A Modern Homesteader

Spring is Coming!

March 1Mom & I went over to the property on Thursday and stayed through Sunday morning. Spring is definitely coming! We were pleasantly surprised to see very little snow on our drive over and very little snow on our property at all!  The daytime temperatures were warm enough that a fleece or light hoodie was enough unless the wind picked up. The nighttime temperatures still was getting pretty low, but with our handy kerosene heater and great sleeping bags we were plenty warm at night.

We had some chores to complete. Number one on the list was Build a Humanure Compost bin.  Then, we needed to decide on locations for the garden, the main cabin, my smaller cabin, the chicken coop/goat barn, etc. These were all things that we needed the snow to melt for so we could easily identify the flatter areas…since the property is very sloped.

Fortunately, Mom & I were in agreement on the locations of everything. Although, we’re both still very tempted to build the cabins higher on the property for the view, we’ve decided that moving earth is expensive and since there is no leveled area higher up, it is best to build on the lower, level areas. We discussed building a gazebo/arbor/etc. At a higher elevation that can be used as an outdoor patio/dining area during the warmer months and would allow us to enjoy the view.

We’re having a bit more trouble deciding where to site the orchard. We have deer pressure (pictures of our “herd” coming soon!), so we will need to protect the young trees from the deer and may need to protect them indefinitely if we don’t want to wage constant battle with deer consuming our apples, pears, etc. Natural barriers take time to grow and fences may be a necessary protection, at least temporarily.

I’ll be posting an overhead view of the property soon with approximate locations of where we are currently planning on siting everything. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to getting started on the buildings!

Black plastic marking the gardenOne of our other goals was to get some black plastic down to start warming and (hopefully) breaking down the organic matter on the surface of where we want the garden. Unfortunately, we didn’t pack enough plastic milk jugs to weigh down the plastic and had to do a much smaller area than planned (to be sure the plastic didn’t wander off while we’re gone). Instead of laying out a 20×25 area (which is probably less than half the size of what we *need*) we ended up laying out a 10×12.5′ area.

We’re taking more plastic, more jugs and the weed whacker on the next visit. And hopefully a scythe. I’d really like a scythe. Ideally, we would have closed on the property before winter had set in and been able to cut down the standing material in the fall and been able to cover it for the whole winter. Alas, that just wasn’t possible! We’re hoping this will help, otherwise I know a girl who might just be double digging a garden… again. Or renting a plow.

We also have to fence this area before planting anything tasty in it because… well, deer.


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