Seasons change…

As we welcome, fully, the summer season, here are a few things that are going on around the farm…

Early last week, I got home late enough that the sun had pretty well set…and I was completely engulfed by an amazing aroma. Confused and drunk by the sweet scent, I couldn’t image what was the source. Then, the next morning, it hit me. I knew what had bloomed overnight…this…

Sunday’s stroll around the property also shows what else is happening (wild flowers in bloom and insect life):

Not pictured – chickory is blooming.

The bees are going wild over the red and white clover in bloom as well as the mimosa. Lots of noise out in the yard. What’s going on in your area?

Blossoming beauty

We have several never before seen irises in bloom around the farm (probably a little heavy handed with the weed whacker in years past), and this one had to be shared as I’ve never seen this color before (fitting for a Hokie to have).

Other happenings – our first peony finally opened up. The catalpa tree has leaves and the mimosa is starting to leaf out. Fireflies are already out (have been for a few weeks). I’ve seen June bugs on the porch in the morning.



We seem to be rolling right into summer with these warm days and subsequent daily threat of afternoon showers.

20140512-202702.jpgClouds at sunset

The weeds sure are going strong; I already feel months behind and a tad (read a lot) overwhelmed. But – no whining allowed. Instead, here is a note of what is going on around us at the moment.

The wild cherry/choke cherry trees are starting to bloom. Peonies are up and near bursting with blooms. Our irises are in bloom.

Yellow irises

Yellow irises

Mowing the grass is now a definite weekly chore (love the smell). In the pasture: the unmowed grass is going to seed (orchard grass, blue grass, etc.); vetch is starting to bloom but not the red clover yet; dandelions have gone to seed while buttercups are abundant and in full bloom.

Around the house, a small rhododendron bush has bloomed though the lilacs and roses have not.

Around the shed and fence lines, bindweed and poison ivy are thriving (unfortunately). Crane flies are out. At the same time, stink bugs have completely taken over our house. Yuck. Finally, our catalpa (aka Catawba or monkey tail or cigar) trees are starting to leaf out. Any exciting nature news where you are?

Awaiting spring

What an amazing weekend! Bright sunshine. Comfortable temps. Slight breezes. Man, it really gets ya eager for spring!

Change of seasons….

Nature is already telling us that a change is underway….daffodils are coming up, forsythia is getting ready to shower some color, and the maples are preparing to release some pollen. I am trying to watch these sorts of things to help with timing of some of my planting this season. The process of observing / recording plant and animal cycles over the seasons is called phenology. In my simple mind, it goes back to a mantra I believe…that things happen for a reason. Plants emerge, leaf out, flower, insects appear, animals behave this way and that…all of this and more occur because of an underlying cause – mostly temperature (climate).

The importance of what happens around you….

Daffodils have a wide territory, so why should you care what they do? The cool thing about following what happens in your backyard is that, well…it is specific for YOUR backyard. Meaning – you can determine the climate in your region at a specific point in time which may impact planting decisions or growing conditions. Or…just be nice to look at and take note! In a world of generalities, it is kind of nice to have something that can guide you in your decision making. At any rate, we’re gonna give it a try as a sort of experiment. Can’t hurt!

In the meantime….

Hard work is underway. Granted, we are still in the basement, but we have a better setup than last year for our seed starting operation. Onions, cabbages, kohlrabis and other greens are beginning their pampered lives with words of encouragement, every other day mistings of moisture, and warm shop lights. LOTS of shop lights. (A growing area will be built one of these days). Soon, some direct seeding will happen out in the field – peas, carrots, beets and others. It is a much anticipated and exciting time! What’s going on in your area?

Minuet cabbage

Minuet cabbage starts