Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Cool Wet Summer

I can see from the window in front of my computer sunflowers swaying in the breeze, dew on the unusually green grass (it's been wet) and a peek of red tomatoes waiting to be picked. I feel very fortunate this morning to have a bit of property on which to indulge myself in various hobbies.
Of all the puttering around my yard this year, I would have to say growing cut flowers has been the most satisfying. Perhaps living in the country and having so many fresh vegetables available to me has me wondering why I put forth the effort with my small kitchen garden. I do so love the social aspect of a farmers market even more than I enjoy the satisfaction of going out to my garden to harvest a green pepper that I myself have grown. Next year, it's all flowers.

Some of the flowers I planted from seed were disappointingly mislabeled. I've found that to be the case several times, especially when I buy my seeds at the big box stores. A Zinnia variety I planted for cutting turned out to be a perfect bedding variety, short and stubby. All the varieties of Sunflowers I have planted have been just a joy, they have a long vase life, stiff stems, and go well with any other flower!

The biggest bang for the buck most certainly comes from the Oriental Lilies I wrote about earlier. I will definitely plant more of them.

Giving a bouquet of fresh, field grown flowers to friends is such a good year I'll take better notes and enlarge that garden!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh Henny!

I'm quite new to the hen business so every new thing is a new experience for me.
I started this spring with six hens of four different breeds of chickens and I must say, my two buff orpingtons are the sweetest of the bunch. They both love to be held, coo sweetly, and are beautiful as well.
Since it does not really matter to me how many eggs I collect every day I pay no attention to who lays what..but I did begin to wonder where, oh where "Henny" my light colored Orpinton was laying her eggs. One morning this past week, while playing in the yardI came across this little stash in my ornamental grass...there they are! They next morning I watched as Henny went to add to the bunch..but, apparently a racoon family found the eggs first and made themselves quite at home. They neatly had cracked the eggs and licked them clean. I certainly would have loved to watch that!

Such a Sweet Smell

Last year about this time I stopped at my favorite nursery to see what was up and I could not resist purchasing the beautiful 'StarGazer' Oriental Lily...the potted plants were blooming so beautifully and the smell was divine. I purchased three of the plants, and this year they came back so nicely I think I will add more to my collection.
Fall is the perfect time to plant these from bulbs and most of the garden catalogs only ship the bulbs in October..this is a much more inexpensive way to go if you love this flower, so I will be placing my order soon.
The neat thing about raising these flowers for cutting is that if you pick them at the right stage they will give you several weeks of enjoyment in the vase. I've read that cutting them while the first two buds are swollen and colored, but not yet open you can enjoy them for a long time.
Oriental lilies usually are either pink or white, and bloom in the late summer, a great thing because when you enjoy the flower you can remind yourself to plant more soon! Asian lilies are more brightly colored, less aromatic, and smaller in size than the Orientals, but both make excellent cut flowers. If you plant both Asian lilies which bloom early in the season, and Oriental lilies which bloom in late summer, you can enjoy these flowers all summer long!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Back!

...and it feels so good!
It's been a busy and exciting few months around here as both my daughters were married. I put much of my life on hold just so I could totally enjoy the time, and it was SUCH a good time! Mike and I now have two wonderful sons and we couldn't be happier.
But now, please indulge me while I go on (and on) about my chickens. They have grown into little women while I was off doing other things, and boy are they beautiful. They are all laying eggs now, and although a chicken farmer would laugh at me, I find it just amazing..and I have a neat little thing going on in my garage now.
Of course, Ellie was first to lay an egg. She did it in my wheelbarrow in the garage while I was working in the garden. Ellie is first at everything. First to get out of her baby chick cage and roam the house, first to dare to peck at my dog Gracie, first to try a green bean.
I was quite excited she wanted to lay an egg right by me, but I didn't want her following me around with my wheelbarrow so I put a big rubbermaid storage box in my garage with some cedar shavings, about one step from my back door, and this is where they are now laying!! Perfect! I have five eggs by 10 am every morning. Henny likes to lay her egg in her little coop like a good chicken.
This is what is looks like in the morning. One laying, one waiting and Cinnamon there for decoration. It's ingenious if I say so myself.

So, Bingo...this is what we get! THREE double yokers...that's a lot of protein! Thanks girls..