Sunday, June 12, 2011

Around the Farm

Last week I went over to the local library and discovered that my place was homesteaded in 1879, making it one of the oldest settlements in the county. While I'm sure my house isn't quite that old, from an old photo I do know it is at least 120 years old. When my Dad moved here fifteen years ago the place already needed a lot of work and due to a lot of hard times in our family, he didn't get a chance to make many improvements. So, when I moved in last year, I knew I was going to need to invest a lot of sweat equity.

Over the past few days I've gotten a few extra pictures from around the farm that I thought I'd share. They show an old farm with a lot of potential, a lot of work done and a lot of work still needing to be done. No matter what it needs, though, I am still proud of my little farm simply because it's my home. I've been waiting for years for a place with a little acreage I could call mine, and I finally got my wish.

I even got a silly, big-eared puppy! Bonus!

My house:

It has a new roof and a new top, but the overhang on the roof is only halfway finished so far, and the front porch needs to be rebuilt. Once those things are done, I can finish cleaning out all the debris on the second story.

We've also decided that the siding is in such good shape I'm just going to repaint it for now, rather than replacing it (which could take years). I've decided to go with a color called "Brown Buzz," which, depending on the light, either looks light brown, light gray, or light celadon. It was actually in the green family but most of the time looks like a champagne-brown. It goes great with the dark gray on the outbuildings and is just dark enough that the white trim will pop nicely.

When I moved in last year, the back yard was completely covered in branches. I've been able to get almost all of it cleaned up. There is one corner where I've got about 10 million trumpet vine plants (ok, maybe not that many) that I still need to clean up, plus the fallen tree with all the debris under it that you can see to the left in this photo:

All the cheat grass has died, so now it's just brown and sandy back there. I don't want to plant fescue because of the horses, so I'm trying to locate a grass that will grow in shade, in very sandy soil. Any ideas?

I'm on my second vegetable garden here, and my first herb garden. The tomatoes are coming in wonderfully and my peppers could be better-looking, but they will hopefully take off once all this crazy hot/cold weather settles down. My cilantro, on the other hand, is thriving. I'm thinking of calling this photo: "Cilantro Gone Wild:"

I probably won't be able to sell it to pay-per-view, though.

I am going to attempt to get some coriander off these blooms. I didn't have very good luck drying seeds last year, but perhaps this year I can be a bit more organized.

*pausing for laughter*

I only got my turkeys a few weeks ago, but they've already become a farm fixture.

So far, I'm pretty sure I have two boys. And apparently in any species, boys will be boys!

It cracks me up to see a six-week-old turkey strutting.

Only a face a mother (or owner) could love!

Last week I also went and picked up some more hay. I love this alfalfa--such nice leafy, heavy bales.

Yes, I get excited over alfalfa. My horse-sistas understand....

I've also been able to tear off the front of this building, but of course there is much more to do.

There is cement in there with those weeds, so unfortunately I can't mow back there yet. I'll take the string trimmer to it this week (thank God for string trimmers!!).

When I got home from picking Bambi up from the breeder's a few weeks ago my uncle was at the farm waiting with this:

I guess it's an old earth mover? He said it belonged to Dad and he was cleaning up Grandma's place, so he was there to deliver this. I had no idea what to do with it so I asked him to place it back here, out of the way. I'm thinking of turning it into a planter? Or a giant praying mantis to keep solicitors away?

Decisions, decisions....

Right next to my house is my dad's irrigated quarter.

Even with the irrigation, the corn is taking a hit from the drought. We did get some good rain last night, though (finally!), so hopefully it will help things green up a bit.

My horse buildings are on the edge of the property, near the quarter of corn.

I'm waiting for an extra set of hands to help me finish the fence. I tried to put it up myself but trying to line up 5 rails to set into each other is impossible to do without someone on the other end of the panel to help balance it. [Insert obligatory 'unbalanced' joke here.]

I planted this blue-green-gray decorative grass last year and was afraid it didn't make it, but it has come back in very well this summer!

Of course if you read my last post, you already know the story of the poor Bradford Pear trees.

I'll give them this: they are some tough little suckers.

Speaking of tough little suckers....

My dad mowed over this rose bush last year and it didn't even phase it. It is a ground-cover variety, so it grows low and spreads out. Perfect for inquisitive little turkeys.

By the way, I'm thinking of writing a book about what plants turkeys and chickens love to eat. Thankfully roses aren't one of them. However, my pansies were destroyed in a matter of days after I planted them.

Apparently chickens think pansies taste like chocolate.

Of course the chickens and turkeys don't even touch the weeds...or the weed.

It's everywhere this year. Usually the ditch weed only grows in the back where I mow, but this year I even had to pull some out of my veggie garden! I guess this is what you could call a drought-tolerant plant.

And when I do mow it down, especially on a really hot day, I end up smelling like I just left a Grateful Dead concert.

Over the last couple of weeks the chickens have decided that they really like hanging out in the shelter belt:

A roost with a view....

At the end of a long day, all the household critter enjoy a nice nap on the chaise.

What? You expect them to sleep on the floor? Like a bunch of animals?!

That's the end of our three-minute tour (unless you're a really slow reader).

Happy trails!


Nicole said...

Looks like a great place to live! I've always wanted an older house like that... Lucky duck :)

Jessie McCandless said...

Thank you, Nicole! I feel very lucky to live here :)