Planting a pumpkin patch in last season’s turkey pen was a fantastic idea. You’re a genius.
Shortening German words doesn’t really work, but we call hügelkultur just plain “hügle” around here. Trevor hates saying long, crazy words… of which, includes most of the German language.
With the help of my awesomely, fantastic Grammy, we were able to purchase some dirt for a bonafide garden. As in: real “veggie garden mix” garden soil. We had thought ahead a little and started seedlings so that once we had the soil delivered, we could get planting.
Some of our soil went to fill pots so that we can keep our cilantro, artichokes, and tomatoes separate. They really spruce up our porch. It makes us look like really “with it” people. With one hügle finished and a dozen large pots filled, we should still have plenty to make two more large hüglekultur. I want to link them all up to not only catch water rolling down the hill, but also to make a cool squiggly snake design.
These new hüglekultur are being planted out back. While this makes them slightly more attractive to deer and jackrabbits daring enough to get close to the house, we don’t have to worry about gophers at all because of the shallow, solid bedrock out back. Sometimes gophers pose a larger threat. Plus, we need to use our triangle 1/3 acre in the front to fence in a larger space for the goats and sheep. Poor Bolverk and our keeper buckling will still live by the house, but the ladies are going to get an upgrade.
Not only is my brother and his wife expecting their first baby this week, my two Nigerian Dwarf goats are due on Friday. No worries Jordan, Bridgit is much bigger in the baby belly than you. You look great for nine months (plus one week) pregnant. 😉 I can’t wait to meet my first and only nephew! You both are going to do great and come out the other side healthy, happy, and relieved. And my brother swears he is going to actually call me when his son is born… I won’t have to hear big news from our mother on the phone for a change. (Hint, hint, Nathan.)
My goat news isn’t nearly as impressive, and would certainly never overshadow the birth of family, but the goats are also on my baby-watch list.
I had thought Luna was huge until Bridgit ballooned up this week. If she has anything less than twins, or dare I say– triplets, I will be extremely surprised. She is huge! The photos just don’t do her gigantic belly justice. Bridgit is literally wider than she is tall. She is making Luna look merely “chubby”.
In non-baby news, we planted some new fruit trees on the property. Trevor’s parents bought us a Fuji Apple tree when they visited a couple weeks ago; thank you again. Last week I was paid for a kids art camp I directed over spring break and decided to buy some gopher wire (super important!) to go with an Anjou pear and Gravestein apple tree. The Gravestein looked a little shabby when I bought it, but it was the only one and I had to plant my dad’s favorite childhood apple on our farm.
So this week we planted three trees and are on baby-watch for three kids. Who says life doesn’t work in three’s?
Life has held me captive for the last month. It hasn’t been easy, but I think we are getting back on track to normalcy. In that spirit, I walked around the farm with my big, happy camera, snapping photos here and there of what March has brought us. Spring will soon be here… phew!
Our garden idea has changed somewhat as well. Since we cannot easily fence in the back acre-ish for animals because of the shallow, solid bedrock, we are going to add a large pen out front where we originally planned to put the garden. There is only one hügelkultur in the front, so I won’t have to cry too much. We will make more hügelkultur mounds in the back as our garden and then start some fruit trees in massive pots (wine barrels?) until we can figure out how well that works out.
You know how all the farming magazines, homesteading books, and old-timers say that you need a whole year on new land to observe before starting up farm projects? They give you all this blah-blah-blah about watching how the land reacts to each season and taking time to build up livestock.
Well, it turns out they’re right. It just happens to be one of those lessons you have to get through yourself. It’s not as if I didn’t believe this seemingly sound advice. When you finally have a place to call your own, somewhere you can do as you please without “the man” comin’ down on you, it’s exciting! You want to get everything going just the way you like in a hurry because –for some reason– the whole house and farm should be as picturesque as a Better Homes & Gardens cover shot within the first few months of living there.
I must admit, I had those expectations even though everyone kept telling me to take it slow, things at a new house took time and this was our first year. I’m nearly thirty and yet good advice went in one ear and out the other.
In this last year we have gotten quite a bit done. I didn’t realize how much we have change the property or ourselves until I looked a photos I took those first few weeks we moved in. We have turned a shed into a rabbitry, painted every surface in the house (with the exception of the cut-in around the ceiling fans?!), we brought home our first dairy goats and built a milking stanchion from pictures of others, Trevor’s parents helped us get two large areas fenced in, with my family’s help we installed one big hügelkultur, we sold some bucklings and bought two more dairy goats, got rid of lazy chickens and brought in new chickies, had great success with cabbage and heritage breed turkeys, added a pair of Viking sheep, made billions of delicious pretzel, and disposed of multiple truck loads of creepy-gross carpet. Oh, and the front door is an awesome egg yolk orange.
So while it didn’t seem like much progress was being made during the year, I can look back and see that we did –in fact– get a whole lot done on our new farm. That even includes the whole month of a “screw the drought and the world” attitude I had during the summer while I got absolutely no blogging done.
Well, now our first year is almost up. (I can say that because our mortgage is paid through the month of February and we moved in on March 8th of last year.) Close enough I’d say. After a year of home ownership my best advice to others looking down the same path is: to spend a whole year taking it slow.
Just two more months before I can justify filling up my windows with seed starts. Some things may be started earlier, but I have to check on that. I might even have to adjust my last frost date now that we live in a slightly lower elevation… then again, less of a tree windbreak might put us at just about the same frost date anyhow.
Frühling (spring) brings seedlings and seedlings bring excitement for growth. I am most excited for the pumpkin patch I am going to put in where the turkeys are now (they will be in my belly and their plot will be rich with manure) and possibly some pickling cucumbers and apple trees. I’m pretty sure I could live off of those three things: pumpkins, pickles, and apples.
Today I took an inventory of what seeds I already have. I have come to the conclusion that I need very few seeds to have a well balanced garden in the spring. There is good variety with each type of seed in my pile. I have the most of peas, beans, pumpkins, and surprisingly– I have a ton of onions. Yum! I definitely need some more carrots though. To begin amending the soil, I will have to add a sprinkling of dandelions, comfrey, chicory, borage (bees go bananas for it), and sage. I also have rosemary, marigolds, and sunflowers on my wish list just because they are great for the bees and kitchen.
In the Frühlingskabine Seed Inventory:
Peas: Little Marvel, Sugar Daddy (1/4 lb.)
Beans: Roma II bush, Contender bush, Chinese Red Noodle (1/2 lb.)
Onions: Flat of Italy, Green Bunching, Australian Brown, Donata di Parma (3,100)
Melons: American Green, Golden Honeymoon (25)
Squash: Butternut Waltham, Frühlingskabine Pie Pumpkin, Black Beauty Zucchini (165)
Lettuce: Red Romaine, Black Seeded Simpson (1/2 oz.)
Greens: Rainbow Swiss Chard, Flamingo Swiss Chard, Dinosaur Kale, Bloomsdale Spinach (425)
Leek: Giant Musselburgh (100)
Rhubarb: Glaskins Perpetual (2)
Turnip: Purple Top White Globe (500)
Radish: French Breakfast (800)
Beets: Detroit Dark Red, Chioggia striped (30)
Eggplant: Beatrice, Bianca Rosa (60)
Herbs: Cilantro, Yarrow, Italian Sweet Basil, Thai Basil, Fennel, Stevia, Oregano (1,600)
Tomatoes: Beefsteak, Black Cherry (40)
Cucumbers: Parisian, Marketmore, Boston Picking, Homemade Pickles (125)
Artichoke: Purple of Romagna (25)
Brussels Sprouts: Long Island (350)
Broccoli: Di Cicco (1,000)
Celery: Dave’s Frühlingskabine (2,000+)
Carrots: Scarlet Nantes (200)
Cabbage: Mammoth Red (1,050)
Peppers: Cal Wonder, Bell Pepper (75)
Plum: From the Organic Market- red flesh (25)
If anyone wants to trade some of my extra seeds (Frühlingskabine Pie Pumpkin, Dave’s Frühlingskabine Celery, Di Cicco Broccoli, Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts) for anything on my wishlist (comfrey, chicory, borage, sage, rhubarb, interesting things), send me an email!