The Blue Plate Special

After several seasons of fighting legions of weeds in this humid climate I have finally come to my senses and begun installing raised beds!  Trying to grow food in this weed infested place is insanity without using RoundUp.

And you know how I feel about Monsanto.

So the logical and more safe solution for us is raised beds.  Bob has been helping me in the garden every Sunday for weeks now.  He has rototilled, and scorched baby weeds with the Red Dragon.

(this is not Bob) 😉

Please click the photo above to be taken directly to the Red Dragon site. 

This is NOT a paid endorsement!  We have had our RD weed burner for many years and just love how well it works.   Unfortunately, we can’t use it in and amongst the veggies…  Hence the new garden plan.

So, here is the layout.

Notations in blue show changes and planned additions.  We have the center and right side construction completed and half planted.  NOTE:  The rotation plan I am utilizing is to help with insect and disease control.  You can see the plan HERE

Want more?  Here is the Garden Organic website:

There is still so much more to be done here.  I have to add more soil, and lay down the wood mulch around the beds. 

The strawberries have been moved and replanted, and the asparagus arrives with the new orchard trees next month!


Hello beautiful!


What plans do you have for your garden(s)?  What strategies do you use to help you with chores and upkeep?



Polly Wanna What?

One day my goose Polly honked at me through the back door.  She climbed right up the stairs to the mudroom door and honked loudly until I finally went to see her.    Then she hopped down and began to walk away!   She did this many times.

On this particular day I was cold and I looked out the window to see what was up…

She must have heard my footfalls on the wooden planks as I walked over to the window because when I looked out this is what I saw.

She looked at me as if to say:  “Well, I’m waiting, com’on out will ya, I got something to say!”

Well, when she put it that way, I donned my Crazy Chicken Lady attire and went out to see what she wanted.

Seeing me she quickly turned and waddled to the gate by the barn and began to rub herself back and forth along the gate.

She reminded me of the prisoners who rattle their cups along the bars in the old movies.  This was a signal I immediately recognized, and so I opened the gate for her.

Quickly she continued on

Waddling as fast as those little flappy feet would take her.

They are quite fast this morning because she is a goose on a mission!

Polly wants to lay an egg!


Looking about in the sleeping nest she moves a bit of straw around and then honks at me again:  “Meh!  I can’t lay an egg in here.  It’s filthy!”  Which is putting it politely…
Geese are not the cleanest of bed mates I am afraid.
I see her moving the straw again, and know what she wants.  She wants a clean nest! She begins rubbing herself on the back of the kennel fence this time.  (I use this fence to keep them out of the rest of the barn at night, because geese just LOVE to chew and dibble and will ruin even the toughest of items if you let them.)

I open the kennel fence and she goes over to the bales of straw.  Clipping the twine allows a flake to fall to the floor and she immediately begins to tear it apart moving it and arranging it to her liking.   While she works I put up a blockade to keep her out of the other side of the barn where she might get herself into trouble.

When I am done I leave and pull the kennel fence shut so the cats and other animals can’t get in to disturb her.

In about a half an hour I return to let her out, but whoopsie!  She’s not done…

Laying an egg is strenuous work. She looks at me as if to say, “Hey, a little privacy here!  Come back later!”

And a bit later…

There it is!


An interesting factoid for you:  One goose egg is equal to three chicken’s eggs.

One goose egg will make any cake you bake the best you have ever eaten!  Now don’t feel too bad that I am taking Polly’s eggs to make cake… You see, her eggs are not fertile this year, because I have no ganders.  I thought I had a gander when I got the three baby Hueys, but it turns out they were all girls!  (You can read all about the arrival of the Hueys HERE)

Oh, but never fear.   I have new baby Pilgrim ganders arriving on April 30th, and next spring it will be as it should be!


Now, because she is done, and ready to go join her friends, I open the kennel fence and we walk back to the side of the yard where the rest of the geese are eating and swimming.  They honk greetings all around and then continue their grazing.

Polly has been telling me when she needs to lay an egg for about a month now.  Last week was the first time she came calling at the back door for me.

Strange, smart, amazing goose!


ADDENDUM:   Because so many of you have remarked on Polly’s intelligence,  I  have added a link to a 2007 article from the Boston Globe entitled,

Eggheads:  How bird brains are shaking up science  <— Click

This article is on the intelligence of the avian species!  They really are quite remarkable in their thinking and reasoning abilities.  Far more than we have ever given them credit for. 

So, from now on when someone calls you a “birdbrain” you may just take it as a compliment!

Photo Friday: follow me!

You’ve been here many times before, but I had so much fun discovering what’s been happening behind the scenes that I just had to share with you dear reader.

First, thing you’ll notice is that my sunflowers are now about 12 feet tall! Walking in the garden with these behemoths towering overhead makes me feel like a child again…

But now I turn your attention to looking closer, underneath the leaves here, where you will find squash blossoms and immature fruits awaiting pollination. 

What’s that you say?

You spy bugs in the blossoms?

Not to worry.  Keep up with me now.

Here’s a surprise!  Naked Ladies bounding up from the ground where I was sure they would be never seen again!   You see there was in incident with that rototiller earlier in the season…  Yet there were survivors and…


Oh, yes I saw it too, another little bug in the flower, and it’s eating the pollen you say?  Don’t worry, just follow me…

 Having never grown cotton before I was enchanted with how the flower buds reminded me of ceremonial Thai hats.

We had a couple of 2 X 4 Tarter tank water troughs hanging about, left over from brooding chicks and geese.  So we moved one into the garden and attached a lovely faucet handle (brought all the way from the house in California) into the drain hole.  Now I fill it from the well and it gently soaks the garden on days with no rain.  I think it looks lovely and it is definitely practical don’t you agree?

I thought these were stunning so I captured them for you too...

 I’ve entitled it: 

A Mother’s Adoration

So as you have noticed I have bugs.  I chose not to spray and that’s what you get when you don’t use chemicals.  Lots of bugs!  Instead I planted flowers in the midst of the garden and that, my friends, brought in more bugs.

the reinforcements!

So, allow me to introduce you to my equalizers…

The Fairy Lacewing

A Dragonfly

(He must have flown in from my last post! 😉 )

Looking closely we see evidence that parasitic wasps have taken up residence amongst the tomatoes…  I know it offends your sensibilities, and for that I am sorry, but it is a bug eat bug world out there and without the beneficials we would go wanting!

And now finally…


OK, you’ve been officially warned.

(Please do click on her for a closer look, and if you can stand it, click on her again to really see her in detail.)

I found this beautiful lady!  She’s one and one half inches long (including legs)!  Do you see her suitor in the background?

For those bugs who would seek to destroy my garden by their sheer numbers, Japanese beetles and squash bugs, well there is the bucket of water for them…  I gather them up every morning and take them over to my chickens and the WeeChoo.  The chickens make short work of the Japanese beetles, and My guinea hen “WeeChoo” eats the squash/stink bugs!

Yes, my garden is full of insects.  Some of my plants have holes in the leaves and I lose a few to the bad guys now and again.  However, as time goes by the good should outweigh the bad.

In the end, I have the confidence of knowing that I can eat what I grow without fear.   It also makes me glad that I have not added anything to the environment that would do harm.

It is a great feeling.

Photo Friday: garden promises

I apologize up front for using my flash on most of these photos.  It had just stopped raining and it was very overcast and dark outside.  I still don’t have a tripod, and I need one, to allow me a slower shutter speed and clarity.

But hey!  The excitement of watching all my hard work showing signs of paying off was too much to resist…

Why two poultry fences?  One to keep the geese in…

and one to keep them OUT!  😉

It’s small you say? It’s a zucchini just give it a day!

Color me RED!

Furry cantaloupe vines thriving in the heat and rain.

This is going to take a long time!  Can you guess what it is?

My little fig tree was frozen to the ground and left for dead… Then it suddenly sprouted and grew up like a weed!  It is now over five foot tall and full of (soon to be) luscious fruits!  Hearty tree!

This one has a role to play in tonight’s stir fry!

A prolific and hearty seedless variety of cucumber will provide salad fare and pickles this winter.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of all the things growing here on the Farmlet.  But before I leave you…

My handsome kitty Claus would like you to know that he has been on patrol day and night ridding the garden of voles and moles!