Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Its been Almost a year!

We took Possession of our farm on September the 1st 2015! Now its the 23 rd of August 2016 and it is odd, it feels like we  have been here forever and yet not long at all! The farm felt like home the day we moved in...well even before that it felt right! In that sense it is a blessing as the farm fits us and I think we fit it. I hope that makes sense.

The planning we had done prior to buying and with the buying delays paid off in so many ways and has let us get a lot done in the way of gardens and poultry and generally setting up the base for our future endeavors. Applying the plans to a new climate has been an adventure!

Above is the current layout of the farm, it is not exactly to scale but is fairly close and has all the pertinent information on it. The house sits at 862 feet of elevation and the high point of the land is around 900 feet and is at the point of fence west of the South Garden. The map is oriented North at the top. There is not a lot of really flat ground but it is all workable if we choose to.
The round dots are trees and the three round dots with red borders are the apple trees. The clothesline is next tot the Herb Garden.

I think the thing that has struck us the most is how this country can grow things. Given the hot, wet and humid summer it  is more like jungle than we had ever expected. Last summer when we gardened here in August it was dry, they all said pretty normal so we did not experience the insane weed and vegetation growth we have seen this year.

This is Ralph flail mowing the West Garden, it was fallow to be used for fall crops, as you can see the weed growth and return of the hay and Johnson Grass got totally away on us! However this complete fail has some good things about it. The flail mower chops the vegetation into a useful mulch which we will work into the soil. (When is gets dry enough) Plus the fresh mowing gives the poultry a wonderful selection of chopped weeds, disturbed bugs and the like to forage on.

This is the front of the house as we saw it the first time, quite plain and bare. We decided since Rhubarb does not like super hot and full sun we would try this location for it. Ralph made a raised bed for the Rhubarb along the house. 

Now it looks like this! That doesn't look like Rhubarb your saying to yourself about now. It isn't....it is the result of adding squash to the winter diet of the poultry. We fed them squash on a regular basis over the winter to give them fresh vegetables and to supplement the commercial diet of chicken ration. When we cleaned the chicken pens we dumped the shavings, old hay and poop mixture in a pile by the Tobacco barn door. We used pails of this mix to add organic and natural fertilizer to the potting soil, dirt mix we made the raised bed with.  Somehow we had both forgotten squash seed are extremely durable so now we have "Wall 'O' Squash" in front of the house. It is climbing the chicken wire fence we made to keep the poultry out of the young Rhubarb. By the way the Rhubarb is liking the location and the Squash makes a wonderful Privacy hedge!

The critter free yard the first time we saw it, the lawn was mowed with a lawn mower not turkeys, ducks and chickens. It was pretty and pristine and just wanting a little bit of fertilizer and love!

Not a tidy pristine lawn any more but filled with noise and all sorts of going's on. Closer to what a farm yard should be and always fun to go out to. The poultry does a really good job of grazing and keeping the bugs down. I have had just one Mosquito bite this year and I think I have to thank the bats, swallows and our birds for that.

The late corn out in the South Garden, this was just hayfield last year and we are pleased with how it is growing after just being broken this spring. I will be getting corn to can from this patch fairly soon.

Imagine these arrivals on the 28th of August last year....our very first livestock. The turkey Poults that came to New Castle by air and then rode with me in the car to Kentucky!

What a difference a year makes!

Little golden balls of fluff were also a delightful addition when we finally got possession and were moved in.

Now some of those same chicks are raising our next generation of poultry and starting the foundation for our farm flock. Its a grand thing!

All in all we are loving our new home and I know it will keep us amused, entertained and fairly fit for years to come. Of course it is also feeding us like kings as the seasons progress. This post does not begin to cover all the aspects of the farm and its progress. We hope it gives you some idea and a few smiles at how the year has gone. I would rate the results of the first year as 60% success, 30%  failure and 10% disaster. We have learned from all aspects and are already working on things to change and do better for 2017.

 God Bless you all and be safe. Take joy in the small things we are blessed with!


  1. You two have done a tremendous job of hitting the ground running, hard to believe what you've packed into this first year! I must admit I felt a bit consoled by the weeds over running you...knowing it can happen to the best of you makes me feel less bad lol.

    1. I have to say the weed crop is spectacular! It is intimidating to wade through them, like exploring a jungle planet! Now we know much more about this country...next year will be easy ;)

  2. I can hardly believe it's been almost a year! I think you have had more than a 60% success - thanks to all your planning. It has been (and will continue to be) so much fun to follow along with you and Ralph and your flocks (soon herds...)!

  3. Not many folks have the fortitude and/or willingness to take on a farm, these days. Well done - looks good so far!

    1. We must have had head injuries as children! It is so worth the work!

  4. You two have done a FANTASTIC amount for only one year! Shows what good planning can do, I would say. (Oh yeah, and plain ol' hard work, too) Impressive. Just simply impressive! And just think of all the good things that will happen in your second year!

    1. Isn't that one of the things about a small homestead or farm, your always looking to the future as you deal with the current dilemma's. I think it keeps us much healthier mentally and certainly more positive. Note....if I lay down in some of our weeds you would never find me! :)

  5. can i just sing a "proud" song as my comment? ok, here goes:

    we are sooo proud of Fiona and Ralph
    they made no decisions hasitly
    they really thought every-thing out
    and that is why we're so proud of Fiona and Ralph!

    kudos, my friends! can't wait to see what happens in the upcoming year! sending love! your friend,

    1. Awwwww shucks ( "skuffing feet in the dirt")

  6. Oh, I really enjoyed this post. Happy anniversary!! Hugs, Ilene

  7. You two have come a very long way in a year. I have enjoyed watching the way you have taken the place and made it your home. A beautiful home, too.

    1. We think it is pretty nice! I am glad you enjoy following along.
      Your blog has given us great information and reading all along our adventure.
      Now it is cooler for a few days we might be able to work during the afternoon.
      I hope you are all well!