Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #205

apron

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #205

Fall is in the air here – 57 degrees this morning! I loved it, but I really need more hot days to turn my tomatoes from green to red! This time of year has me dreaming of fall- cooler temperatures, time in my craft room, fall gardening… BUT it is still August and I have green beans, basil, peppers and tomatoes in full swing. And grass still to cut. Fall is approaching but my world is still full of summertime.

Deb is in the same mode— she is dreaming of painting and crafting but still has gorgeous blooms and Farmer’s Markets to come.

How about you? Fall or Summer or somewhere in between?

Stop by and visit Deb to say hello. We hope you join in and share your antics. Let’s get hopping!

Have a great weekend regardless of the season you are feeling!

 

My Favorite Things – Light of Day Organic Tea

IMG_20150713_123422720_HDR

We all have those things that are our favorites. I was introduced to Light of Day Organics tea about 2 years ago while on vacation. I was hooked! I have ordered it via the web ever since. I am not a coffee drinker but I do consider myself a tea snob. I love good tea and will seek it out and pay for it. This is one of my favorites.

Light of Day Organics is Michigan’s only tea farm. On our trip to Michigan in July we visited and it was everything (and more) that I hoped it would be.

As you approach you see their certifications. These are folks committed to organics and local. Thebulk of their teas are grown on their Biodynamic farm and are certified by the National Organic Program and by Demeter.

IMG_20150713_123431996_HDR

The founding director is inspiring as she founded this out of her own passionate journey in health and holistic well being for others and for herself. You can read her full story.

We had fun tasting tea, learning about the different types of tea, seeing how they are produced and then simply took in the surroundings wandering around. There are special places to seat and sip on your tea.

IMG_20150713_124625933_HDR

IMG_20150713_124630020_HDR

The gardens are beautiful and inviting.

IMG_20150713_124634059_HDR

IMG_20150713_124758677_HDR

IMG_20150713_124811367_HDR

IMG_20150713_124829033

IMG_20150713_124900517_HDR

IMG_20150713_124938123

Who wouldn’t want tea from here (or her own tea farm) after seeing this beauty?

And she has a Kubota which is my absolute favorite.

IMG_20150713_125010050_HDR

Visit them on the web and experience their beautiful teas and story. If you are in Michigan they are just west of Traverse City and so worth the trip. This is NOT a paid endorsement of any kind; I just love their stuff and wanted to share the beauty with you.

IMG_20150713_125105138

I am going to go steep a cup of tea and visualize the pretty flowers that went into it.

Happy Unleashing in your tea pot!

FGU

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #204

apron

Welcome to another Friday and another Farmgirl Blog Hop! Deb has been busy wearing her new hat as a flower farmer. She has been growing beautiful blooms and bouquets (as always) but now is spending time selling her wares at the farmer’s market. How exciting is that? Be sure to stop by Dandelion House to see her great pictures and to catch up with her.

We have been busy with a kitchen remodel and garden rescuing! Read about our garden adventures and our optimism for the fall garden!

11745507_10205894130210903_7053621098192139894_n

I am absolutely positive that Deb and I aren’t the only ones busy this summer. Let’s all take a breather and share for a bit about what is happening and what you are up to!

Let’s get this blog hop going!

 

Garden Optimism

I shared with you how we were converting one of our gardens to using ag cloth as a weed barrier. We got stopped in the middle of our process because of travel and rain-lots of rain. We hit our field again over the last 10 days to rescue what we could, say goodbye to what we couldn’t and plant for the future. A gardener is always optimistic right? You lose a garden, you plant another and with that comes hope again.

When we stepped back after the rains stopped this is what we had–

Grass was up to my knees in the garden.

IMG_20150723_084838240Yep, there’s a sweet potato in there somewhere!

IMG_20150723_092730488I can see the corn but not much else.

IMG_20150723_085623939_HDR

It had me feeling pretty hopeless on what we had.

However, the bed where we laid the cloth looked pretty good so we concentrated efforts there first. We still had 5 rows to plant and there was crabgrass in the empty rows but we took care of that and finished off the planting.

Hubby is great at pulling that crabgrass!

IMG_20150723_104215764

I got to planting the rest of our tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes! I know it is July, but when you have almost 100 starters you have been babying inside during the rainy stuff, you put them in the ground! We are Zone 6 and they need about 80 – 90 days in the ground until harvest. We will have a late harvest, but when everyone else is picking pumpkins, I will be eating tomato sandwiches and canning for the winter. (see where the optimist comes in?)

DSC_1622

DSC_1620So with that garden done and planted we felt very satisfied.

DSC_1619I moved onto sweet potatoes and digging the grass out from around them. And they were thriving down in there!IMG_20150723_092720762

IMG_20150723_092724122Hubby cleaned out the rest of the grass later and they are loving life again.

Jasmine just enjoyed the view.

DSC_1607

And frankly our view while working wasn’t so bad either!

IMG_20150723_090944829

Meanwhile hubby went after Garden 1 (which was planted in the spring). It was overgrown to say the least.11253945_10205894129850894_8299575913151603575_n

We grabbed the last of the lettuce, beets, collards and purple kale and cut it down and started again on it for a late summer/early fall garden.

DSC_1617

Mowed it really close.IMG_20150724_182822069

Added compost and ran the tiller through one time. It is ready!

DSC_1610

We decided all gardens would get the ag cloth treatment! We invested in the good stuff and it is being used!DSC_1608

DSC_1627

With this being ready for planting, I got to go play in my seeds and get a selection out. Zone 6 tells me 1st frost is around 10/15 so I have a bit of time still. I grabbed my seeds that are 55 – 75 days to harvest and got planting. What did I plant? Beets, beans, squash, radishes, spinach, lettuce, endive and some flowers. By the end of the weekend we had two, very good looking spaces.

DSC_1626And this morning there are signs of life in both.

IMG_20150731_084433159

IMG_20150731_084439087

IMG_20150731_084847938_HDR

IMG_20150731_084909269

IMG_20150731_084912530

Next up are the hoops and cold frames. But for this moment, optimism!

11745507_10205894130210903_7053621098192139894_n

Happy Unleashing your optimism!

FGU

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #203

apron

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

I think you are probably busy with summer like me. We have traveled, gardened, dealt with flood waters and storms and today we kicked off our kitchen remodel! More on that to come in the following weeks.

On the travel side, we just returned from the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City Michigan.

Cherry Festival Sign

It was so much fun! And we brought back some yummy cherries that hubby used to bake a tart with last night! WOW!

And how about this “Chairy Drill Team” at the festival (get the play on words?) They were so fun!

Chairy Band

I will share some pictures from our Michigan adventures next week! We were celebrating our 10 year anniversary and we had a LOT of fun!

Deb is up to her eyeballs in colorful blooms! Well, at least up to her knees. If you want to see some of her great flowers check out her new page on Instagram! We have actually both started dappling a bit in Instagram and you can find me there as well. Stop by and say hi!

What you are doing this week? Harvesting, planting, preserving? Maybe you are at a fair showing animals. Or perhaps you are sipping on some ice tea about now. Whatever it is we are glad you are here!

Let’s start hopping!

Action! Weed Control!

Weeds, weeds and weeds. AND lots of grass. With all this rain the grass and weeds are taking over. I really am not looking for pristine, but the grass and weeds are taller than my veggies and they are smothering them. Hoeing and handpicking is not keeping up. We clean up and area, it rains and BOOM! They are back bigger and badder than before. We have a lot of garden space and I was getting discouraged. We do not use synthetic chemicals so that was not an option.

Hubby decided that getting me back to my happy place in the garden was important. Also growing our own food is important and an investment. He went and bought gardening cloth to put down and has been helping me go through the gardens with it. It is a beautiful thing!

We did our first run with this in a garden that was about to be planted. I had planted transplants in one row and they were being overtaken. Tomatoes and pepper transplants were ready to go so we decided here was the best place to start. The fabric is 4 ft wide which is perfect for our spacing here because our rows are 50″ apart.

IMG_20150627_103645766

We laid it out, dug holes, added compost and epsom and our transplants. Then hubby laid some straw around each plant and set our cages.

IMG_20150629_210027189

The rows look neat and the plants have a fighting chance now. It is a thing of beauty!

IMG_20150629_210035035

IMG_20150629_210020222

Next will be Garden 3 which has our beans and cucs fighting for space. They are getting buried by grass. We will mow really short and add the cloth. Pics to come on that clean up!

IMG_20150627_103703724

How do you keep the “unwanteds” away from your veggies and flowers?

Happy Unleashing in the Garden!

FGU

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #202

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #202 AND Happy 4th of July!

This photograph from Deb’s blog today was so beautiful that I just had to “steal” it and share it.  It really screams out celebration doesn’t it?

We are visiting our youngest for the holiday. We will be swimming, eating, watching fireworks and probably competing in a mean game of putt putt. What are your plans?

If you love flowers Deb has some great information on American Flower Week and how you can participate. I wish I had a green thumb in that regard, but maybe that is something in my future!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and a chance to reflect on the freedoms we have in our great country. I also hope you have a little bit of time to blog hop with us!

Brag a bit on what’s happening your way. I learn so much every week just reading these. I have so much yet to experience!!! Thanks for joining in and be sure to stop by Deb’s and Dandelion House!

Let’s get hopping!!

apron

Garlic Scape Pesto

IMG_20150619_150243532

We are successfully growing garlic this year after a couple tries that have failed. One of the first benefits (luxuries) of growing garlic is the scapes that appear in the late spring/early summer.

IMG_20150619_150250507

You can see the buds of the flowers on the stems. Scapes are cut from the garlic before the buds open. The scapes are delicious and cutting them allows the plant to put its energy into developing the garlic heads and bulbs.

We cut about a pound of garlic scapes. We washed them off in the sink and set out to make pesto.

IMG_20150619_163113396

Aren’t they cute looking? They look like tall necked swans to me.

IMG_20150619_163200107

IMG_20150619_163203919

Chop up your scapes into 1 inch pieces and toss in your food processor. Just like all pestos, you can be a bit creative here. I added about 1 cup of parmesan cheese that was freshly grated and about 1/2 cup of pine nuts (you can also use pistachios). As I add things I toggle between pulsing the food processor and just letting its motor go for a bit. The idea is to get a creamy paste like substance. Add some lemon juice (from 1 lemon). Stream 1 cup of olive oil into the pesto and food processor for the last ingredient. You will have a smooth, green paste. AND it will smell like garlic in your entire house!

IMG_20150619_164539131_HDR

Oh my goodness it is so good!

We tossed some on a few veggies and tossed those on the grill. We topped some pasta with the veggies and a bit more of the garlic scape pesto. It was delicious.

I froze the rests in ice cube trays so I can have this lovely garlic pesto whenever the urge hits!

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #201 & the Winner is…

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Deb and I had our drawings for the winners of the one year subscription to MaryJaneFarm magazine.

#1 is winner is Alicia Dandelion Rose aka Sister 5232, themostlycrunchyfarmgirl. It is so appropriate because she just started the Southern Indiana chapter of MaryJane Farmgirls last Saturday! Congrats Alicia and if you are located in Southern Indiana reach out to her for info on her MJF chapter!

Winner # 2 is Tammy Taylor ( a North Texas Farmgirl)  from Taylor Made Ranch blog. We can always count on Tammy for at least three posts a week here on the blog hop! We all love reading her entries every week straight from her farm. 
Ready to get hopping?
apron

Last week’s entry from You Can Be A Great Gardener-Battle with Weeds was near and dear to my heart as I blogged on a similar challenge! 

And who can’t get lost in the beautiful photography from Woods Country Love. So pretty! Thanks for sharing.

We are about to build an ark here. Rain, rain and more rain. The seedlings have loved it but I still have my tomatoes to plant! They are happy in their pots in the pole barn, but one of these days these green babies are going to have to get out to their permanent summer home.

What are you up to this week? We are headed to celebrate grandson Arlo’s 1st birthday!

Well join the hop and brag a bit!

Laying Out a Garden

IMG_20150609_091003001This is our 3rd year now in the gardening game and I am attempting to be a little more methodical about it. School has helped me understand the importance of planning in my garden. I shared my planning method with you several weeks ago. For some this wouldn’t work but for me it does (and is necessary). I am in excel during the day so it makes sense I would use it to plan my garden.

Jasmine of course joins us on all our garden activities.

The other thing we have done to make things easier in laying out the gardens and in the rotation of them is to standardized the size of them. Not 100%– the spring garden is still smaller as it really can’t be expanded where it is. “Potato Hill” as we call it is set in its size as well.  It too is planted in rows but you can’t really tell now!

IMG_20150611_115509335

But the others (there are 3 of them now) have all been sized to 45ft x 35ft. Where did that number come from? Only from the fact that Garden #3 was that size last year and it laid out really nicely. So we thought if we are bring rotation into the mix they should all be this size. Then it is easy from year to year to swap tomatoes to squash to beans, etc.

I like to plant in rows. I know it can be prettier to not use rows and aesthetically can be so nice to have “areas” of things. I also know that the plants can benefit from that in many cases. BUT that randomness doesn’t work for me- I have tried it with a big fail. And once things start growing and sprawling you really can’t tell that I am anal in my row planting anyway. :-)

Hubby and I have come up with a method that works for us to lay these out. It is a two person job for us and that is good. It is fun to do and once it is laid out the seeds go in.

Here we go:

First we prep the garden. Our gardens are still either fairly new or brand new. This one, which is Garden #4 is a new one this year. It was in our field so we tilled it and added compost. Eventually I want to get away from the tilling of them, but for now that is what we do. Once this is done we have a clean slate to work with.

IMG_20150609_084904796_HDR

Next cut pvc into 3 foot lengths. We have tried this with 1/2″, but it does not work as well. Use 3/4″- it pounds in well and you will use them over and over. Cutting at a 45 degree angle allows it to go in the ground better.

IMG_20150609_090731335

Our rows are 50″ apart. We have 10 rows per garden. Layout 10 per side and start measuring.

IMG_20150609_084959491

First row starts a couple feet in.

IMG_20150609_085008775_HDR

IMG_20150609_085110472

Then the string comes. We use bright pink just because I like it. :-)

IMG_20150609_085144293

IMG_20150609_085219668

We continue on; hubby places the pvc and I tie string.

IMG_20150609_092533667

IMG_20150609_090120863

After the 10 rows are in, we run one string across the other way so we can easily visualize the 1/2 way point in the garden. Many rows are planted in 1/2 so this helps section things off. IMG_20150609_092458396(1)

Ready for planting! The shovel is a garden marker. The girls made us garden markers last year out of different things; each have a number on them-this is #4. Really cool!

IMG_20150611_115700269

Pull out my plan & get those seeds in. You can see two colors here. Green are planting #1; yellow is planting #2 which will occur in 2 weeks. The blanks are simply that–empty. Nothing will plant there. This is the squash bed and with the way pumpkins and squash spread, they need some space so I skip rows. You can also see how each row is planting in 1/2 (hence the string across mid garden.)

IMG_20150609_090739094_HDR

Hope this helps if you have been challenged with garden layout. I know there’s lots of ways to do this. How do you do yours?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU