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Old 07-01-2016, 04:24 PM   #1
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Default July 2016 Garden and Homestead Thread

We've gotten a little rain but its still hot and dry here in the Ozarks. There are big things happening here at the farm. Hard work is starting to pay off.

Blueberries, Raspberries and Peaches are coming in! I'm in heaven LOL
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:06 AM   #2
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Had the most wonderful help today! Got a bunch of T-posts in and the ground rod for electric, did some work on the mushroom yard and pulled honey. THAT's a great day!!
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:14 PM   #3
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Another big day to day. Got off to a slow start this morning, just felt like I didn't get enough sleep. That's a bad beginning LOL. Got my chores done then off to get the outdoor kitchen propane situation up to day and squared away. While that was happening I stopped in and picked up some fencing supplies. After that grabbed a BBQ for lunch then off to Max's farm just to check on things. On the way back picked up 120 lbs of beef tallow (prime grass fed south poll out of a couple of beefs that were graded choice. That's a big deal!). I had to do some finagling but I managed to get it into a refrigerator. Tomorrow I'll grind and render it.

Peaches are in and I've got to put up some of them tomorrow along with make some stock so I can make room in the freezer. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow as well. I've also got to work up about 60 lbs of honey. This could get interesting LOL.
I've been working on the outside kitchen area and that will help.

The heat has been oppressing and seems to take the energy right out of me. So tonight I'm moving toward taking a nice cool bath before bedtime and hoping to get some good rest. There's a big front moving in and that always seems to keep me on edge. However, if its raining this weekend I may get all these projects caught up!
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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The farm now has a round pen on the way, a stack of cedar posts for the pole barn, saw tooth oak seedlings, a stack of nice 3 gal buckets, office computers, choice grass fed beef tallow for rendering, honey to jar,, reworked hives and a good start on a section of the mushroom yard. It's been an amazing week supported by amazing friends.

See the Dream, Live the Dream and Bee Happy!
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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It has been raining every day for weeks now, and the forecast continues with more rain. It finally stayed dry long enough to get the lawn mowed, pull some weeds, and trim some bushes before it started raining again this evening. At least there is no need to water here this summer.
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:07 PM   #6
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Oh, blessed day! We actually saw about 20 minutes of rain earlier this evening. Not enough, not nearly enough but anything is better than nothing. How bad is it? Our region hosts the last several locks of the historic Rideau Canal system. The water at this end comes from local streams that must be replenished by rain & snow. It's so "droughty" right now, they're having to measure water levels twice daily in the lock system. Right now, any vessel with a draught of more than 5' can't come through & without substantial rain & soon, that may have to be lowered to 3 feet. Trees, even the largest ones, are starting to look very stressed. Shore lines are down, local streams & ponds have dried right up & it's having negative effects on peoples' health - especially all the dust in the air.

But, balancing that out; we've seen wall to wall sunshine for over 2 months now; very few days with any amount of cloud.

Our veggie patch is simply bursting with promising abundance. The 2 tiny tomato plants I planted some 6 weeks ago have turned into an 18 square foot jungle of potential tomatoey goodness. One Early Girl & One Better Boy are going to produce enough tomatoes to feed an army. I'll be eating fresh, sun warmed tomatoes until I can't stand the sight of them; will be able to do down tons of tomato sauce. It seems every few days, I'm hammering in more & larger stakes & supporting branches laden with baby tomatoes. My 3 pepper plants are promising an equal bounty. I've eaten the one early pepper they produced. I haven't counted how many babies are coming along but there have to be at least 10 & this is early in our growing season. My onions & carrots are going to be just as plentiful.

And oh my Lord, the perennial border! Right now I have 3 different cultivars of day lilies in bloom with another 3 coming along nicely. They should start flowering next week. My various campanulas are madly flowering, save for one species which is crammed with buds - may have to stake those so they don't fall under their own weight.

Geraniums, coreopsis, heuchera, hosta, dianthus, astilbe, daisies, violas, sedum, roses, perennial cornflower, delphinium, larkspur, scabiosa & achillea are all in various stages of bloom with veronica, black eyed susans about to start flowering.

True, I'm having to water every other night on my building's designated days. Even though I do it properly, watering nice & deeply, the constant wind from the south sweeps right across the border & is very drying. It's so bad this year, all the mulch is doing is letting go 48 hours between watering without anything dying. I'll admit, some plants that normally start dying back 'early' - late summer as opposed to fall, are already wilting & shrivelling up. But between the sun, warm temps & watering, the garden has never looked this good. It makes weeding & dead heading fun, rather than a chore.

I have some plant re-arranging to do, (who doesn't?), late in the summer. I have some plants close to past their first big burst of bloom & with conditions so good, I can cut them back almost to the ground & SHOULD, not only get a fresh crop of pretty foliage but some re-bloom. If conditions are right, some perennials that bloom in early summer will give you a second, smaller flush of flowers in the late summer & that's what I'm aiming for.

I may start on that tomorrow afternoon - the sun shouldn't be too strong & for the first time in weeks, it won't be too hot. I've sort of lost track of some of my stepping stones, which means I've not been able to get into the back of my garden for weeks - there have to be weeds back there! Plus, it will make staking up some plants far easier.

I'm sure not complaining this summer - it was too cool, too wet last year. I suppose it was great for my plants' root structure but the beauty is above ground & this year, conditions have been perfect.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:48 PM   #7
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I'm hoping someone here knows about peonies. Ours were beautiful this year and now we are left with the stalks and they look messy Is it ok to mow them down or should I leave them until this fall?
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Old 07-10-2016, 01:24 PM   #8
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Mow them down - the root stock is unbelievably tough & they'll happily come back next spring. If you want to be sure, water them first with a mix of water & liquid fertilizer concentrate, wait a week - to let that get into the roots well, then mow them down.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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Swamped with work, life, and garden produce! I didn't get my heirloom paste tomatoes started this year from seed, I was just too busy. So, I threw in 12 early girl and 6 roma plants from the nursery. None of them are doing very well, I haven't eaten one ripe tomato off of them and it's already mid-July! Fortunately, my 12 grape tomato plants which I plant every year in the front flower beds have been going gangbusters for the past two months so we've been eating lots of those in our salads. I need to start dehydrating them soon. I love to halve them and sprinkle them with italian seasoning before tossing them in the dehydrator. They are so good eaten plain or reconstituted and put into recipes.

Squash?!? I planted some from seed a week before Easter and then left town for a week. Nothing came up, so after two weeks, I bought some zucchini and yellow squash plants from the nursery and put them in. Then, naturally, the bloody seeds germinated. So I now have NINE enormous beautiful Summer squash plants that are vomiting out squash on a daily basis. Including one that I missed, until it grew as big as a kayak! That one is going to my friends chickens! We'll see how motivated I am today. I might throw together a batch of zucchini relish and can it. I need to see what mood my 91-yo mil is in. Even though I give many of her friends jars of jam and pickled things for Christmas, she gets ridiculously annoyed when I take over the kitchen with my canning projects. So, I try to can late at night or on afternoons when she is out of the house.

Basil - good night. My plants are going gangbusters this year. I just finished washing up a sink full of the stuff. This batch is bound for a vat of pesto that I'll freeze into meal sized portions. My family is getting tired of pesto covered zucchini noodles, so off to the freezer it goes!

Garlic - my heirloom garlic did extremely well this year so I'm well-stocked for the rest of the year! The largest heads have been put aside and I'll plant those in the Fall. My red onions didn't do well at all. I don't know why, but you win some, you lose some.

Elderberries - these are not native to my area. I planted them from seed 10 years ago. Wow. They have taken off! I need to go pick a bunch more. I usually pick them, wash them, and toss them, stems and all, into the freezer. When they've finished ripening and are all frozen, I de-stem them as much as possible, cook them down, let them cool, and then run them through my juicer and turn them into jelly and ice-cube tray juice squares for smoothies. I plan on going head on into jelly mode in August when my musical finishes.

Misc. - all the other usual suspects are growing great! My late season figs are coming on with a bang, my other herbs including my self-sown celery are doing well and being used regularly. I'm letting the ducks have the kale and the stupid cabbage worm/moths that attack it in the mid-summer, and my New-Zealand spinach is in a battle for world domination with my lemon balm, although the peppermint is quietly waging a war of it's own with the lawn!

Sorry I haven't been posting much, but I LOVE reading about all of your gardening adventures! Thank you all for posting!
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:32 AM   #10
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D came over with two 4 and 5 yo girls that she watches while their dad works. They really like coming to Bee Happy Farm LOL. She did some office computer set up work while the girls watch Disney movies (Beauty and the Beast and All Dogs go to Heaven) and I worked up honey. Then friends from another farm came over for a look see and would like to schedule a work day. That would be very good!

Then the Mushroom Associate came by and cut up more logs. The mushroom yard is coming along thanks to him and P, the brilliant, hippy dude veteran<<<I really like that kid and I think we'll most likely be seeing some posts from him here as he just signed and is lurking. In two weeks we'll be plugging logs. I'm really excited about getting the Mushroom yard started.

After that I did chores and continued working on the honey. Because I don't use foundations it takes a little longer and requires a little finesse. I have an invention in my mind to resolve that problem. Until then I use the crush and strain method and have to admit there's something fun about getting to run your hands through thick, sticky honey. I think its akin to mud pies.

J came home and bless her heart, did a bit of cleaning in the loft including the bathroom. How nice! She also pulled me a nice bath and as soon as I was done with the comb honey I took full advantage of it....Manhattan in hand.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:32 AM   #11
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Yesterday morning P and I gathered mushroom logs and moved them into the mushroom yard. Actually, I pointed and P moved the logs. Then we fenced in the yard and hung a gate. Took the mushroom plugs out of the refrigerator and have them settling at room temperature to be ready for plugging next Wednesday.

After that, we laid stone flagging around the water spigot and stone bench. Actually, I sat on the bench and pointed while P laid the stone. Then we moved an iron planter. Well actually, P moved the iron planter and I helped decide where it would go.

Then we began building a tree well with some stone that's been piled up next to the tree for a number of years. Once again, I directed traffic while P did all the real work. I'm determined to get this hand/wrist thing better so rest is the main thing on my agenda. P also unloaded feed for me.

It was a very productive day in spite of the heat and humidity. We were smart about it and took several breaks but we were so soaked with sweat that coming inside was like walking into a freezer so we did a lot of our resting on the porch under the fan.

After a nice bath last night I got a call from my DIL who was at the ER with their youngest all broken out in hives. Poor little thing. Something she ate perhaps? Anyway, I put myself together and headed into town to help out. Got to spend some nice time with GD#1. She's growing up so quickly! Got home after midnight and slept for a couple of hours before the dogs started raising cane. Its a full moon and lots of things are creeping around out there because of it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:19 PM   #12
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This weekend I have some fun things happening. I will be learning how to drive a bulldozer AND I'm getting a tractor! WAAAA HOOO
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:32 PM   #13
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OK, so the tractor didn't make it but will be here next weekend....I hope...

The dozer got put off until today AND I PASSED MUSTER! I get to drive the dozer BWAHAHAHA!
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:21 AM   #14
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Girls and their toys...
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:33 AM   #15
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finally starting to get some ripe tomatoes to eat yay! not many yet but soon........
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:33 PM   #16
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300 mushroom plugs in logs this morning plus one pig in a poke to be delivered at 3 It's been a good day so far. Yesterday was a good day as well. Finished up a honey job and started some blackberry honey wine!
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