Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chew on This

I'll just come out and say it: We've bitten off more than we can chew. It's a rookie mistake. We simply let things get out of hand. In our eagerness to get this farm back into shape, we have taken on too many tasks at once.

Since the middle of March, we have been frantically scrambling to complete a multitude of tasks. We know that we're making progress, but it's difficult to take pride in those accomplishments in the face of enormous amounts of work that still need to be completed. It's only the beginning of May and we are already exhausted. And we have no one to blame but ourselves and our agendas. None of this has to be done. We simply want it done. I'm not looking for sympathy here - this mess is our own doing.

The garden has been a huge undertaking and we're still not finished. Here's what we have done in the garden since March:

-Tilled entire garden (4,300 sq. ft)
-Cut down trees and dragged logs to garden to create twenty-six 4'x16' beds
-Scalped 3-4 inches of dirt from pathways around all the beds and added that dirt to beds
-Laid down thick layer of newspaper on all the paths
-Covered newspaper with layer of hay (which is hauled out of the barn, one wheelbarrow load at a time)
-Spread 2 trailer loads of goat compost into garden beds (that's a lot of poo)
-Turned over all the garden beds to incorporate compost (involves digging down about 2 feet and loosening the soil)
-Fenced in the garden
-Painted said fence
-Ran chicken wire all around the fence, burying it 8 inches to keep out bunnies (and pesky chickens)
-Built trellises for peas

Whew. I'm tired just looking at that list. There is still work to be done, but I feel like we're in the homestretch (well, until it's comes time to plant everything). While we work, we keep saying to each other "Won't next spring be nice???" Next spring, we won't have to do all this mumbo-jumbo. We'll just turn over the beds and be ready to rock. Ah, next spring...

As for the rest of the homestead, things are changing everyday. My husband has been working tirelessly for the last 3 weeks, attempting to fence in our pasture areas (just shy of 2 acres, I think - we're dividing it into several paddocks so we can do rotational grazing). Fencing is major work. Measuring, digging post holes, putting in posts, running wire, hanging cattle gates. I never imagined it would be so complicated and time consuming.

We're rushing to get the fencing done because we've made tentative arrangements with a family down the road to "borrow" their horse and yearling calf. If we don't have animals mowing the pasture, then WE have to mow it every week... and it's mucho dinero to mow that much land that often. We also want to get the pig pen/run fenced and ready to go as well. That needs to be done ASAP if we plan on getting pigs this year. I was ready to throw my hands up in defeat and tried to convince my husband that maybe we should take a breather and just get pigs next year. However, as he pointed out to me, the area where we're going to keep the pigs is wild and woolly, desperately needing to be tilled and plowed. We were counting on the pigs doing that work for us and if we don't get them, the land will be out of control. Pigs it is.

After the fencing is complete and the pig run secured, we will need to address some animal housing situations. The pigs will need some sort of shelter and we need to figure out what in the world we are going to do with the 12 chicks in the garage.

There have been rumblings of getting meat birds this summer and laying out a strawberry patch, but at this point I'm so overwhelmed with projects and tasks that I can't even consider those things right now. What have we gotten ourselves into?!? I don't want you to get the wrong idea - we really are having fun. But boy, oh, boy are we tired.

Oh, and did I mention we're getting bees next week? And that I have no idea how to take care of them? And that we're trying to start a mini-orchard?  And that we're going to try to remodel the part of the kitchen and dining room?   That's it. I'm done. I'm going to bed to dream about next spring.

1 comment:

  1. Lori - you're doing great! Here's a resource for urban farming I love, but it probably applies to what you guys do too!

    Julie (Furst) Henning