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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Getting ready....

So excited about my new soap labels!
My labels have desperately needed making over for a while .... as does our website!

so much has changed on our farm since we started... goals have changed, we've gotten side tracked here and there, alot of things haven't worked out like the pretty homestead books and glossy magazines said they would , 
but some things worked so well its now a focus instead of a side project....
understanding who we are as farmers, what we can accomplish with our natural resources on our land and what we can realisticly get done in a days time has majorly influenced what our farm is now becoming...and life is so much sweeter for it! Low input livestock saved my farm dream of raising our own meats...

so much of my 'master plan' for my ideal farm was just not doable or realistic if I wanted to actually enjoy life while providing our own foods.... 
silly me for having a ' master plan'lol!

anyways... my new labels! 
I seriously considered not doing soaps animals lotions anymore... but now, with fresh milk from trusted neighbors that are willing to barter their milk for my eggs, and help producing the products from my son's girlfriend (who happens to have a great nose for scents!) I may be able to keep the farm business going despite my all the work producing our own meats, herbs and veggies!
I hope so,,, I've put alot into developing good natural products...and I have so many ideas for more.


Finally my seasonal ducks are kicking into to egg laying.... the one major con to the muscovy, they are fiercely seasonal layers... luckily khaki cambells, runners, pekins and cayuga are not!
I am adding more khaki cambells this year.... as well as some special chicken breeds!

 I'm all for seasonal eating ,,,, there's something wonderful about it to me! That's why I work so hard to do a 4 season garden...especially since so many veggies don't store well or preserve their tastiness..
but eggs... I like to have eggs all the time! Everyday...   

Garlic,,, snow and sugar peas,,, radishes,,,,cabbage.... just a very few things I've planted so far... yesterday l planted a forest garden bed of ramps,,, which was very exciting to me! Our hillside forest garden is all cleared out now and looks so big! Dreaming of mushrooms, ramps, medicinal forest herbs..the top part was lined with some elderberry trees... the top mid section needs to be heavy sheet mulched for at least a year before it's used,,, but the mid and bottom section we will start developing this year..
I planted some rhubarb in my perinneal comfrey bed... I've planted rhubarb before but didn't give it the attention it needed to survive here in the south.. hopefully this year will be better!
day before that we planted many new fruit and nut trees... raspberries!
I have hundreds of seedlings started in my greenhouse..... piles of beautiful compost ready... even some mineral rich creek bottom dirt dug out for a new small duck pond waiting to be brought up to more new raised beds!

I'm am as excited about the farm this year as I was the first year we got the place...
Its a great feeling... truly a blessing!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Reclaim!

So this looks like a hot mess... the first year we moved here I used this as a corn field and the yield was great,,,, but now the trees are up to high and only the very center gets full sun... plus erosion is a problem if it's to be turned every year for row crops... then we tried keeping goats here in rotation but it's not real good for them either since there's no browse.
So this is a huge project for me this year....a pretty much useless piece of fenced land... the beginning of a forest hillside garden that will be used as part of my poultry rotation once established . Gooseberries,elderberries and currents... perinneal vegetables , shade loving herbs .... it's not a quick project but one I can't wait to start planting!
first step is to cover it with clover seeds and make some kind of water shed swell or other barrier .. I'm going to use piles of pines that fell during the ice storm as a base for that... and look, one huge bunch broke off to help me get started! Ha!

I have some AGH piglets in the area for the time being... I know alot of people say they use pigs to 'plow' for them... I've never had good luck with the 'permaculture theory'
For the most part pigs root in one place to often for it to be truly good for the land... they also poop in an area , not all over so fertilizer gets scattered...
I help them along by baiting them in places they haven't rooted... but my husband is still going to have to hit it with the tractor before my first phase of planting.

Another area used for nothing... this hill that falls off the back of yet another raised bed polyculture space we are developing.. this is perfect for things like ramps, mushrooms and shade loving herbs and fruits since it varies from part shade to full... so many different things can grow here that can't grow in a regular sunny garden... since there are established trees in this area it's not considered a forest garden but more farming the woods.
Now.... I need the weather to cooperate! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Waiting for spring...

This has really been quite the winter! I can't ever remember being that frozen for soo long! For days everything was frozen!
first came the crazy ice storm that knocked out power for almost everyone and crushed my new greenhouse with a broken pine....
then we had a majorly annoying snow storm of around 5 to 8 inches....
a little break... then rain,,, and more rain...now they are called for more ice and snow... not cool!
What is cool is the adorable baby vulture I have... just kidding ! This is a baby squab!
I'm thrilled that he survived the negative temperatures! Good parents .,,,
Also on the bright side.... I still have greens under my low tunnels! Low tunnels are a must!



And through all the ice and snow and crazy low temperatures .... my ducks started kicking out the eggs! Fresh eggs and greens from the low tunnels... Added a few sun dried tomatoes from last year's garden...for a slight taste of summer...

Spring please hurry!