I love spring

Now that we are living at the farm it’s so much easier to keep up on the garden. I’ve been checking on it everyday. Weeding, watering when needed, fertilizing once a week. I am quite proud of it. At the moment we have onions and beets growing in the second direct sow plot. Everything is growing in the first direct sow plot, and then brassicas look amazing! The Brussel sprouts should start budding soon. we also planted potatoes last weekend but they haven’t started coming up yet. Today we sat down and planned out the next two weeks. I placed a $40 baker creek order in preparation for the summer direct sow, which will start in the next few weeks.

I also bought a calendar just for the garden. This is the most involved I have been with the farm probably ever. I also have started prepping for both the farmers market and the start of the CSA. We hope to have 10 weekly $10 boxes starting in late May. The first boxes will probably consist of lettuce, some carrots, spinach, radishes, and bread. I’m very excited, if you can’t tell!

Things are growing!

As of today two more beds are ready for planting! They look beautiful. Tomorrow I will plant another bed of carrots, lettuce, spinach, and beets. I will also plant another bed of my Brassicas. The last bed didn’t fair the cold snap well so I will also be replacing a few of those as well. The best part is that my first bed has finally started sprouting!!! This is what they look like as of this afternoon. Once they grow a bit bigger I will start thinning them out.

These are the beds I just prepared. I’ll post pictures after I get them planted tomorrow.

Frustration and a setback

After successfully overwintering our bees we went out to feed them today and found that in just a few days the hive had been completely decimated and the last of the bees had absconded. It was devastating to us. We thought that it had been one of the skunks that the dogs had been chasing off, but after closer inspection we found that in our haste to move last winter we had failed to put in the reducer (which reduces the hole at the bottom to a size that only one bee can get through at a time). As the last few days have given us warmer weather it had also brought a field mouse in, which had feasted on all of the new grubs leaving nothing but the leftover honey in its wake. Now we do the thing that farmers do when nature destroys a part of your income. You regroup, check your budget, move some things around (like cancelling a trip to a sustainability fair and moving an unnecessary doctors appointment for a much later date) and order another hive. Sigh. C’est la vie.

Flooring is started

We decided that the next most important thing is to install the toilet upstairs. Both C and I were tired of walking downstairs to use the toilet. In order to do that we had to start the flooring in our bedroom and extend it all the way to the bathroom. It took 13 boxes of bamboo flooring to get to the toilet, but it’s in!!! Now we are going to take a break upstairs and work on finishing the downstairs bathroom. It would be nice to have at least one shower!! Once the bathroom is finished we will work in the driveway, the front wall, the front of the house, and possibly the floors downstairs. There is so much to do!! We have been doing little bits as money comes in.

It’s the season!!

We have placed our first seed order of the year!! With the move we were unable to start seeds early like I wanted to, so we are buying the plants and ordering the direct sow seeds. I still need to go through our seed packets from last year to figure out what else I have to sow, but I do know I used all of my carrot, lettuce, spinach, and beet seeds, so I ordered those. I also ordered some onion and shallot seeds. I haven’t grown then from seeds yet but I ordered a few to try them out.

We order all of our seeds from Baker Creek (www.rareseeds.com). We really like the quality and the ability to get really different heirloom varieties that should be good to sell at the market. The spinach and lettuce like the cold weather so I’ll order another round of those in the fall, but the carrots and beets can be grown for the entire growing season so I’ll be getting more of those with every order.

Here are some of the plants we ordered. the rest you will have to stay tuned to get a look at!

Photos custody of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

An interesting day

Yesterday morning I threw a couple pieces of wood into our wood burning stove before leaving to take the kids to school. I didn’t have a substitute job so I treated the littles to donuts. As we were finishing up our donuts I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. Normally I wouldn’t answer but this time I did. It was the police station in the next town over informing me that our house was on fire. I freaked out, rushed the kids to the car, and drove entirely too fast back to the house. As I pulled up I see about 6 fire trucks of various shapes and sizes along our road and down our driveway. They have me pull to the side and talk to me about how my house was on fire and the local newspaper is here and I can chose not to talk to them if I don’t want to. After sitting and waiting to hear what is going on and if I even have a house anymore (although I can see the roof from where I was sitting so I knew it wasn’t that bad) they had me come down to the house. The house was fine. When we installed the stove we didn’t have enough money to put in the correct length of pipe so our chimney stopped about a foot or so from the roof. The smoke comes out of the chimney and follows the underside of the roof up. The smoke had stained some of the roof and side of the house black in January when we burned our Christmas tree. Our plan was to fix the chimney sometime in the next month. Apparently someone had seen the smoke, thought it was a fire, and called the fire department. Not a big deal, at least we have neighbors who care. However, the fire department (without seeing any flames, because there weren’t any) decided the house had been on fire and had gone out, sprayed the outside of the house, took apart part of the chimney, removed everything from the stove, and filled the bottom with water. Then they wouldn’t let us on the property for at least an hour. Needless to say we fixed the problem.

Surviving our first winter

The first winter here has been hard. We are able to keep our house between 50 and 70 which is fabulous. It’s been a struggle and has cost us more than we would like (which has pushed some of our proposed improvements back a bit), but we have been more comfortable than we have been in several winters.

The current struggle has been between keeping the electric on and the water pipes thawed. This winter has been unusually cloudy, which has not helped keep our batteries charged. We have a generator but it has been having a tough time connecting to our inverter properly. It will start charging the batteries and then the inverter kicks it off charge. We should hopefully have the issue fixed in the next week, but for now we have had to have nightly blackouts where we turn off the inverter and turn it back in in the morning.

Due to these blackouts we haven’t been able to run our pipe heater when the temperature gets below freezing. Every few days we have to thaw out the pipes. Thankfully it’s only happened on nights when the temperature gets over 40 the next day or when the sun is out enough to run the heater during the day.

The plan for this year is to get a wind turbine connected to the batteries. That was always the plan but it wasn’t in the budget of things we could get done before we moved in. Once we get that hooked up we should have no issue running the heater all night.

I am not a fan of winter.

It’s winter, I’m in a slump.

There is so much to post about but… winter. I have no drive what so ever. I can’t wait for this cold spell to be over.

Anyway… we had a goal to have the inside doors up by Christmas Eve. In order to do that we had to finish missing the wall, spray mud it, and paint it. Three days before Christmas and we had done absolutely none of that. Yay us. So the desperation that follows procrastination set in and we got it done! It’s not fully painted yet but it is painted enough to put the doors up. we also sealed the floors in the kids’ rooms which greatly reduced the dust.

Here is how it went:

A year in review

I have more progress to post. It has been quite a holiday break here! Before I do that, however, I would like to take the time to reflect on the gigantic strides we have made in this past year. The last thing we did on the house before winter hit was December 21, 2017. We had just backfilled for the second time (the first having resulted in the massive collapse of the tire wall). The loft had been built and we were putting up the walls of the second floor. The amount of work that has gone into getting this house ready to be moved into is fairly astounding. We put up wall, put up a roof (and to tell you the truth I am very surprised one of us didn’t die while putting up the 32 foot long trusses). We also installed our solar panels and put in our water cistern

we installed all of our windows and doors

C put in stairs. We put in insulation, put up almost all of the drywall, painted most of the rooms,

C installed a bathroom

We put in almost al of our appliances. The best part of all has been us finally being able to move in. This has been the most amazing month of my life so far. There is so much more that needs to be done but we are here and we LOVE IT!!

I don’t have any New Years resolutions for 2019. I like who I am, I like who we are, so I think instead I’m just going to make some goals that I would like accomplished by this time next year.

First I would like the kids/guest bathroom finished. We need to finish the tile, finish the drywall, paint, and add the shower. Compared to what we did last year this really shouldn’t be hard to complete.

Second I would like all of the subfloors in and at least the downstairs floors installed.

Finally I would like all of the drywall put up. There isn’t much left. We have to finish putting in the ceiling of the main room, finish the bathroom, pantry, laundry room, and the kids closets. They are all pretty small areas and most are at least partially done.

This should leave the flooring upstairs, the trim, our bathroom, and the outside to complete in 2020.

The stove is in!

Living here has really slowed down the amount of work we are doing, but it’s nice because we also don’t feel rushed all the time. We are also concentrating on paying off some of our bills. Buying the new car before school started has been really hard in the pocket book, but we are actually seeing some light at the end of the tunnel which is really refreshing.

We were able to finally move the stove we bought into the house. We can’t fill the hole in front of the house yet so instead we built a really sturdy bridge to help us move giant heavy things into the house.

The moving of the stove was actually sheer genius on C’s part. He took apart almost every part that could come off. The burners, griddle, back part, doors, until it was basically just a shell. Then we jacked it up, put a furniture dolly underneath both sides, removed the legs, and strapped it on the dollies with straps. We could wheel it right into the house after that. Putting it back together was super easy too.

and VOILA! We now have a $4000 commercial stove that only cost us $1000 (we bought it from a restaurant that went out of business after a year)! We need to clean it up a bit still but that’s not a huge deal.

Pancakes are so easy now.