Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Video Tour: Wildflowers, Veggies and Nursery Plants

Hey everyone - It's just that time of year when everything is happening around here. I made a couple more videos to make these areas come to life for you. My videography still has something to be desired and I promise to get better (don't get dizzy!), but we are putting these on You Tube now, which gives much better resolution than Blogger. We hope you enjoy!

Wildflowers are blooming...

Vegetables are growing...

Jam is canned...

Glut Sauce is roasted and frozen...

and nursery plants are growing and ready to find a home in the ground at your place! Here's our current list of plants.

If you want to visit us, just message us to let us know when you want to come so we make sure we are home. See you soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Prairie Climbing Rose (with a special Jennifer video!)

Before the real dry weather set in, our Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera) growing wildly in our regenerating field was spectacular and is really, truly a plant we want growing everywhere.

This rose appeared on its own with some help of the birds who love to eat their berries. As the land heals itself from its former life as a mowed lawn and the birds continue to poop more seeds, we get more and more growing. What a treat for us and local wildlife...birds, bees, etc!

This rose matures into clumps that provide clusters of blooms and safe places for nesting birds and animals to take cover.

Because the rose is so cool, I made a little video when it was in full bloom just for you all! Expect more of these in the future. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 Native Plant Nursery Update

Many of you are so ready to support us by buying plants and we thank you for your interest. It's so encouraging to know so many people that love native plants! We do have some ready now and you can see what is available here. Here's a cheerful Mexican Hat or Upright Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) just for you...

We hope to have more plants later, but the drought in Morrow County is kicking our tails quite a bit with seed germination and loss, time taken away from the nursery uppotting and potting with watering the 100+ trees we put in all over the property this spring (who's idea was that?!) and trying to keep our vegetable garden alive. The drought also really seems to have ramped up raccoon activity, which started with our chicken deaths, then proceeded to fruit and potted tree raids and now daily corn raids (even with a hot wire!) so everyone is feeling a bit stressed around here.

Thankfully, we persevere, try to keep our spirits up and see the beauty in each day, and continue to make progress. Steve made us a fabulous shade structure out of snow fence, which he built over our plant tables. This shading is helping our plants that survived A LOT. The wildflowers integrated into the orchard and nursery, also, persevere and continue to delight us and nectar/seed seeking friends with new blooms.

Our cover crop zone adjacent to the orchard is fairing well with a dense planting of crimson clover and oats. There are also sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias planted here, but they remain tiny as they wait for a drink of water.

With these 90 degree temperatures we continue to experience we are amazed these plants live. We've received 4.2" of rain since the beginning of June with most of it falling in the first 3/4 of June. This is quite low for this part of the country at this time so the lawn is browning, our soil is crazy dry and cracked, our trees are wilting and showing fall colors, our wildflowers are losing all their lower leaves and the soybean field behind us is starting to brown as well. Yet, we all persist and hope everyday for clouds to gather and a real rain to fall steady and strong as evidenced by new strawberry plantings...

Steve puts on his hat and boots and marches out into this heat ready to make progress in many ways, everyday. Our fruit fared very poorly this spring so a gift of new plants from Steve's sister and brother-in-law spurred their planting and a reworking of a mowing headache. Steve reused the hated path mat and free woodchips from a local tree company to improve this area for us and our nursery.

He also scavenged an old swing, removed the swing hardware, added legs with scrap wood, stained and sealed the wood and made us a bench for our nursery too. How cool!

We have lots of little germininating plants, but we also have a significant amount of full grown plants that are ready to go in the ground now. If you want to buy some, check out the 2016 current plant list and set up a time to pop on up to Morrow County, OH. Thanks everyone! Now think rain, please...

Update 7/14....You all did it! We got significant rain last night and we are ecstatic!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Wonder of Leafcutter Bees

Lately, we've noticed many circular and oval pieces cut from our Redbud (Cercis canadensis) leaves and wondered who might be responsible. They are so perfect in shape; it's really fascinating.

We, of course, sought our answer from one of our most favorite books: Tracks and Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney and discovered these cut circles are the work of Leafcutter Bees (Megachilidae). Perfect name!

From Eiseman's and Charney's book: "They cut both circular and oval pieces from the edges of leaves, which they use to make cells in their nests. The bee first forces several circular pieces into the bottom of a burrow to form the base of a cell, lines the sides with several oblong pieces, and then packs in several more circular pieces to close the cell, creating a thimblelike capsule."

We are amazed. These cut pieces of leaves become the protective home of baby bees. So, so cool. What might it be like in one of those cells?

You can find so many more stories like this one on Charley Eiseman's blog.