May 2023 Garden Update

At long last, spring is here in the Northeast Kingdom! Our May garden update comes after a month full of of activity. Between getting the garden tilled, composted and planted; pruning many shrubs and trees; tending all the starters and greenhouse; bringing in some new furniture and decor; and many other miscellaneous projects, we’ve been pretty busy bees. May started off rainy and cool — if not downright chilly — and really warmed up by the end of the month. What a difference a month makes! It’s already really feeling like summer as I write this.

Property Updates

Around the property we’ve been busy making a number of various upgrades to the furnishings. In the lower level of the barn, we updated the Lavender and Sunflower Rooms (previously bunk rooms) into more spacious and private queen rooms. Each now has a queen bed plus a twin daybed/reading nook that can double as extra sleeping space as needed. Our yoga equipment got a complete refresh, with brand new mats, blankets, straps and blocks for 20 conveniently stored next to the yoga floor (and more on-hand for larger groups).

We also upgraded the mattresses throughout the main level Retreat Barn rooms, to make all the bunks even cushier and cozier. Last but not least, we added some additional seating to the back porch and upgraded our coffee maker. There are freshened up cushions and throws throughout the space. and extra organization like a shoe rack near the Retreat Barn door to keep the entryway clear of shoes! Even the smaller details make such a difference, and the space is feeling light, bright and peaceful.

We’re loving how peaceful and inviting the new and improved Sunflower Room looks!
We brought in a brand new suite of yoga equipment, with yoga mats, blankets, straps, and blocks for 20 (and more on-hand for larger groups), now neatly stowed away in new cabinets.

The Garden

After about a week straight of rain at the beginning of the month, things finally dried out by the second week enough to till the garden! This is the first big step in getting the garden ready for planting — next comes forming the garden rows and paths between them, and of course applying plenty of compost from our pasture piles to enrich the soil. (Thank you, animals! And time, and worms.) As you can see, Brendan was feeling rather pleased about finishing this step. 


Since this photo was taken, we planted all our onions, cabbages, broccoli, peas, tomatoes and a smattering of other fun things. Shadow the cat may or may not have dug up most of the snap peas…. womp womp. But we were able to replant those, so hopefully we will still have a nice crop, albeit a few weeks later. Thankfully, we only seem to be dealing with our own (very cute and sweet) pest. All our hard work last year to catch and remove the many groundhogs (14 in total!) that had moved in around the garden seems to have paid off, as we haven’t noticed any other damage. (Knock on wood.)

It’s so exciting to see everything coming up again! Around the property, all the apple, pear and plum trees, hawthorn and lilacs have been blooming, too. It gives this time of year such a magical feeling, to see so many trees covered in flowers.

If only pictures on a screen had a scratch and sniff function!
This is a flowering plum tree looking extra beautiful against a blue May sky!

The Animals

The alpacas had their annual shearing in the first week of May, and are now sporting some excellent haircuts. Seeing them suddenly without their thick fluffy winter coats is always a little jarring! But they sure seem to feel much better after all that extra weight and heat is gone, now that it’s warm enough that they don’t need it anymore. As soon as they are shorn I always notice them getting out and about so much more! Nutmeg, in particular, is feeling like quite the male model. Look at this handsome mug 🙂

Who needs “blue steel” when you got blue sky? 🙂

In the chicken coop, one of our hens, Fawn, is proudly sitting on a clutch of eggs. We’re not counting our chicks before they hatch, of course! But with any luck, we’ll have some sweet little ones running around here in a few more weeks! So far, Fawn has proven an incredibly dedicated mother so far. She carefully turns and rotates the eggs all on her own, and only takes one or two breaks a day to stretch and take care of her basic needs. (Watching her work off all that pent-up energy in maybe 30 minutes is pretty hilarious! Imagine a chicken with the zoomies.) She was still a chick when Brendan and I first moved in, raised by one of the other hens here, so it’s pretty sweet seeing her brood over the next generation. 💛

This face says “fine, take a photo if you must, but if you even try to touch me I will 100% peck you.” Fair enough.

That’s about it for our May garden update! Speaking of spring and summer glory, we have a few last-minute openings in June. It’s a gorgeous time to visit (and in my opinion one of the most sorely underrated). All the lupine and roses bloom, and the land simply explodes with green. But on the plus side, it’s not as hot yet as it will get in July & August. A perfect happy medium!

Ready to book your group retreat or family getaway in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom? Sky Meadow Retreat Center for rent is an idyllic spot to gather and rejuvenate, surrounded by stunning nature. Drop us a line and let us know how we can help! We offer a variety of retreat packages or direct booking on AirBnb and would love to host you soon!

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