Some days it looks like November around the farm. The wood pile, for one, is growing steadily. Since the ice storm of January brought down around 20 small to medium trees on our three acres, plus countless branches out of even larger trees, there’s been plenty of material to create an enormous wood pile that Mendy is steadily splitting and stacking for this winter. So that feels like November. But the balmy weather, t-shirt weather, doesn’t feel like November. We have yet to have a frost though the usual frost date is typically about October 20th.
Without a frost, there are some summer flowers still blooming away, like these Blue Sky morning glories planted to cover the corner of a chain link fence for the summer. They did a great job of doing that! While the cool wet Spring had them off to a very, very slow start…by late summer they were thick and bright.
True to their name, they open in the morning at sunrise and curl up closed in the evening. I loved this color. Next year I’d like to try the deep purple ones…
The yellow buddleia “Honeycomb” is still blooming beautifully. (The pink ones gave up the ghost weeks ago.) There are bees all over it all the time. In the mornings I find them curled up on the blooms, sleeping in them! Sleeping inside flowers, now that’s a good life.
Meanwhile, there are dahlias still covered with blooms though they are fairly raggedy by now. The bees are crazy for these dahlias too. I can’t think of the variety right now, but they are the kind you can grow from seed — Unwin’s mix I think? The other day I snapped this pic of a bumblebee enjoying a bloom.
And as I moved around to get the right angle on the picture, I noticed there was a different bumblee bee on every bloom on the plant—nearly a dozen! That’s larrapin!Read More
I love the colors of Autumn in the Ozarks. Not just the trees, but how some fields take on new green, the sky is that amazing blue. Love it. Plus, late September and October means an end to the stunning summer heat, except this year the summer was cool and rainy alternating with wet and sweltering. My garden wasn’t too fond of this particular weather combination, though we did get lots of veggies as always. To be honest, the chickens probably got more that we did becuase there were so many things going on with my livelihood and life that I didn’t take the usual amount of time gardening.
So despite my heartfelt intentions to a) have a full-out fall garden and b) not fall off blogging around the dog days of late summer, I did not accomplish either of those goals. You’ll have that. Who knows what happens? This year it was a million things to do to take our little publishing company to the next level, a long October holiday back to our previous homeground in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina & Tennessee. Plus, I was just beat down by Bambi.
I’ve posted before about the deer/rabbit/raccoon challenges we’ve had since our old farm watchdog, Sugar Bear, died of old age in the springtime. We do have new farm dog named Ada, who is 8 months old and slowly growing (and growing!) into the job. But in the meantime, the onslaught of Bambi and her six best friends was just a bit too much. I faced a decision: fence or flee.
Since our veggie garden sits smack dab in the middle of the front ‘yard’ of our three acres, fencing seemed like an awful sacrifice to our viewshed. While it was lovely to look our from the living room or the dinner table onto the lush garden, looking out onto a deer-fenced garden would be less aesthetic, to put it mildly. I nevertheless priced fencing, envisioned lovely flowering vines along it, sketched out a quaint flower-covered gate arch in my journal. But no go. I just couldn’t do it. The garden has to move. And have a tall, tall fence that will not just keep deer from going over the top, but also raccoons from going over it to get to their favorite sweet corn and cantelopes. Things are about to change for Larrapin garden—a westward move by about fifty yards. More about that in the next post.
There was one thing that went really well in the late garden: a cover crop!! Finally, I got it together (ok, Mendy reminded me it was time and helped too) to plant the Soil Builder mix from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. It has oats, peas, vetch and more. The cover crop protects the soil all winter from rain compaction and erosion. Equally important, the presence of live roots in the beds keeps the microbial life going over the winter. This is the main advantage over my second best covering system used till now: a layer of chopped leaves (6-12″) as a deep winter blanket. The bright green plants looks wonderful in the sunshine. One catch, the plants should be well over a foot high by now. While we did plant it a little late, there’s another reason I just figured out this week. The tops of the crop are snipped off as if with scissors. Bambi and her BFF’s are keeping it mowed to a neat six inches. ….sigh. But that’s OK. Westward Ho. Or rather, Westward Hoe!Read More