guess is that it’s more likely a coyote.  I’ve never actually seen a coyote, but I’ve been hearing them out over the past several evenings and they sound pretty close.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

“Now I’ve Seen Everything!”

I was telling my brother-in-law today that we are going to be blogging our farm adventures and he said,

“cool!  A blogging farmer… now I’ve seen everything!” 

I guess a blogging farmer is pretty unusual!

We are starting to see tiny little fruits and vegetables here at the “Good Old Days” farm.  Today, the little farmhands and I went exploring to see what we could find.  We found:

101-0139_IMG Peas!  Don’t they look good enough to eat!  (That’s exactly what we did as soon as the picture was taken.  So those particular peas are gone now… but there are plenty left!)

Little Itty Bitty Cucumbers…They are only about 1 cm long!

Parsley!  Yes, that is parsley in the garden and yes, there is more of it growing outside the garden than in the garden.  That stuff is taking over like a weed!  We are going to be having a lot of parsley around here for the next little while!

Then we left the vegetable patch and moved on to the orchard…

You can’t tell it now, but those are the beginnings of persimmons!  You have to look very closely to see the green “blossom.”

It doesn’t look like it, but that’s an apple…

A nectarine!  Actually, we only have one nectarine tree.  We found the plant growing in the compost pile a couple of years ago.  It had started from one of the nectarine pits somebody had tossed in there.  We figured it wouldn’t hurt to plant it in the orchard and see if it would survive… and it did!

I think we are going to have a lot of peaches this year.  So many of our peach trees look like this!


Plums!  (I know they don’t look like it now, but those little hard green round things really are plums!  You'll just have to take my word for it!)


Out on the other side of the fence we found one last surprise:
Lots and lots of blackberries!  We were just talking about how good they would taste when they get ripe in a couple of weeks when one of the little farmhands spotted…
5 ripe berries!  One for each of us!  That will be dessert tonight!
The little farmhand who spotted them said, “It’s a good thing I have really good eyesight!”  As she was patting herself on her back for her keen observation skills I looked down and noticed that her hand was smack in the middle of a patch of:
Poison Ivy!
Actually, we were all standing in it!  I’ll have to let you know how that turns out.  Right now, I’m signing off to scratch…

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peppermint Patch is In!

For as long as I've been married I've wanted a peppermint patch! My mother had one when I was growing up and it always smelled so good! She would dry the peppermint to make tea and I love peppermint tea! I've even bought peppermint plants a time or two, but I could never decide where the "perfect spot" for my peppermint patch would be so I never actually planted any of it. The plants just withered up and died in the pot (usually from lack of water because I didn't get around to watering them either!) Is anyone surprised that a plant (ok, multiple plants!) left in my care would die of dehydration?

We have a friend who is moving and she has a small patch of peppermint. She can't take it with her, so we went over and dug it up. Here's what she gave us:


Yesterday we all pitched in to get it planted! First, Papa tilled up a patch of soil on each side of the gate at the end of the driveway. Then he and his little helper spread compost out...

That's what I call "A LITTLE MANual labor!"

Then Papa dug trenches in the compost and we just laid the plants in them and covered them up. Papa said that the leaves don't need to be sticking out of the ground. Peppermint takes over the way a weed does and as long as we get the roots in the ground, the plants will do just fine.  But I let some leaves stick up out of the ground anyway.  I didn't want to do all that work and then not be able to see any peppermint!


Here's a picture of our new peppermint patch! There's not much to see right now, but look at the potential! By this time next year I hope the peppermint will have filled that space out and be green and luscious and beautiful! It's already starting to smell good!  We are planning to plant some rose vines on that fence and I think it will be very pretty together!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Here We Go!

I am officially a farmer's wife. Today I was inspecting 16 yards of composted horse manure that was delivered onto my front yard. That makes it official.


This is a picture of 8 cubic yards of composted horse manure.  We bought 16 yards.  The man who delivered it said he has five thousand yards.  Five thousand yards.  I cannot imagine.

Two weeks ago I was the wife of a telecommunications software engineer. I didn't understand most of what his job entailed and I always dreaded the inevitable question strangers would ask, "So exactly what kind of telecommunications work does your husband do?" He had a 2 hour daily commute so we didn't see as much of him as we would have liked, but overall I was pretty comfortable with our life... and especially comfortable with the concept of a regular paycheck! But those days are over now. The company he worked for went bankrupt and they laid off his entire department. He came home the day of the layoff looking...


His eyes were sparkling in a way that I haven't seen them sparkle in a long, long time. We both knew that another software job wouldn't be the right choice for him and so he has decided to open a family farm. That definitely is the right choice for him.

The only question is, "Is it the right choice for me?" I am not a farm girl. I don't like the feel of dirt on my hands. I've never been able to get a house plant to live. Last year I planted our entire garden from seed and not a single plant came up! But, I am my husband's cheerleader so here we go!