|Posted by jameshillgoats on August 29, 2013 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
As we shared with our readers, my mother recently passed away. I have spent a good bit of time cleaning and going through my childhood home, and a lifetime's worth of belongings. Old photos of my parents when they were young and eager to make their mark in life...the platter that served the Thanksgiving turkey...my father's old hunting clothes. A multitude of items with little or no monetary value, but a treasure trove of memories.
Many of those memories are of days spent gardening and farming, both at my parents and my grandparents households. Days that involved hard work and "sweat equity", but taught me some of life's most important lessons. Patience. Determination. Resiliance. Compassion. Respect. Responsibility. All there, hiding between the rows in the garden and behind the door of the barn.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 17, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
As many of you already know, here at James Hill we try to employ ecologically sound gardening and farming techniques. Recently, we applied for recognition of our small farm as a certified wildlife habitat site, and we received confirmation of our acceptance this week.
The process of recognition was not difficult. We chose to seek certification as a symbol of our committment to maintain our land in such a manner that wildlife might continue to thrive here.
Our flowerbeds are designed with consideration for plants which will provide fruit, nectar, edible foliage and shelter for bees, butterflies and birds. Every year, the fennel growing on the east side of our house serves as a nursery for swallow-tail butterflies, and two large mulberry trees feed many songbirds on their journey back North.
We avoid the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Rather, we utilize manure and compost, plant strategic vegetable/flower/herb combinations, and support the repopulation of beneficial insect and spider species.
We have converted most of our "lawn" into regenerative native plant growth that provides food, shelter and over-wintering areas for several native species. This was the easiest decision of all for my husband to make, as this means he no longer has to mow most of our acreage!
These land management strategies provide benefit not only for the native wildlife, but for us and our livestock as well. The vegetables from our garden are organic and free of pesticide contamination. Most of the plants in our flower and herb beds are perennial or self-seeding, so gardening chores are minimized. And watching the lifecycle of nature unfold in our yard is a source of endless amusement and wonder. All in all, it is worth the effort.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 8, 2013 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
Wisteria has been a favorite plant of mine since childhood. The purple flowers hang like clusters of grapes, and their sweet, heady fragrance is amazing. With our warm and humid climate, keeping wisteria vines from overgrowing our garden (and trees, and house, and children, etc...) is always a challenge. In a moment of nostalgic weakness, I planted one in our yard several years ago. I spent 4 years AFTER I removed it crawling under our porch to dig up runners that were sending green shoots up through the spaces in the porch boards.
The only way to tame wisteria is to grow it as a potted specimen. Wisteria readily grows in a variety of containers, but I avoid those made of terra cotta or wood barrels as the roots and runners will take hold in even the smallest crack or crevice. The vines can be heavily pruned into a weeping tree shape, or allowed to run on a sturdy support. Be sure to choose a large container, as wisteria develops a significant root structure. I pruned this one back heavily last fall, and plan to allow the vines to run onto this short fence.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 7, 2013 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
This spring my youngest daughter Colie decided to venture into choosing and planting her own selection of herbs and flowers. She shares my interest in items old, nostalgic and repurposed. The more sentimental, the better! On our recent outing, she picked up a variety of "chocolate" mint that smells absolutely wonderful. We decided on a container planting since mint is a vigorous grower in our climate, and can be invasive. Some rummaging in storage produced a the perfect blue-glazed clay pot. Next to it she placed a piece of petrified wood that we found while tilling a new garden spot. The depression in the center of the stone collects moisture to form a very shallow puddle that is a favorite drinking spot for butterflies in our garden.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 7, 2013 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
I especially appreciate interesting focal points in the yard and garden. It's those unique treasures tucked into the bigger landscaping scheme that make a garden personal and meaningful. A splash of color here...an unexpected trinket there...that's what makes it special! My garden fairy was a Mother's Day gift from one of my daughters several years ago. She plays her harp nestled into an evergreen, sprawling juniper and gray-green garlic. The terra cotta pots behind her will be a blooming mass of portulaca by early summer. This planting combination provides year-round interest with minimal effort.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
Saturday we made the rounds at Tractor Supply and O'neals feed store to pick up goat feed and gardening supplies. Then home again and DOWN to WORK! I had already planted our main veggie garden with heirloom seeds from Baker's Seed Company, so it was on to the herb containers and flower beds.
I was very pleased with the way my new red planters turned out. Hubby got them for me as an early Mother's Day gift, and they serve as decoration for the chicken coop complex. I used a collection of red fountain grass, creeping rosemary and "confetti" lantana. As the season moves on, they should really fill out well, and as we go into fall, the evergreen rosemary and the grass will still look showy. And all three plants are perennial, so they won't have to be replaced every year.
|Posted by jameshillgoats on May 3, 2013 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
Please excuse the delay in the start-up of our updated blog and web store offerings. We experienced a death in our immediate family, and haven't been ready to focus on this project.
Thank you for your understanding,
The James Family
|Posted by jameshillgoats on April 5, 2013 at 1:15 AM||comments (0)|
We updated our site with a purpose in mind. Next week we will start to offer our homemade goat milk soap through online sales on this site. This is an exciting opportunity for us. We plan several specials to celebrate the occasion, including a Mother's Day "spa bag" and savings on multiple bar purchases. Details next week!