Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back Forty

Growing up, my dad would often refer to the "back forty".  It basically meant "out back" and I guess referred to the back forty acres even though we never lived on so much land.  Every once in awhile this phrase pops into my head and it reminds me of my dad and about how one day I'd love to own forty acres.  Unfortunately (or, more likely, fortunately for my more frugal and practical side) I'll likely never actually own forty acres, but today, I'm going to show you some pictures (mostly garden) of our "back forty" as it stands today.

 Remember those mangels we planted to feed to the chickens this winter?  Well, our first planting/crop failed for lack of weeding, so we planted another section at the end of our sunflower patch.  Some of them are huge.  I'll let you know how the chickens like them.

 Our sunflowers are finished for the year.  The whole experience went really well and I'll be sharing more details about it soon.

 Our year-old strawberry plants have spread out nicely.  I think we're due for a good crop next year and we can't wait.  Note to selves:  Start new patch in four years instead of waiting for five and basically going without any the year in between.

 Our pepper plants are as beautiful as our tomato plants are ugly.  As the tomato plants died (earlier than they should have), the peppers took off.  This has been the best pepper year/harvest yet.  There are still lots hanging on and I'm not sure what to do with them since our freezers are now completely full.  Would any locals like some green bell peppers??

 parsley and basil that will be dried shortly

 Last month, I believe, I showed you a picture of a very weedy corner of our garden.  Jamey put an end to it and planted oats all throughout the garden as a cover crop.  It will grow up and die, keeping weeds down and adding to the soil/mulch.  It sure looks a lot prettier than weeds.

 Just last week we started eating fresh lettuce and spinach again.  These cold frames should help us extend our salad season once we put the plexiglass "lids" on.


In the past couple weeks, I've found crickets, a grasshopper, ants, fruit flies, several spiders and even an earthworm in our house, but thanks be to God, I haven't yet found one of these.  I hope Jamey's work will understand if such a family emergency arises.
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  1. My folks always referred to the large side yards we had as the lower North 40, although we never owned even a whole achre. I love what is happening in your back forty. Life would come to a screeching halt mid-day in my house if I found a spider like that, too.

  2. Oh how funny! I recently wrote a post about the Orb Weavers too. We must live further north than you do, because all of ours seem to have died out already. And I've never found one in my house either, thank goodness!

  3. Sheesh. What kind of unearthly creature is that!? I've never seen a spider like that before.

    Where did you get oatseed for your cover crop?

  4. I would love to have a back forty but am very thankful for the little town block that we have. My husband has filled it with beautiful fruit trees and vegetable gardens. We are so blessed.
    The mangels are huge, I have never heard of them before..We planted an asparagus a couple of years ago and are getting our first ones now.. there is nothing like fresh home grown vegies..
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. IS THAT A BLACK WINDOW OR SOMETHING?-YOU SOUND FREIGHTED OF IT.DID I miss some words ,what is the big root thing-looks like a close-up of a huge carrot that was enlarged-or am I seeing things? cute garden beds,they remind you of a huge old fashioned wooden tool box

  6. those mangels look huge!! I am eager to hear how they worked at chicken feed. I have never heard of them before. Do they only grow in a warmer climate?

  7. Shannon,
    Thanks for naming that creature for us. Orb- makes sense:-).

    Jamey couldn't find real oat seed, so he bought deer forage seed at a tractor supply store and planted that.

    The carrot-looking thing is a mangel. Click on the word mangel at the top of the post and it will take you to where I spoke first about it:-).

    We are in growing zone 6. Johnny's Selected Seeds should be able to tell you if you give them a call- they sell two varieties.

  8. Thanks for sharing your garden pictures ~ it all looks lovely & very inspiring as we are currently planting our spring garden! I have never heard of mangels before ~ they look to be going well though.
    Have a lovely day

  9. WE call those spiders "writing spiders" around here, because they're so big and their webs are huge too, as if the spider could write in them ala Charlotte's Web. :)

    Lindsey in NC

  10. Ive Dehydrated Peppers and it works great. Pop them into Jars or Good sealing containers. Just rehydrate them, or crush them up for whatever you need.


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