Have you seen the Big Lebowski? The Dude, hopelessly adrift, finds purpose and grand adventure in recovering a stolen rug that was the keystone of his humble abode. That’s how I feel about the scythe on the farm. Like, The Dude’s feng shui, the farm’s flow is totally blocked without it. How strange that the … Continue reading The scythe; it really ties the farm together.
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
For the first year here it felt like trying to drink from a firehose. Now in year number two, things have seemed much MUCH more manageable. I credit two pivotal points for me that turned it around. One, barn organization. The barn, while small, is centrally located on the front property and so, all projects … Continue reading Pastured Poultry > Free Range Chickens = Sanity + Sunflowers
Needing additional space for cabbage, beans, corn, and winter squash, we decided to expand the vegetable garden this year. The ideal location for this row cropping is our level pasture, of which we have WAY more than we can use at the moment. The spot we decided to annex was covered by foot-tall grass, along … Continue reading Using pigs and chickens to convert pasture to garden beds
Moles, what a scourge, right? Busily making mounds in your front lawn and tunneling through the garden nibbling on roots. Gasp! Although our days of upholding a certain amount of curb appeal are over, I’m still occasionally annoyed by the active mole population here at the homestead. I like to mow grass and cut hay with … Continue reading Mole mix; making potting soil out of what you (might) have lying around.
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.
It’s spring, so of course there’s so much going on at Bellfern Homestead, and I’m too tired to organize it all into an interesting and themed narrative. This is going to be a casserole-style blog post: take what you have, mix it all together, add cheese, and hope it holds together. We’ve got over a hundred chickens … Continue reading Spring on the farm
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
Around late August you’ll read a number of smug blog posts by me and every other homesteader and gardener glorifying the harvest of summer. You’ll see baskets mounded with zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, and squash. There will be photos of quart jars filled with freshly canned applesauce, pickles, tomatoes. Maybe an article about freezing pesto in ice … Continue reading The fruits of winter, part 1: winter jam with quince