Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicken Weeders

The backyard garden has gotten out of control. this year we were hit with a really bad case of Bermuda grass. It started out in just one little bed but it slowly has taken over the entire garden. There is no eradicating it that I know of. If you pull it out, the next time you go outside it has doubled in size. If you till it the next day your entire garden is filled with it. I tried organic pestiside, which was just like spraying fertilizer on it. I tried a blow torch which kind of worked for a day or two. I also tried vinegar and boiling water. The boiling water sort of worked, the vinegar not at all.
Post Bermuda Grass Invasion

So my next effort on killing it has been my best grass killers, the chickens. Here is the idea. If you leave the chicken tractor in one place for about a week, by the end of the week it is nothing but dirt. You can add to the destruction by pouring the feed in the same spot too and then they scratch that down even faster. I have penned them into one row of garden, which in theory in a few weeks should be weed free. Then after that I am going to cover it in black plastic. We might still go for a fall garden but its kind of late so I might just leave the plastic on all winter.

We have completed one row to my satisfaction here are the before and after pictures.
Launch of The Chicken Counter Attack

First row completed, there are still some weeds around the edge but for the most part it is just dirt.

Row two is being setup to be invaded by the chickens

Stay Tuned for the next step, somehow i am going to beat this grass with out using Roundup.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We have Water!

Queen of the water!

Since we bought the land we have been trying to get water out there so that we could water animals, plants, and ourselves. This has also turned out to be one of the most difficult projects that we have undertaken so far. 

Here is the deal. In order to get a well dug you have to have a well permit, which means that you have to have the health department come out and inspect your proposed site. The requirements are pretty simple; 25' from all borders, 50' from all structures, and 100' from septic. Where we wanted to have the well met all those requirements. So after spending an afternoon finding the right department i was able to get all the documents signed and payed for and we were on our way. That was back in June. Once you have the permit the well guy can drill after you show them where you want it.

The Well with power poll in background, the well is actually the large white PVC pipe behind the blue tank. The blue tank is what gives the pressure (i think)

Then there is the electric side of things. You can not just say I want power on my land, so i can plug things in. That is not a good enough reason. you have to have a need, for instance a light pole, an electric fence, or a well pump. We wanted to have power before the pump was installed so it could be tested immediately and we could be done with the whole thing. So our trusty electrician took out a permit for an electric fence. The inspector being the great guy he was, said he needed to see an electric fence and failed the permit on a few minor details. So on the second attempt we made a small fenced in area and electrified it. By small i mean something that was like 7' x 8'. The inspector didn't like that either. It seems that maybe the small area made him a little angry, so again he failed us on some small details of the code. Things like the electric fence needed to be labeled electric fence. So after that we decided to wait until we had the well dug. I put in a call to the inspector and he said that now that we had the well i had to bury the electric from the well to power poll. So i had to dig the ditch which was 18" deep and 10' long. 18" doesn't sound that deep, but it is deep, it was past my knees and took me a few hours in 100 degree weather to dig. Again i thanked the good L-rd that we have sandy soil. After all that we again tried and failed on some more minor issues it seems now that the inspector is out to get us. Hopefully with a few more small corrections he will finally be appeased, stay tuned.

But then today the girls and I went out to the land to escape a baby shower at the house for one of friends. When we got out there the meter was in the power pole and the well was working! I don't know if duke power got tired of waiting on the county or what, but we now have power and water. Eat that inspector...haha 

a little turtle we found, anyone know what kind it is?

While we were out there we tested the water pressure, swang on the big tree swing, hammocked a little, check out buckwheat crop and went on a little nature hike.

Some time in Naomi's favorite climbing tree.

Buckwheat in full bloom

Now that we have water next on the list is the outhouse. Don't worry it will be kid friendly. We also have located some roofing for the picnic shelter. By the time the Farm Day rolls around we will be ready for everyone to have a good time. We are planning to have Open Farm Day the weekend of September 25 and 26 with camping, farm work, kids activities and much more.

If you haven't already done it please make sure to become a fan of our farm facebook page. We will be sending out more information about the farm day through the facebook fan page. If you are opposed to facebook send up your email, click here so we can add you to the info list. Click here to join Facebook page Farm Page

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A table, a sunset & slowing down.

I blame the heat. Well, that and funds...we have a lot of projects planned, but needed to take a break on spending all our extra earnings on farm-related items. Like breathing, we're exhaling right now.

But, this offers us an opportunity to truly appreciate the free-er side of farming. Like, magnificent sunsets across the open field.
And beautiful tables made by talented friends/contributors who are really good at building things with your suggestions in mind...
Have something you want to contribute/help with? well...we've picked some dates to have anyone who's interested come & join in the fun. Come Saturday evening, the 25th for some camping, or just come on Sunday the 26th for some 'farm' playing around. Contact us if you're interested!

SORRY: September is the month. So, Sept 25th & 26th.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Some Firsts

Not much in the way of farming was done, but we spent our first night at the land. It was a nice temperature & although wet, once we strapped a tarp to the top of our shelter structure, we stayed really dry. I think we'd all prefer cool & damp to hot & damp...
Our first camp fire:
Our first hammock: (actually our second, but the first was only suitable for little people).
Our first morning in the camper: (we all slept comfortably. There were several 'noises' that woke us up, mainly the pouring rain--sort of like sleeping under a tin roof).
Our first outhouse hole: (we worked on this a lot a few weeks back with family in the extreme heat. Drew finished up & got us down 1.5 more feet so we're good to go...well, first we'll build the house part ;) ) First pic, what Drew wants us to believe he dug. Second--what he actually did.
We had a hike back to the farthest we've all been on the property. It's a long narrow piece so only a few of the men folk have seen the back property line. This is Leviah snacking on an apple while enjoying a lift in the Mei Tai.
We explored & found some neat things along the way.
Naomi is becoming a regular woodsgirl. She found this neat fungi:
& several different types of mosses, 
and evidence that we're not the only ones around...
It was a really fun night. As the autumn comes and the weather remains at tolerable temperatures i'm certain we'll be out there more and more. Of course, if you're interested in coming to visit we'd love to have company. (be aware, we will put you to work). & we are picking a date for a 'weekend' type of event, so anticipate that!