Gardening, Journal Style Posts

The Homestead is Blooming

Remember those wooden shipping crates hubby brought home for me? Well, they are painted and have been planted.The salad blend is already sprouting. I planted this on Friday and it is Monday. I am so excited for fresh salad.I set aside two for benches for the front porch and this is one of the benches. The crates contained foam sheets because they were used for shipping windows and the foam protected the windows in transit. Well, a plastic coated tablecloth made the perfect cover. The benches are quite comfy.I have an entire bed dedicated to wildflowers and my lilies of course. The wildflowers are blooming, but I only have one bloom so far from the lilies.I love these. They are always some of the first to bloom each year.Not sure what these will be but they are everywhere to include the front yard.I took this picture because it always makes me happy to see this spot. This is where the air conditioning condensation overflow drains and I have a nice group of toads who love this spot because of the moss and the water. That hole in the middle looks shallow, but it is almost a foot deep with cool, clear water. There’s a 5 gallon bucket underneath this spot with holes drilled into the front in order to redirect the water away from the foundation of the house, which is basement walls in this spot. It works rather well and the spot retains that deep hole of water, which attracts the toads. I may create a fairy garden in this spot.I was very excited to find this in the wildflower bed because it is not something that I planted. This is bee balm and is also known as horse mint or wild bergamot. I left these where they were because I have a huge patch of it at the back of the property and I have a bunch currently drying for tea. Here are a few pictures I took when I started drying some I had gathered last week.I love finding ingredients for teas across the property. Fresh tea is so much better than boxed up little bags of chopped herbs and flowers that are who knows how old once you purchase them.

Chamomile, yet another flower for tea. (I planted these last year and again this year.)

A caterpillar was munching on this wildflower.

These are really tiny and grow in almost a tower formation, kind of like delphinium. I have no idea what they are called, but they are pretty.

Something was munching on these. I’m glad the caterpillars are getting fed.

A yellow wildflower in the Aster family.

This hasn’t fully bloomed , but it is cardinal flower. (I zoomed in so it looks much larger than it really is.)

This is everywhere in the pasture, but I found a lone plant in the wildflower bed. This is poison Hemlock. It’s pretty and is often confused with Queen Anne’s Lace (wild carrot). I have both growing on the property. I have to be very careful around this plant because I am particularly sensitive to the sap and it causes blisters to form on my skin almost immediately.

This lovely plant has been ripped out multiple times by my own hands and it just keeps coming back. It isn’t flowering, but it looks like a form of ivy and it definitely is not ivy. I let it grow because I thought it was ivy. Big mistake. This lovely aggressive little vine is actually mouse melon and it just popped up one year. The rabbits and birds love it so I try to tame it each year just enough to keep it from swallowing my bushes.

My solitary lily bloom.

This is the side of the garage. Every year, I dig up and transport these lilies to another spot and assume that they won’t come back again. Every year I find the side of the garage just like this.

Do you see the hornworm? (Hint hornworms are green)

I also finally got a picture of the tree branch we had to chop down with a chainsaw and a photo explaining why half of the tree had to go.

The half of the tree is currently drying out and the barn kitties have built little nests in the weeds and grasses under the branches. We will cut it into manageable chunks later.

It really was a huge chunk of tree.

So this is a hackberry tree. As you can see, it split down the center the section we cut down was to the right and the branches did not grow leaves when spring came. The section to the left is alive and well with plenty of leaves. The tree was hit by lightning and it split into two trees one died and one lived. We will eventually have someone come out and cut the entire tree down, but that dead section had to go before tornado season came. It was a threat to the dairy building, the garage, and the stalls. It’s down and no longer at risk of falling on anything. If the other side falls it will fall and hit another tree. No danger to buildings. We are looking into trees to plant for shade trees. (Hackberry trees suck so bad because they will completely dull a chainsaw blade.)

We also did the youngest kiddo’s graduation on Saturday and that was just insanity, with 1,204 graduates.

There were so many kids.

The crazy part was that this was only part of the class of 2019. The rest of them will participate in the second ceremony in Tulsa on Saturday.

Our youngest completed junior and senior year with Epic Charter Schools, which is an online homeschool program that falls under the public school system. He thrived in the program and I wish we would have pulled him out of brick and mortar schools sooner.

Until next time….

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Gardening

The Flowers Have Begun to Bloom on the Homestead

I have been planting wildflowers in a raised bed that is made from cinder blocks since the 2nd spring after we purchased the Homestead. This year, everything is late blooming. I usually see blooms in early May, but this year, it happened in very late May.

I plan on filling a few beds with tons of lilies. I thin them every spring right before the last frost. I end up with more lilies each year. Lilies are one of my favorite flowers.

This seems to be the majority of the bee and butterfly mix I purchased this year and added to the flower bed. The flowers come back each year and I add a new seed blend each year. The butterflies love them so I have no complaints. We have so many butterflies this year. I have had them landing on me every time I sit outside with a cup of tea or my morning coffee.

Not sure what this little guy will turn into, but he had a nice feast before taking a nap. (He was curled into a coil before I disturbed him to get a picture.)

These two were part of last year’s wildflower mix. They come in so many colors and brighten up the bed.

This one is a new addition this year and doesn’t seem to be weathering the heat very well.

One of my favorites that is new this year. I have no idea what any of the flowers in this bed are, except for the lilies, because the boxes of seed mix that I buy don’t have any actual plant names listed on the package. I don’t mind because I just want oodles of flowers. The names don’t matter as much as the colors.

I have lilies in three different flower beds and they all seem to be doing rather well especially when the only watering they receive is from the rainfall. I don’t remember the exact type of lilies these are, but I purchased them locally from the Canna Farm. (I purchased them from a member of the family, which owns the Canna Farm, as she was selling the bulbs on Facebook.) She told me they were drought resistant, she never watered them, and they only received rainfall. I have done the same with my lilies and they are thriving. I couldn’t have asked for an easier flower to grow. Now, I just need a wider variety of colors for lilies. I may plant daffodils or some other plant that is planted in bulb form.

I realize this picture is a bit blurry, the wind started back up and this was the best picture I could get of this flower. I am pretty sure this is considered a weed to most gardeners, but so are most wildflowers. I didn’t yank it out, a butterfly landed on it as soon as I moved away from it so, it stays.

I know, I know, dandelions are considered weeds. I don’t pull them and we don’t spray anything to prevent them because the little yellow flower they produce is often the very first source of food for bees when spring arrives. I may be deathly allergic to bees, but I want to do everything possible to help them out each year. I happen to enjoy fruits and veggies. Bees and other pollinators make fruits and veggies possible because they buzz around spreading pollen from plant to plant. I also have small dishes filled with marbles and water. These are bee safe waterers because they can walk around on the marbles and access the water without risk of drowning. I leave fruit slices out for the butterflies as well.

The only other thing that happened today caught me by surprise. I heard the loudest buzzing I had ever heard and it startled me. I immediately jumped up and began looking around me for whatever bug was close enough to sting me. I was pleasantly surprised to see a hummingbird. I have never actually seen one before so, I ran inside, filled the feeders I had just purchased, and hung them all around the back porch. I am hopeful that I will see more in the very near future. I always have my phone with me while outdoors because I play music on my phone. I will snap pictures as soon as I see another one. I honestly had no idea they buzzed. It scared me until I realized that it was a bird and not a stinging insect.

I am trying to make a haven for wildlife with the wildflowers, zero chemicals sprayed, food and water sources for bees, insects, birds, and animals (mostly cats as far as animals, but I am pretty sure I am feeding a skunk and her babies when I feed the barn cats.) I don’t even spray pesticides of any form on my garden. I don’t want to eat the pesticides so, I don’t use them.

I am off to get my house back into order after having my in laws, son, daughter in law, and grandson, all visiting for two weeks. My house is so quiet. It’s quite strange. We also have a squatter in the chicken coop (It was left unsecured because we didn’t have any chickens yet.) Hubby has promised to deal with the skunk and her litter of mini stinkers without harming them so, chicks will come home and not have access to their coop until the skunk is evicted. 😂 I am not in any rush. The coop is built and that was the difficult part. I am still trying to convince hubby that I need a pair of calves too. I don’t care if they become dinner after about 2 years, I will just get two more when that happens. I simply want calves. I need a duck too. That way, I can name the calves, “Milk” and “Cheese”, while naming the duck, “Quackers”. (Yes, I know I am ridiculous. I enjoy being ridiculous.) Until next time…