Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where is my Heathcliff?

The past few days have been very foggy here at Lazy Bee Farm. As the temperature begins to slide downward, the New River has yet to cool off as much and so a dense fog develops along the hollows. It is a lovely fog. Thick, grey, cool, it brings to mind the lovely stories of the darling Bronte sisters. I watch for Heathcliff to emerge from the fog, coming to find 'his Catherine.' Sigh. Don't we all want our own Heathcliff?? Dark, brooding, energetic... But I digress.

While I find it highly romantic, it does call to mind the old wive's tale that the number of fogs in August indicate the number of snows in the coming winter. Should this be true, I will not be out of the hollow again until May. We have been swamped in more days than not this past August. Nearly every day has been foggy until mid-morning. Lovely for me; terrible for everything else.

Our tomatoes failed us terribly; even the things that are supposed to love love love the cool weather, such as cabbage, have failed to thrive. In short, we have potatoes and apples and little more on the farm this year. I am putting in a fall garden and plan to try the Eliot Coleman four season plan this year. It is the goal to avoid that over-the-top manner I usually try. Believe me, I am the person who plants every space on the farm and then whines that I can't keep up. Getting older means that maybe I am getting smarter. This time, the plan is to have a small space, in the potato bed by the old chicken coop, with just a few things -- greens, parsnips, and cabbage. We'll see how it goes.

It is nearly time to add more blueberries as well. Have you ever browsed the Ison's website? Their orchard and berry plants are the best I have ever seen. Twenty-five years ago we planted an orchard (750 nectarines) and 10 acres of blueberries at the family farm (Happy Hollow Farm) in Mt. Airy. I think we lost two plants. Last year, I made the commitment to add U-Pick berries here at Lazy Bee Farm. I planted 60 blueberry bushes and only lost two plants. This year, I will add another 60 plants. It is a three year plan, so there will be 180 total plants, or about three acres, of berries here. We are planting an orchard as well. We add 12 trees a year, with the final goal being a small U-Pick orchard of three acres as well. While the market may not ever rebound, I can have confidence that God will nurish my little Eden here on earth!

In the meantime, I will make another cup of tea, build my garden in the air, and try to remember where I put my snow shoes!


  1. Goodness, I hope that old wives tale is wrong or I better stock up more or succumb to the same fate as the Donner party! Your plans sound lovely. How did you only lose two blueberry bushes? Every time we plant them, the deer eat ours. Are you going to plant heirloom apples? If you want to grow blackberries, I would suggest Doyles. They really live up to the hype in their advertisement that's in Mother Earth News. We planted them a couple of years ago and now have more berries than you can shake a stick at, if you were so inclined! Goodness! I'm rambling here!


  2. I have lived and successfully gardened in many states but Virginia has defeated me. A shady yard, slugs galore, aphids, and marauding raccoons and deer made it impossible. I too would like to "garden like Tom." I guess he had lots of help!

    Montpelier is just down the road from me. I went for the first time this summer. It is a lovely property.


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!