Our garden is breathing in the sunshine and swaying in the breeze and the coops are filled with the sweet chorus of chirping chicks. The flower gardens serve as an “all-you-can-eat” smorgasbord of sugary delicacies for buzzing bees, shimmering hummingbirds and fluttering butterflies throughout day. Dragonflies in every imaginable color and size curiously settle on flowerpots, doorknobs, sticks and even our fingertips to catch a glimpse of the humans. I sometimes think they admire us as much as we admire them. They are particularly fond of my Hunk. They love to ride on his shoulder while he mows the lawn or they’ll hang out on his elbow while he sips an icy cold brew in the afternoon shine. They’re truly happy-makers around here. It’s amazing to have enough blueberries to share with the birds and our deer family who still come to visit each day. And for the first time ever, we’ve discovered paw paw trees and fruits growing in abundance all along the forest that surrounds us.
Suffice to say, we’re all getting our fill of summer here in coastal Virginia and the Wildwood Homestead is alive more than ever before. I couldn’t be more grateful for this season and the gifts bestowed upon us daily.
Of course, with all that is right with the world, we are never without hardships and disappointments. For example, I was elated to haul over 40 pounds of veggies from my garden yesterday morning, but unfortunately my red cabbage, broccoli and garlic was not part of that harvest. My cabbage was chewed to bits by a mysterious critter of some sort, one that is incredibly gifted at concealing his identity. It’s baffling. Last summer I harvested more cabbage than I knew what to do with, yet this year I failed completely. I may never know what happened to my cabbage crop this year, but you can bet that I’ve not closed the book on that investigation and I’ll certainly try again this fall. My broccoli (actually my son’s broccoli) was deliciously yummy for about 7 minutes before it became totally inundated by itty-bitty worms and turned into a disgusting slime-ridden blob of green goo. And my garlic… Don’t even get me started on that topic. Let’s just say I’ve never really been able to successfully grow garlic. I’ve had a little luck here & there, but never a substantial harvest. I still have some tucked away in the soil, so maybe I’ll be surprised over the coming year.
The most wonderful thing about growing flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables is that there’s always something more to learn. I’m thankful for that. This is a lifestyle that will always keep my brain pining for more knowledge.
Canning season has officially arrived as our tomatoes, blueberries and peppers are coming on hard and ripening fast. Also, our St. John’s Wart and Echinacea is blooming like never before this season! I’m trying two different medicinal tinctures this year, one with the blossoms this summer and one with the roots of the plants this fall.
Speaking of fall, can you believe I’m already preparing for our fall gardens? Couple more months and I’ll be harvesting pumpkins and gourds! Few more weeks and I’ll be plugging in more kale, lettuce, chard, potatoes, beets, radishes and other cold weather crops.
All is going and all is coming. That is the way of the natural world.
Our chickens have hatched out so many babies this spring and summer, which is just wonderful. The only downside is that their egg production has slowed a bit as the result. Not to mention, we had a creepy raccoon that slaughtered all of my massive Cochin hens. I adored those fluffy and docile ladies so very much. My heart was crushed for a good bit over that loss. Sadly, these things happen. After he took out the Cochin flock, he started sneaking into the coop and stealing eggs from the rest of the ladies. The scariest part is that he was doing all of this during the daylight hours and with each passing day he was becoming less and less deterred by humans. The Hunk finally caught him in the act and shot him out of a tree in broad daylight. I hate to see any animal die if not for consumption, but this guy was well on his way to taking out my entire flock. Not to mention, he was way too brave and busy during the daylight hours. This made us quite skeptical of his health.
In other news, we have a freezer full of Cornish cross hens that my friend Chanda and I harvested last month, turkeys will be next and hopefully another round of chicken. We’re still contemplating trying out quail again this year. We’ve done some work on the coop and I think we’ve got a better set-up for them now. It’s always a learning process.
All in all, we’re enjoying time with friends and family this summer and tackling our “to do” list one day at a time.
Homestead life is good.