Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

Seriously. What happened to Spring? A few weeks ago, people were breaking out the shorts and the sandals. Everyone was certain Spring was here to stay. But Mother Nature has her own sense of timing, doesn't she?

This reminds me of a joke that I remember from elementary school. It goes like this: If March winds bring April showers, and April showers bring May flowers . . . what do May flowers bring?

PILGRIMS!!! (Get it? May flowers = Mayflowers?)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tulip town

I had to stop by Earth Fare on my way home from work today, and was greeted by this lovely scene when I entered the shopping center. Being that I'm still not adjusted to Spring coming so early (after living in Indiana for 14 years), this was quite a shock to my eyes. I couldn't stop looking at it. Lovely!

Cherry blossoms

Spring in North Carolina is here, and it's beautiful. Wow. Just wow. There are no other words.

So-called sour weed

So-called sour weed.
As we were driving to the farm last Friday evening, we passed several fields filled with a pretty red plant. Later, I asked my Mom what it was, and she said it was called sour weed. To which I replied: "Oh, is that what sourwood honey comes from?" Quickly, she quipped: "No, that's sour weed, honey. Not sourwood honey."

The thing is, when I looked up sour weed on the internet, I found all kinds of references to something else. Some of y'all will probably know what I'm referring to. LOL! Anyway, I can't seem to find out what this stuff in the photo is. Could it be red sorrel, perhaps?

If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

My tractor's sexy

The view from the tractor seat.
Um, maybe not.

Actually, this is my Dad's tractor, an International 140 IH. We don't know the year because he bought it used (very used), but it was made sometime between 1958 and 1979. It's very basic, and a little scary to drive because the brakes are weird. It's pretty busted up as you can see, but it gets the job done. And it's RED, so you know I like it.

I learned how to plow last Saturday. Now, this may surprise you that I didn't know how to plow already, being that I'm a country girl and all. But Dad is very particular with his tractor and doesn't let just anyone drive it. :-)

For the record, my row was rather straight. Everyone was impressed. Maybe I could have a career in farming after all?

Here's the dirt

Let me tell you, this is a hard row to hoe.

We returned to the farm last weekend, really excited to see what was coming up after the planting of seeds on 28 February. There was a hard rain just a few days after we planted, so we weren't sure what we'd find. Fortunately, the rain didn't seem to have much of an impact on anything except the lettuce. We'll have lettuce - just not all we planted. Oh, and then there was the case of the missing spinach. As in . . .  the spinach was totally gone, wiped clean. Deer tracks all around revealed clues as to its disappearance. My Mom had warned us that deer love spinach, and she was right.

So I guess we won't be growing spinach.

In the meantime, the carrots are looking fantastic. They'll need thinning in a few weeks. And the baby bok choy . . . wow, if that keeps up, it's going to be beautiful. Everything else is on target.

We planted a few more things on Saturday:
  • 20 pepper plants (cayenne, green bell, red bell, yellow bell, hot banana, and sweet banana)
  • 100 sweet onion plants 
  • An entire, very long row of sweet corn
  • A half row of golden beets
  • A half row of early peas (which really, we should have planted two weeks ago)
You can see in the photo above just how big the "garden" is and how long the rows are. But we haven't even planted half of it yet!

Everyone's pooped after a long day on the farm . . . even Chelsea.
So much work yet to be done, but we're enjoying it. No complaints . . . yet!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring frolic

Cody, just moments before the frolicking started.
Today was a perfect 73F/23C sunny Carolina day, so we took the dogs for a walk. At first, we went to Sedgefield Park (a small neighborhood park between Park Road and South Boulevard) but we wanted to go for a long walk, so we walked all around the Sedgefield neighborhood.

At one point, we came across a yard with lush green "winter" grass (sort of like the kind we had in our yard in Indiana). Chelsea decided to sit down and rest a bit. At first, Cody wasn't so sure. But then he plopped down on the grass . . . and it felt so good, he rolled around in it. Over. And over. And over!

Chelsea says it's time for a break.
Cody lets it all hang out.
In case you're wondering what the pink stuff in the grass is, it's petals from a tulip tree. They peaked last week and then we got a hard rain, so lots of the petals fell off the trees.

Yes, it's spring here in Carolina! And we're (almost) as excited about it as the dogs are. :-)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Afternoon @ the lake

This afternoon we drove up to Lake Norman to see some of my extended family. My cousin Bill retired recently, so we celebrated that with a retirement piƱata, which is sure to be the next big thing at Baby Boomer retirement parties. The weather was perfect, so we were able to relax on the patio overlooking the lake . . . while wearing borrowed straw hats (because it was a straw hat kind of day).

BUT BEFORE we went up to Lake Norman, I met cousins Ginny & Tom at a South End deli called The Common Market. I'd read about some of their sandwiches being "Best in Charlotte" in Charlotte Magazine, and was not disappointed. I had the black-eyed peas and spinach soup and the mid-eastern wrap, two of the many vegan items on the menu.

It was a great day! Now I have to go set my clocks up an hour. Hope y'all don't forget to do the same.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First planting

"Natchez Thornless" Blackberry, planted Saturday, 26 February 2011.
My friends back in Indiana might be surprised to learn that it's planting season for some things here already.

In fact, things are blooming here already: daffodils, Bradford pears, cherry trees, forsythia . . . and allergy season has begun. :-)

Anyway, last weekend we planted a whole bunch of stuff in our gi-normous garden, including:
  • Zesty salad mesclun mix
  • Spicy salad lettuce mix
  • Red sails lettuce
  • Jericho lettuce
  • Tennis ball lettuce (seeds from Monticello!)
  • Bright Lights Swiss chard
  • Five color Silverbeet Swiss chard
  • Broccoli raab (rapini)
  • Red core Chantenay carrots
  • Red Russian kale
  • Bloomsdale spinach
  • Gourmet beets blend
  • Detroit dark beets
  • White stem Bok Choy
  • Collards
  • Rutabagas
  • Red potatoes
  • Gold potatoes
We also transplanted some grape vines, and planted three new vines: Concord seedless, Reliance seedless, and Marquis seedless.

I planted seven blackberry bushes - three Natchez thornless, and three Arapaho thornless. (Believe me, you want thornless blackberry bushes. If you like your skin.)

Last but not least . . . I planted a dwarf Seckel pear tree and a Red Fuji apple tree.

Mom says we should have potatoes by Easter.

I just bought a whole bunch of Jiffy peat pellets. This weekend I'm hoping to get seeds started for a medicinal herb garden. I'm also hoping to buy some herb seedlings for a kitchen herb garden. Let's hope the good weather continues!

One final note for this entry: we ordered 25 Rhode Island Red baby chicks! They should arrive in about 3 to 4 weeks. Exciting!

Big sky sunset

We have some big skies at the farm. I took this photo with my iPhone last weekend. Heh, if you think this is cool, you should see the sky at night. When it's clear out, you can see billions of stars!

Baby candy

"Baby Jesus" candy from El Salvador. They taste kind of like orange circus peanut candy. I brought three packs back as souvenirs/gifts. Major hit. :-)