Homestead Report 24: June 4, 2017

With this country pulling out of the Paris Accord, I feel extra drawn to wiggle my toes down into the soil and work a little harder at the things I can control to combat climate change. Mostly, that looks like growing as much of our food as I can (thereby relying less on harmful big-agro farming practices and transcontinental shipping), but also includes eating less meat, planting trees, talking to kids about nature, avoiding driving whenever possible, conserving power and producing solar power, working with the town to hopefully purchase renewable energy for town buildings (and eventually residences too), and advocating for (and against) various things with our state representatives. If we all work at different angles–conserving land, transitioning to renewable energy, building bike paths, growing food, we perhaps have a chance at averting some of the worst consequences of climate change; and failing that, we’ll at least have built a better community.

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We have been tremendously busy these last few weeks planting, planting, planting. I’ve even been selling some stuff at our little farmers market (seedlings, some greens, rhubarb, and eggs). Leaf miners are again so abundant that it is hard to take a walk without finding something new.

One of the most exciting things to do is watch fruit develop. We are eagerly anticipating eating peaches, blueberries, strawberries, apples, serviceberries, and sweet cherries.

Blackberries, goumi (like an autumn olive, but not invasive, at least in MA), mulberries, and black cherries are blooming, but don’t have fruit set yet.

Blooming wildflowers include wild geranium, golden alexanders (in the parsley family), rue anemone, phlox, wood hyacinth, blue-eyed grass (actually a tiny iris), azalea, columbine, and white campion (actually a non-native).

In the mostly nonnative perennial category, iris, lupine, comfrey, bachelor’s buttons, and violas are blooming. On June 2, I noticed the first hummingbird of the year visiting the comfrey flowers. It also visited pea and kale flowers inside the hoophouse! Luckily, it seemed to have no problem finding the exit.

We’ve eaten the last of the asparagus (choosing to let our plants have a rest and feed their roots) and I ate the first of the peas.

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We’re always looking at bugs, especially leaf miners, around here. You can find Charley proclaiming the glory of them on his blog, bugtracks–and I admit that I appreciate most of them too–but there is one, a fly that communally mines spinach and chard, that I could do without.

If we stay on top of eating the spinach, we end up just eating the eggs (no problem, just a little extra protein), but if we let it go a few days, the turn the leaves to mush, good for chicken food but not much else. I think I am starting to understand why people use row covers…

We moved our young chickens from the upper garden, where they prepared a few beds for me by scratching up all the weeds, into the lower garden. They are enjoying the mustard, as well as hopping out of their fence and scratching up my onion patch.

Goldfinches have been descending on our yard in big flocks to devour dandelion seeds. A few times, we’ve seen a gorgeous male indigo bunting joining in the feast. Speaking of bright, beautiful birds, we’ve been hearing scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and Baltimore orioles regularly.

A chickadee is feeding young in one of our nest boxes. The bluebirds and tree swallows seem to have fledged, although we never did see the young birds. Phoebes, catbirds, flickers, chipping sparrows, robins, and common yellowthroats also seem to be nesting nearby.

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I hope you’ll join me in thanking some trees for turning carbon dioxide into oxygen this week. I’m pretty sure plants listen.

3 thoughts on “Homestead Report 24: June 4, 2017

  1. Judy Eiseman says:

    Wow! Gorgeous, informative and inspiring! You guys are creating your own private paradise! I’ll be coming your way soon–will let you know. Probably not till next week given all the rain expected this.

  2. Elin Anderwald says:

    Thanks for posting, Julia…. Always inspiring! I’m knee deep in gardening myself… Just need to add a day or two to my week to get it all done!

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