Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Catch-Up Time!

Hello, all. Sorry I've been absent on the farm blog. I visited my family in West Virginia, including a brother with a wonderful pick-your-own blueberry farm they've run for about 20 years, and a brother just starting into an apple orchard enterprise.
But Adam has been quite busy on the farm in my absence.
He's been raking up leaves all over and putting those leaves on the compost piles.
 The potatoes in the bucket are coming along.
He started work on our chicken coop and yard. The yard will be a long rectangle along the orchard fence.
 He's using what he can find on the farm for the posts. Here's he's cut two cedar trees and used their slender trunks for posts. They don't rot quickly.
 Here's another post he found.
 And for the four corner posts of the chicken coop, he's using the stands for the telescope lens grinding class he taught a couple of years ago. The stands already each have a 5-gallon bucket full of concrete. Seemed a shame to have them sitting around. They make good footers, so he buried them in the ground.
Here's a view of the proposed site from the other end.
 One of the cedar trees is here behind the barn, on the very rear of the property. It's laid down over the back fence. Adam's already cut away a lot of it, to clear the back of the barn, but there's more to be removed.
 It's quite a large trunk. He only used the top end of it for that post.
 Some other trees he's only trimming the lower branches of, like this one along the back fence.
These two cedar trees grew right in the fence that separates the house yard from the pasture. He'll cut them away to the ground.
 This awful tree grew in the overgrown area next to Anna's little house. It was leaned far over. I'm so glad to see it gone!
 And here we have a pathetic fig bush, dominated for years by a weed tree. Adam cut it away. I want our figs to prosper so I can make preserves next summer.
 The most significant tree he removed was a good-sized maple that grew in front of Anna's house, right between two huge pecans. It was a lovely tree, and I'm sorry it's gone, but it was in a horrible location, under those pecans. A tree in a bad location is worse than no tree at all.
 At least ... that's our philosophy of trees here in the Southeast. In Iowa years ago, we found the attitude toward trees quite different; they love any tree they can get to grow -- weedy, ugly, broken by ice, it doesn't matter. Trees there are valued as a wind break, and they do have wind!
This was a dead crape myrtle right by the road:
Alright, you're probably tired of seeing tree stumps! He hauled it all to our burn pile. We plan to roast a fair share of marshmallows over Thanksgiving, haha!
Pecan picking-up has continued apace. Adam wore his back out with bending over, so I bought a little contraption at the local hardware store.
 I've seen the kind that roll around. And I've seen the metal-box kind with the grate on the bottom. Both are more metal, and I worried that this one would be flimsy and not work well. The fellow sold it to me, asking that I bring it back if it didn't work. He clearly had his doubts too. But it worked great! You just press the slinky-thing onto the pecan. It holds them well up to the top, and then you dump them all into a box.
Ignore the saw. In fact, ignore a lot of random things you might see lying around our farm. It's a work in progress! Anyway, Adam has picked up many pecans. That big box is just a fraction. I took three bags to West Virginia.
On to the next topic: our sewer.
We have a septic tank in the side yard that connects to the city sewer. The grass there grows thick and particularly green:
I noticed during our heaviest rains that the yard there was quite soupy and smelly. Adam told me it was nothing to worry about. We do have a pump (below) that is supposed to engage when the septic tank might get full and pump it into the city sewer.
 The tank has this little thing ...
 And this cap, which was askew and open until a few days ago, when Adam investigated.
The pump was turned off -- we didn't know this. That's why we had the soupy smelly yard. Hopefully it will behave better now.
And speaking of green -- the wheat and barley are doing very well! They're tall, and not too yellowed from all the rain. We're having delightful, dry, cool autumn weather now.
barley on the left, wheat on the right
 The winter garden has survived, but it's slow going. Some greens are looking good, but small still.
 We had some on our sandwiches last night.
 See? It's green and growing, but still quite short. Time will tell if we get a hearty garden this winter.
That's it from the farm! Adam's doing a beekeeping presentation today for a group, and next week we have company for Thanksgiving, so we continue to be quite busy. Enjoy your lovely autumn day!


  1. You are lucky to be married to a jack-of-all-trades. Mine is more a one-job-at-a-time person. Hey ho.

  2. I equate trees with privacy, so I'd have a hard time cutting anything. But that's the beauty of having your own place. You get to do it your way! :) You're doing a great job! It's looking nice and you're making quite a difference. I can see why you craved farm living. Your come from a family of farmers!

  3. Busy, busy, busy and a lot of forward progress. I'm proud of you two.

    Happy Thanksgiving preparation ~ FlowerLady

  4. Wow lots going on around the farm. So handy when you can use things you already have around.
    That pecan picking thing looks like a slinky - remember those toys?

  5. Cedars are our favorite fence posts here. Many of them that we've taken our of our fences were 70+ years old. We often reuse them when they aren't broken off. Nice that you have cedars you can cut for a post or two.

    It's looking good there. Tons of work, but it'll be well worth it in the end.

  6. My oh my Adam has been a busy fellow there on the farm. You certainly have a lot to do there and quite a big lot of property it seems. I enjoyed seeing what you've all been up too. Sure wish I had a bag of those Pecans! Yum.


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