I love sharing my hobbies with my kids. This four-year-old planted 25 packets of garden seeds this spring.
It's best to supplement seeds with starters from the nursery, just to hedge your bets.
She was able to give her friends gourds galore in the fall.
Invariably, when my husband asks what I need him to pick up at the grocery store, I reply, fresh, bagged dirt! I wonder if other people do the same.
Harvesting pumpkins is always bittersweet. I love seeing them decorate my garden, but when it's time, they decorate my front porch and I get to give them away to my friends.
So, now it's October 5th and summer has passed.
Here in Seattle we are basking under incredible, brilliantly blue sky days in the mid-70s. The deciduous trees are all on fire.
I was so busy outside all summer long, I failed to post updates on my progress building the duck house.
My three runner docs are all grown up, healthy and safe from predators. They have a cast iron bathtub, which I refill daily.
The chickens are comfortable, but their laying is much less frequent. They stay busy churning the compost pile and liberating weeds.
Fall 2015, I'm considering getting a couple Nubian weather goats to keep the blackberries down and have a couple more farm friends.
While pheasants are gorgeous and territorial (they freak out when predators are near,) they have a very loud call (and freak out when a leaf drops, a fly buzzes by or someone drives up the driveway,) so I'm looking into one of my favorite birds, quail. Quail are cute, quiet and lay beautiful eggs.
Acquiring rabbits has not worked out yet, but I'm not in a rush. I'm still interested in French Lops and Flemish Giants; both are awesome, big bunnies.
Fall means that it's clean up time on my farmette. I've pulled up the expired tomatoes and pumpkin vines from the raised beds and this year, we have over 40 pumpkins, of varying sizes and types. Our front porch looks like a pumpkin patch!
It's almost time to break out the Carhartt overalls.
When I was little, being joyful was displayed by an exuberant dance or belly laugh. Today, being joyful is a quiet happiness, that is usually a long time coming. When I sit down to a lunch that came directly from my backyard, I'm joyful, giddy almost.
When my seven-year-old is genuinely disappointed that the chickens won't be laying as many eggs during the winter and we serve store-bought eggs, I'm quietly joyful. She has learned something! She is developing her own set of values!
When a visiting friend of my daughter's asks about why the corn in her Peapatch didn't grow, I'm joyful and excited to see genuine interest in knowing where our food comes from and how to make it grow.
Many of my friends have watched me on this journey of gardening and owning chickens and ducks. It's a full operation in my backyard and it's something I'm excited to share with people who, like me had a black thumb at one point or another. (I still can't be trusted with indoor plants.)
Gardening has allowed me to expand my experience growing things, learn patience and planning. I never wanted to have to learn patience, but now that I have, I'm less anxious and I'm a better parent to my kids.
Overall, gardening and sharing my hobbies with my kids teaches me to be grateful every day. On most days, I can go outside, kick up some dirt, build a fence, grab warm chicken eggs from the coop, dig a pond, build a bridge and be creative in the yard.
And it feels great to stop by friends' homes and see a little pot of half dead (half alive!) herbs that I gave them last year.
Have you planted your starts yet?
In the Seattle area, the last frost date has well passed and the plant sales are in full swing. Around here, Mother's Day weekend marks the official start of the direct-sow growing season.
I consider my potage (kitchen/ edible) garden to be in it's third year.
The first year, I exclusively grew pumpkins.
Last year, I experimented with tomatoes, potatoes, snap peas, squash, garlic, onions and broccoli. Separately, I have a mature herb garden that never ceases to amaze me with its hardiness.
This year, I'm trying even more veggies; ones that are new to my dirt.
Peppers, which I bought from PCC are sourced from "Rent's Due" Farm, located in Stanwood, Washington.
I may have bit off more corn than I can chew, at the Root Connection in Woodinville but I imagine pulling the corn from the stalk and chucking it directly onto the BBQ.
Among other edibles, I also have peas, pumpkins, kale, potatoes and tomatoes, which I grew from seed, strawberries, garlic, artichokes and I have basil in the kitchen window.
I put in some broccoli and cauliflower, which the wild bunnies wasted no time savoring.
If you haven't put anything in the ground, it's not too late! Grab a bag of compost, poke some holes in it and stick something in. Even better, have a kid help you out. They might learn something.
Quick updates charting my 2012 & 2013 novice and experimental, gardening adventures at home.
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