Starting again, somewhat afresh…

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 | 6 comments

When we returned home to the Blue Ridge last year, I knew I’d be starting a homestead all over again. That was challenging in every way, but I’m happy to say it’s starting to feel like home again. I was not thinking I’d have to start anew with the blog. But hey, when it rains…and it has been raining.

So shortly after getting back to blogging in the spring, it all melted down. The blog (wordpress) came down with a virus that required deleting and re-installing, which happens sometimes in computer world. However, only after it was deleted did I discover that the more recent backups were also corrupted. At first, it appeared to be all, every post and photo since 2007, totally, gone. That was a stunning couple of days, but what do you do? You accept and prepare to start again. But then after working with a geek-for-hire we were able to recover some of it. Which is worse? All gone, or a jumbled and half-missing collection?  Anyway, I’ve set forth with the jumbled and half-missing version, planning to pick some favorite recent posts and reconstruct them as this blog is also my personal garden and farm journal too. We’ll see how all that goes. Meanwhile, I’m going to jump right into the present and catch you up!   photo1 The veggie garden looks like a real garden thanks to a certain sweetheart! With all the time I’ve spent on bees and chickens, if it were just me working on this it would still be little more than a half-plowed yard! Starting to eat right out of the back yard goes a long way towards feeling at home. The garden has jumped right up because the soil was pretty good to start with, even if it was under thick sod. It’s fairly clayish, but with generous additions of garden compost from Maytime Composting as well as a sprinkling of their near magical worm castings it’s come a long way in a short time and we’ve been eating lettuce, kale, beans, potatoes, garlic, onions and even a couple of tiny red tomatoes and a few handfuls of strawberries. photo4 I’m working on planting new trees. Here’s an Eastern Redbud (above) planted so that will hopefully fill a window with early spring blooms. photo2 The elderberries I planted seem happy in their spot by the creek (below) and are starting to bloom (above). They are “York” and “Nova” varieties, which tend to be more fruitful than the wild ones which grow at the other end of the creek. If I’m lucky, we will get a mix of selected and wild berries to make syrups and tinctures. photo1 Elderberry is amazing in warding off colds and viruses. Not to mention having some strong historical magic as the guardian of the land and something to plant first, and respectfully, when you are starting a new garden. photo2 Meanwhile, we have had a LOT of near daily rain. Such is life in the mountains. Was instantly thankful for raised beds in the garden – which may be built a little higher over time!  Did create a drainage channel  after this pic was taken for the garden that helped a great deal with that standing water, which is not good at all for a garden. But this photo was after a one-day 4″ rain and there’s not many gardens which wouldn’t have some deep puddles after that. photo1 (2) The new chickens, raised from day-old chicks back in the spring, would appreciate a little dryer weather! Had to add a tarp to their chicken tractor/shelter (which has about a dozen design flaws to start with – we call it the frankentractor and let’s just say I learned lots of stuff NOT to do on the next one.  Due to all the rain I had to add a tarp which really cuts down on the cuteness factor, but hey, it works. There’s a stationary coop in the works but moving slowly. Thanks to helper Sebastian the post holes are dug but we had a setback when the carpenter helping me with the post setting and roof had to have surgery. Looks like I’ll get the chance to build Frankentractor 2.0 in the meantime as these birds are outgrowing the old one fast. photo3 And finally, I’m happy to report the bees are doing great so far, despite the rain. Bees can’t fly in the rain and they don’t like being stuck in the hive in the summer. We had a great springtime and they filled up box after box with delicious tulip poplar honey, which is a dark honey with a rich and complex flavor. My absolute favorite. Currently, in between showers they are doing their best to work Sourwood tree blooms — which is Appalachia’s unique and special honey, our tupelo! Will report soon on how that turns out. So that is the extra long catch up post that will hopefully get me going on the blog again. I would love to hear how your summer is going in the comments. Till next time, Leigh

—A Larrapin Garden…recently re-settled in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Posts on this blog may be boom or bust depending on the season, but if you subscribe here you’ll get one weekly email—usually on Wednesdays—to let you know what’s new. You are also invited to get garden related miscellany at the Facebook page or on Twitter. The Pinterest boards (Pinterest should carry a  habit-forming warning label by the way) are here.
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  1. looks great! sorry bout your wordpress, that’s frustrating. start backing up on flash drive to save. xoxoxo

  2. Hi Leigh

    your homestead is looking beautiful and bountiful. You and M have obviously infused the place with lots of love and hard work.

    things on the yard garden front are proceeding faster than planned. A couple of our tomatoes look more like small pumpkins.

    thanks for keeping us posted.


  3. Glad things are going so well. My summer is looking more and more like nothing but music and I am enjoying myself while mourning my time spent having done whatever I want for quite so long. I’m so envious of your farm life… Hope to catch up again soon. Your sister… Kls

    • Yay music! Thanks so much for your note here and encouragement too. Keep up the great creativity sis! 🙂

  4. Hey Leigh!

    Sorry to hear about the computer rebellion. Not fun and I get frustrated fast when computers throw a fit and won’t let me have my way. 🙂

    Very cold winter and cool spring and summer here. It looked bad in the spring, but we have the best summer garden ever. Harvested 250 pounds of onions from 100 square feet. Will dig last of carrots today and plant again about Aug 1. Sold almost $1,000 worth of veggies to ONF, and still have tons of tomatoes to go. Will likely exceed last year’s record of 500 pounds from 4 plants (80 square feet). Also sell from stand in front of house. Am converting entire border of house from shrubs to edible shrubs and herbs. Its a slow process, but progressing. Also, converted flower beds at entrance to tomatoes and peppers. Want to set example about growing food.

    Have been in NC twice in last month… to see Doris’ mother… the last time (last Sat) for the memorial service. Great lady lived to 95. Had a gully washer in the mountains as we drove past Asheville on Monday.

    Your garden looks lovely. I am moving to more heirlooms and storable produce… Have you ever grown Seminole squash. It is VERY productive and is suppose to keep well. Will let you know.

    We miss you.

    Calvin and Doris

    • Calvin your garden continues to put me in awe! It’s so great to hear it’s going well. That tomato harvest seems like it may set a record far beyond your own!

      So sorry to hear about Doris’ mom. Living to 95 is darned impressive though.

      Someone else just mentioned Seminole squash to me so I’m going to look that up. Thanks SO much for the update and the web visit. Hope you are taking lots of pictures in your garden!