all but final.

We received confirmation that there are no outstanding oil leases on the current land. All that remains is signing the papers and an exchange of money.

Which means I am finally free to start planning some of the finer details of the new farm. The overarching mission is of course to leave the land better than we found it and in the process, provide people with high quality food.

Intensive rotational grazing. Layering animal species. Planting trees. Going no-till.

It’s a lot! And I’m excited to dig in and figure out a way to make all of this happen.

we have land.

We have agreed on a plan post-inspection, which was the last hurdle to jump. Now it is just sitting, waiting, packing, planning.

One of the things I am looking forward to most is letting the ducks finally frolic on a pond. I’ve felt mildly guilty with their life of puddles and kiddie pools for the last two years. They so love water and while we have a pond on this farm, it is far enough from the house and frequented by so many predators that I have never made them aware of its presence.

We have several ponds at the new farm. Two within sight of the front porch. Close enough that Watson can keep an eye on them. Easy enough to walk to and shut up at night. To glance out a window and see the duck version of heaven.

Mama duck is still sitting on her nest. She burst out of her hiding spot this morning when she heard me getting the bag to refill the feeders. The second time I’ve seen her exit her hiding spot. I can’t get back there to see how many eggs she’s sitting on. If my estimated hatch date is right, we still have a little over three weeks before we see ducklings.

And those ducklings will get to spend most of their life on a pond.

ducks and daffodils.

I planted a ring of daffodils around several of the trees in the garden last year. Easily a hundred bulbs and they’re all finally blooming. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’ll be sad when they’re gone.

Captain Silly Pants, my favorite rooster, died today. He wasn’t sick, so I assume it was a heart attack. He was by far my favorite rooster (the only one I planned on taking to the new farm,) so I am sad to see him go.

Quite a few of the hens have gone broody. I’m decidedly not letting any of the hens have chicks this year, especially not right before a move, so I’m having to constantly pull them off the eggs and cause a kerfuffle in the coop. Roger throws a massive fit outside the coop, but does not do anything about it.

One of the ducks has set up a rather impressive nest between the shed and extra garage. It’s fairly well protected and with Watson being out, him and snakes are probably her two biggest threats. I’m sure not going to squeeze myself back there to fight a duck, so good luck to her. If she is successful, I’d guess we’d see ducklings about 3 weeks before we move. It will definitely make my life harder, but I suspect it’s more likely that I’ll be moving 4 ducks instead of 5+.

 

first harvest.

The asparagus is coming up. I am harvesting it liberally, as I doubt a transplant from its current spot to the new farm would be successful. Now that I have some experience with it, I think I will plant a couple of rows of it at the new farm.

The thyme plant has come back strong. I wish we weren’t in flux as I want to get a few thyme plants started for the new farm, but I need to harden off the onion seedlings and get the plant stand out of my room so that we can start packing and storing boxes in its current spot.

My original strawberry patch bloomed out yesterday. Hopefully in a few weeks we will have tons of strawberries. There was a rabbit who was living part time in the garden, but someone must have caught him as we found a rabbit body in the yard this morning. I was going to cry uncle and let the little guy have the run of the place since we’re leaving, but I am happy to know that I will probably have a good amount of strawberries this spring.

I also harvested some green garlic this morning. We always have more garlic than we know what to do with, so hopefully I can use it in all its stages and work on ways to preserve it this year.

The blackberries lived, if I haven’t mentioned that already. I think 5/6 of the grape vines made it through winter. The blueberry plants look good and hopefully we will have tons of blueberries to eat in a month or two. The persimmon tree is officially dead, which is in line with my expectations.

Need to get the potatoes and onions in the ground. Then it’s just maintenance and getting the fields established at the new farm.

things are popping.

The season feels behind, somehow. The winter was long and brutal – maybe historically so, in terms of how long it took to have a day above 60 degrees. I scrolled through the photos on my phone to see when I first saw strawberries, thinking it was way behind, but we still have a couple of weeks before we hit the potentially behind territory.

In the orchard, it looks as though we’ve lost one fig, one persimmon, one cherry, and one apple tree. I will be somewhat surprised if the peach trees make it through the summer, even though they’re trying.

Most all of the other fruit plantings from last year survived. The grapes and blackberries are slowly coming back to life. The aforementioned strawberries should start to produce fruit within a few weeks. I would expect to harvest some blackberries and grapes this year, then probably not next year as we will have to transplant them again.

It’s going to be a weird summer in terms of harvest. I’m nervous because Watson will be at the new farm, so there will be nothing to keep away the multitude of critters that would love nothing more than a free meal. The new farm (assuming we close) is fairly close to the current farm, so it won’t be a huge inconvenience to stop by a few times a week to harvest whatever is left.

 

inspections and other nonsense.

We had the first batch of inspections on Monday. It was the first time we’d seen the house since December, so it was great to get to explore the outbuildings and start making firmer plans.

Of course, inspections turned up some things that needed to be fixed. Can’t quite say more than that as the typical discussions that follow inspections are still ongoing. I still think the sale will go through, but of course until the date of closing it’s hard to guarantee anything.

Last year, when I was still planning on staying at the current farm, I ordered a few trees and a couple of lilac bushes. Once it became apparent that we would be moving, I hoped we would be in a house before I had to temporarily plop them in the ground and then move them again. They were delivered today, so plop they go. I will probably stick them in the old melon patch and then scoot them over once we move.

Still haven’t put the onions in the ground or even started hardening them off. I put a silage tarp down when it seemed we would be staying through the summer and I would like it to finish its job, but I need to pull it this weekend and get the potatoes and onions planted. The last crops I will grow here – fingers crossed.