Lower garden/orchard re-fence in full swing

March 31st, 2013

Lower Garden 2010

Lower Garden 2010

The time has come to replace the fencing around the lower garden (the large garden) and adjoining orchard. Originally built from native logs, or perhaps branches, from the very trees that were cleared to plant the orchard. If it’s one thing I’ve learned out of this there are only a few varieties of trees that can be used as posts without treatment. “Post Oak” being one. Many of the posts had already rotted and were spottily replaced with steel T-posts. While this was a stopgap fix the larger corner posts were the real concern.

The fence was simple wire strands with cut -off scraps, from my local sawmill’s joiner/plainer operation, woven in the wires as a way to make the fence look really tall and impossible for Bambi to want to even try jumping in. Linda called it “hillbilly.” I hoped it would work – and it did for a few years. Eventually Bambi figured out that the wire only went so high and they jumped through the wood slats. Grrrr.

Last fall we had a massive wind storm and several of those large corner posts snapped. So this spring I decided it was time to budget the money, and time, to replacing this fence and do it right. All main posts, at every 20-30 feet, are 10′ tall railroad ties. Steel T-posts are used in between like we did on the chicken yard.

Digging fence post holes around here is more than a challenge. It’s nearly impossible especially in the valley. No, it’s not roots it’s the F’n geodes! Cool as they are what a menace they have become. Starting at around 12″ down and ending in the two to three foot depth range when you hit the bedrock shale you’ll find them. Plenty of them. They seem to be an almost constant layer of them in this range. You see them in creek beds all around here and at the creek’s edges it is apparent where they reside. They range in size from small to fairly large. Digging those puppies out of a fence post hole results in tons more work and a fairly massive hole!

We bought two rolls of the best wire wove fencing available but it is only 42″ tall. This is mainly to keep the dogs/coyote sized critters out. Above that I plan to use the same wire strands but this time will be able to go even higher. Once that is done I will add 2×4’s atop the railroad ties to extend them higher and will angle them outward at 15-30 degrees.

Once I’ve strung wire on those the Bambis should stay out. Deer can jump an incredible eight to ten feet straight up but they cannot jump that height and also long. The angled 2×4’s should add the necessary width to make the jump too long.

I have to say that the pulling up of the old posts as well as wielding around the 300lb new ones has been a pleasure with last years addition to the farm, Mighty Mouse!



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The March Garden

March 18th, 2013

This March has been, well, almost “normal?”  Unlike the recent March’s we’ve seen this year the cold wet, dreary, weather is sticking like glue! The NWS three month outlook has predicted a warmer and wetter spring yet late winter is keeping us running for the woodshed and on the prowl for more downed/dead trees.

Wood - we need more wood!

Wood – we need more wood!

I may have miss-timed my garden starts… Spinach is rocking and the greens are all doing well although the cold weather is keeping them from really taking off. My hot weather plants inside have taken off. I may need to cool them off and slow their explosive growth unless we can generally stay above freezing in the next two-three weeks. Then they can go in the low-tunnels.

I’m also starting on the big fence rebuild. More on that later.

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To Bee or not to Bee

March 11th, 2013

Honey from our no gone bees

A sad day has come to KCF. This weekend I checked in on our bees and despite surviving the coldest days of winter they have all suddenly died. There were thousands of them lifeless in the hive. Today I cracked open and cleaned everything out to be ready for the inevitable replacements. Apparently bees will gladly move right into an abandoned hive so I left everything as is. Well, except for the honey!

I did not take honey from them this fall after their first year here. I wanted them to have all they needed to survive the winter. They are more important to me as pollinators than honey producers – but the hoeny would be nice.

Since the remaining honey would most likely he scavenged by other bugs I did scrape it out. I don’t yet have any fancy extraction gadgets since I’m mostly new to bee keeping but I do now have a bowl of fabulous Knob Creek honey in the comb!

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What a Waffle Sunday…

March 8th, 2013

100% organic, non-GMO sorghum grown from our saved seed from stalk to table.

Considering that the vast majority of “processed” food is basically not food and most likely even toxic by its very nature we have chosen to grow, raise, forage and hunt as much of our food as possible. If you look at the “food pyramid” grains should be the core of our diets. Yet grains, at least the commercially available ones here in the US, are the most genetically altered of all crops. It’s flat scary what they are doing to “food.”

We are not pure and 100% off the commercial food system, that would take a full time commitment – something I’m ready for mentally although not financially, but we try. I’ve been experimenting with growing gains for five years now. Still no firm conclusion but Sorgum has done the best and we like it. Too bad it is missing gluten…

Oh, did I mention – that’s our maple syrup too 🙂

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