I spent many years working landscape construction specializing in steep slope installations and other sites with difficult or delicate access. Sites where an excavator or other heavy equipment could not/should not go, Some places where even a wheel barrow would be too cumbersome. On a couple jobs we used a military surplus medic stretcher to … Continue reading Upgrading the mighty 5 gallon bucket
The other day we counted nearly a dozen old barns on our quarter mile street. While a couple are melting back into the landscape, many have been refurbished and a few even still function agriculturally. Mt. Baker can be seen towering above one or two if you get the right perspective and serves as a … Continue reading The old Barns of Sunset Avenue
After 90 days without rain, and one of the driest summers on record, it’s finally started raining in NW Washington. I’m not sad about it. The garden has been very productive, and I’m tired of canning pickles and tomato sauce. I’m looking forward to evenings spent in my living room, the woodstove blazing, watching episodes … Continue reading It’s just muddening (and a few words about “farm plans”)
Our homestead lies on the border of the two cities: Bellingham and Ferndale. Hence, the name, Bellfern. Our short road is a less traveled and rolling one, dotted with old barns and hayfields with a wooded creek meandering across. Yet, blinking into our living room at night is a giant LED screen advertising the casino down the … Continue reading Living on the Edge
Near our house in the back is a steep weedy pugged (highly compacted) slope. Pretty much good for nothing other than a headache and poor footing. I had the idea last year to cover it with mulch to smother the weeds and perhaps level out the slope some. Well, our über free range layers (little … Continue reading Wattle retaining wall.
I really admire people who carefully research their ideas and plans of action before they go ahead. I bet they experience little waste and a high rate of success. Josh and I are not those people. We’re the people who jump in and then learn how to swim. It’s a useful strategy for us, because … Continue reading The cost of novice homesteading mistakes
Its not until July 4th in northwest Washington that you can bank on warm weather. June around here goes by another name…Juneuary, because it is frequently 50’s and rainy. That is a hard pill to swallow when the rest of the country is already comfortably swimming! Of course, its also cold in JANuary when tomatoes are to … Continue reading Custom Greenhouse and How to Lay Pavers Imperfectly
My friend John used to live on a blueberry farm. He loves to tell the story of the day his truck got stuck in the infamous mud of the Pacific Northwest, and his neighbor, who lived on a hill that looked down on John’s property, watched the scene with amusement for a good 20 minutes before … Continue reading Oh my scrapple, we’re homesteading now
If there’s one rule I am following while attempting to bring the soil here back to life after decades of neglect, its this: keep it covered. All the little crawlers, fungi, and beneficial bacteria present in healthy soil can’t stand direct sun, too dry, or too wet. Like us they respond quite nicely to sturdy … Continue reading Cover the Earth
Its been 9 months to the day since we moved from our tiny urban lot to these 7 acres. Included in the deal was a mostly-renovated farmhouse, two leaky unswept barns, “the chalet,” “the bakery,” and a laundry-shed-cum-chicken-coop/rat factory. All of which, including the pastures, paddocks, and ancient apple trees have been unlimited sources of … Continue reading Nine months; a gestation period.