St. Patty’s Day weekend was another one full of work – in order to stay on schedule for getting the hopyard planted in April we needed to prepare the pasture where it will be located. We were fortunate to receive a small grant from SMADC, and are using the funding to get the hopyard put in this spring. So we rented a small tractor with a front loader and a tiller attachment; got 2 trucks’ worth of sand, and several loads of compost and got to work. We have it mapped out to plant 4 of our eventual 6 rows this year, and spaced so that our International H tractor can fit between the rows.
But our tractor – which has a wonderful story (stay tuned for that one) – is not the best suited to have a loader attachment put on the front, and we don’t have a tiller attachment either. So it made more sense to rent the right piece of equipment to get done what we needed to efficiently. The goal is to always work smarter not harder, as our time for farm work is limited due to our full time jobs. We both took off from work on Friday to focus on accomplishing all that we wanted to during the 2-day equipment rental period.
Unfortunately the rain put a damper on our plans, but it ultimately ended up working out fine. We were supposed to have sand delivered first thing Friday morning, but it was delayed until Saturday. We picked up the tractor on Friday morning after putting kids on the bus; then spent the afternoon getting the rows tilled as well as distributing the mulch we had delivered on Thursday.
Getting the property all fixed up and looking nice takes a lot of work and last year at this time we were focused on the house more than the grounds. This year with the house good for now we are able to get outside cleaned up much earlier – with the goal of cutting back volunteers and miscellaneous weeds and vines before they get to the large and in charge phase. We also worked in several loads of compost from our neighbors up the road – using our manure spreader to distribute it along the rows.
Friday afternoon we also tilled the garden – it’s a spot that we picked out last year but didn’t get to clearing and planting. So this year in addition to our small kitchen garden we have a much larger area to produce more food. Our daughter is thinking she’d like to have a produce stand this summer, so we’ll see if we get that going. It might work out well as one down the road retired last year and this is the first summer they won’t be open.
So now we have a place to grow the corn, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, etc. that we selected from the seed catalogs over the winter. We also built a mini hoop house to start some plants in our kitchen garden, with the hope of getting tomatoes as early as possible this summer. It’s so exciting to be on a sight with sun! Our old place was in the woods and the only thing that grew in the garden were herbs. Bring on the corn & tomatoes & kale & flowers & cucumbers & all the vegetables
Update on Lambs
We released mama and baby boy on Friday as he only took a tiny amount of formula (meaning he has been getting enough from mama) and they seemed to have re-bonded. We also knew we’d be around to observe them and make sure all worked out OK. He was thrilled to get out on pasture and play with his half-siblings! We now have 4 lambs – a baby girl (3/11), baby boy (3/17), and twins (3/20). They are adorable, playful, and fun to watch frolic around the fields!