Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Late April Pictures

The Honeybees Have Arrived!
Yesterday I installed a package of honeybees that came in over the weekend.  They arrived just in time to pollinate the apple blossoms over the next couple of weeks.  Right now they're feasting on dandelion pollen, see how they're legs have pollen sac's that are full.

I've been keeping bees for about 7 years now and they're just part of my garden routine.  They're tireless little workers that are fun to watch.

Grazing in the Sunshine and Dandelions
For years I dreamed of having dairy goats.  I wanted to have our own raw goats milk to drink, as well as enough to make cheese, yogurt and ice cream.   Three years ago I bought my first dairy goat and I have loved them ever since.  Now, I think I will always have goats in my life.  

On the right side you can see the gate to enter our 10 acre property, we live at the end of a dirt road in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.   The barn was built by my husband many years ago when he was learning to timberframe.  It is built from the trees off this land. We have giant Douglas Fir, Cedar, and Hemlock trees.  

Our Mini Lamancha doeling greeting me at the gate.

Biscuits and Gravy
My husband was just fixing to take his first bite of  breakfast, when I said, "Wait, let me take a picture first". So, I quickly got my camera and snapped a shot with him holding up the plate. 

Homemade biscuits and gravy is a family favorite that I grew up with, and have many fond memories of watching my Grandma make them.  She was from the South and grew up eating biscuits and gravy.  We always had scrambled eggs, and bacon, along with several types of fruit.  The gravy was always made out of the bacon drippings.  I still love to make them when I have a little extra time.

ps. a note after the picture.  Sure wish I had added a sprig of parsley from the garden to spruce up the color a bit. Oh well, impromptu.

The definition of  Preen  -  1. To smooth or clean feathers with the bill.   2. To groom oneself with elaborate care or vanity.   3. To take pride or satisfaction in oneself.  
My chickens like to be clean, they take dust baths daily, and make sure there's plenty of time for preening to look their best.  

William's Pride Apple Blossom
William's Pride is our first apple tree of the year to bloom.  It is also the first of the year to ripen, around late August.  "The best of the early season apples", Raintree catalog says.  They are delicious fresh, but are not very good keepers.  The later season apples are the good keepers.  The virtue of a William's Pride apple is that it is first to ripen in my orchard, and after a long spell with no fresh apples they are eagerly anticipated.

Rhododendron Blossom in the Rain
From my kitchen window I can watch this giant old rhododendron blooming.  

*All the pictures above and what I wrote for each caption came from the 365 Project I'm working on.
 My address for the 365 Project is here, http://365project.org/jewelofapplegarth/365  I started on March 5th and am uploading a picture a day with a short description.  It's been fun to look back and see what is happening with our family, the animals or what's blooming on a particular day.  I'm enjoying seeing so many amazing photo's from around the world and connecting with people all over, it's been a great place to learn about photography.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Early April in Pictures

April began quietly with the Spring daffodils and Methley plum blooming, then along came the Salmonberries and currants.  Now, we're in the middle of the month, and just two weeks later, everything has begun to burst forth, growing at top speed.  I think the rhubarb grows a foot a week, it's ready for a bigger harvest than just pies, so, I'll be making my first preserves of the season soon.  The orchard has new blossoms happening daily, and the vegetable garden is beginning to grow.  The cold frame is full and the first beds of peas, greens, and herbs have been planted. The warm season crops are sitting inside under lights with heat from below, full of natural sunlight from a window, they're all toasty and will be ready to go out in another month.  

With the moon now waning, I'll be focusing on planting below ground crops for the next couple of weeks, planting seeds of  carrots, beets, and radishes, onions starts, and seed potatoes.  The onions I started from seed back in Feb. along with the celeriac and cruciferous vegetables (all sitting comfortably in the cold frame).  I'll begin to plant out the broccoli's, cabbages and cauliflower out over the next couple of weeks. April is the month I really begin to focus on the garden and orchard. 

The following pictures are all from the last couple of weeks.

The Trumpet of Spring

 Soup for breakfast
I love eating soup or stew for breakfast on a cold rainy morning. 
 This is goat and vegetable curry soup, 
it's one of my husbands favorites to take to work for lunch.

Methley Plum
The Methley plum starts our season of blossom in the orchard.  
For the last 8 years I've been planting about 5 new fruit trees every year. 

My grandson Roman saying Hi to one of the mini Nubian goat kids. 

Salmonberry Blossom
The border of our property is edged naturally with Salmonberry bushes.  This time of year they are filled with beautiful fuchsia colored blossoms.  Salmonberries are the first berry of the year to ripen.

Eye See You
Sierra is our beautiful Great Pyrenees.   
She was laying under an Asian Pear tree in the orchard,
 just relaxing in the sun watching me.  

 Ruby Red Rhubarb

 Rhubarb Pie
The season of rhubarb pie and ice cream is upon us!  
I made this for dessert right after harvesting it. 

Part of our morning ritual is Kalua joining us in front of the fire while we have our coffee. 
 She's purring and content on Dad's lap this morning.

Spring Break Sleep Over
My daughter Kaley on the right and her friend Hannah camping in the back yard.  We couldn't find the tent poles, and the girls worked so hard gathering sticks from the forest to set it up somehow.  After watching them, my husband joined in to help make it sturdy enough, he used a tall ladder to hold it up in the middle and sticks tied to support the sides.  Where there's a will, there's a way!  They had fun and were lucky it didn't rain.

Glowing Onion Starts
The vegetable garden is well on it's way, with baby seedlings everywhere.  The cold frame is filled with cool season seeds and the seed starting rack inside is full of warm season seedlings.

April 14, Seed Sowing
This white butterfly hung out with me while I was planting seeds a couple days ago.