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Around the Farm

The past few weeks have been busy here on our little farm.  We added three female ducks to our mixed flock last fall and with the arrival of spring our male ducks suddenly realized they are male ducks. Those big bad boy ducks have been chasing the female ducks unmercifully, and sometimes they even turn their attention to our chickens.  I started putting containers of water up on the tree so that the chickens can climb up there to drink, which gets them away from the bad boy ducks.  Fortunately there are lots of climbing spaces in their chicken run so that they can get away from the ducks.

chickens and ducks on our farm

One funny moment happened in the chicken coop the other day.  Three hens were spotted trying to lay an egg in one nest.  They have many other nests to choose from, but they all wanted the one on the corner.

three hens in one nest

Our garden is filling in.  That's garlic there in the image below.  There are about a thousand heads and bulbs of garlic growing out there.  Every evening I've been harvesting a couple of the smaller garlic bulbils that I planted, which have grown as big as a full clove of garlic.  

our garden

Below you can see some of the garlic bulbils growing, there in the middle row.  Their green stems look like blades of grass.  The stems are actually called "scapes" and they are edible.  We chop up the scapes and put them on salad or mix them into any other dish (stir fry, spaghetti, taco meat) right at the end, when you might stir in other fresh green herbs like cilantro or basil. They are tender and have a very mild garlic flavor.

garlic bulbils

Pictured below are the flowers that are growing on our fava bean plants.  This is the first year we've grown this type of bean. They have such interesting flowers along their stems.

fava bean flower

fava bean flower

Peas are growing with some of our tomatoes this year.  I've noticed that the peas are helping to support the tomatoes as the vines wrap around everything.

peas and tomatoes growing together

We put big rocks around the base of our tomato plants to help keep the plants warm.  Our weather dips down into the 40s and 50s through June which makes it hard on these summer loving plants.  I noticed that the rocks really helped the plants become established despite having been planted outside before the temperatures had warmed up very much.

rocks around base of tomato plant

Our beehives are there in the distance in the photo below.  The bees have been filling in their frames and so it was time to add a second brood box on top of the first one.

beehives in our garden

frames in a beehive

We pried off some of the burr comb that the bees had built over the top of the frames and on the lid.  

burr comb
The bees have been buzzing around the flowers in our front yard.  We've enjoyed spending time outside watching the bees at work.

flowers by our front door

irises in our yard

more flowers by our front door


Above is some of the borage that is growing in our front yard.  Borage is an herb that tastes like cucumber. The leaves and flowers are both edible. Read more from our blog about borage.

Recently a doe with two fawns came through our yard.  She left one of the fawns near the shop while she foraged in the horse pasture.  We snuck up to the little one to take a couple photos.

doe and fawns

fawn left by shop while mom forages

sleeping fawn

The community barn cat, Barney, has been spending a lot of time on our property.  We've been feeding him canned cat food because he was looking really bony after this last winter.  He's starting to fill in better and has more energy.  He spends a lot of time hunting on our property, probably to show his gratitude for the canned kitty food.

Barney the barn cat

We have been dehydrating some of our herbs, including oregano, thyme and chamomile.  We also chopped up and dehydrated some of the green onion tops from our onions. Dehydrating herbs is a relatively easy task and the herbs have a more vibrant flavor than store bought.

dehydrated oregano

This is the second year we've grown celery.  A friend got us started  last year with the celery she planted in the garden.  The celery stems are very tender and sweet in the early spring.

bouquet of celery from the garden
Our garden has also produced an abundance of radishes.  We roasted some the other day.  After removing the tops and scrubbing them clean, I rubbed them with olive oil and then sprinkled rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic powder on them.  Then I roasted them at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning them a few times, until they were soft and kind of crispy. Yum!

radishes from the garden

We've also been harvesting lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cilantro, broccoli, cabbage, arugula and rhubarb on a regular basis, for ourselves and some of our neighbors.  We're actually getting tired of those and looking forward to what's coming up next.  The berries are all getting ready to ripen and we've got the first peas nearly ready to harvest.  Yesterday I realized that some of the cabbage I've been growing is actually cauliflower (duh!), I looked in the center of the plants and there was the cauliflower hiding! I get confused over those plants every year because the outer leaves look similar to the cabbage plant.  Soon, the race will be on to preserve the summer harvest, especially once the green beans, tomatoes, zucchini and corn are ready.

We are going to be painting the rest of the exterior of our house at the end of June.  My husband is going to rent a boom lift to help with painting the second story.  After I fell off the ladder while painting the second story of the house last year, we decided to wait and rent equipment to make the job safer.  It will be so nice to finally finish painting this vintage house.

What else have we been up to?  My husband has been outfitting a boat with motors and equipment and we were finally able to take it out for a test run the other day.  While out there, he showed our daughter how to drive the boat.

daughter learning to drive a boat

Our daughter also participated in a "virtual prom" event with a close friend.  The two girls hung out in The Corral (our TV room) for the activity.  It was fun for them to get all dressed up and enjoy music, dancing and snacks, while seeing photos of peers across the country who are also in online public school, who also dressed up for the event.

virtual prom in The Corral