Around the Farm
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase.
 Just take the first step.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are slowly plugging away at all the to-dos on the property; readying homes for goats, chickens, ducks, bees, fish and even worms. The list of animals is long and there’s a hint of intimidation whenever we discuss them but it’s thrilling to think how lively this place may become this spring.

bee stand from cedar timbers

The biggest hold up is fencing. And protection (I think we need a dog). We must have a goat fence and though we’ve walked that line and readied it for posts and the actual fence, it’s still overwhelming. We have to rent an auger, buy posts, the fence, and either have it delivered or rent a truck to pick it up. All these things add up, and while we’d love to do every project all at once we still have a bathroom without a toilet. That’s getting done too, but of course, in the middle of one project you discover a hitch and those stinky things usually cost *more* money.

playing in a pond with kids

Then there’s the garden…we’ve managed to plant an orchard with a variety of apples, berries, figs, paw paws, grapes and more, it’ll be years before we see the fruit from that, and, it also takes up the majority of our ‘sunny’ acreage–meaning trees have to come down to make food growing possible. The greenhouse is set up and seedlings are growing, but alas, it’s in the shadows and not nearly as hot as it should stay. And the trees that keep the planned garden area in shade most the day are coming down slowly. It pains me to cut down trees of any kind, but it’s a necessity on this acreage. It’s fairly overgrown everywhere, and while the trees provide so much shelter and beauty, many of them are dying or dead already and in some places are threatening the house. Fortunately what we’ve cut so far there’s none going to waste.

bringing in sunlight
(you can see some stumps here, and most of the trees in this pic will have to go…)

Last weekend it was 70degrees on Sunday so we spent the entire day getting our farm chores done. It was the perfect day, a day that reminds us why we wanted to do this. Our family is a great team, and I look forward to working together for a long time. One of the accomplishments of that day was using downed timbers to start a mushroom garden (shitake, reishi and button). It takes a cold-damp spot to encourage mushrooms to thrive so the major dilemma was narrowing it down to where we’d like them to be. We decided on the already landscaped area on the northside of our house. It NEVER sees sunlight, and will be easily accessed. Plus, it’ll add some interest to an area obviously meant for bushes, but currently void of plant life. Using the freshly fallen Oak and Poplar logs Drew cut to gain sun in the back yard, we built a functional and adorable mushroom haven; projects like these ease the pain of chopping down trees. Their lives go on just in different purpose.

permaculture mushrooms

I’ve created a pinterest board just for timber-made projects. Thank goodness it’s riddled with great inspirations for not letting these timbers go to waste. Currently we’re working on a walkway of cedar pavers, we may be able to pave the whole lot! I’m trying to think of ways to incorporate them inside as well. Have you any timber-made goodies?

2 Comments

  • jenny Posted January 22, 2013 12:43 am

    You all are getting so much done! Kudos! We are starting mushrooms this year and getting our ducks. We hope to have rabbits soon. We have two dogs, an airedale/bloodhound and a jack russell/beagle. We don't have to put up goat fencing (I have a friend who trades goat milk with me)thank goodness, but we did put a fence around the garden because the chickens and turkeys were getting our crops. We used a post hole digger to save money.
    We've used the timber inside as end tables or plant stands and smaller ones as table legs. We also made pencil holders and coasters out of some. We're taking some black walnut to be milled into planks to use as shelves.
    Many blessings, Jenny

    • school house oils Posted January 28, 2013 12:24 am

      Jenny, very cool! Tried the post hole digger route, but had to break down or the job would never get done! So, today the holes are dug. Love the idea kof milling some of our own lumber–neat! And we are debating getting chickens now because another young farmer couple has moved into the farm across the way and already has them laying. Might be smart to trade like you are. Maybe for some honey right now…

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