Today, January 1st, is the day I said I would begin blogging for The Farm. It seemed as nice a starting place as any.
The first post is always the hardest, especially when there is a back-story like ours. So for the sake of hoping you keep reading, I promise this will be the quick version – you’ll find all the nitty, gritty details in the future series on “reclamation”.
In 2011 we bought the 18 acre farm next door to us. We took this leap for a number of reasons, 1.) it doubled our land and would allow us to grow our own food, 2.) it would keep someone from building a house in our beautiful backyard, and 3.) my grandfather always said to invest in land if nothing else, and for me that man’s words are gold. However, we – no, I – was naive in thinking that we would buy the land and poof our dream farm would appear.
But this was my reality. Weeds as high as my hips, pieces of the barn roof strewn about, fences and farm machinery in the most unlikely of places, and broken. . .everything was broken. So we went to work, mowing, plowing, clearing, hammering and nailing. We filled two dumpsters and hauled 6 dump truck loads of scrap metal. And all of this was just to clear enough land to plant our garden!
And on the last two days that you can successfully plant in Ohio we put in our garden. But that garden produced – and 600 lbs of tomatoes later we have spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, ketchup, bbq sauce, tomato sauce (plain and seasoned) and salsa. . .enough to feed us until next year’s tomatoes turn red. We succeeded in our goal of providing food for our family – our canning room is stocked with green beans, sweet corn, broccoli, red potatoes, pickles, chicken, beef, pork, venison, and next year we are hoping we can provide food for your family too! I spent my days weeding, harvesting, canning and chasing kids all summer long, but it was worth it.
And here is a picture of the barn, cleaned out and resided with siding that my husband milled himself. We chose to repair the existing barn instead of tearing it down and building a new barn right away. For one, it was the economical choice, but more importantly, we were charmed by this old barn. It was never a new barn, the interior structure is actually built out of re-purposed materials from a house that burnt around the turn of the century. You can see in this picture the house siding that was used inside the wagon shed.
We have stripped the old siding from the garage and resided it to match the barn. The garage will house our farm stand this summer and the lean to we added to the back will give us room to process the produce and shade the little ones.
If you drive by our place today it looks as under construction as it is. Not a pretty picture at the moment but in the next year we are hoping it looks a bit like this
What do we have planned for 2012? Well the actually list is a bit exhausting, but here are just few highlights.
- plant a market garden and sell the produce in our farm stand
- rock out in the garden, there has to be some way to make weeding fun.
- raise some wonderful egg layers and some good old creepy-meaties (broilers)
- get a few cows
- finish building the pond
- enjoy fishing, swimming, and wildlife watching in said pond.
- learn something new everyday
- laugh with my kids and my husband until we are in tears – just because
- encourage the next generation of farmers by working with our interns from Kenyon College
- enjoy our neighbors and relish the fact that we have such great people to live and work beside.
I hope that you check back in – 2012 promises to be quite an adventure.