Spring Turning to Summer

I’ve set today as my planting deadline–all unplanted trees and bushes, transplants and seeds are out of luck after today. So I was out until 10pm last night planting eight Quaking Aspens along our driveway. The local Water Conservation District gives you bundles of ten native trees for free at the Mother Earth News Fair, so I got ten aspens, ten vine maples and a few serviceberry trees too. The biggest of the aspens are in the ground and the smallest two are in pots because I ran out of light!

So far this Spring, I have planted about 50 veggie starts, 40 trees, and 25 shrubs. The quaking aspens seemed meaningful in that this Spring I let go of the dream of becoming a Quaker. I love everything that Quakers stand for in writing, but breaking into the tight knit “birthright” community in Newberg didn’t work out so well for me after three years of trying. I think I’m too wild to be Quaker. So, it was a good symbolism. When I drive in to our farm and see the quaking leaves I will honor these past three years of trying to Quake for Jesus.

Other meaningful plantings have happened too… when I heard that my dear chum Heather was moving away, I bought her favorite tree, a dogwood, and right after planting it I realized it was dead, so I took it out and found another, rarer dogwood plant that was native to the Northwest and planted it instead, telling her that this means she is meant to be a Northwest Native. It lives on.

My transplants from my home in Portland have fared well too. All except a Camellia that didn’t like being moved in the middle of July, when we moved. Shockingly, the “Distant Drums” Rose is doing great–it was the centerpiece of my front garden in Portland. Here it is getting a good start in it’s new spot at the edge of the chicken yard where I planted it waaay too late in June last year…Image


Ready for the list of what we have planted this spring? It’s pretty amazing:

Lettuce, Kale, Onions, Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, three kinds of Strawberries, 20 Raspberries (red and yellow), 12 Marionberries, Blueberries, Hascap berries, Snowpeas, Pickling Cukes, Pole Beans, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Peppers, Corn, Carrots, Aronia Berries, Cranberries, 6 Rhubarbs, Peach, Nectarine, Cherry, Apple, Hazelnut, Elderberry, Almond, Crabapple, Vine Maple, Serviceberry, Quaking Aspen, Corkscrew Willow, and Paper Birch Trees, Daphne, Abelias, Heavenly Bamboo, California Lilacs, Shrub Roses, Spireas, Creeping Dogwood, Hardy Fuschias, Rosemary, Parsley and three kinds of Mint (we are a sheep ranch after all).

I’ve learned much. Primarily: I am not good at watering veg seeds three times a day. I like buying starts. I’m so glad that we only reserved a thousand square feet of our land for veggie gardening. I am much more attracted to the perennials like berries and rhubarb and orchard trees!

The veggie garden isn’t even half tilled and prepared. We still have half a pile of mushroom compost in spite of Taj hauling many wheelbarrows all over our unpastured areas for me, and since today is the deadline, that compost will have to wait until next Spring… or at least Fall.

Here’s a few more photos of our plantings.


A mature (and ripe!) blueberry bush towering over a brand new one that I planted this Spring


Here’s what the veggie beds looked like at cherryblossom time, in April….


And today.


The first blooms of another favorite rose that I had a few of in Portland, Hot Cocoa, first seen in front of the Portland Art Museum. This beauty will greet you at the front door when you visit us in the summer.


Taj and I make an annual pilgrimage to Edgefield each Fall to enjoy the golden raspberries there. Now we will only have to walk out our front door! These fruit in June and September. They will someday fill every cranny on this farm, if I can help it!  They were gifts from my chicken breeder, Chris Chulos, in Oregon City.