Miniature Landscape

DSCN7408 These tiny moss like plants are Liverworts.

Advertisements

Last Autumn Hike Photos

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.

DSCN3778

DSCN3753

DSCN3775DSCN3772DSCN3777DSCN3762

DSCN3764

mossy_stone

sharing this post with

barn hop, farmgirl friday

The Garden

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.

DSCN2418We found a large clump of chives already growing there and a few other signs (markers etc) that lead me to believe some else once had a garden there in the past. A good sign, yes?

DSCN2413I worked the soil, breaking up all those large clumps of roots, and tucked in my seedlings and seeds. We were off to a good start.

DSCN2482Then 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.

DSCN3068Our new blueberry plants also did phenomenally.

DSCN3076Hopefully next year’s garden will do much better- or at least the goat barn got cleaned out.

DSCN2853 DSCN2990mossy_stone

farmgirl friday

Bees- Inspecting the hive

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:

DSCN2727

DSCN2730DSCN2735DSCN2742DSCN2747

DSCN2751

DSCN2767

Milkweed

And the purpose of this journey – the hive:

DSCN2458DSCN2451 DSCN2444You can see some of the larvae in this one (above). Especially in the upper left hand corner.

DSCN2761

DSCN2755 DSCN2754The Queen. Towards the top of the photo, look for the large body and short wings.

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.

mossy_stone

Explore

With a bit of luck (and some rain) we have a reprieve from the snow. So we set out to explore.

We explore the trees, sticks, branches, stumps and pinecones.

We explore the stream, the snow and melting ice.

We explore the plants- what’s gone for the winter? What will the animals that stay eat?

We explore with a following.

We explore the world.

mossy_stone

This post is part of

and Outdoor Play

Butter-and-Eggs

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.

     Yellow Toadflax also known as Butter-and-Eggs  (Photo by Phil Lucas  )

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!

      Orange Hawkweed or Orange Paintbrush (Photo from flicker)

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.

One of Our Free Range Eggs. I wanted to show a side by side comparison but I don’t have any store ones to show you right now.

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).

Linking to: Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Cop and Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS and Fight Back Friday