This farm is named for the frog and eagle who were the first two animals we saw here.
The basement has window wells a frogs seem to get stuck in there. The biggest window is the one in front of my computer. Sometimes I am working at the computer and I hear a gentle tap on the window. I have watched frog jump onto the window, scale it and hop out, but they dont always make it
Grasses that are now only inches tall will soon be up to ours knees and it will still be too wet to mow. We will still have a frost to contend with but soon we can start the plants that we will transplant into the garden in April or May.
This is a time for planning the big projects that must be done and prepping to make sure we have the tools we need to complete them. This includes:
Looking at seed catalogues and picking which variety of tomatoes or peppers we want to grow this year…
Marking the spots where water comes down the hill and makes our path to the chicken pen a navigable river, then planning a way to fix it before next winter…
Tightening up the water collection system so we are actually collecting enough water to irrigate the orchard in the summer…
Figuring out where to get a few more goats, so that our older girls stay young and healthy…
Being overly concerned that everything is going to bloom or bud out way too soon – before the last frost…
This a a very random and completely partial list of things we need to work on before the days get long enough to force us to put all of this aside for the things that must be done right away.
Meanwhile, as we sit out the dark and rainy part of winter we find ourselves waiting for the Sun and the blooms she will bring.
We picked up eight apple scions, two pear and one grape. Our shopping list above was to help us get just our favorite, but we found a few interesting varieties, too – including Marechal Foch a Pinot Noir hybrid.The apples and Pears we were able to get two or three grafts out of each scion and now have a total of 19 tiny but growing trees.
Our apples grafts:
Crimson Crisp – eatin’ apple
Kingston Black – cider apple
Esopus Spitzenberg – cider apple
Roxbury Russet – cider apple
Newtown Pippen – cider apple
Yarlington – mill cider apple
Our pear grafts:
Our five Marechal Foch are own rooted (not grafted) and seem to be doing well.
We learned to graft in a propitiation class we took at a community college, but this was our first time doing it on our own.
We took the Mushroom Cultivation Design Course at Fungi for the People in Eugene Oregon in late March. We learned a staggering amount of information and were really excited to come home and start to practice cultivating Mushrooms. We were introduced to a few we did not know before our class and learned to make Reishi Tea (very relaxing sleep aide) and Chaga Tea (a great coffee replacement).
We can home with plans to build the equipment we would need to produce our own mushrooms on large scale. We have a lot of work to do before we are able scale up, but now is the time for building and learning. We built a small clean box for sectioning and transferring cultures. We started to build our own version of a Laminar Flow Hood (based on Ja Schindler’s Design).
Now it is all about practice and creating the right conditions for the Mycelium and Mushrooms to thrive…
This farm has been great learning experience. Each year we try something new and get a little better. Our goal is to be able to grow most of our own food. We will get there one day, but are currently quite a distance from that goal…
We got a few vegetables planted, but had trouble getting the water hooked up on the field. A few local vendors offered to get us going. The first plan for irrigating our garden and pasture came with a $38,000 price tag. A second vendor did a little bit better, bringing the price down to $14,000. It still was not going to work. We direct seeded into the field, but after the weather start getting warmer, the rains stopped and we still could not get water – we decided to abandon that site for now. We had a lot of tomato and onion transplants and a few random seedlings that I thought we would lose if they had no water.
We started a second garden on the hill behind the house. The water hose would reach if we use 2 one-hundred foot hoses.This site was closer to the garage and it was a lot shorter walk when I forgot a tool. The soil was not as good as the soil on the field. It was a heavier clay and we had to add organic compost to the mix. We rented the same type of tiller we used earlier in the spring, but the clay was too hard to cut through and the tiller just bounce across the top two or three inches. We use a water hose and shovel to dig the rest. We broke up the chunks, back fill with compost and mixed the whole thing together.
Our first lesson in Mushroom Cultivation was figuring out how to find logs. We had a few bags of Mushroom Dowel Plug Spawn for Fungi for the People in Eugene, Oregon. We just needed logs to grow them in. We looked on Craigslist to find our logs.
It was suggested that our spawn would do well on hard woods. A few months ago, we were city folk who loved the country. Which logs were hard woods? We didn’t know? We drove up a long road following some fairly vague instructions. There was snow on the ground. It was a bit exciting, but I am not used to driving in snow.
The logger had the flu that day, but he told us to come up anyway. His wife told us we could look through the log pile, pick what we wanted then come back to pay for them. She gave us a brief explanation of the difference between Douglas Firs and Maple. We drove back to the woodpile to search and found mostly 20 foot or longer ‘logs’ piled like pick-up-sticks. There were a only a few that were even small enough to fit in our truck.
We loaded up four logs, back up the hill to pay for them then on our way back to town. Lucy, our Giant puppy, enjoyed licking snow off of the logs as we drove home.
We drilled the logs and thought they really must be hard wood, because they were so hard to drill. Debbie was concerned they might catch on fire.
It took a few drill holes to realize there might be a better choice of drill bits and after a quick trip to the tool store we had a lot more success. We drilled holes about every five inches. We later discovered that we may have put way too many holes, but we think it will work out…Faster!We chose White Elm Oyster plugs for these logs.
We are getting ready to move out to the land and checking on it as often as we can. I have been out here for the last three days taking care of small jobs; finding someone to ‘mow’ the 2 – 4 foot grasses, finding someone to help hook up the irrigation pump to electricity and checking on the land.
I finally had time to take a bunch of pictures of the wildflowers while my Mom and I waited to watch the fireworks (today is independence day) in town from our hill.
There is a small highway a quarter mile away and a fairly busy side road at the edge of the property that provides steady white noise, but when no one is driving by there are pretty intense sound coming from the bushes. A lot of birds, I can not yet identify and other smallish creatures fluttering around.
The flying bugs that come out at twilight have noticed us, luckily none of them seem to be mosquitoes.
We bought it in January of 2014. These images are from our first trip with family to the farm. We got a lot of work done and got to finally get into the pond and see how big it really is. One of the nephews, got to experience Ducks flying at him as he walked toward the nest. We shot a few pictures of the 11 eggs and then moved on to the middle of the pond. Brian (6’4″) and Jacob stood waist deep in water when they got to the middle. Eric and I stayed on the perimeter and took measurements.
A silly picture of Kathe (R) and Debbie (L) on our April work trip.
When we got out of the pond, we all had to go back to the hotel for a hot shower and dry clothes. Even in the first week of April, it was too cold to just hang out in the water. The house was in worse shape than we thought so we decided it would be best to rebuild. First we had to move closer to the farm.
The Eagle. The first inhabitant of the farm. And the Frog…
Debbie and I were excited to see what wildlife we would find. The first two animals we saw were a Frog and an Eagle, so we named the farm after them. As we had more time to explore, we found many more frogs, several kinds of birds, including a great Blue Heron, and a few snakes. We saw deer and Elk Tracks (there is a 130 head heard of Elk in the neighborhood) and smaller animals: Gophers, voles, and a Coyote. They are much harder to photograph, but when we get good pictures, we will put them on our Animals on the Farm page.