Noble Trees

It seems, officially–by the date this photo was uploaded—that on January 24, 2013, life on the farm became hectic again.  The first few weeks of January were spent making last minute garden plans and participating in a few conferences.  Time spent sitting still, listening and learning, is good for the body and soul.  I returned from Columbus, Ohio, where I attended the Ohio State Nursery Short Course, truly inspired by Dr. Michael Dirr and the lectures he gave on Noble Trees.  I immediately posted this pic of the great white oak (Quercus alba)—one of my many favorite trees at Woodland Farm—that stands along Stagecoach Road.   Aware as I am that the last three months have slipped by in a flurry of seeding, transplanting, and obsessively checking the weather, I use this great Noble Tree as a reminder to slow down.  

The posts that follow are meant to catch everyone up on what has been happening in the greenhouse and gardens.  It’s magic.

Snow Crazy




Kentuckians are famous for commenting on our unpredictable weather.  In case you don’t understand what I’m referring to, imagine a 48-hour period with bright sun, wind, dark clouds, rain, hail, tornados, wet snow ending with clear blue skies.  That really happens here.    This winter has been mild–to say the least–and I have been crossing my fingers for snow and freezing temperatures.  In 2012 we have had temperatures ranging from 15.2 degrees to as high as 70.8 degrees F.



If you are interested in learning about weather across Kentucky, check out the commonwealth’s official source for weather and climate data.

It is through the Mesonet site that the current temperature and conditions at Woodland are displayed on our homepage.  The Mesonet station for Oldham County is located atop a bison pasture.

Sunday I went to bed making a mental  note of the pictures I needed to make time to take of the different varieties of Crabapple, Daffodil, Hyacinth, Iris, Witchhazel and more.  Uploading these photographs is a wonderful way to keep up with bloom time from season to season.  Monday morning greeted me with a beautiful blanket of heavy wet snow and a number of voice mails desperately wondering if EVERYTHING IS DEAD!  For those that are worried about their flowering bulbs–no need.  The snow has melted off at such a rate, it counts as nothing short of a good slow watering.  Most of our spring bulbs handled the snow like champs but a few of them looked completely smashed.  










As for the cabbage–I believe it enjoyed the cold blanket.

Happy Birthday Ferd & Ella!

Today is Ferdinand and Eloise’s 1st birthday.  We brought them to the farm in a small box–cute, fuzzy and stinking of puppy breath.  Within a few months they  had tripled in size and although they were extremely rambunctious they were still cute, fuzzy and stinking of puppy breath.  Today, good natured and weighing in around 70lbs–still growing– they are avid explorers and the perfect deer deterrent.

There are physical differences but none so strong as the differences in personality.  Ella’s thickly coal lined eyes match her more daring and impudent ways.  Ferd on the other hand has a more affable nature.

They spend their days lazing on straw beds in the horse barn extracting cockleburs from each others fur.  Their nights are spent prowling the property rousing unwelcome visitors.  They are welcome companions and will earn their keep well if they keep the deer from browsing in the gardens.   








Farm Friends

I consider myself extremely lucky, even on rainy days like today, to have the opportunity to work on a farm.  Creating a list to explain why is next to impossible as it may never end and I couldn’t begin to rate one item above the other.  I am aware and quite possibly in love with something different about the farm everyday.  Today I love all of the furry and feathered creatures that great me with what I interpret as a sincere pleasure for my presence.

Jake keeps warm on a rainy day

If you haven’t experienced a flock of chickens running full speed toward you from far across a field, well, you surely are missing out on one of the great wonders.  Boy can they move.  I like to imagine they have something exciting to share, for once we come together they cackle loudly over one another.  Not much different than when I come together with my sisters.

How about the slow mosey of a couple of French donkeys–approaching with seductive dew drop eyes and curly hair, dipping their heads without a sound, willing you to scratch their jaws softly.  Or their miniature field mates that hang back shyly waiting to see if the French ladies find your scratches pleasing.

Then there are the steadfast and loyal dogs–Jake, Asheville, Shelby, Eliose and Ferdinand–listed in order of their arrival to Woodland.  With great respect, I’ll just say that Jake is old.  Everyone in the garden refers to him as The Sheriff.  Sort of an Andy Griffith type, overseeing the farm, asking for a pat on the back and a smile.  Asheville is much more complicated.  A rescue from Asheville, North Carolina, she reserves her affections for a chosen few silently surveying the farm and passing judgement on all–I love her.  Shelby, well, she’s crazy.  A bit like the little old lady that hovers  too close but forgets about you as soon as someone else comes along.  She is sweet and has survived much, i.e., driven over by a trailer.  And then there are the pups–Ferd and Ella.  They definitely don’t look like pups anymore.  Just under 12 months, Ferd weighs in around 75 lbs, followed within 10 lbs by his sister.  Ella is quickly climbing the ranks to Alpha Queen and it is clear that Ferdinand will support her in her quest.  They are sweet and show great promise as guardians against the deer–the gardener’s enemy.

Finally no list of farm friends would be complete without a bossy barn cat.  Ours is Bobbie.  She is not much for cuddling but enjoys a good rough scratch on the back.  She makes sure it is impossible to forget to feed her with a good claw drawn swipe.  Check back for pics.