Monday, July 28, 2014

Wildflower Planting Begins!

This past week we started putting in some of the 400 plants that are waiting in their little plug containers. After Steve's bed prep, the laying out of beds was easy peasy!

As part of the OEFFA summer farm series, we visited Sunny Meadows Flower Farm and discovered the path mat pictured below. No, it's not petroleum free, but it does have a 20 year guarantee. That's awesome! With just the two of us managing this farm, we need all the time saving measures we can find and we've found weeding and mowing paths simply does not fit into our schedules!

We also purchased a biodegradeable weed mat from a company in Colorado. This mat is made of paper and should last a good three months before it starts to degrade. That will give the plants some time to get established and will give us some time to get a good mulch laid, all while keeping any undesired plants from growing.

Once we finally got all the path and weed mat laid, planting began! This zone is very close the road so we put purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) on the leading edge. We also planted butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), some wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) and royal catchfly (Silene regia). It will be stunning!

It felt quite satisfying to see a whole row of baby plants tucked securely into the soil!

Big Bertha, one of Steve's hand augers from his soil consulting days, helped us bore these holes in a jiffy. We LOVE this tool.

All this wildflower prepping and planting has left the vegetable garden a bit neglected this summer. It's weedier than normal, but we are harvesting lots of greens, cucumbers, zucchini, peas (still!) and a few cherry tomatoes here and there. We are quite cool in Ohio this summer so our tomatoes are slow going. We will see what happens this month! We plan to get some photos this week to share on our blog. It's our first year growing breadseed poppies and we are both wowed by these plants and think you will be too, if you aren't already!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wildflowers, Fruits and Animals - A day in the Life of Steve and Jen

The extreme motivator arrived...almost 400 wildflower plugs! I don't know how we can fit one more thing into our days, but the excitement of creating this wildflower farm might have something to do with it.

Steve somehow finds reserves of energy from deep within and keeps on keepin' on! He took to the bed prep challenge immediately, even after a long day at the office.

He enjoyed a little help from L.G. and...

Minnie Pearl (my birthday arrival kitty). What will we do with this girl?? She tags along by us, but cannot stand being handled and she needs spayed asap. Yes, you know what I mean.

Until we figure that out, we will focus on the bed prep!

And, all the delicious grapes coming on the vine...

the homemade blueberry jam from the 40 lbs of berries we picked at Berryfield Farm...

and the showstopper beets!

We turned these beauties into this and we loved, loved, loved this meal!

And, just to hint at something else fun happening...

Woo hoo!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

L.G.'s New Pad aka Chicken Run

5 chickens returned home these past couple of weeks and we have one remaining here - Little Girl (L.G.). She's got quite the kingdom now and we feel it's well deserved after the brutal treatment from the other chickens. We may add another one or two at some point, but we are enjoying the freedom from the past complicated setup. L.G. laid the biggest eggs and now we are collecting a reasonable amount for us.

Here Steve's working on setting the gate:

Jennifer attaches the gate to the post:

Fencing is going up! Steve is working on making the join with the coop:

Steve, of course, salvaged this fencing and we adore its old-timey charm.

Pretty nice for L.G.!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Wildflower Bed!

Steve's been incredibly busy preparing this new wildflower bed. Poison ivy, grape vine, roadside trash and cobble-size stones ruled this zone so it took a lot of work to get it to the planting stage.

He's still got a smile on his face, but this spot might have made even Steve feel a little kicked in the butt.

Jennifer's Grandpa Vorndran's tiller made the whole project possible. What a work horse. We like to think that Grandpa is looking down on us and giving a nod of approval.

There's still lots of roots, trash and stone to clean up, but we are almost there!


What's to come? Lots of prairie plants including a large planting of broad-leaved coneflower, butterflyweed and ironweed. It's going to look fabulous!