Thursday, July 20, 2017

Skies and Crops Quizz

Lots of beautiful skies around here (most of) these days, so as I was gathering pictures of crops, I snapped some shots that were more of the skies.  Just trying to get the view that you'd get from a vehicle driving past those farm fields without slowing down and taking a close look.  Now that you've seen some of my close-up pictures, see if you can identify all these crops.  Answers at the bottom.

 Answers in order from the top:  corn, winter wheat, canola, soybeans, barley, mixed grain, spring wheat, haybales.  Hope you enjoyed the 'view from the road' of these crops.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Crops Update #3

I've been learning a lot about crops around here as I drive around the valley and revisit about a dozen fields to see how they're growing (and see a lot of other fields too).  It's all about beautiful countryside, and it has been interesting to learn by stopping and looking more closely, and asking a few questions of farmer friends.  Sorry about all the photos; you can skim through pretty fast.  But if you want to see the comparisons of how these crops have been growing you need to return to Crops Update #2, and #1.

The corn is looking very healthy, 2-3 feet tall, and deep green.

The winter wheat is looking ready for harvest, but there has been some lodging damage from some of our heavy thunderstorms.

I think soybeans may be our most popular crop this year; I see bean fields everywhere. Most of them are looking good, but a few that got in late on wet soils are still pretty thin.

The canola, our prettiest crop, is blooming bright yellow.

And then there are those spring grains that I could not distinguish until now.  They all just looked like bright green grass.  Several of these have turned out to be barley fields like this one.  You can identify it now by the seeds and very long 'awns'.  And the fields look beautifully feathery.

Several others have turned out to be barley mixed with oats, which is called 'mixed grain' around here.  The barley are outlined against the sky here, with the separate grains of the oats in front.

These fields seem to vary a bit, because this one is dominantly oats, but there still is some barley in the mixture.

The one ripe barley field I found I've learned was probably planted in the fall, like winter wheat.  It would get a head start, go dormant over the winter, and come on strong in the spring.  Winter barley is unusual around here (though winter wheat is common), and this would explain why it's already ripe while all the other barley fields I've seen are still bright green.

I've found three of those unusual fields of peas and oats, a combination I've never knowingly seen before.  By now all three of these have been harvested as forage, a richer source of feed next winter than plain hay.  This is one I've talked to a couple of farmers about, since it was new to me. This was baled and wrapped in the white plastic to preserve it for the winter; it effectively 'pickles' the forage, and cattle like it better than dry forage.

Finally, today I found a single field of what must be spring wheat.  It's definitely a wheat crop, but still bright green, unlike all the golden winter wheat around.  I guess there isn't a lot of this planted around the valley.

Tomorrow, our mid-growing-season quizz to see you much you've learned!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our Garden is More than Day Lilies!

Although day lilies are the current colourful highlight of our garden, we do have lots of other interesting flowers - too many in fact, it's a desperate struggle to keep up with it!  They're all perennials; we don't plant any annuals (except veggies), because we have too much to do coping with the perennials.

The dominant flowers at the moment, along with the day lilies, are the False Sunflowers.  They tend to spread, and we have left them to bloom, so they form big patches of bright yellow.

Trying to capture the impression of them with a narrow depth of field.

The white peonies were over fairly quickly, but the pink ones seem to last a lot longer.

The allium are still standing straight and tall.  These ones were white alliums, against the house.

We have several clematis, including this deep purple one that's out in full bloom now.

But I like this light blue bell-like one, all dangling down from the vines.

They're a few tiny pinks over in the scree garden.

A few milkweeds crept into the garden a year or two ago, and we've let them bloom for the Monarchs.

I love the deep pink colour of these tradescantia or spiderwort.

The foxtail lilies have been blooming for about three weeks.  Nearly 6 feet tall, the blooms unfold from the bottom up to the top over those three weeks.

An unusual plant, a very large bear's breeches, with sharp spines like a thistle.

And the biggest by numbers are the hostas; we have dozens and dozens.  They're all coming into bloom in these weeks, and every now and then we're allowed a brief look at the flowers before the deer come by to eat their salad!  We're digging up a few to take with us to the new house.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Day Lily Season!

It's day lily season here, the brightest time of year in our garden.  It's just glorious to go out and see what new varieties have come into bloom overnight.  We have a fair collection of different varieties, but we're not so serious that I remember all the variety names.  And I still can't get over the fact that each of these blooms only lasts a day, and wilts the next morning - hence 'day lilies'.  Here's a selection of what's in bloom now.

My love of bright colours comes through loud and strong with these, and Mrs. F.G. indulges me by buying mostly the bright coloured ones.  The summer weeks are already flying by, but it's a special time of year when we get days like this.  Out late last night, no time to post.

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