These big boys are VIP’s on this farm. They are the most effective pollinators for blueberries. I saw more bumble bees this year than I ever have. Very happy about that! Here you see one pollinating a comfrey plant in the herb garden. They are pretty much done with the blueberries.
Our new farm sign is up, special thanks to Abriana Price and the Dohman family! 🙂
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!
It’s hard to believe winter is on its way. Here at the farm things are slowing down as the blueberry bushes prepare to go into dormancy.
Above you can see our little garden, which flourished this year thanks to the compost we spread all over it from the sheep yard. 🙂 We had a lot of greens (collards, lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, cabbage), some beans, many huge tomatoes, and for a nice change several acorn squash and little pumpkins. We baked several of the pumpkins whole in our oven which worked great. Afterward we separated out some of the pumpkin seeds and baked them. They’re great to snack on.
In the section above, we just last month planted 200+ Blueray bushes as replacement plants. Bluerays are large berries with intense flavor, definitely a favorite!
A view out across the property. We sold all our sheep earlier this year, except for the pet black sheep. She was all by herself for a while, but then produced a black ewe lamb who looks just like her, so they keep each other company. We also sold our donkeys a couple months ago, so we are pretty much out of the livestock business.
This is the zone planted in spring of 2013. Each of these bushes should bear about a pound of berries next summer.
This zone by the road, planted in fall of 2007, is still holding out well. Many of the bushes in all the zones are showing a great amount of new growth this year, so we’re really thankful for this after a difficult couple of years of drought and disease. Next project: Pruning the bushes once the leaves drop off. Maybe we can get a head-start this year before a bunch of snow comes!
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The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him! Psalm 67:6-7
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!
Happily, spring is just a couple weeks away. It doesn’t much look like it, since we’ve been inundated in the past two weeks with an accumulation of 18 inches or so of snow–which we are NOT prepared for here in Northeast Missouri! Last week three of us were stranded in town for the night simply because the small amount of new snow drifted so badly on Lost Branch Way that my dad even got stuck in our four wheel drive truck! We are very grateful for the moisture, though, since the drought last summer really depleted our water supply.
The primary location for the 2013 Missouri Blueberry School was moved to town, as the snow was too bad out here. It went very well, however, and many brave people came out to practice pruning some of our blueberry bushes amid the drifts of snow.
Below is my dad giving his talk during the blueberry school, along with Patrick Byers, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist.
Another pic of the pets is in order. We saw this this morning and had to document it…
It really is a love-hate relationship!
The lambs are still coming. “My” black sheep had twins yesterday! I saw she had a white one, so I went outside to investigate. Seeing a mostly white exactly-like-a-Katahdin lamb was kinda disappointing after all my speculations as to what a black Finn/Romanov crossed with mostly white Katahdins was going to look like. But, I was then delighted to watch the birth of this:
Like Mother, like daughter. 🙂 And she is turning out to be a pretty good Mother, thankfully, since I had heard that her breed might not be too good at lambing.
Mama is keeping a wary eye on the black thing that makes weird noises and flashes.
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.
Yes, our farm has been graced with the presence of four lambs within the past few weeks. In spite of their unintentional arrival at such an early date, they seem to be thriving even in the cold. The rest are set to arrive in February…due to a final escape of the rams last fall.