Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Happenings From Old Cedar Knoll Farm

The view from our front porch of the plum trees in front of the upper pasture.

Spring is happening all around us this week and the activity on the farm has been fast and furious. This is the time of year that my husband Kevin works from dawn to dusk at the University of Virginia and on our 12 acre farm - Old Cedar Knoll. We are gearing up to grow as much food as we can reasonably handle throughout the summer months with lots of variety for our daily pleasure and plenty left over for canning, pickling, freezing and of course sharing!

This year in addition to fresh produce from our gardens and fruits from our many varieties of fruit trees, we are finally adding chickens back to the farm. We kept goats and chickens at our previous homestead, but this property was in such sad shape when we bought it 7 years ago, we have spent most of the past 7 years getting it all in order. My husband is an Arborist, so bringing the land back has been an ongoing process, although secondary to our home renovations. The house was mostly finished 2 years ago, so the majority of the focus since then has been outdoors.

To winter over our many tropical plants, we put up a greenhouse in the fall of the first year we were here, but this year in addition to the tangerines and Meyer lemons we normally enjoy throughout the winter months, we had tomatoes, basil, greens and beets. It doesn't get much better than your husband bringing you a fresh picked tangerine on Christmas day!

The last of the winter tomatoes.

Winter Beets

Today, Kevin tilled the old gardens and started a new garden spot for horseradish, asparagus, rhubarb, onions and potatoes. We eat a lot of fresh roasted vegetables, but one of my favorites is fresh cut asparagus,  roasted at 400 with a little olive oil and grey salt. That is heaven on earth! Here are some shots of the gardens. Rather than one big garden spot, we prefer a variety of smaller gardens.

Small Annual Herb Garden
New Lavender Garden

Large Vegetable Garden

Our chickens will arrive the week of May 9, so we need to get busy and get our coop built. We had a wonderful coop we built at our last house. Our neighbors used to kid us that we were building a house for our teenage son at the time. That was 14 years ago and that 17 year old has 2 children of his own now - a beautiful little girl and a son who is definitely the apple of his daddy's eye! I don't think we will go quite as large this time, but we do have 25 hens coming! We order our poultry from McMurray Hatchery and this time around we decided to have a little fun and ordered the Ornamental Layer Collection. The day the chicks arrive is always so exciting; they actually get delivered to the Post Office early in the morning and you have to rush to get them so they can start eating and drinking! Here are some pictures of some of the varieties that we'll soon have on the farm.

Buff Brahmas

Golden Polish
Buff Laced Polish

This group of hens will lay a variety of colored eggs, from greens, blues and browns. It should be a lot of fun!

I am sure I get most if not all of the inspiration for my art comes directly from my surroundings, be it the one that exists in the physical world, or the one that I envision in my mind's eye that inspires my physical world. Either way, my latest piece in my pin cushion collection came straight from my vision of where our farm is headed this year. My husband calls it my Buff Orpington Pin Cushion, I just call it my chicken pin cushion.

What do you think I should call it?


  1. Great pictures! It floors me you have blossoms on your trees and can till the gardens already, we are a month away yet. Enjoy your chickies when they get there, must be a family thing, I love raising chickens as well! Love the colors on the new pin cushion, these are turning out great!

  2. I am so excited!! I can't wait to see pictures of the new hen house & those chickens. I'm also more than a little jealous of your greenhouse.


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