Sunday, June 1, 2014

from the window | early morning garden

As the sun rises on the garden...Happy June! I cannot believe it is June. The garden is starting to blossom into vibrant oasis of color and smells. This is pretty amazing considering our May was a combination of never-ending rain and pretty cold temperatures...there was even some frost last night! 

But, I am so incredibly thrilled to kick off June with an early morning coffee stroll through the garden. There is something about the sun's light, when it is just starting to kiss the plants hello that is so beckoning,  I had to grab my camera to capture some of the awakenings.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

daily photo | seedlings germinate

Happy March!...March, the month of Spring—however figuratively we must take that notion. Though it does feel like we are on the downhill slide of winter as our freshly-sown trays of seeds have been germinating into happy signs of veggies to come. The grow shelves and lighting are up and already house several flats of onions, shallots, leeks and herbs. We sowed flats of everything from broccoli and Brussels sprouts to peppers and tomatoes this past weekend, so even though it is in the single digits outside, we're thinking Spring! Hope you are too!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

raising chickens | flock thriving in cold winters

baby it's cold outside...I think the poor hens are more ready for Spring than we are. We're back in a two week stretch of frigid temperatures. This morning's thermometer reading at the bus stop was 1ºF. The ol' Farmer's Almanac was right once again with their prediction that this winter was going to be bitterly cold with a whole lot of snow. And our hens, well, they are no fans of the snow.

As we head into our fifth year of raising chickens, we take thanks in the fact that after all of these years, and these ever-so-cold Maine winters, we have been able to have a thriving, healthy flock. Mind you, we baby our hens throughout the winter with heat lamps, regulated daylight lamps, freshly-popped popcorn and snow blown paths to frolic in. But in return, they have keep us in a constant supply of enough eggs that we have some left over to share or sell. Without this bit of extra pampering and the shorten days of light, the hens' egg production will drop off dramatically.

Soon enough, said optimistically, the snow will melt and once again our hens can go about free range throughout our woods. Though, ever since the pit bull incident of two years ago (some stray pit bull vs. was Mutual of Omaha's Wildlife Kingdom coming to life right before my horrified eyes! Happy ending though, the hen escaped twice from the dog's jaws and hid under our car until we could get to it. That hen is now called Houdini!), we do have to keep a pretty close eye on them. 

Within the next two or so weeks, we'll have to decide if we want to add another flock into the mix. We're currently at 15 hens, so we don't need more, but knowing us, we'll probably get another flock. We also raised six turkeys last year, so we're also wrangling over whether to do more or less of those as well this year. And, we've been considering adding a few meat birds into the mix. E-I-E-I-O!

If you are considering raising hens, I definitely encourage you to give it a go. The chickens have been a fabulous addition to our lifestyle. And I can't even begin to tell you how cool it is to need an egg and simply walk outside to the coop and grab one. We were on the fence for years before we finally jumped in, but looking back, there was no reason to wait. So get cluckin'!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

living | tapping the maples

the sweet life...I'd like to try to ignore the fact that it has been almost a full year since I last posted. In all honestly, it was a purposeful omission. My quest throughout the past months has been one where I try my best to be present. I took a much needed break from the mania of multitasking every five seconds. Sure, as a working mom, multitasking will always be a necessary evil, but I took a hold of the reigns and put down the never-ending juggle of my camera, notebook, and iPad and turned all my focus into whatever task at hand I was doing. It's been incredibly peaceful to simply immerse yourself and 100% of your focus into something. The downside? Well, I miss having my records and journals to refer back to, so crossing the ol' fingers to try to find a new balance between the zen and the mania.

It's been a very long, cold winter here in Maine. I don't think many states escaped the harshness of Mother Nature this season. And though we are buried under a few feet of snow with no hope for melting in sight, there are signs popping up that Spring may soon come once again. 

Without fail, the true harbinger of spring began its siren call in the warmer temperatures of this past weekend...the sap started running! It's become a big celebration in our house to set the first taps in the sugar maples. The boys included, we each get a go at tapping one of the trees and setting the buckets. A small glass of the first ounces of sap are collected and passed around for us each to sip and take delight in the crisp, subtle, caramel sweetness. 

Alas, we knew that our sap run was going to be stopped almost as soon as it started. The warm days and cold nights over the weekend, which coaxed the sap to run in the gallons, quickly froze up solid in Monday's frigid reality. The rest of this week is suppose to continue to be below freezing, so we probably won't see it run again until next week. But just the mere excitement to simply tap a tree, gives us such great hope that this winter will eventually come to an end and the woods will spring  once more into life. Cheers!

Search A Tasteful Garden Blog