Saturday, October 20, 2012

Projects Updated

Outside of trying to ease into agrarian life, I have a full time job and am finishing a Masters Degree in Theology.  What that means is I have added a part time job to the mix.  This all is, of course, second to being a father to good kids and a husband to a hot wife. 

But let me say this: it is very different that the business of a normal subruban life.  I'd like to draw this out a bit on another post, but for now let's just say that these things are very integrated and I now have MORE time with family, not less.

But another side effect - along with sustainability, spiritual and corporal heath, more laughter, satisfaction and dirt - is that I do little bits of work at a time and rarely get to devote hours and hours to one thing.  So, I have lots of projects in the mix and do them based on the availability of help, materials and good weather. 

Here are some things I'm working on:

First.  My father and I took out the gravel driveway that was in front of the house and put in a curvy sidewalk.  I just couldn't deal with a plain sidewalk, so I added some stones to make it look all like, ya know, like a creak or something.

Here's Henry hauling away some debris after the concrete was set.

Transfering some new laying hens.. that are OURS!

Trying to get checkers to like me.  No luck yet.

Getting cows on this unused pasture.

Here is a hugelkulture bed I build.  I have some other pictures of the process somewhere, but its basically burying half decayed logs (collected from the property).  These logs then act like a sponge making irigation unessecary.. so the story goes.  We'll see this summer.

The only major problem is that decaying logs can take in a lot of nitrogen.  So I planted Austrian Winter Peas, which are a lagume (a plant that puts nitrogen from the air into the soil).  Hope this helps.
I'm also attempting an "up-right" version of the bed.  We'll see... 
Its fun working with what you have.

 I'll find pictures of the before sometime (probably not), but the back of the house needed work.  The property sloped into the house and water was a major issue.  Big storms flooded the back room regularly.  My father regraded it and he and I build a rock wall and a berm to keep the water back.  Here's a little embelishment on the end with a place for a bench.  The stones for the surface were found underneath the driveway from the front.  My guess is granite from a gravestone manufacturer, maybe countertop.  Anyway, no one around remembers them being there, so they're old.  I actually finished a lot of this today, but don't have the latest pics yet.  It took forever because each stone has a different depth, making each one its own job.

Seeding the front yard.  Dirt from the back was moved up front to replace the topsoil that had washed due to exposed soil.  

Keeping up with the fall/winter garden.  That's the beginning of a fence to keep out the new chicks which, unlike the bigger ones, really like to eat on my plants.

Kale.  Some trampled by poultry.  Ah well, I'll eat them later anyway.

My dad also regraded this road leading up to other parts of the property.  Have I mentioned how great it is to have a handy father within a days drive?

Reworking the compost.  Feathers from processing chicks and the leftovers from a sprouts farm.  Once the hens work this over I'll layer with other matter to rebuild the compost for the winter.

Here's some chicken and turkey tractors I'm trying to get up toward the woods for two reasons.  1 is hawks - they dig chicks.  The other is to go get the bugs up there and clean out some new space for future projects.

This is Phillip.  He's suppose to watch the chicks and keep Hawks away.

 So I'm always like, "Phil, why the hell did the Hawk eat another one?"  And he's all like:

This is the upper garden.  It was waste high in weeds along with ALL of the gardens when we arrived.  They're getting better.  I knocked all the weeds down and then used boxes from our move to mulch.  Then I put the turkey tractors on those and they tore them to shreds.  Now I'll till that in with what compost I have and then do a winter cover crop.
There was a lot of other help in the gardens too, which was great.

Well, that's it for now.  Each day its really hard because I want to work more, but I just can't - I have another job.  It always feels like I don't get much done, but looking back you see it really all adds up.  Little bit here, a little there.  So, get out there and get your garden ready for winter.


  1. Thats alot of projects! I'm glad your Dad is able to offer his help. The trip was longer than I expected for us, but it won't deter me from more frequent visits. I hope to get back soon and with shelving and containers to help in the mud room. Katie is superwoman! She is obviously of much stronger will power, grace, courage and fortitude than I have ever had. I'm so happy you have such a wonderful Wife. God has blessed you. and my grandchildren with her! I've also just bought a pair of boots for my next visit..I can see they are a must there :) Love, Mom

  2. Nitrogen a problem with the hugelkulture? Pshaw, pee is way free my friend...way free.

  3. incidently, when we first moved into our house there were a bunch of huge, unruly juniper bushes (weird, right?) that I cut out, because...well, they were awful.

    To date I STILL have a huge pile of juniper branches, because they are a serious pain to bundle or even send through a wood chipper because they are so gnarly.

    Do you think that I could use the pile to make a hugelkulture or would the juniper just be too acidic?

    Maybe just relegate it to blueberries?

  4. Juniper will probably take too long to break down. You could try peeing on it regularly for a few months to see how it does.