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July 2, 2015

Hello, July!






Good morning!  It feels like it has been forever since I last posted, and, wow, have I missed you all.  I hope you are all enjoying a lovely start to your summer...hard to believe June is already behind us. All is well at Front Forty Farm; it has just been a super busy place these past few weeks.  When I sat down to write this morning, I was overwhelmed with the thought of where to begin.  There is so much to catch up on.  I decided to simplify the task, and make a list of the goings on here on the farm.

1.  The garden is growing, growing, growing with fresh greens on the table almost every night...chard, kale, lettuce, arugula, and radishes with fresh herb dressing.  I'm looking forward to taking photos and posting a more in depth garden post for July very soon (I can't believe I missed posting the whole month of June).

2.  The apple trees, elderberry bushes, and raspberries that we planted a month ago are thriving. Some of the plants were a bit shocked and took some time settling in, and we were afraid that a few would not survive the transplant, but all is good now.  Every single plant is green and flourishing. One of our established apple trees, however, has taken an unfortunate hit.  It blossomed beautifully this spring (the first time for this apple tree), but shortly after blossoming the leaves stopped growing and started turning brown and dry.  We aren't sure exactly what happened...still trying to investigate and keeping our eyes out for signs of new life.

3.  Work continues on the new addition, and with summer here, the work moves from the inside to the outside.  Siding and trim are in order, and the porch wall is the first to get a fresh layer of cedar shingles...and, oh, it is beginning to look so nice.

4.  Little #6 underwent a cardiac catheterization a few weeks ago, and we are now in the process of making decisions regarding treatment for confirmed for pulmonary hypertension. We are thankful that the procedure went well, as it was quite concerning to all since our little fighter is more fragile than she would ever let on.

5.  Summer soccer and camps have begun.  

6. The school books have been laid aside for the next few months, and we are all enjoying a much needed break (I think Mama is enjoying it as much as the Littles).  A summer reading program has begun, however, and it is such a joy to walk to the porch and see three little boys engrossed in their mysteries, 

7.  Trips to the coast, visits with a childhood friend, sipping iced tea and coffee on the porch, eating watermelon....it has begun!  Summer is here!






June 3, 2015

Apple Blossoms and Bargain Posies



Two years ago, in my first blog post, I expressed excitement over our very first apple blossoms, and, although we only harvested a handful of apples that year, we were over-joyed that our trees finally produced apples. This year the branches of our apples trees were covered in masses of delicate, highly aromatic, pink and white blossoms.  We were delighted with the abundance of flowers, but were a bit concerned by the fact that neither Hubby nor I had seen any bees on the property (we simply must move forward with our dream of getting bee hives).  All those blossoms and nothing to pollinate them...until one afternoon, when I was walking past the trees to my garden, I heard the beautiful buzzing sound of bees hard at work.  After that, we also noticed the hummingbirds flitting among the branches, tasting of the lovely apple blossom nectar. We do hope that all those blossoms develop into many, many apples.
If you came to visit me right now, you would find our porch full of flowers, both annuals and perennials, waiting to be planted in various flower gardens around the yard.  Little #3 and I went flower shopping last weekend and fell upon some amazing deals.  You know how I love finding a bargain.
We found two hanging pots of petunias marked down to $3.00 each, 75% off their original price because of broken pots. No problem!  We purchased them both, and I am simply going to re-pot them, or find a spot in one of the flower gardens for these lovely posies.
We also found six packs of yellow pansies for $.45 each, so we piled ten packs into our cart, but when we got to the check-out we found out that they were only $.25 each.  We grabbed four more packs.  Front Forty Farm is going to be swimming in a sea of yellow this summer!  We also picked up a few perennials that had been marked way down...an azalea bush for $3.50, six hyacinths for $.50 each, creeping phlox and a few others.  Little #3 and I felt like children in a candy store as we piled the bargain plants into our cart.  (Our excitment was a bit dampened when we arrived home to find that Hubby and the older boys had tramped through poison ivy while checking out a potential swimming spot at the river, but that is another story for another day).

These colorful posies have been calling to me to plant them, but the vegetable garden has taken priority the past few weeks. Only a few vegetables remain that need planting, so I am going to reward myself this weekend with a bit of flower gardening.  After a few days of cold, rainy weather, sun is predicted for the end of the week, and I am very excited to plant my bargain posies.

May 29, 2015

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

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May 27, 2015

Don't you just love a playhouse?









I have such fond memories of the playhouse in the barn at my grandparent's house...my little mailbox (with a daily letter from Grandma in it), the braided rug and rocking chair, the spice tins (with small amounts of spices and herbs left in the bottom of each), oatmeal boxes, the doll cradle...oh, the memories! Even the smell of that little playhouse remains burned in my memory.  It was such a happy place, and many, many childhood days were spent in there.  I have always wanted to create a space like that for my little ones, and the opportunity finally presented itself.  A little, unused shed, next to my gardening shed, was just begging to be turned into a playhouse, so this past weekend, spider webs were brushed down; the floor was swept; curtains were hung, and bits and bobs were added to roughly furnish a kitchen. Hubby hung an old mailbox that he found, and a window box with nasturtiums and marigolds added a bit of cottage charm.  It is a work in progress, and I will continue to search for and save things to be added to the "pantry" shelf.  The Littles, I know, will be more than willing to add touches of their own as well. I do hope that they grow to love this little space, create many memories, and find as much solace and contentment in it as I did in mine.

May 22, 2015

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

********************


May 20, 2015

May Garden














It's that time of year again (finally) when every possible moment is spent outside planting, pruning, fertilizing, mulching, and whatever else it takes to prepare our yard and gardens for the season of growing.  We purchased four more apple trees ( McIntosh, Wolf River, Russet, and Honeycrisp) for our small, yet ever-growing orchard. Two more grape vines, ten raspberry bushes, and two elderberries were added to our fruit bearing group.  The garden soil has been tilled and organic matter, from our three year old pile of composted manure, was added. How rewarding it was to finally dig into the rich mound of worm-filled, black compost!
I'm ahead of the game this year, as far as planting goes, because I usually don't begin until Memorial Day weekend, but everything except the cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and a few other tender seedlings have been planted, with the radishes, arugula, and other lettuces already poking up through the ground.  I have, again, switched things up a bit in the gardens.  The cucumbers did poorly last year (and the three years before that), so I am going back to my original method of laying down black plastic to warm the soil before planting and covering the seeds with row cover until the plants have blossomed.  When I used this method, I picked bushels of cukes and made more pickles than we could eat in a year. I wish I had never stopped using this method, but in an attempt to find better ways of gardening, I had to experiment...oh, well! I am hoping for a bumper crop of cukes this year.  I planted onion seedlings this year instead of sets because I didn't have much success with the sets, and all the farmers and gardeners that I have spoken to said seedlings are the best way to go so... I'm giving seedlings a try.  The tomatoes will be grown in a different garden this year as well as the corn, and I'm dedicating more space to beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage.  I'm excited about the changes I have made, and I'm hoping they are ones that help fill our bellies, freezers, and pantry shelves.
I love this time of year. Everything is so alive...the flowers are blooming; the trees are budding and are alive with the activity of returning birds; the cliff swallows have come back to their nests under the eaves; the "peepers" fill the evening air with their music, and a bittern calls for a mate from the nearby pond.  It is such a lovely time of year, and I want to soak up every bit of it I can.

May 8, 2015

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

********************


This moment was captured by my daughter.  If you want to see more of this little guy and his puppy friend, check out her photography page.


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