A Backyard Wheat Field . . . Oops

The sky’s a dusty blue globe, waking up from the night, slowly bringing color to the world. Soon the sun will rise, and the birds will sing. Like the morning wakes our bodies, so springtime wakes the earth.

It’s that time of year. The farmers are starting their sprinklers, discing their fields, preparing for another season. In two months, farmers will walk onto the fields, alfalfa stem between their teeth, debating when to cut the first cutting of hay.

The sun setting behind a hay field.

Excitement flows through me simply thinking about it.

February’s always the most boring month of the year. Even though I hardly noticed it this year, there’s nothing like shedding our winter coat. When we can open the windows, sniff the sunshine and listen to the birds. Everything’s still brown, but I can feel it. In my bones. I can feel the promise of something beautiful to come.

With over enough to do on the farm, the men still helped me in my garden. They parked a pickup bed full of railroad ties beside the garden and asked, “where do you want ‘em?” My smile nearly reaching my ears, I told my thoughts. With the dullness of winter, I hadn’t thought about it nearly enough, so they waited while I calculated and measured. After one and a half hours the raised bed stood boldly in the corner of my garden.

I want to plant potatoes in it, maybe onions or garlic yet.

 I’ve never grown garlic, but I hear for spring planting they have to be planted in early spring. How early in spring though? Late winter/early spring, end of march or beginning of April? I really should research it more. I wanted to plant garlic in the fall, but I could not find garlic bulbs anywhere in my town. And I knew if I ordered them, they wouldn’t arrive on time because I waited too long to start looking.

Onions I’ll plant in mid to late April, I think. Last year I planted them in mid-May. They would have sized up nicely if I hadn’t had to harvest them in July. I made the mistake of spreading grass clippings around the plants. The plants began to rot at the base and flopped over. They tasted great though. I froze whatever I didn’t give to my mom. In January I used the last bag of onions.


Mixing our own Soil

My dad mixed our own soil for us. I’m a bit nervous that’ll compact. Without mending it every year, I bet it would. I’ve heard dirt works differently in raised beds. But he mixed straw and cow manure into it—I know that will help. I plan to add bio-tone fertilizer or something of the sort every year. I’m hoping with enough love and care it’ll turn into good soil.

I wouldn’t have wanted a raised bed. But a noxious type of grass is creeping its way into my garden; I thought a raised bed would help prevent it from taking over. Also, last fall I thought, “I’m going no-till.” No weeds, better soil—a bullet proof idea I thought. Well somehow, I ended up spreading a wheat bale over my garden. I wanted wheat straw for mulch. This bale looked like wheat straw, perfectly yellow. Until I opened it.

Long story short, the soil needs to be tilled multiple times before mid-May to prevent a backyard wheat field. Hopefully it will bury the seed far enough, keeping it from sprouting again.  I needed the potatoes in the ground before that, thus, the raised bed. Seedless soil, wheat straw without the seed—starting over. A perfect place for early spring root crops.


Refreshing the Home

Spring cleaning starts next week. I’m looking forward to it. To hang curtains, linens and blankets on the clothesline, spring air flowing through the windows. A time of year to refresh everything. Bring order back into my kitchen. Organize my office. Wipe everything, from the ceilings to the floor corners. Every nook and cranny.  

But before that, I have to sew at least two dresses.


The hyacinth and tulips are beginning to sprout. I’m so excited to see spring color in the yard. Hopefully they’ll be blooming over Easter. My mother-in-law gave me the hyacinth last year for Easter. I planted it, thinking it might die either way, this way I’m giving it a chance. It was the first thing to come up this year

Writing a novel also kept me busy this winter. And many other things. I’m not sure what I did, but I did something. Previous winters I’d write all day, because I didn’t have anything else to do. This winter, I did good if I got over two hours of writing in a day.

I am making progress though. Use to be I’d write faster, but this time I’m taking it as slow as I need to, making sure it’s the best I can do. I’m hoping to have it written and edited by end of July. Take a break for a few months. Edit it again. By that time, I will have worked on this draft for over a year.

It’ll be a busy year, so we’ll see how things turn out. But at least it feels like I’m finally starting. And I am ready!

I will hopefully write to you again in a month. With a lot more updates. Until then, I hope you enjoy the spring season wherever you are. 😊

My God bless you,

Maria

Adventure Awaits

They said it wouldn’t freeze until November 5th, at least that’s what one weather station predicted. About five days ago, the light freeze darkened nearly all the plants. Good thing I prepared the days before. The other plants I didn’t care about, they had already produced all their vegetables, but the tomatoes and peppers still had a lot to give.

The last 2021 vegetable harvest.

I searched every tomato branch and picked every decent-size green tomato. I picked every decent-size sweet bell pepper, even a hand full of jalapenos. It brought enough sweet bell peppers for two chili ralleno meals and I think three half-pint jars of canned jalapenos.

Mom pre-fried and froze half of the sweet bell peppers. So, they’re ready whenever she decides to make chili rellenos again. I don’t make them. She usually makes some when we come over for lunch or she’ll bring me a few. And they are always really good! She fallows a memorized recipe she learned from her mom years ago. I have never had a chili relleno in a restaurant, but I imagine they taste very different, considering the dough we use is the same dough we use to make our own version of crepes.

Which is also very good! You make one crepe, set it aside, make another crepe, but leave it in the pan. Then spread whichever fruit you’d like onto the crepe in the pan, add sugar over the fruit, drizzle dough on the edge around the crepe, place the first crepe over the fruit, and ceil them together with the dough you drizzled around the edge.


Fall deep cleaning began on the last Monday in September, at dawn. That week, the men had a lot of alfalfa baling to do almost every morning, giving me the chance to start early. Because of that, I was able to take half of Wednesday off to have coffee with my mom and friend/brother’s girlfriend at the farm.

By Friday at five or six, I dumped the last bucket of water out and threw the last cleaning towels in the hamper. A few of my other chores got neglected, but it all worked out.

Now I just have to thoroughly clean the shop/garage. I’m waiting to do that until the first week of November. After our trip to Maine. Also, then my husband will have his Duramax finished and I won’t have to clean around it. I can back it out. That’s what I was waiting for.

On Saturday, after I finished deep cleaning, I did decorate the front porch area. On that day we had crisp, rainy weather and my husband didn’t have to work, so we went to the local coffee shop. We’d only done that once before, when the shop first opened, so it was a real treat. The atmosphere and the drinks . . . everything is so good there, I don’t know why we don’t go more often. You can definitely tell that the owners put a lot of thought and effort toward it.

I started decorating after the coffee shop trip. I’m happy with how the porch turned out. I’m definitely growing pumpkins again next year. It’s worth it, even if I just use them for decoration. I might try to make a puree out of them yet. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to do that though. Maybe around thanksgiving.

To celebrate . . . we went shopping!

We didn’t go crazy or anything, only walked out with a few bags. 😀 But I did buy a puzzle and a piece of fabric for a dress from Hobby Lobby. I asked my mom if she wanted to go to town with me. We had both just finished deep cleaning, and I thought as a treat, why not spend the afternoon browsing. So, that’s what we did. Of course, we had to get a coffee as well. (haha)

But I made the dress that next week yet. I also sewed a bunch of other things. At least I considered it a bunch. I tried making a t-shirt for the first time and it worked out. But I don’t think I used the right fabric. The apron I made, didn’t turn out like I thought it would, but it did work out and I’m using it all the time now. It might be my favorite.

Apple Pie. Recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

Other than that, homemaking and writing keep me busy lately. The garden is cleaned up, all except the carrots, which I’m hoping to harvest as I need them, until the hard frost comes. A layer of manure is resting on the soil. Once we get back from Maine, I hope to spread straw over it yet. Then I can forget about gardening for five months. Except the occasional watering, to help breakdown the manure. Though, I’m hoping we get a lot of snow.

Hoping to Celebrate Three Years in Maine

My husband and I are flying to Boston, then driving up to Maine next week. Our third year anniversary is coming up. We love to take a trip around that time. Just a few days every year to get away, just the two of us and explore the country. In a few years, or so, we’re hoping to start traveling all over the world.

We did not know where to go this year! I think we thought of every corner of the U.S–for sure every corner, and so many places in between. But in the end, we decided on Acadia National Park.

I’m planning on packing a lot of layers. The weather stations predict fifty degree weather for the time we’ll be there. And we’ve been having seventy to eighty degree weather here. (It’s unusually warm, I think, for this time of year.) The temperature’s supposed to rise up to forty-four again at night next week, then rise thirty degrees by the afternoon.

Anyways, next month sometime, I’ll talk more about the trip. What we did and how it went. 🙂


Lazy Autumn Sunday at the lake.

I am going to go clean the Denali, maybe go to the bank yet, and then start dinner. Roasted Cornish hens are on the menu for tonight. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. (haha) But I better get on with my day.

Thank you for letting me share what I’ve been up to. 🙂

As always, I hope you all are having a good day, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Until then,

Maria

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