Harvesting Black Walnuts

We harvested all these black walnuts from a friend’s place.
Dave put the bucket of walnuts in a large garbage can full of water. He agitated the mix using a dry wall mixing tool to remove the green hulls. I filled an old crock pot with some of the filtered sludge and cooked it down to make black walnut ink.
These are all nuts (minus the ones I used to make hermit cookies) after Dave dried them on a sheet all day on the driveway.

September

The white wood asters and blue stemmed goldenrod in bloom.
herbs and other potted plants
been seeing a lot of praying mantis
a closeup of the blue stemmed goldenrod
Bumper crop of peppers this year and the Moondurang tomatoes are still producing.
I’m extending the bed off the back patio. Moving columbine and white wood aster from the cracks of the patio brick.
The butternut did well, too. This photo was taken before we had a bit of frost.
The black locust tree and chestnut oak (smaller tree to right and behind) are doing very well. We planted them 4 years ago.
I love our meadow in September.
A closer look at the New York ironweed, jewelweed and boneset.
New York ironweed
blue cardinal flower in the meadow closer to the road
This little tree frog hitched a ride to the farmers market with me.
We cleaned out the mudroom and shed this month. These photos are of the shed.
purple stem aster down by the creek
Canada goldenrod also down by the creek
The aster and goldenrod down by the creek.
With Darcy’s help we harvested 56 butternut squash. We left many unripe ones in the field. They won’t ripen because we got such an early frost which made the vines die back.

Feeling Like Late Summer

We thought the cucumbers were slowing down. Wrong!

A female monarch on our blue foamflower. I wonder if we will finally see a monarch chrysalis this year. In the past, I’ve only seen males. Males have a black spot on their hindwings.

Peppers

Our first big harvest of peppers. It includes Chinese Five Color, Serrano and Jasmyn Rissie. They are all hot peppers. We also got a few sweet Jimmy Nardello and Doe Hill. They aren’t in the photo because I only canned the hot peppers.
New York Ironweed growing in our meadow down by the creek.
Jewelweed grows down there as well.
We had heavy rain again this past Saturday night. It wasn’t as bad as two weeks ago but some of the same places downtown flooded AGAIN!
This photo shows our creek much higher than normal.

August 2020

We planted this about three years ago down by the spring house. This is the first year it bloomed. Only three blooms that I could see. Hopefully, more next year.
Meadow petunias in our native garden. This plant is starting to spread itself everywhere!
Our native garden was planted in 2017 – three years ago. It is between the house and the garage. This is the way we walk to enter the house via the back door.
We added a row of blocks on either side of the driveway so no one drives off the edge where the conduits are. The other areas are a slope of rocks.
Well it didn’t take long between getting the new driveway and having a gully washer of a storm – about four inches in two hours. Many homes and businesses in the downtown area were ruined. The newspaper reported about $3 million of damage. We just had a bunch of rock moved downstream. We’ve moved some of it. Billy Young stopped by a few nights ago and said they’d move the rest when it dried up. Hmmm, that could be months from now if we continue in this wet weather pattern.
Our second batch of sauerkraut. We have our second batch of sour pickles bubbling on the kitchen counter now.
We’ve been busy with our harvest. Planning to can more tomato sauce this weekend using a mix of our tomatoes and those from the farmers market. We’ve had cool weather this week – 58 degrees last night – so I don’t know how well they will continue to do.
These are elderberries. It’s hard to tell how big they are. These are smaller than a pea. They can be half this size. The rain has kept them plump. I’m making immune boosting syrup with them.

New Driveway

A different crew came on Sunday to erect the frame for the concrete.

Summer Heat

This is a photo from earlier this month of the kitchen garden. We had fairly moderate weather until last week when we hit 90 degrees. Yesterday was a scorcher.
Sometimes Darcy needs a little quiet time too.
Smokey and I have been meeting up on the back deck every morning for some loving. I’m allergic so I just stroke him with my one hand and try not to let him rub up against my legs. I largely fail at that. I always wash afterward.
Orange and purple coneflowers
Smokey has not trained Darcy like Frida has. He usually runs away from her whereas Frida will stand her ground.

More about the driveway soon!

Cabbage!

Starting first with a foggy morning photo of the barn garden. The elderberries are blooming and the onions are ready for fresh picking. We’ll harvest all of them in about a month.
Making kraut from the two we harvested. Just cabbage, garlic scapes and salt.
This little Northern Red Oak was growing in an awkward spot so we moved it to the backyard. It doubled in size in about a month – a fast grower.

Celebrating 36 years together

This is the barn garden in the evening light. It’s been a lot of work, but it looks great and we are excited to keep it in good shape. Dave harvested lettuce and spinach early this morning. Also in this garden are onion, garlic, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. I had to include some flowers – maybe you can see the marigolds and dwarf sunflowers. Seeds for butternut squash and green beans are sprouting and we are waiting for the okra, cowpeas and bitter melon to show. I don’t think I’ve missed anything. More peppers and tomatoes in the kitchen garden along with the cabbage. I made stuffed cabbage with some of the large outer leaves last week.

Cool Spring

It’s been a beautiful, long, cool spring. While so many others have been bored during this stay at home spring due to COVID-19, I found myself busier than ever. It’s been nice being outside tending my garden with temperature mostly in the 50’s and 60’s during the day. I have a lot of photos to share.

March 31
a lone tulip among the Virginia bluebells
pear tree blossoms
We have since had a couple of frosts so I’m not sure we will have any fruit this year.
April 1
I made elderberry syrup from some elderberries I dried a couple of years ago. Hoping to regulate my immune system.
April 5
I’ve been making face masks for family, friends and Damian’s coworkers at FedEx. It takes me about one hour and 15 minutes to make two masks and I try to make two every evening. I also made my sister a couple of scrub caps because she has been involved in COVID testing at her hospital.
April 7
I guess most of my posts include a photo of Darcy and or Frida. They play though not in the way Darcy wants to. Basically, Frida stares at Darcy and twitches her tail and Darcy goes wild in a ‘why won’t you play with me’ kind of way.
April 8
Violets and dandelions – pretty weeds.
I don’t mind them in the grass – I just don’t want them in my flower beds because they take over.
Our redbuds and dogwood trees bloomed for about a month because of the cool weather. Usually, they bloom for a week or two and then we get a few days in the 80’s and the blooms quickly fade.
A wicked thunderstorm blew through our part of town early this morning. It snapped some of our pine trees.
April 16
We are trying bee keeping again. Not sure I mentioned last year that our two colonies failed. We have high hopes with this one because it seems so robust. It was nice of our friend, Sue, to give us a swarm from one of her colonies.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my potting shed this spring potting up marigolds, tomatoes, peppers and dill. These are my marigolds. Now, a month later, they are twice as big and blooming! I hope to get them in the ground this weekend when it looks like the weather will be in the 70’s and remain that way.
A cleaned up potting shed
April 24
The ferns are so pretty when they first sprout.
As are these heucheras sprouting from a mossy stump.
I thought having grow lights would be a good idea. I had stopped growing peppers and tomatoes from seeds because of moving them inside and out. Having the grow lights only meant that we had bigger and stronger plants to move. I know now that I started them too early.
May 4
I don’t often include a photo of myself.
I’m making hermit cookies to send to my mom for Mother’s Day.
May 8
I think I’ve mentioned before that I love columbine because it looks good from Spring to Fall. It’s really spreading itself around the garden – and patio – so much so that I’ve dug some up from between the brick and transplanted it along with some heuchera and woodland stonecrop into the front yard flower beds.
May 10
Mother’s Day cookout
May 14
Smokey Roo wanted to be included, too!
This rocker is on the top floor of the mudroom. There are two rockers up there and no one sits on them other than the cats.
May 15
A little painting I did in my Perpetual Nature Journal. According to the Humane Society “opossums can be beneficial for your garden, eating snails, slugs, insects and sometimes even small rodents. They’ll even clean up spilled garbage and fruit that has fallen off trees.”