It’s here!

Autumn on Rat Farm! Our freak warm week ended, it went from high 70s back down to 45.

It’s been a cool year and had been getting colder, autumn is definitely upon us. Then this week has been ridiculously warm and sunny, it’s been nicer than a lot of the summer was! I’m hoping this will be what the gardens need to catch up after a slow growing summer.

Pictured in order: kale eaten by some critter, first sign of brussel sprouts forming in the crook of the leaves, tiny purple kohlrabi starting starting to gt recognizable, grass seed coming in around the new stone path, green tomatoes, tomato flowers, and butternut squash trying to beat the clock, strawberries in the stone retaining wall grown from transplanted runners, this years new ivy turning red, and very very late blackberry blossoms!

If you missed what we’re growing, this year’s planting list is here.

Standing in the front yard looking South (last photo). I’ve been watching the shadows moved as the sun travels across the sky all summer and plotting. A lot of the front yard, including the newly expanded garden are shaded at least part of the day. Eventually everything except that double trunked maple in the center of the first photo (our chill spot to remain shaded) will get cut save for a tree line/privacy buffer along the edge of the property. The area will be used for an orchard with dwarf fruit trees that won’t block out the sun so the garden will do better and the house will benefit form more passive solar heat in the winter. There’s two apple transplants as f this summer. We already removed a few trees near the house (the bright spot behind the playhouse in the second photo) and it made a big difference over the winer.

The orchard will be fenced in, still separate from the front yard. It’ll be the location for a final coop and the chickens will be permanently enclosed but with a much larger area than the run and they’ll have plenty of access to foraging. I love letting them free-range but we loose too many to predators: foxes are our biggest nuisance but neighbors dogs and feral cats also cause trouble. Dogs don’t usually get far before ours go nuts but feral/loose pet cats have killed entire broods of chicks and left them dead without even eating them.

I’m not sure when we’ll start this project because there’s so many things we’re doing but next summer we’re getting goats and will be tethering them to clear the weeds and brush in that area.

Adventures in our enchanted forest!~

Mushroom Tag

The new flock of Buckeyes are looking good!

We’ve had a number of different backyard/heritage breeds (and meat hyrbrids) but these guys are distinctly inquisitive and friendly. You practically trip over them as they swarm around your feet and are very easy to catch and pick up!

Ghost Plant from our little forest.

Mushroom Tag

The last of our summer photos! We had such a cool year that much of it felt like autumn (particularly at night) but it’s crept in on us. The yard has come a long way from last year!

The second to last photo has our apple tree and a clump of transplanted wildflowers in a nook where th fence curves around but it’s hard to see. It will look really nice once it grows out, there’s a lot of variety in a dense “cottage style” planting.

Judas Jr. is picking beans from the retaining wall which was a downright ingenious bean location, no stooping and we picked beans every day! We made it even easier (and extra fun) by planting Royal Purple Pod and Dragon’s Tongue so they stood out nicely from the foliage. Peas were growing up the fence behind them and all the berries were further down.

Bugs enjoying flowers in our little pasture!

Some mushrooms we saw last week. The Rat Farm forest is extra enchanted looking this year!

Mushroom Tag

The Rat Farm pasture is (thus far) a 44x100’ septic field plus a small spot of yard where the tank is buried.

We are clearing towards a half acre each of pasture and garden. We want to preserve as much land as possible for a woodlot, deer, and to enjoy.