In the Garden

Last year I did a garden update every month. The weather was uncooperative this year and the garden wasn’t the bright spot it normally is.

IMG_5486Except for the pole beans, the garden has finished production for the year. I plant fall radishes after each section has finished growing it’s vegetable. The radishes suppress weeds and their deep roots loosen the soil for spring tillage.

IMG_5487The Amaryllis bulbs are still growing and one of them is actually blooming, a second plant has a flower stalk too. I’ll let these bulbs grow until the end of September unless frost threatens earlier. They’ll be pulled and allowed to start their ‘rest’ until they are repotted again in November.

The leaves do get beat up some from growing in the garden. I think it helps develop stronger bulbs by growing in the real world for a while.

IMG_5488On the east end of the garden are these beautiful hybrid sunflowers. They have been transformed into  flowering bushes instead of having just 1 seed head like they used to. I had originally planted a whole row of the sunflowers on the left side but whatever ate my tomato plants also ate most of those seedlings. I had used all my seed so I went back to the seed store. They were out of the original variety IMG_5489so I got another type. I think they’re even prettier.



IMG_5493The bees enjoy them too. There have been bumble bees, honey bees and some wild type of bee that looks like honey bees but are half the size.

I enjoy looking out the west windows of the house and seeing them so bright, colorful and cheery.

IMG_5496The soybeans are nearing the end of their growth. It is hard to imagine, but a month from now, this field will have yellow leaves with some of them turning brown and starting to drop off the stalk. If we have a normal (what’s normal anymore?) fall, they should be harvested in October.

After they are harvested, we’ll no-til winter wheat into the soil.

IMG_5462My flower beds aren’t very colorful anymore. The black-eyes Susans are still smiling but the most brilliant flower this late summer time has been the lily hostas. The early summer rains really made them grow, their flowers are beautiful. When I head out to the barn in the early morning, the scent of their sweet perfume is hanging in the air. It is too dark to see them, but they definitely let you know they are there.

In July we combined the wheat in our bottom field and baled the straw the following week. A combine can’t harvest every single seed grain so there are wheat kernels dropped to the ground. There are 3 wild turkeys who have been grazing the field ever since the combine did it’s job. They were there when we started baling, waddling ahead of the tractor eating the seeds. I would love to get a picture of them for you but I don’t have a telephoto lens on my camera. As I am typing, I am looking out the east window at them. They are determined to glean every loose seed in that field.

As we baled hay this week, the barn swallows gracefully flew and swooped around us; devouring the insects we disturbed. I’d take pictures to show you, but I’m not fast enough to snap one. I don’t know how much longer they will stay in northern Indiana before heading south. My bird book says they winter from Costa Rica to Argentina.

I did manage some sewing time this week, but I’ll share that with you in my next post.


Laying Hens

Did I ever tell you guys I have laying hens? I love having my own eggs to use but the old chickens aren’t laying very well anymore. I thought I would get chicks and raise them but they wouldn’t lay eggs until maybe the end of August.

In this week’s  Farmer’s Exchange, there was an ad for pullets ready to start laying. That would save a lot of time, so the Farmer and I drove to the farm and checked them out. Or actually, I checked them out; the chickens are my project. They were clean and healthy so I bought 15 of them.

IMG_5209We brought them home and settled them into their new pen. They’ve adapted very well to the change of feed and the new surroundings. Their feathers are a little ruffled from the ride home in a wire cage in the back of the truck.

These are Isa Brown layers. They are a hybrid cross between Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorn and will lay brown eggs when fully mature.

In the back of the pen you can see part of the nesting box. They will hop up to the foot rail then step into the straw lined nest and lay their eggs. A chicken will lay 1 egg a day but not necessarily everyday.

Barn Swallows

All summer I’ve been trying to get a picture of the baby barn swallows. I finally got one. These little guys were just about ready to fly!

IMG_4474Sorry it’s blurry, it wasn’t easy to take. The birds did fly away shortly after I took this photo.

The Swallows

Do you know what this is? It doesn’t look like much does it?

IMG_4122Two days later it looked like this.

IMG_4158If you guessed it was a barn swallow nest, you were correct. We have a lot of barn swallows and they make their nests in our barns. This nest is from the west barn. The swallows that nest in the west barn startle more easy and I can’t get a picture of them in their nest. However, the swallows in the east barn are more tolerant of us. We milk in that barn and they are used to people.

This female is setting on eggs and in several weeks there will be baby birds peeking over the sides of the nest.

IMG_4205Sorry it’s blurry. The reason the nest is white is because we are required by the Indiana Board of Animal Health to white wash the walls and ceiling every fall. This bird is reusing a nest from last year.

The swallows like to sit on the pipe line and chitter-chatter at us.

IMG_4206We also have 2 cliff swallow nests. They make mud nest outside high underneath the roof line of the barn.

IMG_4221You can see the swallows head peeking out of the nest entrance.