Garbarino Acres Update: End Of June Report

This is the 6th installment! Isn’t that crazy? Early summer is the best, the field flowers are bright and yellow, the smells of hay being cut permeate the air and the nights are cool and breezy. We have a shit ton of mosquitoes though, so meh. Read on, this is a bit long


CHICKENS + Dogs + Barn Cats

We have three surviving ladies. Tragic, infuriating, exhausting… all words to describe what happens when Rosie get loose. Also, catching chickens? Should be a professional sport. We need to revise our entire system and pen them outside, which kind of breaks my heart, but I know it’s what they need to stay safe. This loss of 50% OF OUR FLOCK, really makes me feel like a city slicker newbie who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Both on the chicken front AND the dog front. Rosie is a really charming lady, with HIIIIIIIIGH levels of energy, she just needs some good and consistent training. It’s almost at the top of my list.

The barn cats are way too cute for their own good… but I need to get them sterilized for their own good before they add to the colony of feral cats in the neighborhood. Gross.


The peonies are fanned out and dead on the lawn (quite tragic looking if you ask me, almost like a Lindsay Lohan-esque transformation for beautiful and wholesome to hot mess). The poppies are long gone, we have some cute little yellow flowers that are blooming powerhouses and all the lillies are about to pop open. I found some globe hydrangeas hiding in the forest and our patch of sunflowers is ENORMOUS!

Can’t wait to see what the next colors around going to be. We’re slowly working on a landscaping plan for the front of the house, but if we’ll be changing the siding of the house and building a new front porch, I don’t want to start working on things to only have them trampled. So in the meantime, I wait and ignore the insane Morning Glory that’s overtaking everything.

In the fall there will be an enormous work load of things to do, so I’m hoping to secure the plans for the landscaping during the summer to know what needs to be done in the fall.

But as usual, I’m my own worst client!



Baby Yellow Zucchini

What an early success and surprise! I know it won’t last, and I’ve been seeing tons squash bugs that I need to remove manually (they spew out a gross orange liquid when you squash (pardon the pun) them), but the quick growth and huge foliage is really encouraging. The broccoli is giant, the onions have rooted well. We’ve eaten swiss chard everyday since last week, and the kale is crazy delicious, albeit being devoured by an unknown predator: CHICKENS, ARE YOU EATING MY KALE?

We also sampled the first yellow zucchini in a zucchini blossom frittata that I made with our eggs, swiss chard and herbs from the garden. It was our first homesteaded meal and while the kids met it with lukewarm enthusiasm, I thought it was delicious.

A few crops haven’t done so well: my Montreal Melons are toast, as is one of my zucchini plants. I’m also not thrilled with the strawberry patch. It was our first bed that I filled, and I think I didn’t add enough manured soil to our existing clay based soil. I think the roots are probably getting too wet and hence the berries are rotting out before we can harvest them properly.

We managed to fence off almost all the perimeter with a quick wire + metal post structure to keep out the skunks, which damaged the melons and cucumbers early this spring.

We finished mulching the pathways (yay!) and now are in maintenance mode: light weeding (the grass cuttings I used on the main beds is working really well and is FREE!).We planted some late garlic and potatoes in the herb garden, which was so easy I’m wondering why I didn’t plant more…

The plan moving forward is to keep the established beds and add permaculture plots around the property that mix perennials, annuals, fruits and vegetables and other elements that maintain biodiversity. I’ve met a mom in town who is a permaculture whiz and so she’s helping me set out on some of those projects. First up will be a large-ish garlic bed for when I don’t get my garlic from this lady-run farm of wonder.


Cucumbers + Mixed Media “structure”


The new door is amazing! And we’ve finally decided on a plan for the siding and insulation project: working only one façade at a time. We’ll start with the back and then work our way around the front. The siding however, we haven’t decided on. I’m voting for board and batten wood siding painted white, but Bruno is not a huge fan of the maintenance needed with wood. He makes a valid point. But…

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James Hardy

We finally found and installed the screens on the upstairs windows.. wowza, hot up there. The breeze is really fresh and we slept with the windows open yesterday which was so fun!

We purchased a big chunk of our renovation materials this weekend, TWO NEW TOILETS. I have never been as grateful for something new as these two toilets. Concealed drain and one piece toilet… I cannot wait to sit on you. And clean you. And say thank you every day. I promise I will never talk badly about you.

And that about sums up what’s happening outside these days, the best part is just walking around when I get overwhelmed or need to re-focus.



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