Tag Archives: forsythia

Homestead Update 2/12/17

12 Feb

The temperatures have been unseasonably warm the past 3 weeks so we are having a false Spring. When this happens, we always get  another hard freeze after the fruit trees have bloomed out so we will have no locally grown fruit this year. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the trees are budding out and the forsythia is blooming. This is 2-3 weeks too early for here. It has been so warm my bees have been really flying! They are not just cleansing, they are foraging and bringing in pollen. I plan on adding some sugar water to the feeders next week so they don’t starve. I went into Winter with 5 hives, but now I am down to 4 hives.

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This is the dead hive. I was one frame short in the lower hive body so when I placed the medium super on top of it, the bees drew out the comb to fill in the space anyway. The comb just hung down from the frame above it.

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I set up 7 hives in anticipation of swarm season and I will add 3 more hives next week. I am tired of the grass growing up around the hives so I put down a layer of landscape cloth before I set the hives.

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I will come back soon and add some pine bark mulch on top of the fabric to hold down the grass.

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I took this picture of a tree outside of one of my farmer’s shop.

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That is what a 20 year old crepe myrtle looks like if it hasn’t been butchered back to keep it short. I really like the look of that trunk with the bark peeled off, that tree has a lot of character.

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I used my front end loader and pushed up a pile of old limbs and I discovered this really nice looking composted material on the bottom of the pile. I flipped it over with the old compost on top of the fresher limbs on the bottom. I think in a couple of more years, I can get some good usable compost from the bottom of the pile. I also uncovered a big brown snake under the pile. I’ll have to start watching out for them now since the weather is so warm.

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I put together this 12 inch bandsaw from Harbor Freight. And like anything from HF that has a lot of parts, following the instructions is a bit problematic because they are obviously written by some Chinese dude with only a rudimentary grasp of the English language. You really have to use your imagination and judgment to put this together. But after a little trial and error, I only had one small screw hole that had been drilled incorrectly, but I redrilled the hole myself so problem solved! I’ll have another post next week, until then keep prepping everyone!

Spring Flowers

18 Mar

The weatherman was predicting a good chance of rain and storms so I spread some mixed grass seed around the lawn area.

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I didn’t use any specific method for spreading the seed. I just poured it into a bucket and used this small plastic cup to dip the seeds. I rode around on my ATV and when I saw a likely looking spot I jut flung the seeds as far as I could. I didn’t work them into the soil, I am counting on the rainfall to incorporate the seeds into the soil. Now it looks as if we are going to miss the rain tonight, and if we do that will suit me just fine, I can wait on the rain until later.

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A friend of ours stopped by with these big clumps of Forsythia that had been dug out of his in-laws yard. It is not a good time to be transplanting these, but some upcoming construction was forcing these to be moved now or be destroyed. I have no idea where I want to plant them exactly, as a matter of fact I havn’t given a thought to any real planting design.

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So, for the time being, I just decided to pot these plants and hope they can survive until I find a permanent place for them.

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I really like forsythia, maybe mine will survive and look like this someday.

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I know these plants are tough and hardy, one of the limbs had been drooping down and touched the ground. Where the limb touched the ground it had started to form roots and attach itself to start a new plant. When you have a plant that will do that, it wants to survive very badly, so maybe these will survive the mistreatment they are being given. More tomorrow.

Plant Propagation

30 Mar

I wanted to try to propagate some cuttings from some of our plants here in town to move out to the homestead. First I wanted some Forsythia, Corkscrew Willow, Japanese Maple, and another bush I don’t have the name of.

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This is the Corkscrew willow, it has twisty, crooked branches that make good decorations in flower arrangements. I know this can be done with this tree because this one came from some cuttings off of a tree at my parents house. My Mom can root anything. She will just cut off a bit of limb, shove it in the dirt and come back in 2 months, dig it up and transplant it. But I, on the other hand, can take a high-dollar premium potted plant from a nursery, plant it and in a month it will be dead!

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This is a Japanese Maple. The red leaves were grafted onto root-stock with green leaves. The green leaves are sprouting out and need to be removed, so I thought I’ll just try to root them. I don’t hope to have success with the Maple, if it was that easy the nursery would be doing this instead of grafting onto root-stock. But the shoots needed to be cut anyway so I’m giving it a shot!

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I took a pot of potting soil and drilled some planting holes with this high-tech tool…

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A wooden stick.

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I used this bottle of rooting hormone.

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I dipped the ends of the cuttings in the hormone and carefully placed them in the holes, then pressed the soil around the cuttings.

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They don’t look too bad in this picture, but now all I can say is MAMA!

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They don’t look good at all today, I need help! I need my Mama!

My neighbor came over and said he was getting rid of a 36 inch clump of Hosta if I wanted it.

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We dug it up in 4 big chunks of soil. I took my home-made machete and cut it up into smaller clumps before potting it. This machete was made by my Grandfather over 50 years ago. He used an old sawmill blade for the blade and whittled the handle out of a cypress board. I don’t use it much, it is a family heirloom and I don’t want to ruin it.

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I ended up with 7 pots of Hostas and I think they will survive OK, it is just the cuttings I have my doubts about. I’ll let you know what happens.