Our Expanding Farm

What a gorgeous week we have had! The beautiful sunny weather was the perfect chance to start on our next project… the garden! Mitch tilled a 17 by 36 foot space straight out from the coop…

Then we had the amazing, knowledgeable, incredibly helpful and so so friendly family at Blake’s Coastal Nursery deliver this beautiful black compost.

Delivery from Blake's

Delivery from Blake’s

Nate (Blake’s son) couldn’t have been more patient, answering (a million) questions and giving detailed advice about what to plant and how to make it successful in this coastal region. I picked out waaaaaay too many seeds to plant and Nate pushed us to make some better, more practical choices. He also directed us to some great resources, like OSU’s Newport Extension who have done all the work in figuring out what goes in this particular area and how to keep it alive.

Today, Mitch will start a Permaculture Design Certificate course online. The course will take him through an entire agricultural design plan. He will learn how to plan around any climate, and to build a plan of any size. I cannot wait for his updates on the course and what he builds as well as all the other student’s plans.

Before we can plant the seeds, we need a fence to keep the pests out (it’s like a broken record). Also, the chickens will be moving outside soon into a heated coop, with a clover-covered run (also Nate’s suggestion! Along with a genius plan for how to make sure it can grow before the chickens eat it… stay tuned). The run will lead to the garden so that we can easily let them wander through… tilling and composting for us. Although supervised so that hopefully they don’t have a chance to eat up all the new little seedlings. Farming’s biggest challenge seems to be trying to control the circle of life/food chain to protect all of our chosen plants, animals, pets and visitors from all of the many unwanted versions. We are thinking about introducing a new predator… a couple of barn cats! I hear that they are the most effective pest control for rodents and birds and that they are smart enough to keep themselves safe. But that will be the ultimate in self-control for me… making the kitties sleep outside?? It seems so mean! Guess you have to be tough to be a farmer. And patient… what am I going to do while we wait for the these seeds to spout?!

Xo, K

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After the flood

sunsetWhenever I hear something about wetlands, it seems like it’s something about their declining health or complete disappearance. I’ve never really thought about them forming or how that would even happen. Well, one way is to have a neighbor’s culvert back up for a year and let the creek feeding the river do the rest. Our lower field, between the cabin and the river, is about 30′ below the rest of the property – and it belongs to the river. During really heavy, prolonged rains or quick melting of snowpack in the coast range, the field floods and joins the river for a while. Otherwise, it is mostly dry except for the lowest spots where the water table is teasing the surface and is a little soggy. lil froggiestadpole pods Until a couple of years ago, that is… that blocked culvert had slowly backed up the tiny creek into the field and formed a fairly large wetland area. It created a fertile area for young fish, tadpoles, birds and beavers. Even though our neighbor finally cleared the blockage, something has changed the behavior of the water because it no longer drains as it did before and has left a swampy gauntlet to cross to get to the river.new wetlands This is going to make it tough to get the tractor down there to mow once the grass starts growing. The upside is we have hundreds of ducks that overnight here now. There is also a pair of herons that like to stop by every once in a while and flocks of geese who layover on their way to wherever they’re headed. budding wetlands I may have to build a small bridge over our new wetland so that we can get the most use of the lower field but overall it think that it is a good development and I look forward to seeing it progress. -MJ