Monday, May 14, 2012

A tale of two visitors... {Garden Journal #7}

On both Wednesday and Thursday mornings last week, we received an unlikely visit from none other than Mr. Jack Frost -- nine days after our last frost date. Thankfully, we had warning and were able to throw a floating row cover over our tender lettuce bed. Even though our bird bath was covered with a thin layer of ice, none of our plants (flowers or edibles) were damaged -- praise God!

After Mr. Frost's departure, Mr. Heat Miser decided to call. While we welcomed our second guest with open arms, our newly transplanted raspberries grumbled and wished he'd visited elsewhere with his mid-80 degree heat. We, of course, enjoyed the warmth and are holding on to hope that a good watering will take care of our raspberries' droopy spirits.

So how did we do on last week's plans?
  • Bring in a load of soil to amend an area where some of our flower bed plants will (eventually) be moved.
  • Prepare the dirt in our corn patch for planting.
  • Start more lettuce and spinach seed.
  • Plant the raspberry canes my sister gave us over the weekend.
  • Create a chart to record our garden/homestead production this year.
  • Prepare the brooder for the 30 meat birds we ordered (picking them up on Wednesday).
  • Decide on a name for our "farm": Foothill Farm or Dole Valley Farm. Any opinions?

Not too bad!

Saturday was gorgeous here, so we took advantage of the day by tackling as many projects as we had time for. Dan and Daniel repaired our watering system which provides water for both the garden and the chickens. Daniel is thrilled to have our automatic chicken water-er working again. :)  The guys also hand dug/tilled and raked our corn patch, so it's now ready for planting later this week. While all that work was going on, I did a little maintenance weeding and planted seed in the garden for pickling cucumbers, green beans, and carrots.

Here's a before shot from not-quite two months ago -- seeing progress is a terrific motivator!

Chives in bloom...

30 yellow fluffy Cornish-cross chicks which will, Lord willing, be ready for processing near the end of June.

Future strawberries...

Sixteen cherry tomato starts being hardened off in the shade of our back porch.

Kitten update: Sadly, we lost one of our kittens the day after last week's post. We're not sure about the what or why; seven kittens was a large (HUGE!) litter for our small mama cat to care for, and she sure did work hard at keeping them all fed and groomed. Despite our sadness, we're enjoying the remaining six who are thriving and enjoying their adventures outdoors over the past few warm days. They'll be five weeks old tomorrow and are beginning to exhibit all the usual humorous antics kittens are known for...

Love this shot!

Garden and homestead plans for this week:
  • Bring in a load of soil to amend an area where some of our flower bed plants will (eventually) be moved.
  • Build a larger brooder for our pullets and meat birds (will post on chickens soon).
  • Purchase some shade cloth in hopes of prolonging our lettuce growing season.
  • Install a cloche for our cherry tomato bed and transplant seedlings out to the garden!!
  • Plant more peas.
  • Plant early corn (no the snow isn't gone from Silver Star, but we're impatient). :)
  • Decide on a name for our "farm": Foothill Farm or Dole Valley Farm. Only one of you voiced an opinion last week...any others care to chime in?

Happy gardening!

~Lisa :)

Sharing with:
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Thanks for dropping in! I hope your visit to Dole Valley has been both a blessing and encouragement; if so, won't you join me? Look to the upper right to follow, subscribe via email, or via RSS feed. ~Lisa


  1. Dole Valley Farm. :-) It just fits!


    1. Thanks, Chels! We still aren't decided...

  2. Anonymous5/14/2012

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I think Dole Valley Farm sounds great.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Yvonne! :)

  3. Anonymous5/15/2012

    Beautiful Website... I vote Dole Valley Farm

  4. Hello. Visiting from Tuesday Garden Party. Your garden is gorgeous! Our last frost date is May 30... glad we're not alone :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Shelley! Thanks for the sweet words about our garden. It's been six years since we got started, so it's nice to finally have it looking so nice. Each year it's a little easier and a little less work. :)

      Blessings & welcome!


  5. I'm so sorry I missed this post earlier! Wow, you've been BUSY! Is your farm your business, too, or is the farm name just for you? I like Dole Valley better, personally :-) I bought and planted some chives yesterday...they're in bloom, too, so pretty! So far we haven't had a late frost, though we're not past our last frost date, so we've taken a chance. The forecasts look great, though, so hopefully we'll make it!

    Blessings and {{{HUGS}}},

    1. Lori, The only part of our "farm" is that we raise hens to provide us with fresh eggs as well as to provide our kiddos with a little side business. I'd love to get into selling organic vegetable and flower starts...maybe next year. The name is just for fun, really. I have a habit of naming things, and it just seems that our small acreage needs a name. :) I love it when chives are in bloom -- so pretty! Praying wonderful weather upon your gardening efforts! ~Lisa :)

  6. Lovely! Seeing progress is a big motivator for me, too :) Sorry to hear about your kitty who didn't make it :( Dole Valley Farm would be my vote, too. The other choice is nice, but feels less specific somehow. Wishing you a wonderful week!

    1. Welcome, Jamie. :) Thanks for the kind words and condolences about the kitten...the remaining six are doing so well. All are now eating kitten food and drinking water! Thanks, too, for the vote on the farm name.

      Blessings, ~Lisa

  7. Your raised beds are beautiful, the Farmer has a tractor, come and see his garden.

    1. Thanks for visiting! That is some garden you've got there!


Thanks so much for visiting; your kind thoughts and questions are always welcome. :)

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