We have lived on our little homestead for two months now, so I figured it was time to give a little tour! We have put in a lot of labor but not a lot of dollars towards fixing things up. As much as possible we are borrowing from the junk piles, moving things around, and using what was left behind or that we already had. This means our fence posts are mismatched and we are using a few things in unusual ways. The only purchase (other than seeds, trees, feed) we made is gravel (after I got stuck in the driveway twice in the same week) and straw for mulching and dealing with mud. It's become a little bit of a challenge for me now to see how long I can keep that up!
When you come up our driveway, we own two sections across the road you turned off of-one is about a 2 acre tillable field we are renting to our neighbor and the other is a small wooded area that we may forage a couple times/year but will otherwise ignore.
To the right coming up the driveway is a section that has been much neglected in recent years and is very overgrown. It is working its way to becoming a permaculture experiment, I think. Lots of those sorts of decisions still in progress. It needs some cleaning out first regardless. Our septic drainage field is really unusually shaped- so much that I might have to make the guy who installed it come out and physically walk it with me because the map is confusing. There is room for quite a bit of whatever we decide, it is just going to be oddly shaped. Previous owner used this section to drive his four-wheeler around so we have a little bit of a defined path that I call the tear-drop loop because that's what it is shaped like!
On the other side of the driveway is a larger section of pasture. This fenced section is about 1/5th of the total area and we plan to use his very expertly installed super electric fence as a "training" section for any grazing animals we do have and then will rotate through the rest of it with moveable electric. (Those are my plans again in any event- keeping in mind I have no idea what I'm doing we can all have a good laugh when my plans don't go as intended down the road.)
At the back corner of our acreage the barn, chicken coop, shop, and house create a little courtyard that is nicely laid out to work in (at least I think so!). The garden is tucked into the far corner of the property close to everything else. Too close to the neighbor's conventional corn fields for my preference, but it really is the best place for it otherwise.
The Thus-Empty Barn
Two stalls are almost ready to go with ___(goats, sheep, piglets, a cow...)____. Please tell me your ideas! Everything would be pastured in the summer but seriously choosing what to do first is the hardest part. There is also a third stall we've started taking out to redo, a bench area we are keeping feed, and a second bench area we are keeping hay (the chickens like to sneak in there and lay eggs in the hay), and large aisle with the big door we are keeping our little riding garden tractor and cart. It's not as picked up as I would like it to be and I think we all need to work on that.
Night time home to our layers, and our up and coming flock in the cage along the wall. Also along the wall is our one remaining Mini-Rex Bunny. We had two very healthy rabbits die in a short time at the same time we had a raccoon prowling around at night and we think he may have scared them to death. Trying to decide if we should just keep Raven as a pet bunny and not do anything else with her or get a new buck.
We have a small rabbit run alongside the chicken coop where we let the pullets get fresh air while being supervised. We are considering closing this in on all sides with a roof and making a door into it from the coop to give the chickens access to some fresh air in the winter and on rainy days.
The Woodchopping Yard
Where wild children go to work it off.
(Also the back side of the garden)
Garden Area Before
Garden Area After
I have to be honest this is my favorite accomplishment. Aidan and I fenced all 3,000 square feet using nothing but what we found that the previous owners left behind. The posts are all mismatched and unevenly spaced due to varying lengths of fencing, the gate is total overkill, but its more solid than it looks and it keeps the chickens out. He's been doing all of the tilling for me too. As we finish planting and things start growing, I'm sure I'll be giving it a post of its own!
Our faithful "guard" dog- Who will protect us from absolutely nothing, but he loves to lay around the yard all day and keep us company.
Did you know?! Every Monday on Instagram we join in as Jacqui Skemp hosts #MondayGardenTour. Follow along with me over there for more progress reports as the summer goes on and lots of inspiration from some of your other favorite Catholic bloggers!