Friday, June 27, 2014

How Not to Stay on Top of Things

What do you get when a girl with ADHD purchases 10 acres with hopes of turning it into an off the grid organic homestead? A big mess. And a lot of unfinished projects. Maybe I should take focus meds, but I hate the drug industry. Anyway, Monday they are going to have a tax lean auction on the neighbor's property. I was supposed to call today to see if they where able to pay their taxes on the property. I kind of forgot. Maybe it's because buying people's properties out from under them is not exactly my forte or life mission. I am concerned about the land falling into the hands of a developer and next it's neighborville over there. I want to keep my neighbor's to trees and 4 head stones.
I wrote the owner a letter asking if they would be interested in selling some of the adjoining property to us, but I haven't heard from them yet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When I Grow Up, What Kind of Farmer will I Be?

Seems like in Morgan county, people have one of three things, horses, cattle, or goats. Or they grow hay, wheat, or corn. Though, I did come upon a charming field divider of short golden sunflowers. It was so charming. There's something magical about this area. I can't quite put my finger on it. But I'm happy to be here. Which is a miracle in and of itself, if you've ever read my other blogs, i.e. Walking Out of Darkness. So what about me? I've got 10 newly acquired acres, with 37 next to me possibly being auctioned as a tax lean this Monday. What should I do with my land? Tillage, range, forestry, orchard, a hybrid of various uses, or nothing at all. This first year is what I call the, "Get to Know You" period on my land. Apparently it's what an old farmer would do, where a new farmer might just get down into it. This strategy comes from budget constraints, and instinct. I need to understand the land, what it's doing, what's been done to it, and what it can or can't do.  

Water Games

You would think by my age, and with my amount of gardening experience (circa '87) that watering would be a no brainer for me. But no. I'm guilty of either over watering or under watering. I noticed a mid-day wilt happening in my herb and outhouse garden. I thought it was heat. I usually just sprinkle my plants a little every day. But I don't think it's saturating the crumbly clay soil. So I accidentally left the sprinkler on my outhouse garden for 20 minutes. I noticed that for the next 4 days my garden didn't wilt. But today it was wily again. So, yes this is probably so obvious, I need to do a deep watering at least every 3-4 days. Still, I thought a more even watering pattern was better for plants. I've also bought a 50' soaker hose to employ. Still, considering the fact that I didn't get to amend the soil as much as I would like to this season. Everything seems to be growing nicely, all be it slowly. I'm still waiting on my first tomato, and zucchini. And my watermelon have no interest in growing for some reason. The only other issue I seem to be having is with my peach tree and blackberry transplants. The peach trees are developing yellow leaves, and the blackberry doesn't seem too happy either.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Second Longest Day of the Year

We've reached the first "official" day of summer, but the heat has been well under way since the start of June. These are the kiddie pool, and water fight days of summer. Necessary in order to survive the coming dog days, that my father in law so eloquently outlines in his poem. I'll post it for you when the dog days arrive July 3rd. 
My test plots haven't yeilded abountiful  harvest, but they have produced. So far I've had a few tasty strawberries, some delicious green beans, and Cherokee wax beans that my daughter quickly scarfs down. This is the whole point you see. To grow the foods we love, free of GMO, and pesticide activities. 
The first plot to spring forth was the herb garden. It's starting to get a little tired of its SW exposure. And the plants are showing signs of mineral deficiencies. So I added organic fertilizer, which smells like freeze dried cat poop. I'll just have to see if that helps. 
The next plot to show signs of life is the, "Pump house/Outhouse" plot. I originally was only going to plant wildflowers around it. But my love for edibles snuck in, and soon there was a variety of corn, squash, watermelon, and mustards in place. It does give the pump house a victory garden look. This plot had been looking really tired from the heat, so yesterday I let the sprinkler soak them for a while, and today they didn't even wilt in the sun. I need a soaker hose. I'm still learning.
The third plot is the SW corner plot in the yard. It's pretty close to a dying black walnut. So? You say. Well, apparently black walnuts produce a toxin called jugalone, that prevents other trees and certain vegetables like tomatoes from growing too close to it. It makes it's own Jugalos? Yes.
Lastly we have the 3 peach trees in place, 1 muscadine, and 1 Arapaho blackberry bush planted. As well as a few large bramble patches ripening, and a fig tree that I cleared around, pruned, and is setting figs. There is also 1 wild persimmon tree that is setting fruit too. As well as a few black cherry trees, but those cherries where too sour for me. The dewberries are ready, but most are in the neighboring property. The red mulberry tree gave me a nice little harvest that I froze and made jam with.
The nut trees are pecan, and bkack walnut. There are 7 pecans, and 3 black walnuts. All the pecans appear to be setting, but only 1 of the 3 black walnuts is holding onto it's, err, nuts, if you will. The other 2 are hollow, yet leafed, and started producing, but are now regularly dropping immature nuts all over the place. That's too bad. Black walnut trees are pretty valuable. So I'll have to focus on the young healthy one that is left. The ramains of a 4th black walnut lay near the barn in rotting sections. What a waste!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Height of Summer

This is the height of summer. I love this time of year. And this year I get to spend summer in the way I'm accustomed to, in a big green yard. And I am blessed, I can't put it any other way because I've gone from having no yard, tiny strips of dirt with barely any sun, or sweltering balconies with only 4-6 hours of day light, to 10 acres of trees and grass for me to play in. And this summer has really been a reliving of some of my happiest things from my childhood in Wisconsin. Grass feilds, rolling meadows with cows, hot days, with cool nights, oak trees, hot weather followed by a stormy cold front. It's just been so nice so far.