A few days before we started having snow flurries we took a hike around the field. The field is about 7 acres. It provides a decent hike without even entering the woods, which can be a long and arduous hike for short legs. Autumn is on it’s way out. I’m glad to have gotten in another hike before the biting winds persuade us to stick close to home.
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This post has been a long time coming! So long in fact, that we’ve already had a touch of frost (so long cucumbers).
Sadly, this year’s garden has been awful, perhaps the worst ever. We got a late start but altogether we put in a lot of work (ugh, double digging) and turned what was just another part of the hay-field into a garden plot.
Then the rain came. It rained and it rained. My garden was swamped. For weeks most of it stood under several inches of water. Also not helping was the ever so slight downhill slant of our backyard, draining right into the garden. As you can imagine most of the seeds and plants rotted.
A few things made it. Namely the leeks, tomatoes and cucumbers planted on the slight up slope, a couple purple basil, oregano and one lone potato plant.
Since then a lot of weeds (namely hemp nettle and strawberry less strawberry plants) have moved in. Since I’m moving the garden just a tad “up hill” I’m not bothering with weeding this garden. I did plant a second fall garden (focusing on cold tolerant plants) where the pigs use to be. Already cleared; this one was much easier to plant. It’s been doing fairly well.I planted radishes, peas, lettuce, spinach,sprouting broccoli, parsley, and transplanted a few volunteer tomato plants I found near the old barn site.
Our fall garden even has a little shed my helpers immediately made into a garden club house.
Every two weeks I check on my bees. My favorite part of a hive inspection is the smell of the smoker, a sweet smokey smell, reminding me of honeycomb and wood fire. Second to that is the walk to the hive through our hayfield. The variety of plants, insects and animals are endless. Third to that is finding the queen – a “find it” challenge not too unlike Where’s Waldo.
I took along my camera on the latest walk/hive inspection:
And the purpose of this journey – the hive:
The hive is doing well. Inspections are starting to feel routine and a little bit like I know what I’m doing. A little bit.
With a bit of luck (and some rain) we have a reprieve from the snow. So we set out to explore.
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Butter-and-Eggs, also known as Yellow Toadflax, is a common “weed”; often found along the side of the road. The cheery flower, similar to that of snapdragons, are a rich yellow accented with an orange spot.
The boys and I have been taking nature walks collecting plants and leaves for closer study and identification. We often have a little fun exploring common names and speculating on how it came to be. The first time Noah (our first born) saw an Orange Hawkweed in bloom he said “look! a paintbrush!”. Lo and behold a common name for the Orange Hawkweed is Orange Paintbrush!
The name butter-and-eggs struck me because while it should be obvious that the yellow is the butter and orange the yolk I bet a lot of kids would ask “why is it orange?”. These days butter is white and yolks are yellow.
Free-ranged birds are not only healthier than factory farmed supermarket producers but also also produce healthier eggs. Testing done by Mother Earth News has shown that eggs from pastured birds contain 1/3 the cholesterol, 1/4 saturated fat, almost 3xs the vitamin E, 2xs the omega-3s, 4-6xs the vitamin D and7xs the beta-carotene as the USDA’s standard data does. The higher level of carotenoids are what give the yolks their deep orange color.
Support your local farmer and buy free ranged eggs- it’s better for everyone. (Or try your hand and raise a few chickens yourself- you’ll be glad you did).