Summer is On!

It’s June on Thirsty Goose Farm and you will find me buzzing all over the place trying to keep up with summer’s frantic pace on a farm.  Let’s just hit a few highlights

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First few rows of the garden in May

Speaking of buzzing around- the two bee hives appear to be flowing with pollen and busy bees. We had a bumpy start but they are making up for lost time!

So far, three baby chicks for my first broody hen (a Buff Orpington).  She has proven to be an excellent mama, staying on the nest a week after the first little chicken nugget (as my cousin Paul so aptly referred to them) hatched.  We lost a couple during the process, but for a first time experience for momma hen and farmer, I think we did pretty well.  Grace has a broody Barred Rock now, so on to round two!

Our new summer addiction is fresh herbal tea- we have lemon balm, several mints and pineapple sage plants growing like crazy.  I just pinch off about one cup of stems and leaves, place them in a gallon glass jar and pour 1-2 quarts of boiling water on top, steep 15 minutes, remove the herbs and fill the jar up with cold water.  We keep it in the fridge and find it quenches the thirst of hard farm labor quite satisfactorily!

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pineapple sage tucked in the calendula that so kindly reseeded itself this year
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lemon balm gone crazy.  supposed to be really good on an upset stomach

We succumbed to building some much needed fences for the geese and turkeys.  I really enjoyed their presence (most of the time), but the mess and chaos was taking a toll.  This was a great lesson to apply in other areas of my life as well.  It’s important to count the cost (time, energy, joy, money) in order to be a good steward.  Sometimes a simple boundary line can create much needed peace.  So my spoiled babies can’t follow my every move, but we still spend time together and my herbs and flowers are finally able to grow and the porch is staying clean.  Hallelujah!

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perennial flower bed getting started (again, after the geese pulled all the bulbs out)

Today I finished planting (I’ve been saying that for weeks, but I keep finding spaces that need filling and interesting seeds I want to try.)  The final garden installments included peanuts from my neighbor Alan, along with his favorite honeydew and watermelon, 75 feet of sweet potato plants, tomatillos and a second corn patch (I plant 2 patches, 1 month apart) with watermelon and pumpkin between the rows and pole beans on the outside.  We focused on companion planting this year (along with lots of sunflowers, nasturtium, marigolds and calendula mixed in to attract beneficials and repel the bad guys) and also scattering the squash and tomato plants so hopefully the squash bugs and tomato diseases don’t completely wipe us out.

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new corn patch in front, 1 month old corn in back.  Paw paw tree

Last fall’s cover crop of hairy vetch, radishes and annual rye did fairly well, considering the drought.  I just chopped it all down and planted in the roots- the rye was a wonderful organic mass contributor!  Today I ran the weed eater and chopped the cover crop down in new garden space we created last fall with cardboard and wood chip mulch.  Then I scattered buckwheat for a summer cover crop.  It’s a quick crop and we will allow it to go to seed and reseed again before using the space this fall.  My local feed store farmer friend has been really kind and gives me broken bags of cover crop seeds and refuses to charge me!  We always have interesting conversation- dogs, weeds, crops, manure.  He has a history degree and I a nursing degree and we both defected to play in the dirt:)

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new garden area, cover crop chopped down and buckwheat planted

Well, I didn’t completely defect.  Last month I was blessed to start a great nursing job in a small community hospital. I work an early shift in the recovery room, Monday- Friday with 1 night a week of call and 1 weekend every 7 weeks.  Great hours for an RN!  I can be weeding in the garden by 4:00 every afternoon:)  It’s been a challenge, adding a job to an already full schedule, but my kids are great helpers and we are managing fine.  I’m really happy to be at the bedside again, and the crew I work with is top notch.  I suppose this was an apt time to begin reading “Rhythms of Rest”, a  book my sweet friend Shellie mailed to me.  These seasons of fulfillment and fruit also require wisdom!  IMG_4517

We finally have quackers on the farm!   I’ve been dreaming about this for a year, but it sorta happened spontaneously.  Last weekend I was frustrated to see all the damage those nasty grasshoppers have done to the cruciferous vegetables and decided to try duck pest control services:)  I found four month old Welsh Harlequin/ Indian Runner ducks on Craigslist and bought three (hoping I’d have a male/female pair as we can’t discern sexes yet)    We put a kennel in the garden space for safe night time keeping and a big kiddie pool for bathing- they have lots of room to roam and trees for shade.  They are super shy, but appear to be happily foraging all day.  Good bye grasshoppers!!

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the three amigos

We also added a new dog.  Not that we needed another attention seeking, hair shedding, couch hogging creature, but my daughter needed the companionship, especially with my new job taking me away from home.  Juneau is a sweet three year old hound/mutt who just had a litter of puppies before being found on the side of the road and taken to the pound.  She’s very sweet and fitting in nicely.

We have two new residents arriving this month (the human kind lol) and a steady stream of visitors coming through.  Three weekends in a row we had Alaska friends visiting!  Our biweekly community potlucks are well attended and everyone relishes the sweet fellowship shared at the table.  The rain has been regularly refreshing us and the sun nourishes the plethora of flourishing plant life.  We are walking into a summer of joy and fruit after a long season of ploughing, struggle and waiting.  God is always good, even when our circumstances aren’t, and I hold on to that truth.  But there are evenings like this one when my heart can’t contain His love towards me and His beautiful creation practically forces me to worship!

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the sunrises and sunsets are always beautiful here!

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