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Well, the tree swallows that were nesting in the nest box right next to the front door have gone along their merry way. (I think I heard a parental sigh of relief.) Normally when baby birds fledge (i.e. leave the nest) you will see them around the yard for a few weeks, trying out their flying skills and begging food from their parents from every tree branch. Not so with swallows, who spend their lives finding food on the wing. I wasn’t there for the actual event, but I have a deep appreciation for a critter who, never having flown before, or even completely stretched out its wings in a small nest box with 3 or 4 siblings, makes that inaugural flight by leaping into the air, trusting to instinct that it will all work out just fine…and it does. I was able to capture these pictures a few days before the babies departed, when they were clearly getting big enough to be ready to go.

TreeSwallowFledgie

The yellow edge to their beaks, which all baby songbirds have, to my knowledge, is called a gape.

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BeanTendrilThere is an interesting rhythm to life on a farm. Most of my life, I’ve been at an office job every weekday by 8:00 am. I tried to cram in all of my “hobbies” during my non-working hours. Now, there is no 8-5 job, and the hobbies are now my life. And because I love what I am doing, I flit from garden to scrap woodpile to kitchen toiletry invention like a hummingbird sampling a field of flowers. It’s wonderful to be my own boss. It’s wonderful to set my own priorities. It’s not so wonderful to not have a day off! Read the rest of this entry »

GardenGateTie

It IS useful sometimes.

Perhaps you’ve heard some version of this John Muir quote “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” Well, on this farm, it would read, “When we try to pick up anything by itself, we find it is hitched to a piece of baling twine“.

HayPile

Trust me, this is bigger than the photo makes it look.

We’ve been slowly shoveling, pitch forking and sometimes hand pulling our way through a large pile of rotting hay on one side of our old barn. There used to be a roof over it. The roof collapsed in a winter snow, and then was left to rot for who knows how long. So first, we had to remove the half rotted tin roof. Then we started working on the hay, which, if the number of baling twine pieces is any indication, used to be at least 10 ft tall. Read the rest of this entry »

Bugloss

I was really excited to move to a lower elevation and have a longer growing season. But with every new garden comes new challenges as well. My new weed nemesis (which I will happily accept instead of  bindweed in Colorado) is annual bugloss, which is in the borage family, and has the prickles to prove it. It is absolutely everywhere, has been coming up since April, and is STILL germinating.  Read the rest of this entry »

SaladBeginning

Note the lack of radishes, which would not be here even if they had been perfect. Those are homemade sourdough croutons, by the way.

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ReroofGardenShed

We marked where the joists were with spray paint so we didn’t accidentally step through!

I have a wonderful husband. For the last year, he’s been working in a town 3 1/2 hours away from our farm. So he is there during the week, and here on the weekends. This separation has had the effect of making us really appreciate the time we get to spend together. And those rare three and four day weekends are especially welcome.

So what did we do over Memorial Day weekend? Reroofed the old chicken coop/now garden shed, of course! All of the old outbuildings on our place are roofed with tin, in various states of rust and disrepair. In some cases (as was the case with the coop) whole sections are simply missing, lost to the wind or the snow. The coop had been leaking for a while, and one section of cross pieces was rotted out as well. So off came what was left of the tin, off came quite a few old wood singles (picture 50 years of fine dust and mouse nests), and out came the rotting sections, to be replaced by salvaged wood from other parts of the farm. Then on went a donated corrugated plastic roof, left over from when my Mother-in-law reroofed her car port. Sweet. Read the rest of this entry »

AppleBlossom

Three apple trees on the property. Fingers crossed for a good crop this year.

I hereby officially petition that the first day of Spring should be floating, depending on where you live, and tied to the first apple blossom. It finally feels like spring is here, in the third week of May!

The wild lands near my house are starting to bloom, the plum flowers are almost done, the apple blossoms are just starting, and one of our 5 lilac bushes just started to bloom yesterday. Nights are still in the high 30’s/low 40’s, so the garden is growing S L O W L Y. But it IS growing. Read the rest of this entry »

That is, if you are a cat in the catnip patch. He’s lying ACROSS the bush!

ButtersCatnip

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2011, where rather than lazing in the catnip with a good buzz on, I’m out in the garden installing irrigation line.

AsparagusSprout

I’ve planted two types of asparagus, one green, the other purple. Guess which this is?

Building chicken pens, checking on bees, moving seedlings from the grow lights to the sunlight and back again, mowing a suddenly growing lawn, celebrating a 13 year wedding anniversary with my husband, looking for a lost cat (still looking), digging up endless alfalfa (the garden is in an alfalfa field that was plowed last fall. A LOT of the alfalfa is still happily alive), and planting planting planting. These are just some of the things that have happened in the last two weeks. Not much time to blog, I must admit. Read the rest of this entry »

BeesBox

This is how the “hive” of bees arrives. The can is full of sugar syrup, with small holes at the bottom, to feed the colony. The queen is in a small box hanging from the top. You can bet that when this arrives at the post office, they call you right away!

On April 16th, we hived an order of  Carniolan honey bees. It’s good to have bees again.

I love the idea of keeping bees. What’s not to love? The ultimate in a “local” sweetener, the increased yield from fruit trees and garden plants, a source of wax for making lip balms and hand salves, not to mention the pure fascination of having this colony of insects living in harmony with humans. Bees are just amazing! Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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