Inexpensive Invisible Deer Fencing

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Spring is a very popular time for visitors to our farm.  Flowers and trees are in bloom, the weather is delightful and babies are everywhere!  We’ve been fortunate to have our daughters come, a few friends as well as both of my parents.  My Dad takes an annual spring motorcycle trip with buddies through the mountains and my Mom flies up to visit while he’s gone.  This trip, he actually stopped by while she was here.  We had a great visit and put them both to work!  My Mom helped me move peonies from our new annex property and weed and mulch our flower beds.   My Dad helped us with a new fencing project.  I planted peas twice this Spring and the deer ate every one of the plants.  Both times.  I knew we needed to do something to keep them out of our raised beds so I did a little bit of research and came across an invisible fishing line fence.  My Dad pounded T posts about every 10-15 feet around the garden then we strung fishing line in a criss cross pattern between them.  The ‘gateway’ is made of bird netting. The idea is that the deer can’t see the fishing line and walk right into it.  It freaks them out and they run away.  I must say so far so good!  It’s taken us a little bit of time to remember it’s there (duh.. invisible!) and we’ve had no problems with deer in the garden since it’s been up.   My husband pulled an old barbed wire fence off of the annex property so our T posts were free (but usually run just $6 or $7 each new) and the fishing line came from his tackle box.  Now if we can figure out how to keep them out of our orchard!

Another Reason To Grow Your Own Garlic

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Scapes!  Scapes are the curly tendril flower shoot of the garlic plant.  If you don’t pick them, they will slow further growth of the garlic bulb under the ground because the plant is putting it’s energy into the flower instead of the root.  From one plant you get both scapes and bulbs.  It’s like a two-fer!  I get rid of about 5 inches of the pointy end because it gets tough when cooked.  The rest of it is tender and tasty, delicious sliced into stir fry.  We’ll harvest the garlic in about a month, then let it hang for a few more weeks and it should last us until January.  In the meantime, we’re having leg of lamb with sauteed scapes for dinner tonight.

A Visitor From The Pond

Orchards are a big draw for deer but turtles??  We found this huge guy in with our apple trees this morning.  It’s the first time we’ve seen a pond turtle up close.  They normally hang out in the middle of the pond floating around.  We once saw a guy stop a pickup truck on a bridge to move one of these out of the road.  He picked it up and it turned it’s head around and bit the crap out of him.   His heart was in the right place.  :-)

Wubba!

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Mornings are Wubba time, Jenna’s favorite toy.  I swear she would fetch that thing until her heart burst.  If you tire of tossing it, she’ll lay down with it where you can see her and chew it until the plastic ball falls out.  Then you’ve got a plastic ball to toss her.  She has several…

Be the Bee

Heirloom tomatoes aren’t self-pollinating, which is an issue when we grow them in our greenhouse through the cool months. We start our seeds in January in our dining room under lights then pot them up a few months later.  They get moved into the greenhouse in April where they stay until after our last frost date in early May.  During these later months, they are growing like crazy (taller than me) and start getting blossoms. Without insects, there is no pollination so we take that task on ourselves.  A paintbrush goes from flower to flower and, by the time we move our plants to the back deck, we’ve got tomatoes!

Camera Hog

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Whenever I go into the pasture for any reason, Milos shows up to ask (nicely) for a dog biscuit.  Yesterday, it was to get photos of Mina’s twins…  Of course I oblige.  These dogs are very difficult to handle so I am happy to ‘train’ them with treats.  His sister FiFi got out a few months ago and it was the promise of a biscuit that lured her back into the pasture after a few hours on her own.  That and, I’m sure, a desire to be back on the job with her brother. FiFi’s big adventure.

Roasted Beets

Monster beets have been growing in our greenhouse interior bed.  Here’s how I roast them. I didn’t have a fresh orange to squeeze onto them when done, but it would be a nice addition.

Peel and slice beets into 1/2 inch wedges.

Place them on a roasting pan coated with olive oil and a layer of fresh rosemary.

Toss in peeled garlic cloves.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper.

Roast at 350 degrees until desired doneness.  Start checking them in 30 minutes.

Mushroom Time, Evidently

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Shiitake and oyster mushrooms are what we’ve selected to grow.  We inoculated logs in 2008 and 2009.  We follow the directions on getting them to fruit but they seem to do their own thing, which is apparently now.   Mushroom growing is not a topic I would ever advise anyone on.  Asparagus and mushroom risotto for dinner tonight!

A Tiny Broody Chicken

Nugget, our smallest chicken, has gone broody.  She’s the only broody chicken we’ve ever had.  She stopped laying her tiny little eggs and has started sitting on everyone else’s.  Which includes some ginormous double yolk ones we’ve been getting from our Rhode Island Reds that won’t even fit into an XL egg carton.  She doesn’t seem to realize that since we have no rooster, there will be no baby chicks.  What is fun about Nugget nesting is you can pick her up.  And pet her.  And tickle her.  And carry her around.  Normally, she’s absolutely untouchable… faster than a marsupial.  I enjoy a broody Nugget!

I Like to Ride

Jenna takes her spot between us in the Mule.   Brian usually encourages her to run with us to the barn for some exercise (it’s about a quarter mile) but I like it when she rides with us.  She’s not very good about sharing the seat.  “Move over fat ass”  comes right after “Load up, Jenna”.  She completely ignores the squirrels and bunnies we scare up on the journey (they’re not large, white and fluffy like our sheep).

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