Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Storm damage

Last night a thunderstorm blew through at about 60 mph.  I stood at my dining table window and watched.  It blew hard, but there was not a lot of thunder and somehow it seemed a more mild storm than others we've had.

Until I went outside afterwards and discovered this huge willow branch came down, smashing the fence underneath it.

It missed the house by less than ten feet. 

So while I'll have to pay to have it removed, and the fence fixed, in fact I'm really lucky!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Garden bed changeover

Over Memorial Day weekend I built this trellis.  It went into temporary placement over the bed where I grew daffodils and tulips for cutting, waiting for me to have time to do the changeover.

Today was the day.

I dug out all the daffodils and tulips.  This was the second season for the daffodils and they did really well, providing many vases of bright yellow to cheer my April and May.  The tulips had been an afterthought, just a mixed color bag I grabbed at the big box store.  The colors weren't great, so I'm not sure I'll replant them here.  Maybe I'll find another location for them.

But these bulbs aren't ready to be stored.  Instead, I dug a trench at one end of this bed and crowded them all in.  It's not ideal, but it will give the leaves a bit more time to absorb sunshine and store food.

Then I replaced the trellis and planted two cucumbers, two canteloupes, and a pumpkin under it.  All but the pumpkin I will train up the trellis -- the pumpkin can have the floor of the bed.  At the last minute I threw in two broccoli plants that had nowhere else to go.  We'll see how that goes.  It's actually kind of crowded in there, though it might not look it today!

Right now all the plants are getting a nice, gentle soaking in.  I can't wait to watch them climb the trellis and send out their fruits!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Routine maintenance?

This is the field south of Busy Solitude Farm.  There is an agricultural drain (formerly a creek) that runs through it, draining the field to make it tillable.  The shores of the drain grow huge trees and brush that serve as habitat for birds and animals, shading the water in the creek to keep it cool and discourage plants and algae from growing in the drain.

Until a couple of days ago when the bulldozers came.  Water management is a huge issue in this area.  Why?  Because pre-settlement most of this area was wetlands.  Natural cranberry bogs.  Not someplace you would want to start a farm. 

But farmers came and by establishing a wide-reaching network of drains, they were able to reduce the moisture in the fields to the point that the ever-present corn and beans now blanket the fields.  Still, though, these are the last fields to be planted every spring because they hold the water so long.

I don't entirely understand why they clear-cut the green growth along the drains.  All I know is that they believe that they will improve drainage by clearing them out.  Maybe they're going to dredge the creek once they clear the shrubby growth?

What I do know is that this morning I watched a Great Blue Heron flying low over the creek, circling around to get a better look.  The heron fishes in this creek.  But now its protective cover is gone from this section.  I expect it will move further down for the summer.  It made me sad.

I took this photo of the rainbow over the field a few days ago.  This is what that tree line looks like now.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Early June

Ulani and I walk past this cornfield nearly every morning, but yesterday the light was absolutely perfect to catch this dramatic photo.

I love when the corn has just emerged, seeing the patterns on the field, imagining an old fashioned tractor, or even a draft horse and plow, moving along these paths.

Around here the water table is very high.  Farmers plant these fields very late.  The field immediately next to Busy Solitude Farm still has not been planted, which probably means it will be beans this year, after a couple of years of corn.  Each crop has its interest for me -- corn encircles my property and gives me a sense of secrecy by the end of the season, the September yellow of the beans brightens the world.

In my own garden, the big excitement is this.

I planted an entire 4x8" raised bed to everbearing strawberries last year.  The plants are huge now, and the green berries transitioning to a luscious bright red.  Today might be the day for the first taste!

But speaking of a taste, someone's been sampling the Swiss chard!  I hope it doesn't turn into a summer of battling nature.  I just want some good produce!