Unfortunately, with all the home renovations last year, I got a very late start on the vegetable plot and didn’t have time to grow any plants inside from seed. It was expensive purchasing tomato and pepper plants so everything else in the garden was grown outside by seed. We had an okay crop, but I learned what I like (Roma tomatoes) and don’t like (crook neck squash), what does well (lettuce) and what doesn’t (potatoes). I also learned I can save money on seeds by purchasing heirlooms and collecting the seeds at the end of the season to use the following year. In addition, the heirlooms are GMO free. I already collected heirloom tomato and lettuce seeds for this coming year! And of course, since it’s already February, I just bought 30 new non-GMO, heirloom seed packets, most of which are organic. If this is going to be an artisan farm, I want the produce to be the most natural and tasty it can be. We’ll try these new seeds out this year and see what works best.
In August, a tiny baby rabbit found a weak spot in the garden fence where it pulled away from the dirt due to erosion. He dug underneath the fence and built himself a home under the shed that is contained inside. It had been 2 weeks of enjoying the lettuce and tasting the bell peppers when he started to sniff around the carrots. We finally caught him at a moment when he was far enough away from his hole. We blocked the opening and chased him out the main gate. To fix this new issue permanently I dug up prickly pear cactus from the property and planted it all along the outside base of the fence and lined the inside with more bricks. Let’s see him try to dig under now!
When our first spring came, I was so excited to start up the vegetable test plot. The bed was 30 X 50 feet and had not been managed in 4-5 years. The fence and gate were in desperate need of mending. There were a lot of deer and rabbit in the area so I made a point of adding the following:
- Regular farm fence with 2×3 inch holes rather than large holes or chicken wire.
- Built the fence 8 feet tall to prevent deer from jumping it.
- Added a 3 feet of rabbit fence (1/2 inch wire cloth) at the bottom, burying it 4-6 inches underground.
- Added bricks flush under the gate to prevent anything from sneaking underneath the gap.
Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough! A deer still made it in to the garden! It got stuck between the fence and an adjacent hedge, panicked and climbed over! It had a heck of a time getting back out, bouncing off the fence multiple times leaving it warped. Deer don’t see well and sometimes can’t see this type of fence. I’m adding random orange flags across the top to keep them from attempting to jump. Its high enough they usually don’t even try. There is easier food to get on the property.
It’s coming up on our first year of moving into our farm house. I can’t believe it! It seems so much longer! So for those of you who wonder why we still don’t have animals on our farm…..We haven’t even been here a year yet!
Keep in mind that we bought a property, not a house. The home is 43 years old and was never updated. That meant a lot of renovating. Here is my favorite picture to show the home when we bought it.
Within 9 weeks we removed all the drapes, carpet, wall paper, wood paneling, popcorn ceiling and light fixtures. We re textured the walls and ceiling, repainted everything, dry walled partially finished areas and even replaced bathroom sub floors. While we could only afford to take a scrub brush to the existing kitchen and baths, we did replace toilets and two sinks. And yes, this was all us! The only hired help was our texturing guy and a carpet layer. Let me tell you…..that was a lot of work! Here’s one before and after picture.
So for those of you who keep asking why we don’t have animals yet, we still haven’t even finished the lower level of our home! We have, however, stopped where we’re at so we can start preparing housing for our animals this spring and summer.
The farm has been up and running and two questions we get regularly are; “How are things going?” and “When are you going to put up a website?”
The answer to the second question is “Now”.
With everything else going on, the website never made it to the top of the work list. It needed to get done but other things always seemed to come up. Now that we have things going, we should be able to keep the site updated and will share our progress along with stories about life on the farm. Some days will be just the boring goings on of day to day chores. Other days you might get treated to stories about life on a small farm and the critters that make things interesting. Hopefully you find them entertaining.
To answer that first question: It’s a work in progress, like all small farms.