Springtime Projects on the Farmette

Author: Meera, March 29, 2018

After weeks of rain, Mother Nature has put on a robe of splendor.  Warm weather has arrived. Already, my beekeeper neighbor has had his honeybee hives send out three swarms.


April 13, 2016 bee swarm on Henny Penny Farmette

Previous bee swarm on Henny Penny Farmette


My own bee population seems to be swelling. I’ve fished out my swarm catcher, primed it with scented lemon oil, and placed in among the blossoms in a nearby apricot tree. I may be blessed with a swarm as well.



Our grapes are Thompson Seedless and Merlot

Our grapes are Thompson Seedless, Merlot, and golden Italian muscat



There are plenty of other springtime projects to attend to here on my farmette. I’ve got to reassemble my temporary grape arbor. Each year, I think we’ll build a permanent structure, but there never seems to be enough time.



My cell flats have organic plants up now and ready for placing in my garden or raised beds. I’d like to add some more chicken manure to the strawberries since they are rapidly growing and producing small fruit.



strawberries lg em



Other plants need a spring feeding–the citrus, apples, and apricots, for example. I usually do the feeding before the trees break bud, so I’m a little late.




This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend--a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my care

This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend–a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my care




I will be turning the compost pile and mulching all my rose bushes (which have already leafed out and are setting buds). Finally, I’d like to put up a couple more bird houses (mating is already in the air) and fill my hummingbird feeders.



These six-month-old hens love treats like greens from the garden

This–my original flock–was massacred by a wild predator, fox or coyote,  last year



I need to purchase baby chicks from the feedstore to start my new flock. Hubby and I will build a new, reinforced chicken run and expand the existing hen house.



Then, there’s the side walkway that needs pavers. Painting of the fences. Building a new porch. Widening the patio…the projects are seemingly endless, but that’s fine. We’ll have a lovely six months (maybe an occasional storm). The dry season is upon us.


And I’m ready for the Adirondack chair…oh, that’s right…we have to build it first!



Classic Adirondack Adirondack chair, surely created for the enjoyment of a a garden

Classic Adirondack Adirondack chair, for the enjoyment of a a garden







If you enjoy reading about farming topics and you love a good cozy mystery, check out my  novels from Kensington Publishing–A BEELINE TO MURDER, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, and A HIVE OF HOMICIDES. All are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and other online retailers as well as in bookstores everywhere.




My debut novel Sept. 2015

The debut novel for the Henny Penny Farmette series









The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series






COMING Sept. 2017

The second book in the Henny Penny Farmette series

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Tis the time for Cool Season Planting

Author: Meera, February 15, 2015

If you love the cool season plants like lettuce, spinach, kale, onions, leeks, sugar snap peas, and artichokes, Valentine’s Day weekend is the time to start planting cool season crops in the Bay Area and other warmer climates.



When the early blooming varieties of apples break bud, it's time to think cool season planting

When the early blooming varieties of apples break bud, it’s time to think cool season planting




I put in onions throughout the cool season and am rewarded with burlap bags of red onions, yellow, white, and the walla walla variety for kitchen soups and other culinary creations during the first months of the year.




My husband is building more growing boxes (4 x 4 x 3) in which we shovel amended soil, some planting mix, bone meal, blood meal, compost, and chicken manure. The soil will grow almost anything.



Herbs in a pot for use in the kitchen

This is the time to also tuck some herbs in a pot for use in the kitchen




This weekend, we’re moving a couple of citrus trees and three rose bushes. I’ll feed and water and watch for the new shoots to show within a week or two if the weather stays warm. So, you see, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers but also people who love to garden.


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Working the Beds after the Weekend Storm

Author: Meera, February 12, 2015


High wind and rain make for a slick road in front of our farmette

A “Pineapple Express” rainstorm with gale-force winds blew out the power and made for slick roads as well as ponds in our clay soil



The weekend storm is still a vivid memory, what with the fence along one side of my property beaten down by high winds and pounding rain that also brought a power outage on Friday night.



But today with outside temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit, I cleaned my strawberry beds. Somehow, mint had crept in and I don’t want mint with my berries although I like it served that way for dessert.




strawberries lg em




My neighbor’s relative, who’s visiting from Lebanon where they grow apples in his mountain village, share a suggestion for digging dried chicken manure around the bases of my trees. The high nitrogen will get them off to a great start and my trees have already broken bud (which is attracting the honeybees).



The wild bird population seems to have exploded and I see signs of nest building starting. The five suet cakes I hung in trees for the songbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers last month are down to a fraction of their original size.



I extended the chicken run with poultry wire high enough to keep the my heritage girls from flying out. Now, they’ll have plenty of space on both sides of the chicken house to forage and out the beds I’m working.



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