Sorry we haven't posted in the last week and a half. We have been at it hard and just didn't take the time to set down at the computer. I took a week off from my day job to make some things happen around the farm, (and to relax with the family) and that is what we did with the majority of our time. I will be posting about some of the individual items we accomplished complete with pictures, but I'll give a short synopsis for now.
With the coaching of Tnfarmgirl, we began building our raised beds. We have two completed and are ready to knock out two more. Although, they are a considerable amount of work up front, they will be well worth it down the road. After tilling up the bed area, we put up green lumber walls approximately 10 inches deep and filled with our organic soil mixture recommended by Tnfarmgirl. This included well composted horse manure mixed with cedar bedding (about 50 cubic feet), black rock phosphate, green sand, peat moss, lime, and a few bags of mushroom compost. We tilled it all in together, closed up the ends and installed drip tape for watering when necessary.
We also got several fruit trees in the ground. We visited a somewhat local nursery in Bristol, VA, The Urban Homestead. Tim was a huge help, he met with us on Saturday afternoon the 25th and spent a good deal of time teaching us and helping us select plants. We will be going back in the fall for more apple trees. Very nice Christian folks with a very unique nursery, I hope you will give them a call or check out their web site. In short we planted two cherry trees, two peach trees, two pear trees, three apple trees, and 10 grape vines. I provide more details later. After mulching them heavily, we set up a watering branch connected to the water lines to our raised beds. We will be raising these fruits using organic, or should I say, natural methods.
We received two new packages of bees from our local supplier on Tuesday of last week. Thank God, we had warm sunny weather and were able to get the bees into prepared hives on Wednesday. By the weekend my queens were out of their queen cage and the bees were busy working on setting up their new home. Although, this makes 4 hives for us, I don't think the two I had are in very good condition; more to follow on this.
We also received a free chicken tractor from the friend who supplied us with the composted horse manure. It was in need of some minor repairs, and I started those. It should be ready for the chicks we received a couple of weeks back to move into by the weekend. We also started preparations on using an old dog kennel as a second "portable chicken coup".
We also used the time to catch up on several small jobs around the house and fix a few broken things here and there. And scattered throughout the nine days off, my oldest son had 6 high school baseball games, my second son and I had two little league practices, and my third son and I had three traveling team practices and four game tournament this past weekend in Kingsport, TN. Did I mention that we love baseball, and for us it is a family outing, when we travel to games we go as a family and really enjoy the time together and with our many friends we have through the baseball teams.
Now, some folks might say they were ready to get back to their day job after a week like that. It certainly was tiring because we tried to use the time to get a great deal of work done. But, I feel more rested and content than I have in a long time. I hope someday to be able to come home and provide a living using our farm, but God has provided a great job for me now; and for that I am thankful. But, I must admit, I miss being at home already.