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.