the inspection is on monday.

It was originally scheduled for today, but due to thunderstorms (and wanting a more experienced inspector) it was moved to Monday.

I am fairly confident the house will pass with flying colors. There is, however, potential I am completely wrong. The house is an unusual construction (concrete) and was built by the owner himself, who had never built a house like this before. And is also not a licensed contractor. But he is an engineer, the house has two decades under its belt, and there are no visible issues. So maybe my worries are for naught.

Have I mentioned that the owners will be leaving all of their animals? A dog, a couple barn cats, and a few chickens and guineas. I have no doubt that Watson will love having a dog friend again, but Ned Yost the Cat is going to be horrified by the entire move. Truthfully, if we had the option, I would try to leave him with the farm too. I know most people are horrified by this line of thinking, but Ned Yost the Cat is partially feral and it took a year and a half before he was able to relax. I hate to think of him turning back into a terrified little ball of anxiety.

But maybe my worries are for naught and he will be fine with the move. I am less confident in these worries being for nothing than I am about the house.

 

the future.

We are under contract, finally. The property still needs to pass inspection, so it could all fall apart and leave us at square one, but I would be surprised if any major issues showed up. Closing will happen during a time that would make it mostly too late to plant any summer crops.

I will still have the garlic, strawberries, and trees here. I plan to transplant the runners from the strawberry plants as the summer goes on, and hopefully the grapes in the fall, should they have survived the beetles and winter. Luckily the new property is fairly close to the old, so stopping by once or twice a week should be sufficient in maintaining that which remains.

Due to the drought we faced last summer and some enterprising deer, I was nervous about how many trees survived. We have definitely lost two trees, though to be fair one just never took after it was planted. I suspect we have lost five total, though some of the varieties I fear lost are also late bloomers, so we could be surprised yet.

We will transplant the trees in the fall, which should work well in our region. In 2020 I will fill in what was lost and make additions. Ideally, I’ll be planting at least a few trees every year, even if they aren’t nut or fruit trees.

onions

I started onion seeds on February 20th. I was a little nervous about the potential germination, as I did not use a heat mat for them and my room is usually around 60 degrees.

I started five varieties of onions for the upcoming season:

  • Rossa di Milano
  • Rijnsburg 5
  • Red Long of Tropea
  • Stuttgarter Riesen
  • Dakota Tears

While all varieties have had at least one seed germinate, Dakota Tears germinated the earliest (one week after planting) and has the best success rate so far. Second place goes to the Rossa di Milano, with Rijnsburg 5 and Red Long of Tropea an interchangeable 3-4 and Stuttgarter in dead last.

Hopefully this is the year I can stay on top of weeds well enough to have a good crop of onions. Potatoes will forever be my favorite vegetable, but onions are a close second. I grow potatoes (semi-successfully) every year, but have never harvested a fully grown onion. I have certainly started enough seed to give me a good chance, assuming I can shepherd  them through the hardening off process and into the ground without losing them.

after an absence.

We have spent the last several months in a pattern of stop and go. The search for land has been hard – harder than I had anticipated when we first began. Admittedly, our requirements are long and unusual, but even still there have been three properties that met the majority of our needs.

The first was vastly, stupidly overpriced. The wife is ready to move, but the husband literally built the house himself and I genuinely believe does not want to leave.

The second had a nearly perfect house, but the plot was aligned strangely and the lines further blurred amongst the neighbors. We moved on without making an offer.

The third house, the one we are reeling from currently had the perfect house. The pantry was the stuff of dreams. Half of the basement was a workshop that would have been perfect for projects. The plot, again, wasn’t ideal, but would have been manageable. During the offer stage, the sellers engaged in some fairly unethical behavior and once again, we have had to walk away.

I had delayed starting seeds as it looked like we would spend May moving, but I will likely spend my afternoon finally getting the onions started. Might throw in a few cabbage plants too, for good measure. It appears I will spend a full, final growing season on this land. I am not regretful, honestly, as it will be nice to see the orchard grow and perhaps harvest grapes, asparagus, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries from the plants set out a season or two ago.

fall planting: complete

Finished planting the garlic and shallots just in time for another winter storm tomorrow. Later than I would have liked, but I had planned to plant more garlic in the orchard than I actually did. I am still thinking/dreaming/wishing that by the growing season next year we will be at the new farm, so I planted in the empty raised beds in the garden.

The plan will be to move the trees from this years orchard to the new farm, as well as planting probably 20-25 new trees alongside. I would love to order the trees now, but until we have a contract on the farm it would be foolish.

So more – sitting, waiting, wishing, dreaming, planning.

the land hunt.

We have found a piece of land that is as close to perfect as we could hope for. We have already taken to referencing it as “the new house” or “the new farm,” it is so firmly entrenched in our mind.

We have not made an offer. There are still formalities and meetings and then we will reach the formalities, at which point the owners could certainly say no. But until then – reading, dreaming, staring at the farm from above via Google maps and planning where the orchard would go, where to put a stand of black walnuts, the rotational grazing system we want to implement.

I hesitate to put this into the world so publicly. But it consumes my thoughts and hopes and desires. I want it so much that a small part of me is preparing for disappointment.

on doing the things we don’t want to do.

I have struggled with how to write about this. It’s not an easy topic, nor one most people want to hear about, but it is a necessary part of keeping animals.

This is the first summer we’ve let hens hatch their own chicks. I knew when I allowed it to happen that I would eventually have to figure out a way to deal with the inevitable roosters, but as with most things I deemed that a problem for the future.

I also fervently hoped the odds would be in our favor and we would get mostly hens. This hope did not pan out, and of the 6 chicks that have made it to adulthood thus far, 4 were roosters.

On Friday, we culled the roosters. I did it myself and it was somehow easier and harder than I expected it to be. It was the right decision for the flock and the farm and while this is less important, it is still a factor – the pocketbook. Now that fall has descended on the farm the chickens are going through a bag of feed every two days which costs over $200 a month.

It was a less than ideal experience for all involved, but I am happy that the process was smooth and it was over in one day. There are three more chicks and we aren’t sure if they are roosters or hens, but once again I’m putting all my hope that we are 3/3 on hens.