A tomato plant (the classic annual veggie) typically ripens from seed to fruit in 6-8 months in the PNW. They’re an intensive plant that requires seeding as early as February, babying the seedlings with heat and light, then transplanting to the ground and covering with plastic to protect from cool nights (which stunt their growth), … Continue reading American Guinea Hogs: the perennial pork
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
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 chickens are tireless. They’ve got serious moxy. They laugh at fences, sleep in trees, and throw large sticks aside in search of anything that moves. One day I came home to rubbermaid bins and chicken feeders broken on the barn floor because some bird was looking for a new nesting spot. We keep them … Continue reading Free Range Chickens: Little Vulturous Destroyers
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.
By the time we got to so much as walk our pasture this year after moving in, the grass was knee high. A couple months later it had finished seeding out and begun to flop over in places susceptible to winds. Every now and then one of us would march out the weed-eater to keep the hot-wired fence … Continue reading Making Hay the Old Fashioned Way; A Scythe
When purchasing the farm 7 months ago, we inherited a lot of stuff. From outbuildings to questionable lumber, from electric fencing to old roofing, from drainage problems to really smelly compost. Now, Paul Wheaton says, “If it stinks, you are doing it wrong.” And my experience says that is true. I spent summers growing up in the … Continue reading 101 Uses for Pallets on the Homestead: #1-3
The inaugural launch of our (Joel) Salatin style pastured poultry pontoon occurred in mid-August of this year. Typically, broilers are done in the Spring when the grass is growing fast and the temps are warming nicely. But, since we didn’t move onto the homestead until May and were busy setting up 4 pastured pigs and … Continue reading The Yellow Submarine: Salatin Style Pastured Poultry
As the summer ended, we felt that we knew the homestead pretty well. We knew where the pasture was thick and healthy, and we knew where it transitioned into sedge–an indicator of a low area. We had a mental map of the labyrinth of electric fence wire in the pastures, and how to direct current … Continue reading It’s the rainy season.