Pumpkin update…we have blooms!

Day 28 of the Harmony Farm pumpkin patch…all five varieties are doing well. The “giant” variety (200 pounders) have just sprouted their blooms. I posted two pictures. The first is a close up of the blooms…and the 2nd will show you how much they’ve grown over the past week…

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In about 4-5 days, the flowers will appears, and then we’re hoping for some bees to pollinate the blooms. About 10 days after that we should start seeing fruit. We’ll keep you posted.

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My two “Peaches” canning some peaches…now that’s peachy!

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Tonight, I smiled!  Because I had the joy of watching Mrs. Harmony Farmer, and Harmony Daughter take on their first canning session.  I watched from the sidelines and took a few pictures for posterity as they lovingly boiled the mason jars, cut the peaches, added water and sugar, fill the jars and then boiled them again.  I must say, I was impressed.

An important part of living a sustainable lifestyle is growing, harvesting and preserving your own food.  Unfortunately, the peach trees we planted last fall haven’t started producing yet (hopefully next spring), so we bought these peaches from the market…and man are they sweet!  Then Mrs. HF and Harmony Daughter called on their good friend Patty, who has more canning experience, and got some help through the process.  Another key to living this lifestyle is learning from others and teaching them what you know.

I think the next item on the canning list is tomatoes.  And probably cucumbers.  Actually, the possibilities are limitless…I’m placing my order for blueberry and blackberry preserves, apples, squash, okra, and peppers.  Man I gotta go…I’m  making myself hungry!

What I learned… watching the girls work together was a neat experience.  Life here on Harmony Farm is so sweet…literally!

Follow up to “Looks like the Wildlife is back” WARNING: If you don’t like snakes, do not proceed!

Last week I posted about the Wildlife returning to Harmony Farm. And I’m not talking about me after not shaving for 3 or 4 days…or Mrs. Harmony Farm when she doesn’t get her chocolate. The deer, wild turkey, coyote, red fox, raccoon, woodpeckers, chipmunks, etc…are all over the place. Which brings me to another form of wildlife that resides here on Harmony Farm. SNAKES!

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Now, I’m not terrified of snakes, but I don’t go turning over logs looking for them either. They’re just one of those necessary evils here on the farm, I guess. They really do keep the rat and other vermin population to a minimum, so for that, I’m grateful. But when you reach down into the grass to pick up what you think is a hydraulic hose that fell off your tractor, and you realize at the last minute that the “tractor part” is a 5 foot black snake…well that will get your heart racing a bit. The good news is, I realize I can still run when I need to!

WHAT I LEARNED: The Harmony Farmer and Snakes, can co-exist. Let’s just say I won’t inviting them over for Sweet Tea and Chess Pie anytime soon!

Looks like the Wildlife is back!

Last year the wildlife here on Harmony Farm came out early and often. We had deer, wild turkey, red fox, racoon, and every kind of bird imaginable. But it seems like this year the wildlife hasn’t been nearly as abundant…until today that is.

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I like to start my days with a hot cup of coffee either on the back porch or in the kitchen looking out on the back pasture. This morning, within about 20 minutes I saw a mama deer and her baby, a hummingbird, a chipmunk, and ole Mr. Tom the Turkey strutting around…it was awesome.

WHAT I LEARNED…the Lord has blessed me with such a beautiful place to live and to experience His creation is an intimate way. Life is good here on Harmony Farm!

Weekly Pumpkin Update…day 18, still growing strong!

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We’ve had rain everyday for over a week now. It makes it hard for me to do some of my other farm chores, but it sure is good for the plants. Here is a look at the pumpkins on day 18. Another couple of weeks and we should start seeing some blooms.

Interesting fact that you probably already know. Blooms on a pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, etc. doesn’t guarantee fruit…the blooms must be fertilized by bees. The issue, I haven’t seen a lot of bees around lately. But nature has a way of taking care of these things…I hope. But just in case I’m investigating renting a small hive. I’ll keep you posted.

This was not in the manual!

Aside

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At 5 AM, most normal people are, wait for it…SLEEPING!  Which is what I use to do at that really early hour, before we got this idea that we wanted to live a sustainable life here on Harmony Farm.

Webster defines sustainable as “of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.”  You know, living off the land, growing and preparing your own food, raising and tending to animals, harvesting rainwater, etc.  You get the idea…doing it yourself.

Unfortunately, no one told the animals that.  They need to be fed and watered…which I have no problem with.  My problem comes from the important, tiny little detail…it has to be at 5AM…not 5:10, or 5:08 or even 5:02…5 AM!!! That, by the way, was NOT in the “Start your own Farm” manual.  Who made that rule anyway…and how do the animals know it is 5 AM?  I’m not sure, but they know…and if you’re not out there, on the dot, they let you know about it. Harmony Daughter thinks I should just let them wait a while. But if you’ve ever heard the noise three hungry donkeys can make you know that’s not an option.

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Actually, I’m starting to the enjoy the chorus of singing and hew hawing, and baaaaaaing, that awaits me each pre-sunrise.

Other people set alarms, I get sung to.  Other people are greeted by traffic and honking horns…I’m greeted  by the happy “good morning” of my eleven girlfriends.  But I wonder, do they love me for me, or just for my feed bucket?!

What I learned…Farm living begins early.  You greet nature and nature greets you…and if you’re lucky you’ll get a kiss from a donkey.

Take one of those “needs fixin” off the list!

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In a previous post, I did a little whining about the fact that several pieces of our farm equipment needed some mechanical TLC. One was the grooming mower I bought at auction. SIDE NOTE: Farm auctions are Awesome! This John Deere mower would cost $1,200 new (way out of my price range), and on Craig’s List it would be around $5-600 (still not in the budget), but I got this one for $150 at the auction (that’s more like it).
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One of the drawbacks of auctions is that you may need to do some fixin’ when you get your great deal home. That was the case with the grooming mower. But this one didn’t need major work, thank goodness, just a new drive belt. So I called my local JD dealer, they ordered the belt I needed, and it came today! A few minutes to slap that thing on and we’re back in business. Uh, wrong!

Let me see if I can choose a few words to describe the process of putting this belt on…Complicated, frustrating, infuriating…yeah those are good ones. Special thanks to Mrs. Harmony Farmer for being there with encouragement, and some sweet tea! Great news…two hours and three skinned knuckles later, the belt is on, and I’m ready to mow. Wait…oh rats, it’s dark. Well, there’s always tomorrow.

What I Learned… Sometimes, jobs on the farm aren’t nearly as easy as you think they are going to be, but the satisfaction you feel when you’re done, makes it all worth it!