News From Bedlam Farm

Mullen, with the spiky yellow flowers and a single Pokeweed sprouting a flower. I did pull the Pokeweek out.

So far my efforts to rid the barnyard of pokeweed are successful.  Not that the pokeweed isn’t trying.  I do feel bad pulling up the survivor plants that push up around the edges of the old stone foundation and the black plastic tarp I put down to keep them from growing.

But I really don’t want them spreading anymore.  If I can keep them from flowering this summer I think I will have gotten ahead of them.

Now I see those soft oblong leaves poking up all over the farm.  I find them alongside the mullen, thistle and stinging nettles. They hide within the broad leaves of the volunteer hybrid squash that is growing in the barnyard.

I pluck the ones I see before they can get too big. I try to pull up the long tubular roots, but some put up so much resistance the stem breaks before I can get it all.

I’m going to leave the black plastic down over the winter and into next spring just to be sure they don’t come back.

The volunteer squash

The volunteer squash, a hybrid of some kind has spread in the past few weeks.  The sheep and donkeys ate one of the squash but they don’t seem interested in them anymore.  Maybe because there are so many apples which I imagine taste better.  Or maybe they’re not worth trying to get through the sticky leaves.

We’ll see what happens when the vine dies back and the unusual squash is revealed.

A half-eaten macintosh apple and yellow jacket

I’m gathering the macintosh apples that fall to the ground for apple sauce.  I can see some red ones high up on the top of the tree, way too high for me to reach.  And many of them get eaten before I get to them.

It’s not just the donkeys and sheep who eat them.

The chickens peck away at them which then invites the bees in.  Then there are the chipmunks who live in the stone walls.  That’s who I think was munching on the apple above.  The chickens aren’t as messy when they eat the apples.

Though the Macintosh is plentiful,  crab apple tree that hangs over the shade garden doesn’t have any apples this year.  Maybe it’s making up for last year when there were so many apples I scooped them up with a shovel and stored them in bushels in the barn for the animals.

The insect I pulled out of the water bucket

I’m not finding as many insects in the animal’s water bucket as I did last year.  This surprises me because it seems like there are lots more bugs this summer.  I did pull out this small insect that looked like some kind of grass hopping bug. But it was already dead.

So I took some close-up pictures of it, to get to know it a little better in this one way at least.

I’ll end with this beautiful little moth that was resting on the wall of the farmhouse. Even though it was no more than a quarter inch long, I knew if I could get a close up of its wings they’d have an intricate pattern.  But I wasn’t prepared for the beautiful colors.

6 thoughts on “News From Bedlam Farm

  1. The pokeweed is a formidable opponent, keep on top of it, I assume it is laying in wait to come back up. Keeping it from flowering is a good second step after putting down the black plastic.

    Recently learned that mullein brings up minerals from deep in the soil. So am leaving those in
    place even in the flower garden.

    Love the colors of the moth and Lulu’s ears back

    1. I’m so glad mullein not only isn’t a problem but is good for the soil. We do have a lot of it and I’ve always liked it. I’ll keep up with the pokeweed. Thanks for the encouragement that I’m going in the right direction.

  2. Hi Maria. First I want to tell you how delighted I am with my pot holder. It is so beautifully made. The craftsmanship
    (craftwomanship is the better term) is obviously from a highly skilled person. I will order more soon.
    Second- the photos of the pokeweed etc are lovely. May I ask what camera you used?
    I am reluctant to purchase a cell phone but the world is moving in such a way that the gadgets are
    a necessity I suppose. I live in Northern California, in Sonoma County, where the wildfires roared.
    The cell phones have apps and other bells and whistles that alert folks.
    Anyhow, I’ve gone on a bit here but before signing off please know your deep disclosures have helped me.
    I too had a tremendously traumatic life and work at self-compassion daily. The mood memories and thoughts associated
    snag and drag me down. A, but I’m not alone in this work at surviving and thriving, dear Maria. And neither are you.

    1. It does feel good to know we’re not along Debrah. I’m so glad you like the potholder. That makes me happy. I have an Iphone 13 and the camera is really excellent. I was reluctant to get a cell phone too. But now I know I couldn’t do my work without it. And it does so many things for me. Instead of having many different machines, it’s all in one place. Definitely good to have for emergencies too.

  3. Maria –
    Apple, pear, plum and other fruit trees may produce a heavy crop of fruit in one year and then very little to almost none the next. This is called “alternate” or “biennial bearing”. The typical pattern is 2 alternating years, but some trees may have an excessive crop one year and then very little for the next two years.

    Flower buds are formed in the previous growing season. If your tree blooms profusely and sets a lot of fruit one year, its energy goes into fruit production instead of forming buds for the following year.

    The crabapple tree that we had in our yard seemed to be biennial as well.

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