Smoke in the air

September 7, 2017

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This is how it looks these days. In the middle of the day. Wildfire smoke from hundreds of miles away drifts over to Vancouver Island and what should be a bright morning is a dull murky surreal kind of experience. Our hearts go out to those who are experiencing worse.

That being said, the Woodwynn Peace Garden is in good shape – we had a great volunteer party yesterday from St. Andrews School. These folks tackled all kinds of tasks and helped us feel that the overwhelming fall cleanup is not going to be so overwhelming after all.

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(photo is altered because I didn’t ask permission from the volunteers.)

We harvested a lot of sage, so more herb bundles are forthcoming! It’s gratifying to see how tidy the labyrinth looks after the trim and removal of weeds. Also wonderful to have the fragrance in our home when we work with the herbs we have gathered.

 

 

The sage has been trimmed several times over the summer – it came back really well around April after a serious cut-back in late January- early February. I know this from my iPad photos. Thank goodness they are date stamped! Lavender and Poppies were beautiful in mid-June. We started collecting poppy seeds in early August and there seemed to be about 2 or 3 weeks to harvest these as the pods didn’t all form at quite the same time. We definitely left some to self-seed, as they did last year after first arriving all on their own – well actually likely with the help of birds! Thank you birds!!

The lavender had been cut way back in the fall. We harvested lavender from about early July till the end of July and were perhaps a bit late with some of it. There’s some second growth right now – so we have a bit of everything including a dozen or so plants that we didn’t harvest earlier and are now cutting to collect the seeds, which seem pretty abundant.  4stageslavenderyoungtoOLD

The four stages of lavender – buds (probably a bit early to harvest as dried flowers but okay for culinary use, to dry for soap, etc.), flowers ready to harvest for dried arrangements, flowers at the point when they’ve really been left a bit too long to harvest – and seed pods!

I realize how much value there would be in really keeping a log of farm events. This blog could serve the purpose if I was a bit more dedicated to it 🙂

Right now, early September after a very dry summer, it’s of note that the sage and lavender has survived with watering basically every other week (the trough of sage needed weekly watering or better but that’s to be expected since it’s quite shallow). The apple trees, blueberries, kiwis and strawberries really needed weekly watering and in general they got that.  We know we have some serious learning to do in order to prune the apple trees to allow apples to form in the best possible way. And we’ll be training the kiwis for the first time this year – they are ready to have wires to follow along the sides of the arbor.

All in all – it’s been a summer of hard work and lots of reward!

And there will still be weeds to pull till we get to the hard winter. That is to be expected and as along as we more or less keep up, it is manageable.

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Things from the Herb Garden (Woodwynn Peace Garden)

July 12, 2017

 

It is incredibly beautiful right now. And especially satisfying to be harvesting products, like bundles of herbs, for the market!

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Autumn at Woodwynn

October 22, 2016

Just a few misty pictures from the past week 🙂

As always, we find peace in this place and we are grateful…


Some much needed rain at the farm today

May 28, 2016

 

Sage, apples, lavender – everything is growing beautifully at the Woodwynn Peace Garden! With the weight of the fruit, some of the trees needed staking and that was on today’s task list.

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And we’ve been watering for several weeks now – with an easier system than last year… bigger barrels, more of them, and a pump with long hoses that spray. This is bliss compared to last year – small barrels, a holding tank, a short hose and the dip-the-pitcher-into-the-buckets-that-are-too-heavy-to-carry method of hand watering. This was slow, but it did give us a chance to assess each plant every time we watered. Now that the plants are well-established, they need less attention and less water as well so it’s still a task, but not as grueling as last summer. Just the same, all the water still comes from a distant pump on the farm and has to be transported with a truck.

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Even with our easier system, the forecast of a cooler summer is welcome to us! We were delighted with today’s rain. Glad that the volunteers who came out today were not afraid of the weather and we thank them for all the weeds they pulled! The compost heap is now Very Full. We have the weed situation basically under control, but we know that those thistles and blackberries would dominate quickly if we left things for more than a few weeks. That’s why we keep at it, every week, during the growing season.

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Oh and I can’t stop playing with panorama shots and iPhone “special effect” apps. This image is the east barn near the pump house.

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We weed, we water, we are rewarded!

August 1, 2015
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Woodwynn Peace Garden, Late July 2015

Looking forward to a wonderful August.