In their place on the mats I just started one flat each of German Chamomile, Calendula and Minnesota Midget Melons (cantaloupes). The melons are a big experiment. We've never had much luck with the traditionally Southern, sun-loving crops like melons and peppers, but decided to gamble a whole three bucks on this short-season variety. They're supposed to take just 70 days from seed to fruit, and I figure that if folks in Minnesota can get these badboys to grow, I stand a decent enough chance at having at least a few make it.
As for the flowers - those are primarily for tea and soapmaking. I hope that they both make it, but I'm especially excited about the Calendula. Orange is my absolute favorite color for flowers. I challenge you to look out on a patch of verdant, colorful veggies, surrounded by sunny orange flowers and not feel happy. Can't be done. ;)
On a completely separate note, today was the day that we said goodbye to sweet misses Hop & Hope, Chardonnay's two "big girls".
Liberty & Hope, February 2012
Hop & Barley, February 2011
The girls went together, to a wonderful little family in a home on some acreage. They will provide companionship, entertainment, weed eating services and delicious fresh milk, hopefully for many years to come.
The gals' leaving us means that we have just two more kids who will be moving on before too much longer, leaving us with our new, lean and mean herd - Blue, Chardonnay, one of Chardy's doelings who is not yet named, Sidney, Sophie and Buckley. We were hoping to sell Buckley, but we've had no interest yet. Maybe in the Fall?
This Spring has been a real doozy, full of goat-centric drama, so as much as we'll miss the sweet faces of our babies that have moved on, we are also pretty relieved to have scaled the herd (and the feed costs) back to a manageable number.
As if all that weren't enough excitement for a single day on the farm, today is also the day that we finally picked up our honeybees!
We now have two hives of Italian honeybees in our waaaaay back forty. Upon installing the bees in their hives, Bill discovered that one of the queens (you get one per colony) had died. Not good.
We were fortunate that the folks who sold us our bees are good, honest people who stand behind the critters they sell, and had no qualms at all about giving us a replacement queen, which Bill picked up this evening and will install in the morning. The reason that the queen died is unclear, but it isn't a super uncommon occurrence, so we're not going to sweat it.
So - minus two goats, plus 40,000 (give or take) honeybees and plus three flats sewn of future fruits and flowers. That, my friends, is one heck of a productive day in these parts. Time for farmer Chelle to kick back with a well-earned (in my humble opinion) bowl of ice cream and a Netflix. ;)