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Journey to a gourd farm.


Next Craft Sale in October!.

December already!


It’s December already and many changes have happened here on Deberosa II. 

First of all – a new tractor arrived yesterday!

Massey Fergusson 1529

This is a bit beefier than the Mahindra I had before, although it’s about the same size.  The bucket teeth and hooks were added and much stronger than we had before.  The tires are filled with fluid already.  The three point hitch is much stronger.  This tractor has a 9 by 9 syncro shuttle transmission that will take getting used to but didn’t seem too difficult.  We’ll get the tiller and brush hog in the spring.  Right now it will be moving chips and plowing snow and hauling stuff around the homestead.

In addition we added a new puppy to the farm – Sheila is a purebred English Shepard.  She is a fiesty little girl and really loves to herd just about anything – Jake, us, visitors, chickens and the cats. ;-) 

English Sheppard farm dog.

8 weeks old.

She is being trained to work with the birds at this point:

We harvested a home grown turkey for Thanksgiving.  Processing was a chore because we are not set up at nicely but the bird turned out fine in any case!  It was a triumph just to be sitting at a table with home grown food after this major relocation!

It was a lovely fall here – damp but warm.

This month we will be organizing the farm into a business.  Not sure what all it will involve, but right now we are thinking of raising Guinea Hogs and growing nursery plants, some veggies and blueberries.  Haven’t decided for sure yet – so send along ideas for cottage industries that may work here!

Debbie


Two months has seen alot of changes here on Deberosa II.  

We built two poultry coops, one with a nest box for the egg layers and one for the other poultry – although they all pile into one at night!

Ready for new poultry!

Ready for new poultry!

The red and green paint came from a going out of business sale, but I like it.  The coops have a solid bottom and are very easy to clean since they are up off of the ground.  The chickens like to dust themselves in the dry dirt under the coop and it doesn’t get all nasty.
Other news is I noticed some tree people doing chipping across the road.  Went over to talk with them and find out what they did with all those chips.  It turns out they have a very hard time finding places to put the chips!  So for most of the summer as they clear power lines up and down the road they use our top field as a dumping place for chips and storage place for equipment some weekends.  This is a great start for the flower beds that have been neglected.  Also with the grass catcher on the mower we are constructing compost piles by layering the green grass clippings with wood chips and whatever else is around to throw in.
Our new wood chip and compost project.

Our new wood chip and compost project.

In addition we put in three raised beds with a square foot gardening fall garden.
First we put down a layer of moving boxes then the frame and then the mixture of Peatmoss, compost and vermiculite or perlite in equal amounts. 
Raised bed for herbs and greens

Raised bed for herbs and greens

Raised beds for fall garden

Raised beds for fall garden

 

 

As you can see we have started to mulch around these beds with the wood chip supply.

We also are refilling the freezers with the wonderful produce availble in this area.  That includes sweet corn, peaches, and a quarter of a Highland cow from a farm down the road.  We will also get pork and free range chickens and turkeys from them until we get our own set up again.  Highland beef is wonderful!  The best I’ve ever had.  We never got to try the Dexter cattle.

In addition we found 8 blueberry bushes to plant.  Got 4 of them in so far with lots of mulch from the wood chip supply.

 

Blueberries - hard to see in the thick layer of mulch!

Blueberries - hard to see in the thick layer of mulch!

Kurt dug holes at least one foot deep and two feet across.  I put 1/4 back of peat moss and 1/2 bag of compost in the hole, filled it with water to soak in and then finished with some of the dirt that came out in the first place.  This hopefully will give the berries a good start.  Then surrounded them with more moving boxes and topped with a thick layer of wood chips.

Martha also got a new house!

Nice new house for Martha and Jake when we are away.

Nice new house for Martha and Jake when we are away.

The guineas are now free ranging – they tended to pick on the hens and turkeys in the fenced run plus they are here for tick control.  So far they have been circling the property all day eating bugs so this is good.  There is a flock of 13 guinea fowl.  In the back ground of this picture you’ll see a deer!  They are becoming more brave.  The conglomeration of stuff outside the shed is our effort to sort what came from Washington – which was alot!

Guineas and deer

Guineas and deer

 

 

 

 

The poultry inventory other than guineas at this point is 3 Bourbon Red turkeys – unfortunately it looks like they are all Toms!, One Salmon Favorelle Rooster and two hens, 7 barred rock pullets, 4 Red Sex Link Pullets, 2 Americana Pullets and the flock of 13 guinea fowl.  Already we are getting 6 eggs a day.

Poultry Flock

 

That’s about all that’s new for now!

 

Debbie


It’s been a long several months and after many false starts we are together at the new farm in Virginia.  Not the one from my previous post due to many issues with banks and sellers, but still a very nice place to rebuild.

It is a leased tree nursery for 8 acres of the property through 2016 but the rest of the 14 acres is ready for homesteading immediately.  There is a stream and spring at the back of the property through a couple acres of hardwood forest.  Then a 100 year old tiny farmhouse that will take some work but liveable at this point.  It’s a place to start.  There is a dirt floor shed that is fairly large and it’s a good thing!  The 28 ft trailer packed to the brim full of stuff barely fits in the spaces available.

Now begins the work of rebuilding – entirely different challenges and experiences in this new homestead environment.  I’ll post as we discover during the rebuilding process.

New Beginnings


Since I posted last much has changed on the homestead.  I found a new job, but it’s on the other side of the coutry in SW Virginia!

Deberosa went on the market last week and hopefully it sells quickly.  If you are looking for a homestead visit www.sellingmasoncounty.com/12

I am entertaining all offers!

The good news is that there is a Deberosa II in the works in VA.  More on that as the deal progresses but hopefully it will be on 20 secluded acres near my new job.

I consider myself fortunate to have found a job in this economy and it’s a good job with good people.  So even though the homestead must move 3000 miles, it will be started again with many more and different lessons so stay tuned!

 

Debbie

Welcome 2009?


I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  The year did not end well and 2009 will present many challenges and risks for us. 

But to review what we wanted to accomplish in 2008, we didn’t do too badly:

*  Fence around the wood shed for the Dark Cornish Chickens.  – DONE

*  Move the turkey carport to the back yard area and put in blueberries where it used to be.  – DONE

* Fence off the field garden and plant most in cover crops this year. plus purple bush beans and squash. – DONE

* Build a straw bale garden in the back yard for greens. – DONE

* Rebuild the hoop house and plant it with tomatoes and basil again.  – DONE but the crop was poor due to the cool summer and a rat infestation!

* Move herbs into a new bed that ’s better mulched. – Sort of DONE

* Finish the perimeter fence, cattle fence around the acre of brush for Daisy and T-Bone to clear and a space for a couple of pigs.  – DONE

*  Organize the garage and clean out and organize the barn!  – Well, maybe someday!

* Improve my skills at preservation, we should be getting grapes this year.  Grapes did not ripen due to the cool summer but I did more canning, freezing, and drying than in the past including grinding grains for bread making.

* Put in a bed of Doyles Blackberries and Tripple Crown Blackberries.  – The Doyles Blackberries are in but the Triple Crown Blackberries never grew – beware discount nurseries!

* Get Daisy bred by June some how! DONE – didn’t happen until November but she should have a calf in 2009

* Late next year it will be time to say goodbye to T-Bone.  It won’t be easy but it’s a part of the cycle here.   Animals raised on small farms have far better lives than one the factory farms.  T-Bone is still hanging around in case she may be fertile. 

 

We have been eating almost solely from the homestead by late 2008.  Pork, turkey, chicken, veggies and fruits.  

But then the bad news – my job ends in June 2009.  They are moving the operations to India.  Looking for a job in this economy is dismal and 2009 is filled with unknowns at this point.  It may be necessary to terminate Deberosa if relocation is necessary.   Survival will be the goal of 2009.

As if that is not enough we’ve had one of the worst winters on record and it’s only early January.  It started with record cold, then 18 inches of snow followed by several inches of rain.  The rain soaked snow was too much for the lower half of the barn and it has collapsed.  The snow slid off the main barn onto the lean to’s and they collapsed – the new lean to only fell as far as the plywood wall fortunately so the cows still are sheltered.  The chicken coop has a skewed door but it still stands also.  Everything else seems to have held and most of the heavy wet snow has left.  However tonight it started snowing again!  For an area far more used to damp rains this is quite a nasty set of storms. 

So we enter 2009 with the specter of unemployment and storm clean up.  Surviving will be the biggest goal for this year, perhaps the groundwork laid for the past 5 years will be  utilized in the coming months.