Farm Update: Early Summer

A Swarm Of Bees In May is worth a load of hay...

We moved the hives to a different location closer to the orchard and in the shadow of huge pines trees. Nathan and William have been checking on the new bees to make sure they’ve been settling in and making themselves at home. No stings yet!

A was an Apple pie; B bit it; C cut it; D dealt it

Nathan and the boys planted eleven new apple trees this spring. We love that they’re mostly heritage apples which one can’t find in the grocery store. The happy little trees are Harrison, Orleans, GoldRush, Early Fiji, Cox’s Orange Pippen, and Russet. Even though it will be a few years until harvest, the kids are putting in their orders for pies and crisps!

Mary Had A Little Lamb

The sheep are very low maintenance during the warmer months when the pasture is thick with nutritious grasses. Harry is our ram, and the four ewes stay pretty close to him. We expect that two ewes are pregnant and due in August! Larry, the llama, still keeps guard, but Harry has mostly taken over moving the sheep around the pasture.

This Little Piggy…

We’re discovering that Holly has a temper sometimes. When she’s annoyed at the flies, she squeals lets out a loud grunt. Holly gets so excited when one of the kids is coming near and when Nathan pulls up the drive way. She’d been in a temporary pen, but just a couple of wees ago moved onto a bigger and better abode. She shares pasture with the sheep and the llama, and they don’t seem to care. You already heard that we added little Rosie who follows Holly around.

More news about the pigs: We are borrowing a boar (a mature male pig) from a nearby farm in hopes to have piglets in early September. The boar has made himself at home, for he insists on eating first. He also tilts the water trough enough to make puddles and cool off in the mud.

There was an old woman, Went blackberry picking…

The raspberries have been unkempt and overgrown, and finally this spring, Nathan tilled a larger plot and has been transplanting them with the boys. It’s a larger raspberry patch now and has room for growth.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?

We planted the garden in May which seems late to other hardier zones, but not much earlier than that we still have nights below freezing. We have become used to this rhythm, and it works well for us because around that time, we are finishing the longer schooldays. Also, waiting till May allows for less careful watch over the seedlings. We plant everything at once, even the hardier varieties that would stand lower temperatures. This simplifies the process for us, and we still enjoy a hard day in the soil with as many hands as are available to help. This year, Nathan’s Dad shared his insight and labor all afternoon. It made a huge difference in how much we were able to get planted!

I’m enjoying putting a blog post together about vegetable and herb gardening. It will be ready soon!

with love. Damaris

Because He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

photo credit: Daddy

The fertile land awaits a hundred and some little plants and sackfuls of seeds. Today was ‘Greenhouse Day’. I love greenhouse day! I anticipate it like a holiday! This means that we should have all we need for tomorrow, which is planting day – not anticipated like a holiday, ha! Planting day is no holiday mainly because here in Michigan, planting season is delayed so late. When we can finally work the gardens, the day’s heat is not pleasant!

photo credit: Daddy

As we were praying this week with the family before bedtime, the children were thanking God for the land and the opportunity to grow much of our produce. Their little voices were acknowledging that only the Creator gives the increase. We prayed that God would give us a fruitful, abundant yield. They know this will require hard work on their part, early mornings, some not-their-favorite eggplant dinners; but they also know well the joy of giving the firstfruits.

Have you heard of this word, ‘firstfruits’, before? It describes the way we recognize that God is the Sustainer and Giver of all good gifts – by offering the first rewards (or ‘fruit’) of our labors back to Him. Planting extra grape tomato plants for the neighbor who loves them, zucchini for a friend who enjoys to bake, or gifting fresh vegetables to those that need them are acts of firstfruits.

So tomorrow we will draw in a breath of earthy air, look for those gardening gloves, and plant these green little beauties in anticipation of when we can offer their firstfruits!

photo credit: Eva

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Psalm 13:6

with love. Damaris