The Love/Hate Relationship with Deer

Buck

I absolutely love having deer on the property. They are exciting to watch when the bucks are rutting and baby deer are so adorable. The herds found refuge in our backyard during the winter but now, as the snow melts, I’m facing piles and piles of deer poop! So much that I bought a dog poop scooper even though we don’t have a dog yet. Unfortunately, from everything I’ve read, it’s important to keep wildlife away from the farm not only because they will eat your profits, but because they carry diseases that could cause contamination or infect your farm animals. As I’m scooping and burying deer poop I’ve decided the new backyard fence can’t come up fast enough!

Creative Garden Cake

Garden Cake

The fun thing about being the family member building a farm is everyone likes to get involved and help. My farm themed birthday party was so much fun! Got a number of things for the farm, but the best gift of all was this extremely creative cake my sisters made! If only my garden could look as neat and clean as this!

Always something to do

Fence_Install_01m

One thing you learn quick when owning a farm is that there is always something to do. Since the property was in a bit of disrepair when we bought it,this is doubly so for us. One project I’ve been working on for a while now is the new goat fence to replace the old 4-wire fence that borders the property.

Drilling post holes, driving in t-posts and stretching fence are a challenge on uneven prairie but the end result will be worth it when we can let the goats out to roam the entire property.

Winter Pruning

branch pile

Just a couple hours of work on Saturday morning pruning some overgrown shrubs but there’s a lot more to do! The good news is the chipper will create a great mulch out of it. Unfortunately, the pile looks big but it will only make a little bit of mulch. I guess it’s good I have a lot more pruning to do!

The Sign Says It All

Some of our close friends got us house warming gifts keeping the farm in mind. Who knew that signs would be the perfect gift! Of course there has to one for her and one for him……

HERS:

:SignSign2

AND HIS:

Sign3

From Welcome to Warning!

Our First Goat, Patrick

Patrick goat

With the disappointing delay of getting goats, we were given Patrick the stuffed Nubian goat as a birthday gift to keep us company until the real goats come along. When Patrick isn’t playing on his high ledge, overseeing the going’s on in house, he can be found sitting in someone’s lap watching TV. Occasionally he’s been found in a dog’s mouth if he’s been down, off his ledge for too long. Luckily, he’s survived his puppy encounters unscathed!

One Tough Chick

Gloves

Working on a farm is not for sissies! Whether you are a man or a woman, there are things you need to do that take all the energy you have. As a woman, I may have right sized machines and tools like my small chipper, rototiller and lawn tractor, but they still give you a workout. You have to shovel a lot of snow in freezing weather, sometimes multiple times a day, so you can reach areas on the property you need to reach, like the compost bin.You have to wear long sleeves, heavy pants and boots in 100 degree weather to prevent sunburn or being eaten alive by mosquitoes. If you have animals depending on you, they need you more than ever in extreme weather to make sure they are properly protected and have consistent fresh water and food. You can’t say “It’s awful outside. I think I’ll stay in.”

I have over a dozen different types of gloves from heavy work types to light tactical gardening gloves. Although I’m big into organics, I’m not into getting your bare hands in the dirt. It’s all about protection. If I’m not killing the bugs on my property, I don’t want to be surprised by a bite or sting that was preventable!

These pink gloves are my favorite. They remind me that to be working on a farm, you have to be one tough chick!

Pruning Fruit Trees

Fruit trees

The fruit trees were professionally pruned today! The previous owners hadn’t maintained them in years and they look so much better now. If you’ve never pruned a fruit tree, don’t do it unless you’ve had a little hands on training! It’s a matter of yield. If it’s not pruned correctly, you won’t get the fruit you want.

Here is an example of what happens with a bad prune job.

pear tree

Blunt cuts to larger branches cause sprays of tiny branches to grow straight up rather than well formed branches reaching out from the tree. It’s not only very unattractive, it also makes it impossible to have a large crop of fruit. These tiny branches, even if they do have pollinated flowers, won’t be able to hold the weight of fruit and will never make it to full ripening without falling off the tree.

This is a pear tree and the ones above are apple. We didn’t get any fruit last year. The trees were covered in flowers in the spring and a Mother’s Day storm drop 18 inches of snow resulting in not only destroying the flowers, but a few broken branches too. There were peach trees on the property but they didn’t survive. I’m considering buying more, but we have enough to work on at the moment!

Washed Away

Garden Washed Out

The final garden learning in the vegetable plot last year was on row placement. While you are watching the sun to decide how you want to lay out your garden rows, take a look at how water flows in your garden. A big mistake I made was putting my rows against the grain of the water flow.  Every storm that came through tore out sections of rows and the seeds or plants in them. In some cases the entire row disappeared.This coming year I will change row directions so the water flows between them. Another water flow issue was finding that the bed wasn’t level. Top soil was washing down the hill every rain storm. The soil turned to hard clay by the end of the summer. I’ll need to retain the lower section as much as possible to keep this from occurring next year. There are rocks, bricks, stepping stones, lumber and miscellaneous blocks all over the property so no better time to practice recycling and reusing!