Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our evolving backyard...

I have to admit that it has been some time since I last posted. This is not because I haven't been doing much but quite the opposite. I have been working (for the man) less and less and in return devoting my time to what is more important to me. I am currently lucky enough to be living with Landon's father for free, so I find it very important to take advantage of the situation by focusing less on making hundreds of dollars per week and more on growing food for the family and using my artistic abilities to find ways for a small income.

  Life is good.  Life is always good, but these days it's looking just a tad bit better. Upon waking around 7:30ish every morning I am greeted by my beautiful Carolina canine friend, Sasha, whom Maryann says is a lovely creme brulee color... it's true, she is and her eyes are like honey. She usually makes a sound like "Yooooow".  It's quite hard to explain, but she has a small vocabulary of different noises that she uses to greet me in the morning and communicate with me through out the day.  I am grateful to have a relationship with another creature that involves less verbal communication than what is required for humans to fully communicate. After Sasha greets me she usually stands up and pushes back into downward dog which reminds me that I need to get our of bed, neatly arrange it an prepare for my morning yoga. I generally do yoga in the silence of my living room, or if I'm feeling more pumped up I'll play a little music.  Medeski, Martin & Wood really gets me going for power yoga. Occasionally I'll play a dvd which is always Rodney Yee or Shiva Ria, both amazing and relaxing yogi's. After yoga I switch out the chickens water and food, then water the garden if necessary. 

Sometimes watering the garden can take nearly half of the day, depending on what needs to be watered. This year we've set up sprinklers for all of the different beds so that we can turn the water on for thirty minutes and leave it while the timer runs.  This has saved me from sweating a ton, which I still do while working, and getting lots of mosquito bites. Two years ago when we first began gardening Landon and I would stand around in the early morning hand watering all of the beds for hours with a hose all the while constantly slapping ourselves to kill mosquitoes. By ten o'clock we'd be drenched in sweat. 

Once I've done yoga, tended to the clucking ladies in the coop and watered the garden I am free to spend my day as I choose. This generally involves me spending more time in the garden, taking photographs, cleaning, painting, crafting, learning, etc.  Ahhhh, like I said, life is good in the moment. 
So now that you know how I fill my days and the effort that has went into the garden, I will show you our progress... These are only wide photographs of the layout of the garden, but it's amazing to see how bare it was in the beginning of the year and how tall and green it is right now.

Our biggest focus this month was preparing the soil so that we could begin planting seeds. Many plants were sprouting in a tray inside the house next to the kitchen window waiting patiently to be transplanted outside. Potatoes, beets, beans and peas were planted in the garden and a few crops were still in the ground from winter... garlic, broccoli, collards, onions and our onion chives were steadily beginning to re-emerge. We even left some of the collards to fully bloom, which gave the bees a little early work in the garden and gave us something to watch while little else was growing in the yard.

All of our perennial herbs re-emerged beautifully in this month. Rosemary, bee balm, lemon balm, garlic chives, onion chives, lemon thyme and lots and lots of oregano. I can not explain how happy I am to have fresh herbs to cook with again, aside from Rosemary which remains green all year. Our peas were coming up nicely and would soon need to be trellised and our potatoes were growing full and green. Our beans began sprouting a little later and our golden beets and white turnips were growing to be nice and fat. A few random sunflowers showed up around the beans from last years seeds falling and we also had two catnip plants show up that we didn't plant. We began the newly tilled flower garden this month as well.

This is the month when everything is looking nice and green and the garden is filling out. We harvested a lot of salad greens in May as well as beets, peas and turnips. Everything is in the ground and growing hapilly... corn, okra, sunflowers, cosmos, cucumbers, zennias, turnips, swiss chards, basil, squash, purple haze carrots... Ahh, I could go on and on. I also got to eat two blueberries, I'm already looking forward to next years fruits.

Everything is in abundance this month. It's almost a challenge to cook everything we've been growing. We've harvested all of our sweet and sugar snap peas, beets and salad greens and planted new seedlings in their places. We've eaten the biggest turnips I have ever seen in my life, carrots, green beans, okra, potatoes, lima beans, squash flowers and yellow squash, asian cucumbers and one lovely little blackberry. Something keeps beating me to the blackberries... I spot one that is nearly black and the next day it has disappeared. The only bugs I have battled thus far in the garden are stink bugs and vine boars, and they are both evil little buggers that are currently winning the battle in eating more squash than me. OH!I almost forgot to mention how beautifully all of our flowers are blooming.


  1. i can't believe how huge your corn is already! and those sunflowers, wow. amazing what a difference that southern climate makes. here in boise today is only the fourth day of the year we've had temperatures above 80 degrees.

    happy summer!

  2. It is an amazing difference. The heat can get to be pretty intense, today is 96 degrees but we've hit 100 a few times lately. However, I am grateful to be able to see the color green for most of the year.