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These last few weeks on the farm, ending June 11th

Whew! What a whirlwind of a month. We apologize for not posting something sooner. The last few weeks of May were not very productive on the farm, so we decided to wait to post until we had a lot of things to share. And lucky you - we've got lots of new things happening here on the farm to share!

First, I wanted the mention the dandelion jelly. I did indeed preserve some jelly. I think it tastes a lot like honey, but I have read online that others think it tastes like sunshine or laughter. What sweet descriptions for nature's goodness! When I tell folks I've made dandelion jelly, I get a lot of strange looks, double-takes, and, "Huh?" - it's quite funny to anticipate a reaction of surprise. I've read that dandelions are quite good for us, but maybe not so much in a jelly form with all the sugar. Everything in moderation. . .

Dandelion jelly, ready to enjoy!

Next up is the nearly impossible task of planting the gardens. It seems every year we have some kind of challenge - the plants don't do well in the greenhouse, the weather doesn't cooperate, our work and social lives are busy so we can't get plants in the ground, etc. This year did not disappoint and we are still trying to get our gardens in. We still have the monumental task of weeding the strawberries and garlic, but those areas will be tackled once all seeds and plants are in the ground. This year we are trying an organic rolled paper mulch to help us cut back on weeding (hopefully a lot). The order took almost two weeks to get delivered, so it set us back a lot. It's starting to really look like having the paper mulch down will cut down on weeding. In years past I would lay down newspapers and straw or grass. The newspapers would fly all over in the wind. The straw would also take off in the wind and if the straw wasn't clean enough, we'd get volunteer oat crops that were difficult to weed. Grass works great but I would spend so many hours push-mowing our giant lawn and hauling wheel barrow loads of grass to dry on the driveway, then haul the same grass to use as garden mulch. It was quite the headache. I'll keep you posted on the rolled paper's performance.

Getting used to using the rolled paper mulch. Here I planted onions in the open strips. See how many weeds I don't need to worry about? I hope the paper works great for weed control!

I also worked on planting our "vines garden", a place where we are growing all of our pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, etc. I am using the same rolled paper mulch and then am using shredded bark to weigh down the seams, shade out weeds around the garden perimeter, etc. The garden is slowly coming together. I can't wait to see the trellises all filled up with garden goodness.

The "viney garden" in an early stage of completion. I'm hopeful the rolled paper will help me to save a lot of time from weeding!

We are staring the endless summer of harvesting, but that's one of the best parts of living on a farm! The peonies are making their beautiful, fragrant appearance for the next week or so. We have many different varieties on the farm and they make the best bouquets. We are also enjoying picking strawberries from our lower garden. The plants are producing amazingly well for being so weedy. The plants I weeded aren't doing too well at all. I am wondering if the garden is "giving me a hint" to not worry about weeding so much.

Yum! Fresh strawberries from our garden taste like sunshine. There is nothing like them. I think waffles with homemade whipped cream needs to be in our future. . .

Lastly, our livestock population grew by eight! We are the proud parents of eight little fluff/feather balls. The chicks are so very cute. I could watch them for hours. I love watching their little legs scratch and it's adorable when the tired chicks fall asleep standing up or face-planted in the bedding. Chicks are the best!

Cute new chicks!

So, there's our update. Things are about to get very exciting on the farm with the new chicks, getting the gardens in and just project work. We hope you have a lovely week and we'll talk to you soon!

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