Monday, November 23, 2015

The Homestead, Year One

The old shed

The new barn

Wow, it has been almost exactly a year since we moved into the old house here.  It has sure been a whirlwind year, starting with the blizzard on the day of our arrival last year, and then the power outtage that lasted several days.
I got to thinking, trying to list what we have done so far.  I am sure there are small projects that I wont recall, and the ongoing tasks of gardening and soil building and planning, planting, maintaining, etc., cant really be summed up by a few lines on a list.. but here goes...its all from memory, so might get dates not exactly right.
Moved in. This is worthy of mention because it took several attempts, because the moving truck couldnt negotiate the ice after the blizzard.

Installed new wood stove
Bought firewood, but it was wet and fròzen (see blizzard comment above)
Cut down, bucked, hauled, and split two dead trees for burnable wood.
Bought a snowblower
Bought maple syrup evaporator (used, homemade, cheap)
Dismantled 13 raised garden beds and stacked and split them up for burning for said evaporator.
Purchased 6 layer pullets, the start of our flock.
Made a makeshift "greenhouse" out of the chicken run, where the pullets could live for the winter.
House before

House after

Endured.  Read lots of gardening books. Did lots of garden planning. Shoveled lots of snow.
Steve installed TV antennae.

Colors of fall

Endured even more.
Set  taps on 10 maple trees.
Showshoveled a path to get to taps, and tromped it down with snowshoes.
Began collecting sap.
Set up seed starting area inside, a strange seasonal juxtaposition with the sugaring operation.

The evaporator

Full swing into maple sùgaring: collecting, storing, boiling, canning.
Planted a couple hundred various garden seeds inside, with grow lights.
Received order of new chicks., 26 of them.

Flowers by front walkway

Finished sugaring.
Spread manure in garden, readied for planting.
Installed temporary garden fence
Chicks move outside.
Baby goslings arrive
Planted 5 apple trees

Garden gets going in earnest.
Second garden area tilled and raked.
Permanent garden fence installed.
Built new mobile chicken coop. Move the flock into that.
Set up electric netting fence for chickens.
Goslings move into old chicken coop.
Old shed gets demolished to make way for new barn.
Having to use crutches full time due to knee injury.
Small dog fence put up.
Bat exclusion doors put up to rid attic of bats. We hope.

Apple bounty

Apple peel feast

Stripped wallpaper, repaired walls, painted walls, ceiling, and trim in 3 rooms inside the house.
The BBB (big barn build) gets underway. We will live with heavy equipment for the next several months.
Planted raspberries, strawberries, blueberries.
Brought home the goat brothers.
Repaired , replaced rotted siding and sills on house.
Dug out massive thorn bush by front sidewalk, weeded, mulched, made pathway, planted flowers.
The radio tower finally taken down and hauled off

Future farm security team in training

The Alarm System, fully activated

Started painting entire exterior of house.
Dug up entire front flowerbed, mulched.
Dug up stumps in yard.
Cleared fenceline and stonewall
Removed weed trees and thorns.

Painted barn boards by the hundred!
Painted all the small animal sheds
Canned, froze, dehydrated, made jams, preserves from garden goodies
Installed new fence by stonewall
Repaired foundation on house
First eggs from new chickens

Mmmmmm... sweet corn stalks.

Paddock area raked and seeded
Spread dirt and seeded grass in backyard
Barn finished, mostly.
Start selling eggs to neighbors and farm store

The new Barn in Fall

Driveway paved
Gravel added for turn around
Big hill cleared
Small front hill stumped and cleared and tilled, bulbs and perrenials planted, bark chips spread.
Woodshed finished
Wood splitting begins
Lower woods area begins to get cleared.

Miss Dixie

Electric finally installed in barn
Bought a calf.
Greenhouse started
New walkway for main entrance.
Moved chickens into barn for winter.
Begin installing small paddock for calf
Build temporary stall dividers for second stall.

And that brings us to now.  I know theres more stuff, but seeing the list, no wonder we are tired!  And I dont mean to say we did all this by ourselves. The barn was built by our neighbor, and all the tractor work also.  And lots of other things.   But we have certainly had a hand in most of it. Almost all the gardening was me, almost all the firewood hauling, splitting , stacking was Steve.

So what will Year Two bring?  There is still lots of clearing to do, and more fruit tree planting.  But the biggest task will be fence building.  I think 2016 will be THE YEAR OF THE FENCE.   Stay tuned!

Garden area before

Garden area after

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