Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Is it really Spring?

Although I've tested the limits of gardening by planting in the high tunnels and under cover, snow flakes have fallen on my efforts and the seeds have begun to germinate!  I'm not cheering yet, but it seems as though the "outdoor" crops are on a roll.  Just last week we had snow flurries for a full day.  Now, the last couple of days, have been near 80.

Being a farmer is kind of like working for a woman who's going through menopause.....okay one day and very messed up the next!  Just go with the flow......

This morning began with thunderstorms.  The storms were predicted to be really fierce here on the Cumberland Plateau, but for some reason we escaped the "fierceness" factor.  Fine with me.

The dogs, cats, and I took a walk this afternoon just to see what's going on around the farm.  I took a few pics.....

daffodilsfromnannys2014.webJPGThis  patch of daffodils I got from my Nanny's house in Newport many years ago and have moved it 4 times until here....I hope their final place to multiply.  She had a hillside full of them that she planted at her house.   They make me smile and think of her.  She's my horticultural inspiration.

mushroomlogsAnother item in the woods are the logs that I've innoculated with shiitake and maitake mushroom spawn.   I hope they've survived the brutal winter we had and will produce lots of yummy mushrooms in a few months.

pachysandra4.4.14webSome of the spring flowers have started to bloom, and I was amazed that the pachysandra waited so long to bloom.  Here it is among a field of trout lily leaves.  Here's a trout lily just beginning to bloom:

troutlily.webToothwort is coming out....always one of the first to bloom

toothwortwebAlong with Virginia Bluebells, one of my favorites:

bluebells4.4.14webI'm still amazed every spring because the hillside behind the house is literally covered with bluebells!  Gorgeous sight to behold.

One thing that happened a couple of weeks ago was a little disturbing.  I noticed a different spot on the bluff behind the house.  It sort of caught my eye one day as something that was different....

rockfall1webSee the light brown color at the top of the bluff, kind of in the middle?  Well, that color was new.  I walked over to see what had happened, and I found this...

therockthatfellwebA rock on the ground, right where I used to stand at the really cool creek that runs in and out of the bluff behind the house.  WOW, it was big!  About 4 feet around.  I looked at where it hit the ground and there was quite a hole there, along with a bunch of rocky debris...

wheretherockhitIt doesn't look like much from the pics, but it sure made me feel small and very careful about walking around bluffs.  You just never know when nature's going to rearrange her house!

Happy Spring, Y'all!











Winter chores and a wildflower walk

Winter chores are nothing new.  While on the way home from town Friday, I noticed that the 36" culverts that carry the canal through my property were sort of getting overgrown and close to getting clogged up....

stoppedupculvertswebIt's way easier to clean out a culvert BEFORE it gets clogged with everything that culverts get clogged up with.  After chainsawing for about 30 minutes and piling everything up in between the culverts, I was able to get a small fire started to burn the debris....

fireatculvertswebOnce the fire went out I had a small bucket of glass bottles, a tractor bucket load of firewood, 2 clean culverts and a good workout!

I checked the beehive and was so happy to see that it was FULL of bees and they were BUSY!

After planting 6 flats of assorted greens; lettuce, kale, mustard, and braising mix in the large high tunnel, I threw several bags of leaves into the chicken pen to keep the girls out of the mud.  They love scratching in the leaves and will spread a pile of them in no time.

THEN I had promised the girls I would clean out their coop and put fresh leaves in there.  It's amazing how much quicker their coops get pooped out in the winter when they are stuck inside during cold weather.




I used hay last time for their bedding.  I won't do that again.  It turns into a solid mat that has to be chopped apart AND I had to put it in a separate compost area because I know how many weeds can germinate from hay--BUT it was all I could get at the time.  I refloored their coop with fresh dry leaves from my stash.   It smells wonderful.

Today was a gorgeous day so Hattie (the dog), Bandit (the girl kitty) and I decided to take a late afternoon wildflower walk.  There really are wild things to look at this time of year, and some are even starting to grow (I'm so excited!)  Here's a visual of our afternoon journey.

streamandbluffbehindhouse2.22.14webThis is a very cool bluff right behind the house.  The stream you see is it....it comes out from under the rocks where I was standing and goes back in where the black area is in the top of the picture.  Very cool spot.

tricklefromrocks2.22.14webThe rocks are leaking....look closely... maybe you can see.

moss2.22.14webBeautiful moss garden--it loves this weather!

columbine2.22.14webColumbine starting to show some life...

heuchera2.22.14webHeuchera showing its winter colors...

pachysandra2.22.14webNative pachysandra should be sending up white flowers before long.




and Walking Fern are still attractive through the winter.


The pond is full to overflowing with the recent rains.

Days like today give one that boost of sunshine desperately needed this time of year!



Really "wild" things

While cutting flowers in the front garden last weekend, I spied the strangest Rudbeckia I've ever seen.  I had to look twice and blink my eyes to make sure I was seeing just exactly what I was seeing....here it is

Yes, you are seeing correctly.  The flowers in the front of the picture got hung up on the "black-eye machine"!

I'm going to save the seeds but they probably won't come back like this.  It's always fun to see different things like this in nature; well, fun as long as it isn't a frog with three eyes or something different like that!


Waiting for the hummers to arrive

All the hummingbird feeders are ready and waiting.......

The bottlebrush buckeye is in full bloom

Columbine is happy, happy, happy!

The coral honeysuckle is on a quest to take over the front porch!

Surely they will be here soon.


Wild Things happening all at once!

Spring is really springing in full swing this year.  It seems like everything is blooming at once, although I know it's not.  I took a break from the rigors of springtime gardening to "smell the flowers" and I took my camera.  This is part of what I saw on the farm.....

The really cool bluff behind the house is alive with flowers....

As I was walking along the pathway along the backyard, I noticed a Trout Lily in bloom.  They are so cute....

The woods are literally carpeted with these tiny ephemerals (they come up, bloom, and go away before the leaves get on the trees).  Another beautiful ephemeral is the Virginia Bluebell. 

The native plant nursery I owned for several years was about 15 miles from the farm where I am now.  I had a Bluebell plant that I nurtured for several years, so when I left that place I naturally wanted to take a few of my favorite plants, so the Virginia Bluebell was on the list.  I carefully dug up the roots and replanted them in the woods behind where the house was to be built.  Needless to say, I was totally in shock when the next spring revealed the entire hillside behind the house cloaked in Virginia Bluebells!  I still know where the one I transplanted is though.....


There are also Redbuds in bloom, Columbine, Toothwort, Hepatica.... and on and on.  I love spring!

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