Monday, November 24, 2014

Trees of Rare Form at Architectural Trees Farm


03-IMG_3827 - Copy

John Monroe is the owner of Architectural Trees Farm. It was during the 9th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour that my family was able to get a very informative tour of the unique and ornamental trees that make the farm a one of a kind place. John Monroe is a dedicated tree farmer that has turned a hundred year old tobacco farmstead into a micro-nursery where incredible ornamental trees are able to take root and flourish before being bought by customers. His passion for what he does was evident and made this tour my favorite. The trees are wonderful additions to landscape designs. Every tree had a story and a personality it seemed. Weeping forms of trees allowed the onlooker to feel sorrow and the whimsical trees took my imagination into a story book destination. 

06-IMG_3838 - Copy

Hundreds of trees cover 5 acres of the 38 acre property.

Read more about John Monroe in “Our State North Carolina” magazine.


Covered greenhouse provide a protective barrier for the trees.

Featuring the Trees: “The Stars of the Show”

 05-IMG_3834 - Copy

John Monroe gave an animated description for each tree. Each tree had a story or something they reminded him of. Some of them looked like trees you would see in Dr. Suess books. Below are pictures of my favorites.

   10-IMG_3846 - Copy

 12-IMG_3854 - Copy

07-IMG_3839 - Copy

11-IMG_3850 - Copy


14-IMG_3859 - Copy 


17-IMG_3872 - Copy

There were even some fruit trees! Of course they had special qualities. This one smelled like roses.

Contest: Guess this tree!


What do you think this tree is that was at the farm? Write your answer as a comment and in a couple weeks I’ll give the answer.

Answer: Redwood Tree

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Functional Free-ranging at Cypress Hall Farm



Not many people have bragging rights that they have turkeys at backyard pets! During the Eastern Triangle Farm I was able to see that Cypress Hall Farm has earned that right and decided to go free-range. The definition of free range according to the wonderful research resource we call google is: “Livestock and domestic poultry permitted to graze or forage for grain, etc., rather than being confined to a feedlot or a small enclosure.” Free range animals are happier and healthier which means we will be happier and healthier if we consume them. We tend to trade healthful food for quick and snappy meals or fast food. In the long run organic food products are cheaper because we have fewer doctor visits and feel better. Paying a little more now will reap paying less for health in the future.


Chicken tractors are nifty and are what allows pasture raised animals to be successful. They keep the chickens safe from predators and can be moved around to supply fresh grass. During various farm tours, I noticed that the turkeys liked to hang around the chicken tractors. Maybe they are just being friendly or like to stand guard of the chickens.


Cypress Hall Farm raises heritage breeds of chicken.


This is where the chickens are taken before being ready to sell. It is done in the most humane manner possible.


Attempting to pet a turkey.



My brother discovered the meat rabbits.


Even the rabbits have their own domain. All the animals receive adequate space and quality care. I enjoyed my family’s tour of Cypress Hall Farm and recommend scheduling a visit.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Turtle Mist Farm on Eastern Triangle Farm Tour



More and more people are caring about the food they eat. It is becoming more about what was used during the processing of the food than what its appearance is. An apple can be crisp and a golden color, but if it has been laden in pesticides its effect on the body will be detrimental.

The Eastern Triangle Farm Tour happens once a year and is an opportunity to see the local farmers in North Carolina who are applying sustainable and organic practices. Turtle Mist Farm was the first farm we toured. Ginger and Bob Sykes are the proud owners of the farm.  After 30 years of being in the corporate world they decided to step out in faith purchasing a farm that could be used to educate those around them about what goes into producing good wholesome food. They raise heritage breeds of animals and gave a market garden that raises unique and unusual breeds. Their animals are raised without antibiotics, hormones, or steroids and the same care is taken with the vegetables by only using organically approved pesticides and natural herbicides.

Check out their website:


The chickens at the farm are pasture raised laying hens. They have Amerucana and Cuckoo Maran chickens that lay green, tan, dark brown, and pink eggs. I was surprised to read that there are chickens that can lay pink eggs! These must make Easter a more festive occasion without needing to use dye.


The chickens do have living quarters and below is where they can go to lay eggs.



Chicken tractors are portable and can be moved around daily to supply fresh grass. I think “Sustainable Mowing Device” might also be a fitting title. What could be better than a mowing system that doesn’t require fossil fuels?


Mallard and Muscovy ducks are raised on the farm.



The picture doesn’t do these hogs justice! The big one must have weighed at least 600 pounds.


26-IMG_3640     27-IMG_3642

This is a Bourbon Red turkey and the photo on the right was photographed in the middle of doing the famous “gobble” noise.


My brother was absolutely mesmerized by the bunnies. He takes care of the bunnies we have on our own micro-farm.


Turtle Mist Farm also has Guineas, quail, and peacocks. The other non bird animals are cows, sheep, horses, goats, and a donkey.


Turtle Mist Farm gives pony rides.


During the event the owner of BeeClean Soap had a booth set up. Here is a link to see them.

01-IMG_3586 02-IMG_3588                      

Well, that concludes the tour! I’ll be posting more farm tours in the upcoming weeks.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Flowers and Butterflies at Sarah P. Duke Gardens



The focus of this blog entry is on what brings a garden alive; flowers, butterflies, and bees. I wanted to let the pictures speak for themselves. Pictures are worth a thousand words they say and though a thousand seems a bit extreme, I find truth in those words. Gardening is an act of love and if you were to ask me the secret to gardening I would tell you patience (lots of it) and the rest of it is perspiration. Nature will run its course. Bugs will dine on your favorite tomatoes you were just getting ready to harvest, but you know what it is all part of the journey. I was having to remind myself of this once again yesterday as my heart sank at all the summer pests I’m dealing with. If you plan on starting a garden don’t get discouraged, but be encouraged for there is always another season to try try again! Be blessed and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Isaiah 58:11 “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Learn more about Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University on their website and plan a visit! 

47-Painted Lady3

45-Long-tailed skipper2


40-lily long ways



Bumble bee diving in head first for a scrumptiously delicious meal. I don’t blame him!




Can you spot the hummingbird?




Two birds checking out the scenery.


41-common buckeye

42-common buckeye side view

   48-Hummingbird moth

My first photo of a Hummingbird Moth!

49-Hummingbird moth2

Note: If anyone knows of a good venue for selling photography or someone who would be interested in my work please contact me or leave a comment! I’m a young lady with a passion for writing, photography, and gardening looking for a way to get more of my work published. Thanks!