Thursday, April 28, 2011

Work Day at the Homestead

We began our day early. I got off work on time and headed straight home. The trailer was loaded with the mower, gas can, shovel, and peat moss. I learned my lesson last time we planted blueberries and brought along a two wheel dolly. Compressed bales of peat are not light and I didn't feel like lugging them around.
Once we finished loading the berries and Race's toys we were good to go.  I didn't let in to the fact that I was worried about the condition of the pass from the front of our property to the rear. As you may recall we have a wet weather spring and it just so happens to run across this pass.

Once we arrived at the land it was quickly apparent it was no longer just a stream but a full on marsh. I was not about to give in and park in the front of our property and have to carry everything to the back half of our five acres.  I switched on the four wheel drive, my wife hid her eyes with her hands and away we went.  With just a little slipping and sliding we made it across the marsh.

I had already prepared the rows for the blueberries by tilling so it was a simple matter of making the mounds and mixing in the peat.  It took awhile but we got all the plants in the ground and watered.

We decided on the location for the raspberry patch. We are using a no till method which involves spraying the  intended row with roundup.  The plants can be planted the day after spraying but it will be a few days until we make it back out there.  We are starting off with two forty foot rows of raspberry plants which should be a pretty good start. I managed to burn off two brush piles and mowed the back part of the property so we had a fairly productive day.

Jenn preparing the hole

Race inspecting the results

Monday, April 25, 2011

Work Day

In between rain storms we took advantage of the shining sun to get some needed work done. The final site for the cabin was selected, the brush cleared away, and a few trees dropped.  As hard as it was it will be worth it in the end.  The cabin will be about twenty yards into the woods facing south with the porch overlooking our meadow with our berry patches.

Off to one side will be a fire pit and an outside kitchen which will be a combination grill, smoker, and oven.  I obtained a length of rope for a tire swing although by the time we finish building our house I may want to use it as a noose..

Future site of the cabin

Cabin Fever

Why is it that our best laid plans seldom turn out how we wish.  Our goal for this spring was to have the cabin completed by the first of April, the market garden planted, the remaining blueberries planted and a new raspberry patch started.

On the cabin front the plans are in hand. A good portion of the lumber purchased, and the site laid out.
We finally got the garden tilled and planted what starts and seeds were ready. That was almost two weeks ago.  We haven't been able to set foot in it since because of the incredible amount of rain we have been receiving.  Good for the weeds but its going to mean lots more work for me.

I've decided to build raised beds for the remaining plants, I like the looks of a nicely laid out raised bed garden and it likely will be easier on the back when it comes time to harvest and maintain them.

I have been disgusted with the prices the local nurseries are charging for berry plants.  Thanks to Google I found a nursery located in Joplin Missouri with very reasonable prices.  The name of the business is the Botany Shop. We paid them a visit over the weekend and I am very pleased with the prices and quality of the plants.  The owner was pleasant and extremely knowledgeable and seemed very eager to ensure that we had all of the details to successfully plant and maintain the plants.

We purchased enough blueberries to finish the patch we had planned for this year as well as all the raspberry plants we needed to establish our initial patch. 

The Botany Shop sells all of the typical plants one would expect to find at a nursery, trees, flowers, shrubs, blueberries, raspberry plants, blackberry plants, and everything in between.  They have many varieties and the will ship if you are out of the area.  I was so pleased I plan on making all my future berry purchases from them.
Our long term goal is to have a pick your own berry operation and sell berries and non genetically modified vegetables at the local farmers markets.  We know it will take time, money, and lots of hard work but we feel that with the way things are going we have to do all we can to establish a supplemental source of income in the event that one day we get to retire.  If only the rain would hold off.  All I need is a few days.  Can someone please do a dance to stop the rain?

some of the Raspberry plants we purchased