It’s been a while since we posted an update on the farm. So, here’s the latest. Robert is working on a couple eye-catching improvements here at LBBF…Well, they will be when they are done. Here they are in their beginning stages.
This summer, this heap of rocks will be transformed into an enchanting little waterfall.
Meanwhile, just a few yards away, our new peach orchard is growing steadily, despite some setbacks from the deer.
To top it off, if you come picking this summer, you will be greeted by a new white wooden fence, which will hopefully keep little kids in, and dogs and other creatures out, besides being a scenic addition to the property.
And finally, just in case you avid blueberry lovers are counting the days until you can pluck a fresh, juicy, sun-warmed berry off the bush and pop it in your mouth, this is what the status of the bushes is right now: Once the plants flower (around April 20), it will be about sixty days until fresh blueberries!
Unravelling a roll of drip tube is a bit tricky. If one gets careless about it one may end up with one great big tangled mess.
…it’s kind of like working with a lariat rope.
….one person is taking off the roll and another is pulling it up the hill. Teamwork!
Attaching the drip tube to the riser is a snap (and twist).
A bit tricky pushing the tube onto the connection.
Gotta get the tube next to the plants.
Cutting the tube off the end. Notice the built in emitter inside the tube to the left. This is where the water drip out at a rate of approximately .5 gal per hour.
Need to remember to close off the end of each drip tube with a “figure eight” closure.
That’s all there is to it……well, actually there was quite a bit of work that took place last fall in putting all the main water line and electrical signal wires etc… This was just the “icing on the cake”
Boxes filled with plants–Bluecrop, Patriot, Blueray, and Legacy. Some we used for replacements in
We were SO thankful for our wonderful help this year, the M. family and Daniel and Ginger P. It only took four hours to plant about 700 plants! Here Andrew M. digs holes for the planters.
Make sure you keep the crown above ground…!
We had already put some mulch along most of the rows, so it was easy to pull around the new plants.
Alyse M. being a great helper!
Such a beautiful day for planting!
Here the guys are on a January Saturday morning, working in the asparagus patch. (Little as it looks like one at this time of year.)
The idea is to mulch between the plants, using cardboard boxes, in an effort to squelch the ever encroaching weeds. (The little sand piles are just to hold the cardboard down.)
From the east side of the asparagus patch, you can see that, before it got freezing cold, we started piling wood-chip mulch along the sides of the new blueberry rows, in which we hope to plant several hundred more blueberries this spring. We’re just hoping to get a jump on the process of mulching by having some of it done before the young plants arrive.
And this is a picture of the havoc wreaked by the disease outbreak triggered (as we think) by drought stress last summer. This picture is in Zone 1 (the oldest plants on the farm). You can see there is a significant swathe of plants that are gone, cut down to their base. We are hoping some of them will sprout back up again this spring. Zone 2 sustained significant damage as well.
If you’re searching for a project that will both amuse and annoy you, allow me to suggest hand-shearing a pet sheep, without really knowing how. That is, I did print off instructions from the internet for guidance, but there’s nothing like a little experience.
As a side note: Not just any brother would cheerfully assist his sister with shearing her pet, but mine did.
As you can see, everything is in order. Sheep in a (supposedly) helpless position, brother holding it in place, shearers–and bucket of soapy water to clean them–handy, and instruction paper secured to the ground for easy reference.
We started on the belly, but never really finished it since it was too easy to cut her. We proceeded up the neck, around the head, and down her body. Grant actually took to it much more naturally than I did, so he did the tricky parts. At first Karisey (the sheep’s name) protested vehemently. She then decided to be good for a while, (probably just so she wouldn’t get heat exhaustion), then renewed her attempts to escape.
“In case you wondered, this is NOT fun!”
Emerging from her stifling coat.
Free at last! Doesn’t she look so funny! I may try carding some of the wool, just for fun.
Burning to make the grass grow better and greener!
A worker handling hazardous material.
A beautiful March evening.
And, as an end note, the herb seeds from Thyme Garden arrived today. We’ve never ordered from them, but the seeds arrived promptly…we’ll have to see how they grow. The reason I got the seeds from them was because they had an astounding variety of herbs, almost anything we would have wanted.
Daddy and Grant’s latest project has been transforming the area south of the main blueberry patch into a scenic herb garden.
Well, it’s not scenic yet, but it certainly has made a lot of progress.
Taking a breather while they survey their work. Notice the delightful sturdily-crafted rustic bridge!
Now you can see where they are, from a different angle.
Another rustic bridge in progress.
As for the herbs, some of them are getting their start in the comfort of our house at this moment. Currently growing herbs are cilantro, dill, oregano, thyme, tarragon, two kinds of parsley, and three kinds of basil.
I recently ordered more herb seeds, including angelica, calendula, rue, fenugreek, sweet marjoram, mullein, sheep sorrel, and creeping thyme for a ground cover.
Today Karise and I were out in the lovely “winter” weather…pruning the blueberry plants. This is a job normally done with snow on the ground (we typically prune during the months of January through March)!
But the Lord has graciously showered us with many gorgeous fall-like days–days of sun and temps around 60 degrees! Today we reveled in full sun, a gentle breeze, and a temperature verging on 70 degrees!!
This has been the best day yet, and I hope there’ll be more to come! It makes the job of pruning much easier and more pleasant.
Purple pruners. Pretty awesome.
Using alcohol to sanitize the pruners between pruning each bush. It helps prevent the spread of disease.
These Florian ratchet-cut pruners are pretty feisty…
Nevertheless, we sometimes have to get out Big Brother for really large branches…
And wrestle with the blueberry bush.
We always welcome your comments! Let us know how your winter has been so far.
A black Lab named Edmond seems mighty interested in the Taste of Home magazine newly arrived by mail.
(These pictures were snapped last winter while I was mulching blueberry rows. Edmond joined me in taking a quick break to look at the mail.)