Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Dreams Are Made of at 5~Acre Farm

Purple Thrift on the hill at the front of the property
We are hoping that this will be the year we get our five acres fenced in. It should have happened already, but, as usual, there have been delays. For now, about one acre is fenced in around the house, right in the middle of the farm. It's six foot chain link fence, installed when John's dad lived here.

I like the fence we have. If we could afford it, I'd want six foot chain link fence around the entire five acres! It provides a strong sense of security from intruders, while allowing the animals inside the fence to "free range." Right now, those free ranging animals are the dogs and Lulu, our pet pig, and the occasional escaped chicken.

I really like the way the fence defines a "yard" area around the house. It acts like an edge that we can work toward or away from. There are lots of shade trees, flowering plants and trees, bushes, and the larger of our two fig orchards, as well as a single apple tree. There used to be a row of peach trees along the front inside of the fence, but they died off. A couple are coming back, but not at all in the place I wish they were. I am hoping to plant a row of pomegranate trees along the front fence soon. John's father did an excellent job of landscaping the area when he settled here. It's more than 20 years later, and John and I are reaping the benefits of his wisdom and planning.
Front field, looking NE toward the fenced in area and house
Outside the fence, at the front, facing south, we have a lovely large field. I'm not sure, but it might be between one and one and a half acres. We aren't using it for anything right now, but we have been considering various crop ideas like corn or wheat, and we've also thought about using it as a rotation field for a small herd of meat goats.

Behind the fenced area, we have a larger field, probably about three acres. I posted pictures of it recently. This is where we also have our bee hives, apple orchard, second fig orchard, numerous grape vines, greenhouse, and several storage units. Once we have the property fenced, over behind the storage units, among a lot of brush and bramble is where we'd like to put a herd of goats. Behind the greenhouse is where we'd like to put a couple of pigs, and in the open field is where we'd like to put a couple of cows!

This is all kind of an outline of what we're trying to do with our property. If we actually pull it off (and this year, I hope), I'm going to be thrilled, and we will be about 90% complete in our plans for self-sufficiency. The only other thing to do is get ourselves off the grid, and I can't tell you which is going to come first, off-grid or fenced in animals!
Primary chicken pen, behind the Crepe Myrtle, south of the fig orchard

Yesterday I  blogged about John moving the chicken pen over and creating a new garden bed where the chicken pen used to be. Today, I thought I'd show you where the chicken pen is now.

Originally at the  SSW corner of the fenced-in area, it has been moved only slightly back, eastward, under an oak tree, behind some Crepe Myrtles, right next to the fig orchard!
At right, through fencing, brown area is where chicken pen used to be

John used the dog pen we actually use for the dogs to move the chickens, setting it up next to the pen, herding the chickens into it, closing it, then taking the panels of the chicken pen apart, reassembling them in the new area, and scooting the dog pen (with chickens) over to the new place, lining up the doors, and herding the chickens back into their newly placed pen.

There is a lot of grass for the chickens to eat for now (and John loves giving them the mowed clippings), lots of underbrush for them to explore and dig through, and later, when it gets hot, there will be lots of shade for them to rest in, escaping the intense Georgia heat.
Moose, caught in mid-crow

 That's Moose, a white Leghorn. He was chosen three years ago to be our primary breeding rooster. We hatched about 50 of his eggs in several batches over last summer. I was delighted that we had at least one (but not more than two) white chickens in each batch of hatchlings. Only one was female though. The white roosters, along with a number of other roosters, are waiting to be "dispatched" (butchered) as soon as we get the chance.

This is the Rooster Pen. It is directly across from where the Primary Chicken Pen used to be. This once-grassy area became a secondary chicken pen. When the hens were transferred from here to the primary pen, and the roosters were put in the chicken kite, this area became my Spring Garden. That was Spring 2011. Here, I grew several hundred onions, Swiss Chard, kohlrabi, rutabagas, broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts. I was looking forward to planting summer crops here, but it turned out we needed the area for the roosters, who had grown big and fat!

We were supposed to dispatch the roosters in early February with help from the folks at Darby Farms. That was put on hold, and at this point, has not been rescheduled. But these wonderful, well-fed, fat roosters will be dispatched before summer is gone, and this little plot of land will become my fall garden! Until then, I'll think about the collards and cabbages I will plant here, and maybe some more onions and Swiss Chard. Hopefully, I can plant some more rutabagas, kohlrabi, and Brussels Sprouts, and I might even think of planting turnips! I hear baby turnips are absolutely delicious!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful job you are doing. Stop by and visit us at (our blog) We do much the same. It is a wonderful journey we share.