Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Variegated Sage

The Golden Variegated Sage plant is a beautiful addition to the garden.   Plant in full sun and within easy reach from the kitchen door.  It is a tender perennial, zone 5-10, and has a tendency to winter kill in my area.  I plant it among rocks that gather in the winter's warm sun to help it make it through my long, cold winter nights.  A cardboard box placed over the plant and filled with straw also helps it survive the winter.   It does not like wet feet so plant in loamy soil with good drainage.  This variety of sage is a smaller bush variety growing to about 12 inches tall.  The leaves can be harvested and used as regular garden sage, however I find the flavor less intense.

             Rub the freshly picked leaves over your gums to help fight bad breath and gum disease.

Battered Sage Leaves:
Make your favorite deep-fry batter.  Coat large, washed leaves and fry until golden brown.  These leaves make a great appetizer served with dipping sauce.

                          Recipe for Harvest Stew and Sage Biscuits:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Morning Doves

Birds are always welcome at the farm.  We do not grow fruit or berries (one of a birds favorite food) so we have made our little farm a haven for our fine feathered friends.  The morning doves are one of my favorite.
As I tend to the gardens early in the morning they accompany me, softly cooing as they gather weed seeds, and then flying up high to sit in a tree or on a power line to digest the bounty.  Plenty of weed seeds on this little farm.

Morning doves mate for life.  Two eggs are laid in a nest built of loosely in twined sticks, pine needles, weed stems, and grasses.  The male sits on the eggs during the day, the female sits through the night.  In about 15 days the eggs will hatch and both parents take responsibility feeding the young.  In 2 weeks time the little ones will fledge from the nest and new eggs will be lain.  Several broods will be raised during the summer.

 I perched this little one on my knee and took his picture.  He was just a bit to adventuresome and left the nest before he should have, I gently placed him back in the nest and explained to him the perils of leaving home before you know how to fly.

Several broods were raised during the summer on the roof of the sun room.  I could watch their progress daily through the plastic sheeting.  Hope these little ones will come back year after year to raise a family of their own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Garden Shed

A quaint rock and timber shed sits kitty-corner of our house in Roosevelt. 
I have claimed it for a garden shed,
 a place to hide away from the sun,
yet still be outside where I can watch the garden grow.

We have been working hard to clear away all the old growth and weeds.  A garden has been planted out behind the shed and along the south side.

The back of the shed keeps the old tractor out of the weather.  It is used for digging us out of the snow in the winter time.

Fire-wood is loaded in through the back door.  

Rocks gathered off the property make a nice pathway and step to the shed.

Geraniums planted in old wooden boxes found in the ancient chicken coop add a splash of color.
  An old, rusty, plow horse shoe was unearthed as we tilled the garden.  It is hung upside the luck won't run out.... over an old window frame.

Beautifully laid stones cover the floor.  Violets make their home in the cracks between the rocks.

I am going to fix up the area under the roof.  I am thinking of a large crystal chandelier, an old vintage couch, a chair or two for company, and a potting bench of course.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

In a Pinch

Sometimes when you "live out in the middle of nowhere", you have to improvise.  

Couldn't find any ear plugs when I needed my kids to do some hand tilling with our big rear-tined, noisy tiller, so as I rummaged around in the  "odd stuff you need on a farm" drawer full of bolts in all sizes, bells for the goats, keys to the various sheds, door knobs, hinges, nails, wire nuts, fencing staples, batteries, switch plates, pliers, extra well fuses, etc. I came across a couple of pencil erasers.........Humm...
Worked great!

also use them when mowing lawns, running the chain saw cutting firewood,
 or on days when mom is giving out directions for way too many work  projects!

Use an empty oil jug as a funnel, just cut the bottom out of it

Farm Ideas:  (tried and true remedies)
loose the cap end of your sprinkler line...just push in enough sage brush to block the stream,
or try hay or even weeds.

can't find your belt to hold your britches up....use a balin' twine, or one of your husbands old neck ties

forget to put on your shoes before you go to town....just hope they don't see your bare feet in the food joint, better yet, just go through the drive through.......ya, I have forgotten them more than once!

It is inevitable that when I am in the middle of a meal
I can't find what I know was in the cupboard yesterday.... 
and the grocery store is an hour's drive away......
(not that I go that often any-how)......
well, with teenage boys around 
things disappear from the cupboard faster than you can stock it. 
 Here are a few of my in a pinch cooking suggestions

add vinegar to milk to make imitation butter milk
if you made your powder sugar icing to runny and used the last of your sugar just add a little flour to thicken
wheat berries soaked and boiled until semi-soft make a pretty good nut substitute.

What are your "in a pinch" suggestions?

Monday, June 2, 2014


The 3 most important Nutrients

N- NITROGEN- promotes healthy leaf and plant growth.
Nitrogen Sources- animal manure ( I prefer GOAT), green cover crops, compost, cotton seed meal, hoof and horn meal, dried blood, feathers,  fish meal
Nitrogen Deficiency-  yellowish leaves, small leaves, weak tissues and stems, more susceptible to frost and wind damage, too much nitrogen promotes leaf growth without fruiting

P-PHOSPHOROUS- promotes root growth, blooming, and fruit production
Phosphorous Sources- compost, rock phosphate, cotton seed meal, dried poultry and goat manure, fish meal, wool waste, bone meal
Phosphorous Deficiency- a red/purple discoloration of the stems, leaf veins, and leaves

K-POTASSIUM-(potash)  helps plants resist disease and promotes an over-all healthy plant
Potassium Sources- wood ashes, granite dust, fresh grass clippings, kelp meal, dried goat and sheep manure, alfalfa, wool waste
Potassium Deficiency- poor yield, yellow streaks or spots in leaves, leaf edges become dry and scorched, poorly developed root system

N- for leaf and plant growth,  P- blossom, fruit, and root growth, K- for overall general health of your plant.

LEGUMES are nitrogen fixers.  Small nodules on the roots capture and hold nitrogen, releasing it slowly into the soil.  Till your spent peas and bean plants into the soil to add a rich source of nitrogen.  Plant legumes after a heavy feeder crop to add important nutrients back into the soil.  I rotate my old 25 pound bags of beans out of my food storage and plant them in large squares as a green cover crop.  When they are 8 to 10 inches tall they are tilled into the soil and followed by a heavy feeder crop.
Crimson Clover is an annual legume.  It converts nitrogen from the air into the form plants use.  Chop the clover and turn it under before it blooms to add nitrogen to your soil.
says Vick's Illustrated Catalogue and Floral Guide, in 1872
I agree!  A layer several inches thick of composted goat manure placed in the gardens does wonders for your plants.  It is priceless when it comes to improving  soil and adds all important mineral elements needed for growth.  Now go out and offer to clean out your neighbor's pens.......that is if they will let you.  A man with a big pile of manure is a RICH MAN INDEED!