Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Comfrey Chop and Drop and Fertilizer

In the Garden

Things have been super busy so this will be a brief post.  I want to grow the sunflowers sustainably.  I am looking for ways to add more natural nutrients/fertilizer for the flowers.  The sunflowers on the end of my row were looking a little scrawny.  I decided to try some chop and drop around the sunflowers to help keep the weeds down and provide a little fertilizer for the flowers.  I cut back this comfrey plant.
Before picture of comfrey plant ready to cut
After picture of comfrey plant that has been cut
Side note: If you don't know about comfrey, there seems to be ALOT of uses for this fast growing perennial from medicinal uses for people and animals to using it as a fertilizer or compost activator in the garden.  Here is a nice little article on 12 Uses for Comfrey Plant in the Garden and Homestead.

Okay, back to the chop and drop...I loaded the comfrey into a wheelbarrow so I could chop it up...
Comfrey in wheelbarrow waiting to be chopped
I used a machete to chop up the comfrey into about 6 inch pieces.

Then, I took it over to the sunflowers and placed it around the base of the plants.

I had a good amount of comfrey plants to chop and drop but I also made some comfrey fertilizer.  I found some good instructions for making and using comfrey fertilizer in this article: 7 Ways to Feritlize the Garden with Comfrey.  Basically, you chop up the comfrey and put it in a 5 gallon bucket.  I used a brick to weigh it down and then filled the bucket with water.  Then, you let it brew for 3 weeks.  Mine is ready to use but I have been SO busy that I haven't gotten back to it!  I did open the bucket to sneak a peek last week.  It smells really bad and I think that is a good sign. 

Although you need to dilute the fertilizer, I think the fertilizer will go a lot further than the chop and drop.  I plan on diluting the fertilizer about 10 parts fertilizer to 1 part water.

I did this chop and drop last month and the comfrey plants have already grown back so I will be able to chop and drop some more!

The bumblebees and butterflies love the comfrey flowers.  This butterfly is hanging upside down on the flower so it can get a drink...
Okay, I am off to pick more raspberries and huckleberries so I can make more jam this week!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Spring recap and new addition to the farm!

On the Farm...

If you have followed the blog or our Facebook site at all, you will know that this past spring has been quite a roller coaster for our family...

Just before the "official" start of spring when Denise took Joshua down to Utah on March 18 to go into a residential treatment program.  This was heart breaking for us to do.  The good news is that he is sounding really good.  He has now earned the privilege of making 5 phone calls a week so we are getting to talk with him more.  We are planning a trip down to Utah to visit him in the fall.  Release date is October 2020 (yes, that is next year and this is only if things keep going well...).  

In April, I (Denise) was pretty much sick the entire month.  It was very strange.  I would get a really intense headache and then I was just completely exhausted most of the time.  Then, the coughing.  On and on it went for about 3 weeks of absolutely no energy.  I coughed so hard that I "hurt" my lung (I think I may have had a viral pneumonia).  It's like the lining of my lung got out of place.  Kind of hard to explain but it is CRAZY painful.  I actually did this twice.  The first time, I thought I had literally pulled a muscle in my back from coughing so hard and it hurt but I could manage it.  A few days later somehow it "corrected" itself and I was completely pain free again.

In May, I had the worst case of allergies I have ever had.  The sneezing and coughing continued and I, again, "hurt" my lung but this time it was completely debilitating and I immediately went to the urgent care.  I was given a shot of an anti-inflammatory and some strong pain medication.  The doctor explained that it was called pleurisy.  It only took about 3-4 days before I was back at full speed.

We enjoyed a nice flush of migrating hummingbirds in May.
Mark went to his Senior Prom!
Our mushroom patch did amazing this spring and we have dried WAY more mushrooms than we will probably even be able to use.  I highly recommend making a mushroom patch in your garden!
The transmission went out on our lawn mower so we had to buy a new one.  This has helped immensely.  I used to have to mow about 1-2 hours a day and I could hardly keep on top of everything.  Now, I can pretty much do the entire property in a couple afternoons.  I did not opt for the bagger and I LOVED collecting the clippings to put in the compost bin, but it is just so much faster when I don't have to stop and unload constantly.  I just make a point to collect a 5 gallon bucket of weeds each day and add it to the compost.  No shortage of weeds here on the farm between the sunflower patch, berry patches, food forest and the garden...

Mark graduated from high school!  
 Somehow amid all the sickness and celebrations, I did manage to get the garden planted!

Mark continues to do well with lowering his blood pressure and weight loss.  His last blood pressure reading was 110/80 and the cardiologist said he did not need to see him anymore (I would say at the highest it was around 135/95 when we started).  We have been working to lower his blood pressure by losing weight.  We have not started any medications.  Mark's weight is down to 237.  He started at 270 last November.  He is probably even lower now.  I really cannot take any credit for the weight loss.  He just doesn't seem to have much of an appetite lately.  In fact, it is actually starting to get to the point that it is concerning me that he is not eating much.  We FINALLY have an appointment with a GI doctor in August.  This should have happened months ago but hopefully, we will start to make some improvements with his constipation issues at that time.

Henry and I took a date night to Spokane to see the movie, The Biggest Little Farm the end of June.  On the way home, we hit a deer with our minivan and this totaled out the vehicle.  I had this van for 13 years and it was definitely showing it's wear.
This gave us a good excuse to get that farm truck.  It came with a towing package!  So, welcome to our new addition to the farm...this is my new ride now.  
Mark seems to really like it too.  He woke up the other day and the first word out of his mouth was "truck" (usually, it is "pancakes" or "cheeseballs").

Hoping the roller coaster is coming to an end...