Friday, May 23

In Bloom

in bloom
Originally uploaded by duanekeys
This colorful medley of plants borders our driveway and front yard area. Jennifer was happy to see the Iris blooms this year as last year a late freeze had destroyed the fragile buds. Also pictured is a Knockout Rose (about center), Evening Primrose (the pink flower on the right), and Yarrow (the yellow flowers in the foreground). Also peeking out in the background are the purple flowers of the May Night variety of Salvia.

We began our Memorial Day weekend early this year. I have vacation time and know how to use it! I've taken Thursday and Friday of this week off and will be back in the office on Tuesday of next week.

Last weekend we hauled in 3 cubic yards of compost and quickly used it all up in the vegetable garden. Yesterday we used my dad's dump trailer and hauled in another 6 cubic yards. That ought to last my wife a couple more days! ;)

The vegetable garden is coming along nicely and Jennifer is having good success at the farmer's markets "in spite of herself," she says. I plan on taking some photos today. The heirloom and organic herbs are selling quite well and this weekend some unique varieties of lettuce and radish will be ready for market. Stop by the Willard Community Farmer's Market and pick some up this Saturday!

The rest of the weekend will be interspersed with fence building, irrigation system installation, hay hauling, outdoor grilling, lawn mowing, and some occasional relaxation.

Sunday, May 4

Back Yard View

back yard view
Originally uploaded by duanekeys
Jennifer's back yard creation is starting to come together. You can see a few of the raised beds she created in the back/side yard. She has just recently finished the Missouri Master Gardener's classes (way to go, honey!). Jennifer's a go-getter and has already put in all the required volunteer time for the year! One of her classmates scoffed at her suggestion of planting in raised beds consisting of nothing but compost. Behold the evidence presented here. Take a look at more photos of plants here.

So far this year we've had to scramble to protect all these plants (and more) from frost damage on three separate occasions. Hopefully we're done with that! (Audible sound of knocking on wood)

Look close at the photo and you can see Scarface the rooster, as well as Des our Percheron mare. Scarface is of course so-named for the Great Chicken Massacre of 2007, of which Scarface survived, sans one eye. We've been diligently closing the chicken door at night and have managed to keep the flock number steady. In fact our recent arrivals (25 new chicks) now call half of the chicken house home. I divided the house in half to let the little ones acclimate to the outside temperatures. We keep a heat lamp in one side in case they get cold. I haven't had a chance to get back to the hair-brained idea of an automated chicken door. I do still imagine it coming to fruition one day.

Hot/Cold/Green House

mini greenhouse
Originally uploaded by duanekeys
I built this structure the other day... If you decide to build one, wait for the wind to die down to save yourself some frustration. I'm not sure if this is a hot-house, a cold-frame, or a mini green house. In any case it's supposed to somehow help all these little plants (you'll have to ask my wife).

To construct it I used 2x8's in fastened together in a simple rectangle. On one side I stapled weed fabric. For the hoops I attached 10' long half-inch CPVC. It was more flexible than regular half-inch PVC. We stretched plastic over the hoops and stapled through cardboard, through the plastic, and into the wooden frame. To keep the plastic from coming off the ends I used some alligator clips and rope to keep tension on the plastic from within.

Saturday, May 3

First Market

First Market
Originally uploaded by duanekeys
Jennifer and I loaded the explorer and headed to our first farmer's market (as a vendor). We were one of five vendors at the first Willard Community Farmer's Market. All in all we were pleased with the turn-out. The wind was blowing hard today, which made it a challenge but we'll be back next weekend with more and better plants!