The Country Garden

July 22, 2015 - Obituary

Yellow Squash, Professional Vegetable, dies at age three months. Yellow Squash, who was grown from seed, and who became the first vegetable in the garden to flower though his career was cut horribly short, passed away on July 22 in the studio garden as a result of a lack of pollination and flooding rains. When...
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July 16, 2015 - Flower Identification Test

Pop quiz! Identify this flower! And this one! To be honest, I have no idea what they are. I want to dehydrate some of the petals to put in soaps, but I have no idea what to call the soap because I don’t know what the flowers are! Help! If you’re the first person to...
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June 19, 2015 - When the Rain Came Tumblin’ Down

It’s been raining here every day. EVERY DAY. Even if I do have to wipe off my camera lens between every photo because it’s so humid, the lens fogs up in seconds. Though it does lend a magical mysterious ambiance to the garden. But it’s no mystery what the rain is doing! My tomatoes are...
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June 9, 2015 - West Virginia Wildflowers

This is a wonderful time for wildflowers as many of the spring wildflowers are still in bloom with summer wildflowers already sneaking in. Those are ox-eye daisies, which are edible! We’ll be making daisy jelly at this weekend’s wildflower two-day retreat. This is Philadelphia fleabane, which is slightly crumpled looking from rain. This is a...
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May 19, 2015 - Coming Along

Apparently, I can grow peppers, after all! I learned what was my pepper problem from all the comments when I posted about my non-sprouting pepper seeds recently. I wasn’t keeping my pepper pots warm enough. Pepper seeds have to be warm to sprout, much warmer than the conditions needed for tomato seeds. I don’t have...
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April 30, 2015 - Seeds in the Dirt

I’m very excited about gardening this year. This is the first year that I’ve felt as if I had the gardens organized here in a way that works for me, and the first year I’m planting more than flowers and a few peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. The box garden that I had built by the...
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April 15, 2015 - Ramps 101

Look what I got! I was in Charleston yesterday and happened on the ubiquitous “fresh ramps” truck on the side of the road. I drove past it before my brain clicked in, turned around at the first opportunity, and went right back to nail two bags. I had fried potatoes with ramps, eggs, bacon, and...
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April 10, 2015 - Garden Plans

I got a lot of preparation work done on revamping the gardens around the house and studio last fall. I minimized the front garden beds–they were just too much for me. Too big. There’s no way I can stay on top of that. I just let the goats eat them and gave up. The smaller...
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January 12, 2015 - Fence Line Feeders, Round Bales, and Stars

Whenever I look at these round bales in the fence line along the road, I remember the night last fall after the feeders had been put in place. It was probably one of my favorite evenings all year. It was already dark by the time they’d finished the construction in the fence line. The sun...
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December 3, 2014 - The Barn Job

Something is afoot. The stall addition to the side of the original part of the barn is getting a facelift. I’ve been a bit frustrated with the three stalls to the left of the alleyway ever since I moved in. Dampness has been a huge problem, which I’ve worked on in various ways–it has poor...
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November 5, 2014 - Reconfiguring

This is Ross, painting the horse shelter that I had built in the fenceline here a while back. You can see a little better here what it was in original purpose. It had room for shelter on one side, with a hay feeder, and a small amount of hay storage on the other side. This...
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August 20, 2014 - Big Garden Project

Out with the old, in with the new! The big flower gardens all around the front porch and to the side of the studio looked really nice when I got here. Roses and butterfly bushes and daffodils, irises, and so on. Lovely! The previous owners were members of a garden club and did garden tours....
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August 7, 2014 - Busy Days on the Farm

How many things can go on at once? That’s summer on the farm, busy, hectic, crazy. By the end of the month, color will start showing on the trees in the woods around the farm. Fall is on the way, and winter won’t be far behind. Everything that is a problem has to be fixed,...
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July 31, 2014 - Really Big Hay Feeder

I’m having a big new hay feeder built right by the barn! I’m excited about it because hauling square bales across the front barn yard in the winter is not a fun chore. As I’m approaching the three-year mark at this farm (wow, has it really been that long?), I’m still learning all the time...
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June 6, 2014 - I Didn’t Want That Bush Anyway

The goats have been super busy cleaning out my gardens of everything living except for the mint. Of course. The mint could use some pruning, but they aren’t helpful like that. Hopefully, I will finish the fencing I want to get done before the summer is over so that in the future I’m not letting...
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May 22, 2014 - The Devil Wears Wildflowers

This is a part of the yard I want to fence in, but since I haven’t been able to do it yet, I’m trying to keep it under control. It got high on me, and I’m working to get it all back down. There’s a creek here, so once it’s fenced in, the goats will...
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May 8, 2014 - She Who Mows

This was my yard when I came back from Texas. Late in the winter, I bought a (gently) used Craftsman self-propelled battery-operated mower as well as a battery-operated Black & Decker trimmer. I haven’t mowed since I was 12, and I have never weedeated. For the past two summers, since I moved here, I have...
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October 23, 2013 - Leaf Watch and Woolly Worm Report

We don’t think much about the internal life of the trees around us most of the time, but it’s in the fall that they remind us that they do have a life of their own, which only happens to intersect with our pleasure. Leaves are green in the growing season as trees use them to...
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May 24, 2013 - Natural Gardening

The people who owned this place before me were very enthusiastic gardeners. There are extensive flower gardens all the way around the house and around the studio, with beautiful flowers and shrubs. Lilacs, hydrangeas, all kinds of tulips, irises, daffodils, and things beyond my ken. That master gardener class last year did me a lot...
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May 10, 2013 - Growing Glades

Monocotyledonous green plants of the family Gramineae, commonly known as grass, are grown in the United States and other countries for pastures and lawns. There are numerous types of grasses, developed for different purposes and adaptations, but it is grasses of the lawn variety that overtake hearts and minds, creating work and worry, in springtime....
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April 2, 2013 - Fencing Lesson

Yesterday, under sprinkling clouds, I undertook a new adventure. A lot of fencing has gone on here at Sassafras Farm in the past year. When I arrived here, most of the fields were fenced, but most also needed repairs and in some cases, new fencing entirely. Some completely new fields were also created and fenced....
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February 22, 2013 - Pioneer Pipes

Adam was over here this week helping me put a few more taps in my maples, among other things. After we finished, he showed me one of the ways pioneers–or anyone today who doesn’t want to spend the money on pipe–could tap a maple. It’s a bit of trouble, so not something most people would...
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January 9, 2013 - The Garden Plot

I didn’t have a garden last year, unless you count this little stone bed by the driveway. I grew a few peppers and cherry tomatoes in here, along with some herbs, while I contemplated my garden conundrum. (Rosemary still going, second winter in a row.) (That’s Ross’s truck parked in my driveway. He wants to...
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October 11, 2012 - Black Walnuts

Black walnut trees are native to West Virginia (and many other Midwest and east-central states), but we are particularly devoted around these parts. Exhibit A: The Black Walnut Festival, this weekend (and already in progress) in its 58th year in Spencer, West Virginia. The trees are known for both their high quality wood and their...
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September 22, 2012 - Raising Weeds

Weeds are certain plants designated as weedy or invasive, or with the potential to become weedy or invasive. Some weeds are even identified as noxious. The term weed is subjective in that a weed is often classified as such by its context–unwanted in its location. (It may be a weed in a flower bed, a...
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July 27, 2012 - Resin and Honey Salve

Comments on yesterday’s pine resin post got me thinking about how to concoct a pine resin salve that would keep. To use pine resin to pull a sticker, you really need the sticky power of the plain resin. Plain pine resin will harden and become unusable–to store it, the freezer is best. To thaw, you...
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July 26, 2012 - Pine Resin

The country garden is everywhere, not just within the confines of a fence. My farm is filled with new wonders to discover every day, and I have a guide. Adam. He works on random occasions here as my “hired man” (which, ladies, is the best kind of man there is), sometimes with his sidekick Robbie,...
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June 25, 2012 - Walking with Pawpaws

I talked about the pawpaw trees in my upper pasture a few days ago and had some curious questions, and I realize also that some of you reading here may not have even heard of pawpaw trees. I’d never heard of pawpaws before I moved to West Virginia several years ago. Pawpaw trees are native...
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