Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice 2010

It was a scorcher for the first day of summer. The day was spent moving animals to fresh pasture, filling water tanks and taking some pictures of my piece of heaven on earth.Pax & El Jefe hit the freshly filled water tank before the rest of the herd gets to it.The herd grazing on the shooting range. We use Zero Pollution Fiocchi Ammunition leaving a clean environment for the animals.A colorful thistle before opening. Thistle in full bloom with one very happy bee.
Miss Bango enjoying a lush pasture of clover.The trees are growing. The Human Bulldozer isn't scheduled for a visit until July and I was thinking the overgrown rocks looked kind of redneck until this morning when I saw hundreds of honeybees all over the clover and plantain flowers. Anything to keep the pollinators in business.Momma cat and her barn kitties. Free for the taking. Aren't we cute? Don't you want to take one or two of us home?
El Jefe drooling in the noon day sun while watching over his herd.
Peaches, the matriarch of the herd. She's weaned 32 kids in her lifetime.
A Japanese beetle with its iridescent colors.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

PART TWO: The Pretty Garden

The second half of the Pretty Garden started off the same as Part One, with a layer of wet newspaper and a few buckets of dirt & compost. My new neighbor was cleaning out some perennials she didn't want anymore and before they hit the compost pile, I intervened. The booty was two dozen hostas that needed a home, so it was time to get to work. I also had a bucket of gladiola bulbs in need of planting so the timing was perfect.
With the online posting of this project a friend who lives only a few miles from the farm offered goodies from her garden--more Bee Balm, Purple Cone Flowers and a bunch of other stuff of which I can't remember all the names, but they were all beautiful. I filled the back of the Subaru and it didn't even look like we put a dent in her flower garden.
All unloaded and figuring out what to plant where.
It may look kind of peeked now, but there's an inch of rain on the way tomorrow that should give them all a good soaking. Seeing how much these plants spread, I didn't want to over-plant and had plenty left over which leads into the next project: The Soaking Garden
Stay tuned for a really awesome project!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

PART ONE: The Pretty Garden

Last September I had a visitor to the farm who walked around looking at all the vegetable gardens--the heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, herbs, Asian greens, peppers, hops, sun chokes, etc., but when we got to the end of the tour, I was asked, "Where are your pretty gardens?" Sadly, the only thing I had was the stone garden out front which had fallen victim to neglect and had been recently weed whacked to the ground. Only dried stubble remained. This year I want to completely dig out the stone garden--removing the weeds and replanting with perennials. There were already some perennials in there in serious need of dividing. When a neighbor gave me a bucket full of tiger lilies, I decided that it was time to undertake a project that I had wanted to do for several years--connect the three small round flower beds in the front yard into one large "pretty garden".

One of the workshops I attended this year at PASA's Farming for the Future conference was My Weedless Garden given by Lee Reich. He had a presentation about how they put together a large garden at his daughter's school in an afternoon. Instead of the labor-intensive methods involving sod removal, several layers of wet newspaper were laid down and covered with soil. So I decided to give it a try.
Having a tractor with a bucket made a world of difference. Moving all this dirt and compost with only a wheelbarrow would have really sucked.
The tiger lilies went down the middle as they will be the tallest flowers. On each side I planted Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Rudbeckia, peonies and some fancy day lilies. On the ends, which were existing gardens, I divided and replanted the Coral Bells and left the large bleeding heart and peonies that were already established.
Total time: 4 hours
I'm looking forward to the next phase of the garden which will connect the larger flower bed to the ring around the dogwood tree. I have a friend who has offered me more Bee Balm and Rudbeckia. Then I can move on to spading out all the crap in the stone garden and starting from scratch. And yes, I'll be able to say I once again have "pretty gardens".