My sabbatical is almost over. I’ve got one week left. But at the moment, I’m taking a sabbatical from my sabbatical :). I’m in Redmond for the next two weeks to attend our MVP summit and some other important meetings. After that I’ll be back on the farm for a week and then back to work for good. When I’m all done, I’ll write a wrap up on what all I did (and didn’t) accomplish but for now, I’ll share some pics.
To start with, here’s a aerial view from maps.live.com. The center of the picture is the "main" barn – about 7,000 square feet. Just to the lower right of it is the skeleton of our greenhouse. It’s about 150 feet long and probably 40 feet wide. Sometime in the next few years I hope to refurbish it. Just above the pond toward the lower right is the tractor barn and the livestock barn. The livestock barn had our winter hay supplies (which are now gone) and our cattle handling facilities: chutes, head gate, etc. Just to the right of that pond are two houses on the property. One of them was built in the 1850’s and added on to over the years. It’s been very well kept and is really beautiful – but small: one bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and a small office alcove.
Here’s a similar picture that I’ve marked up extensively with property lines, field numbers, fence lines, water lines, etc. I’ve also made it gray scale for better printing on a black and white printer.
The garden is in the lower part of field 8 and the orchard takes up most of field 13. Fields 11 and 17 and currently on loan to the church camp to the east of us for keeping their horses. You can actually see a small barn they built in the lower center of 11.
On to some pictures I took… I’m afraid I didn’t have much time when I was taking these so I’ll try to take some more later.
This is taken from in front of the existing houses, looking east. I think this may be the most beautiful view on the entire farm. I wish I could do a panoramic.
A picture of the tractor barn and cattle handling barn. The grain silo isn’t working (and hasn’t for a long time). On the far left (in the foreground), you’ll see an obelisk. It is actually a scale replica of the Washington monument cut from a single large pine tree. The previous owner erected it. I think it’s pretty cool.
Here’s a view of my vegetable garden. The garden has some grass growing in it (that we’ve been weeding out) and that obstructs the view a bit. For reference, this is looking north, north west and the greenhouse is in the background.
Here’s a picture of the orchard, facing roughly east. The poles down the left edge are the deer fence in progress (when this picture was taken the deer fence holes had been drilled and the posts placed in them, but they had not yet been set, so they are not straight) and the poles in the foreground are the in progress (now finished) structure for the shade cloth for the paw paw trees - they need shade for the first couple of years. You can actually see some of the shade cloth sitting on the ground in front of them. You can’t see the trees in the orchard very well because they are all just ~half inch "whips" (no branches) and haven’t really started growing much yet. I’ll take another picture later this summer when they have started growing branches and have a healthy supply of leaves.
Here’s more of an up-close of the green house skeleton. The big white box just left of the green house is the severed back-end of a refrigeration truck used to preserve vegetables. I have not yet determined if it is currently working – yet another project in my future.
Here’s a picture of our new house under construction (from across the pond). The foundation has been built and framing should start this week. The house is actually just south of the farm (the home site is not shown on the aerials that I included at the beginning. It’s just off the bottom of them about in the middle.
Here is a picture of our "main" barn. In the foreground, you can see my fire circle (and some old stairs from a mobile home no longer on the property). I have burned more brush in that fire circle than you can possibly imagine. I’ve had flames probably 30 feet high – multiple times. The green thing in front of the barn is called a "no-till drill". It is used for planting grass seed without tilling the ground and experiencing the erosion problems that can create. The red thing obstructed by my truck is our livestock trailer. In the far back at the very right, you can see a blue 30 cu yard dumpster that we have filled with trash/junk 3 or 4 times already. The previous owner was not inclined to throw anything away :). On the far left you can just see a tall pole up against the barn. That’s the weather station that I installed a few weeks ago – I find I know more about the whether and the forecast than I ever have before in my life
Here’s a picture of my new tractor. I’ve been extremely happy with it. I’ve got about 70 hours on it now – tractor usage is measured in hours, not in miles
A picture of my bull taken from the main barn (he’s standing in field 9 up by the barn). His name is Inky. In the roughly center background you can see my chicken coop (white) with my free range chickens. I didn’t get a chance to go out there to take pictures or to get pictures of my cows and their calves. Maybe next time.
This is Mary, our donkey. She is the sweetest donkey you can imagine. It took us a very long time to get her accustomed to us but now she is very gentle and friendly. In fact, I had a hard time getting this picture because she wouldn’t stay far enough away from me to let me get a good picture. She kept walking over to me, wanting to get petted.
These are our 5 recently sheared sheep that are my children’s 4-H project. I can’t remember their names or keep them straight. I remember the biggest one is called "Pig" for the obvious reason. One of them is creatively called "Sheepy". I don’t remember the others
And last, but not least… Here is my psychotic dog. He seems to have befriended the bull and hangs out with him instead of staying with the chickens like he is supposed to :(. He won’t let us get close to him any more. We are still trying new things and trying to figure out what to do.
There you have it. A rather long overview of my farm and still it just barely scratches the surface. There are so many more things I could show you but I don’t have the pictures and you probably don’t have the time :) I’ll do one more sabbatical post in a few weeks. In the mean time, expect to see a bunch of TFS/work related post while I’m on my sabbatical hiatus.
Thanks for listening,