HELLO PRODUCTIVE WEEK.
Gosh summer feels like I am constantly behind on projects but also like holy cannoli look at how much we got done!!
We had a very productive weekend. Getting little projects done – planted 2 varieties of lavender, spearmint, potatoes, carrots, and a window box which I will get to later.
Our gardens are done being planted for now – I will just be adding a raspberry patch by transplanting some raspberries to the big garden. I just have to figure out when that is ideal and how to not completely ruin this year’s harvest.
The kids and I have been outside literally ALL week. It has been 80°F most of the week and not completely miserable – yet. Still very tolerable.
Very soon I expect the wind to dissipate and the humidity to skyrocket.
Last year for the chicken coop I planted all sorts of herbs around the coop. They are great for and we used some as a culinary purpose.
Silly me, the chickens ate so many herbs they couldn’t grow back. 🤦🏼♀️
This year I placed my herbs near the house so I can control when they are eaten by the birds and maybe I can bring them inside this winter.
By the chicken coop I built a pretty large window box – 10”x30”x8”. In the box is purple flowering kale, purple cabbage, lemon thyme and a pretty red salvia flower.
I plan to share the veggies with the birds and the rest will not only be beautiful but also doubles as an extension to the flower garden.
I love me some dual purpose.
I built the window box and the kids helped me ‘weather’ it. We took shovels and chains to the outside of the box to make it look ‘used’ before it was stained.
Since I made a dark stained box to match the dark stained door, I figured I should re-stain the coop door.
You see, the door was built and stained 2 years ago when the 2 year-old was a newborn. We desperately needed a new coop door so I got it done.
Well, then my time was allotted elsewhere and I forgot to add the outdoor poly to the door.
The stain faded dramatically and was forgotten. I re-stained the door and will finish the job within the next week.
This is like the first true sign of summer.
The bright red stalks with the giant leaves. The zingy taste of rhubarb and the decadent flavor when paired with sugar.
Our family only eats rhubarb or strawberry rhubarb jam. I made enough last year to feed not only my family but also my in-laws. No shame in my rhubarb game.
We have owned our house for over 8 years and only about a year or two ago we discovered five (or more) GIANT rhubarb plants in the field. We had them properly identified and went crazy baking all of the things.
Another favorite of ours is rhubarb syrup – it is great on pancakes, in a seltzer, or added to 2F kombucha.
As I collect the rhubarb stalks and chop off the unusable parts, I always feel the inedible leaves are such a waste.
They just get tossed on the ground. They’re so big, they HAVE to be good for SOMETHING.
Google tells me rhubarb leaves are an excellent ‘chop and drop’ mulch.
Chop and drop mulch means you chop the leaves off the plant and drop them on the ground. The leaves will deliver nutrients to the ground acting as a fertilizer.
As I chopped the rhubarb I gave the excess to the kids to shuttle to their father in the garden. The leaves also double as a visual for the kids as to WHERE their stompy feet can walk—typically their feet land on exactly where your plants are trying to grow.
So good it is worth repeating: rhubarb leaves are a fantastic chop & drop mulch.
Spring favorite #7482974: spruce tips!
Spruce tips are the fresh growth that appear on the spruce tree after the little shells fall off. They are light green and very soft.
Spruce tips are great in a tea, but also can be turned into a syrup. We use spruce tip syrup for…. you guessed it! 2F kombucha.
Spruce tips are very high in Vitamin C—hello immune system!
Spruce needles can help alleviate coughs and sore throats.
Spruce tip tea tastes semi woodsy but mostly citrus-y. It must be all the vitamin C. Drying or freezing spruce tips for the winter tea storage is on our to-do list. With the kids being more active in the winter, we need as many cough remedies as we can!
Spring harvest #738385: winter cress.
I noticed our field being flooded with yellow flowers. You have probably seen them in ditches early spring. So I did what I normally do and I took a picture for further identification. Turns out this yellow flower is winter cress. Not only is it beautiful and smell wonderful, it ALSO has health benefits.
Winter cress is not pleasing to taste, but it can be made into a salve for topical pain relief or eaten for other benefits.
This is not always recommended but here is the info I found:
Winter cress was used to purify blood and have anti-cancer properties
An infusion of the leaves can alleviate a cough
Acts a a stimulant or diuretic
I knew this plant wouldn’t be around long so I gathered bunches and hung them to try. I’ll figure out if I am brave enough to make a tea later.
Finally, I KNOW I am not alone on this one. The lilacs are in bloom and DAMN do they smell good.
Lilacs are another plant I make 2F kombucha with using a syrup, but I am also peaked interest with the tea.
Lilacs are said to rid the intestines of parastatal worms, can reduce a fever, and may help heal minor cuts.
The aroma may aid in the onset of Alzheimer’s.
I set aside some of the fresh petals and brewed a pot of tea. I added the petals and steeped 5 minutes.
The tea is such a light and refreshing flavor. It tastes a little earthy with definite notes of lilac. Iced lilac tea tastes like spring. Plain and simple.
If you have some lilacs in bloom, pick the petals (the leaves can be bitter), put them over hot water and enjoy. You will not regret it.
Okay, okay, back to farm updates.
I have 10 chicks flourishing outside and 5 inside. The indoor chicks are housed with a, now giant, Pekin Duck. Indoors I also have a very sick Mosaic hen – Samoa, and Footless Phoebe, each in their own tubs.
I had an epiphany this week – what if Pheobe could be housed with the chicks and duck?!
The big birds are relentless with her – always pecking, but the duck and her got along great. I wonder if she could get along with the chicks as well? She probably would enjoy some friends.
I placed Pheobe in with the little birds and they were terrified at first, but she did great!
Now the little birds are cautious of her, but not stressed out. They house well together.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,