A Few Culprits

There have been a few rainy days, two good soakers, and cool weather seems to be settling down. It seems that the veggie garden is done, not a good year; most plants died or did not produce. While collecting the last of the veggies, I spotted a few caterpillars that have made the garden their home. We cut the stems and relocated them to another part of the property, not wanting to harm them.

The end of the tomato plants. The caterpillars had a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We counted four large ones. I have no idea what the white egg-like things in their backs are.
A closer look at one almost cute caterpillar.
The last of the cucumbers and carrots.
Believe it or not, some of these are supposed to be full size tomatoes that did not grow to their full potential, and a few grape ones.
And turning the page, I move on to welcoming Autumn, in its dance of light and shade, one of my favorite things.

And as one season ends another starts, and for me, the end of a dry spell. The other day, while sitting, I had an urge to write, almost as an urgent call, so I grabbed pen and paper and was able to write an entire chapter; it has been quite a long time, but the dry spell is broken.

Around a Homemade Garden – Farmhouse Project

There is plenty to do around here; never a dull moment. We armed ourselves with motivation to tackle a short list, mostly things that have been waiting – installing a window a/c for when the heat becomes unbearably dangerous, weeding out the garden, trimming bushes, planting corn again (something plucked all my corn plants, one by one), caulk porch columns, and do some minor painting retouches. The caulking and the painting had to wait because of rain that never showed up during the day, but poured at night. We will tackle those later on. However, I was able to do a quick and easy project with left over materials – a bird/critter feeder, and my husband was able to work on something for his trail project.

The bird/critter feeder was something that I thought of buying but instead I decided to give it a try by using some recycled items – old metal cookie plate, leftover 2×4 wood, and foam planter bottom. It was quick and easy, and it works – zero cost. We gave the wood a coat of paint. The planter bottom serves to prevent weeds and to keep it clean around the base. My husband drilled small holes on the metal plate for draining the water when it rains. Eventually, I might plant some flowers at the base. Could not have been easier.

Homemade bird and critter feeder.

My husband decided to make a sign for the lighted trail entrance. This is a project that he started last year, will be time consuming and hard work, but he is obsessed with it, and will work on a small part of it when he gets a chance. My vision for it was two 4×4 poles with a wood beam across and a burnt wood sign in the middle, but he wanted to go the more natural and less expensive route, and use the trees already there; after all, it is his project, not mine.

This time he added a simple homemade sign. He plans on having two more entrances and an exit.

There is always time to admire favorite plants, and this garden has come a long way from the morass of abandoned overgrown vegetation it was.

Can you guess which Calla Lily is not real?
Love the color of this one. I leave the bulbs throughout the winter; they come back, and the plant comes back stronger and fuller. This is the third year.
Another lovely color.
My favorite shade of blue.

We will continue to add to this garden; it has been a labor of love. I hope you enjoyed this project.

Farmhouse Garden Project

I know that there are things on our To Do List that should have priority, but sometimes, we cannot help it and an idea just hits one of us and we both run with it. This little garden project was born in my head while sitting on the porch as my husband was talking about things he would like to do around the future rain garden. He liked the proposed change and we went with it. One of the front bushes was looking sad despite many attempts to make it become more full. It wasn’t working. It was one of the original bushes we uncovered and tried to make healthier. Here is a picture of it.

It is the bush on the far left.

After trimming it very low to the ground to force it to fill up a bit, it did not do that, so we decided this year to remove it and move one of the stone benches on the porch to that area. Here is the result. We like it better that way. We thought it would be a difficult task to remove it, but to our surprise, it was very loose and came out easily. Maybe this was the reason for it to look a bit unhealthy.

The small boxwood by the bird fountain is still recovering from the large branch that fell on top of it during the ice storm.

Once you start you just keep moving, so my husband decided that he wanted to try something – moving the porch hanging solar light to one of the entrances that he is cleaning up to continue a few short trails. I thought about moving the solar light somewhere else but was not sure where, so that worked out.

Here is my other half working on his idea.
The solar lights are hanging from the branch he attached between two young trees.
We had to wait until twilight to see the result. The mason jar lights twinkle so it was hard to take a picture. I can see them through the kitchen window as I do dishes. Eventually all three entrances will have solar lights.

From there it was natural to move to something else, so I decided to make a little habitat for garden critters at the Faerie garden. I repurposed an old table stand and used it as a small trellis for an ivy, and under it I placed one of the chimney halves I had found before. As the ivy grows and becomes fuller it will turn into a cozy retreat for critters.

The idea is for the ivy to cover the entire structure and for garden critters to use it as a home.

As the garden wakes up, we keep helping it look better every year. This section is looking better after tending it with hope, working with the existing area, and adding a few things.

More irises have grown. Once the irises die, pink flowers come up, and after those, white ones, followed by tiny yellow ones. There is something blooming always. Originally, this area was an old trunk under grass and overgrown bushes. It has come a long way.

All seeds have been planted on the veggie garden area, and they are coming up. The seeds for the flower circle are planted as well, and hopefully, we will be able to clear an area in the back for planting cantaloupe, corn, pumpkin, and sunflowers. That part requires a bit more work. As the garden grows and changes we also grow and change with it.

Impromptu Farmhouse Project

This project was not in our radar, but we spotted a lovely tree with gorgeous white flowers, which seemed to be thriving in the back area of the house. My husband decided to try and free it from the bushes, grass, and other small trees that were suffocating it. That was all it took for us to continue the effort along a small area, working on freeing other evergreens, mostly cedar that are growing close together. So we did. Some smaller trees that were growing next to one another had to be eliminated, but this freed up growing space for the ones we kept. It was a joint effort; while my husband cut the trees, I removed the debris and piled it up with the rest of the dead branches that need removing, and I cleared the area with a rake. The area looks much better now. We are planning on hanging solar lights on the two entrances. We also think that it would be nice to add a bench and some flower pots in the future. For now, we will continue to work on the remainder part of the area. Here are some pictures of this unscheduled project.

One of the little cedars we decided to save. The back area is full of overgrown vegetation.
Most of it looks like this, one tree on top of another.
The white-flower tree has been freed, and a few cedars as well.
Other cedars and another white-flower tree are asking for help, and we’ll freed them too.

After that, we have been preparing the garden for planting, and cleaning up winter’s vestige. As soon as the weather permits and the temperature remains a bit warmer, work on the veggie garden will begin. We are still having some nights in the low 30F.

The veggie garden got a refresh, and the pots/boxes were filled with extra soil. It is ready for planting.
I worked on setting up this area last year, and I am seeing the results now; unfortunately, this is one of the giant cedars that will have to be cut down, after the ice storm damage.
Spring Moth Worms are starting to show up.
The shed got a light layer of mulch as well. Because we use pine needles from the property in the winter, it cuts down on how much mulch we need to use when it needs it. The plants in the pots keep coming back every year, so this area is almost effortless now. Eventually, much of the area will become almost effortless.
While cleaning up the back area we found part of a chimney top that was split in two parts. I decided to place these in the faerie garden as shelter for critters, whether frogs or whatever decides to visit.

Despite our ongoing project list, we never know what new project will show up on the side. It is always fun and never boring. Our goal is to get to a point were most areas are set up and become almost effortless to maintain, that is, considering the mess we started with when we bought the place (see Restoring an Old Farmhouse series of posts). I hope that you enjoyed reading about this project.

Heck of a Mess!

Taking advantage of a few good “warm” days, my husband and I have been slowly working on the mess that the last ice storm made around the property. We have been cutting trees and piling up broken branches and debris in the back so we can dispose of it later on. Once piled up, we realized that it is too big of a job and it will take a long time for us to manage all of it, so we have decided to either rent a brush/garden dumpster or hire someone who does this type of work. An estimation of the cost will be our next step. In the meantime, we were able to clear out most of it, that is, into a huge pile.

Most debris has been cleared out. The old cedar looks thinned out.
Large mounds of debris are spread all over the backyard.
And the side of the property as well.

Some of the down trees were large enough that we were able to use the main trunk for delineating some areas in the garden, and slowly continuing with my husband’s pet project – the enchanting trails. So far, it looks like this.

Part of the garden. The logs also prevent a large amount of leaves to roll over. We like a more natural garden look; rigid manicured gardens are not our style.
Part of the slow-developing trails.
We stopped around here. Ran out of logs, and we have to find a pathway as well.

As I mentioned before, my husband wants the trail to end where the lighted tree is located, and to have four entrances that will connect to one another along the way. I mentioned the possibility to spray paint the logs with fluorescent paint so it would look magical at night. I am not sure if he will go for it.

There has been plenty of chores around here, such as a broken well pipe and pump, which we fixed last weekend. Took an entire day, and several trips to three different stores in order to find the only pipe available in the area – we were blessed and lucky. Found it out of town at the Home Depot, but it was the only one left.

We worked together and fixed the issue. Setting up the 40/60 psi took a while, but we got it. You learn something everyday around here.

There have been beautiful sights as well. New birds that I have not seen before arrived the other day. At first glance, I thought they were woodpeckers but they only stayed around the ground and pecked the ground constantly. These had a long beak and gorgeous colors and feather patterns – yellow, pink, aqua blue, a darker blue, gray, black, red, beige, and a rosy beige gray in some areas. One of them had yellow bordering the wings, the others did not.

Gorgeous bird.
These birds moved constantly and pecked the ground, so they were very difficult to photograph.
Here you can see a bit of the blue on the sides, near the neck area. Was unable to take a picture of the one with the yellow bordering the wings.
There have been sublime red skies in the mornings.
Lazy morning moon as well.
Unexpected doorways to heaven.

I have been craving for Spring, and just about had enough of winter, so I decided to welcome it myself and decorate the porch for it.

Welcome Spring!
The first signs of Spring.

There are tons of farmhouse chores awaiting, and hopefully, I will be able to share a few here. I hope you enjoyed this post.

A Garden at Rest

The garden is ready to go to sleep, and it seems that the planting/harvest season went so fast this year. I am very happy with what the garden offered, and this year was better than last year. There were a few green tomatoes left in the vine, and the rest is done. I picked what was left on Saturday. It has been a bit cold, a bit early. Last year we lost tons of green tomatoes due to an early frost. Until next year.

Grape tomatoes were a plenty this year.
Yellow tomatoes did very well too this year.
I grew these potatoes in pots; it worked.
This year I learned that potato pants are gorgeous when they flower and more beautiful when they produce this green fruit (poisonous) that looks like a green grape tomato. The seeds inside can be planted ahead of time to grow the plant, but it takes much longer for a potato plant to produce from seed than if planted from the tuber/eye. Who knew?
The last two pumpkins.
The first two pumpkins.
The largest pumpkin we picked sits in the back. I think is the nicest one. We only got two cantaloupe, which we picked a few days early but turn out delicious. First timers.
The birds were lucky this year. They enjoyed the sunflowers, and I collected tons of seeds for them. I saved a bag for planting next year.
A round patch of a different type of grass seems prominent this year. I like it.
These colorful beauties are still in bloom and the butterflies are loving them. These get many winged visitors.
Finally, a better picture of a cardinal. These were hard to photograph. They don’t stay put for long.
A happy visitor who sometimes makes his rounds around the garden. I think he belongs to a neighbor, as I always see him coming from the direction to her house.
A little bird makes friends with a scarecrow. I was lucky to take this photo.

As the garden gets ready to rest, I will be ready for cleanup and ready up for next year plantings. We have enjoyed many blessings from it, and I could not ask for more. Happy Harvest!

Beauty Within

I have been waiting for this event for so long. The blooming of the first sunflower. I planted these seeds in May,  and could not wait for them to bloom. They were given to me by someone who was caring for my neighbor, and she told me these would grow very tall, and not to plant them near the house. I had the perfect spot for them, next to the circle of flowers. Well, today I woke up, and decided to collect some tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, what now seems to have become a daily endeavor, especially after the heavy rains and storms we have been experiencing. I looked at the circle of flowers to see how it was doing, and was so happy to see the large yellow flower next to it. What a joyful moment. Now, I can’t wait to see the rest.

Garden Blessings.

 

The magnificent first (large) sunflower. It seems that the closer I focused the camera, the more beautiful it became. Isn’t that something? Sometimes the closer you look at something the more lovely it becomes, letting you discover its intricate beauty.

 

Side by side comparison between the large sunflower and the dwarf sunflower. The dwarf sunflowers do not last that long, they dry up fast. They are both gorgeous.

The circle of flowers is doing very well, although the dwarf sunflowers are mostly done by now. Back in April it was just a circle of stones.

IMG_4562

Photo by M.A.D.

It is lovely now.

 

 

 

These mushrooms have been growing all over the place. They are quite interesting. I hope to see a faerie circle at least once in my lifetime – mushrooms growing in a perfect circle. Have not seen one yet, but there is hope. I think mushrooms are so beautiful and interesting.

 

I have been trying to take a close picture of a cardinal for quite some time, and for some reason, I was not fast enough; it flew away or kept moving to another spot. The other day I was able to capture one that stood around long enough. Cardinals are as difficult to photograph as little blue birds; they move too fast and fly away.

 

And who knew that a potato plant was so beautiful? I didn’t.

IMG_5137

Photo by M.A.D.

Not a mushroom, not cheese. The moon a few nights ago.

IMG_5123

Photo by M.A.D.

Love is purpose in itself. It can be found all around you. You just have to look.

IMG_5147

Photo by M.A.D.

Hope that you enjoy this post.