Will There Ever Again Be A Time In My Life When I’m Not Building Fences?

From talking with people in the know, and from having experienced the weather out here now that we’ve been here a year, it was advised that in order to have a garden that actually produces vegetables, that we build windbreaks around the beds.  Oh goodie!  More fences!!  This, on top of actually wanting to PLANT the garden this spring.  So once again, sit and stare at it.  Let one’s brain get ahold of it.  Put together a plan, go to the Home Despot and load another 800 lbs of lumber and concrete into the truck.

Word to anyone following this blog with the eye to wanting to do it yourself:  If you have the dough, buy a farm with the infrastructure already in.  Otherwise you will spend a year and a half on the business end of any power tool you can imagine, sore, exhausted, pissed, elated, and a true believer in gravity.  Why gravity?  Because everything…. and I mean EVERYTHING (including the tools themselves) are HEAVY!!  The post hole digger you see on the back of the tractor below is a hernia maker.  It weighs over about 70 pounds and there is no easy way to mount it on the tractor.  You better have a LOT of holes to dig before you slap that puppy on the PTO.  We had 17.

So Zina and I got to it and put in 130 feet of fence framing in the past three days.  She did the chicken coop spring cleaning while I dug the posts and cemented them in, and today, we put up the framing.  Next week the pickets go on and the south, east and west and part of the north breaks will be in.  There is still about 80 feet of fence that needs to go on the north side, but in the summer, the worst of the wind comes from the south east.  It can be done a bit more slowly.

On a happy note, I am not the cripple I thought I was.  I have been suffering from the worst sciatica imaginable.  It is truly disabling.  The muscles in my lower left back and hip would clamp down and make it almost impossible to stand upright.  It is the worst, awful pain when you are trying to stay motivated to get this place built.  With daily stretching and some serious juicing to get some of the hulk status reduced, I have been working today pain free!  YAY!  I feel like marathon man I have so much energy.  That might all disappear tomorrow when all the physical exertion catches back up to me.  For now!  It is so nice not to have chronic pain!

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Zen In The Art of Soil Testing

I went out to the new beds today fearing for the worst regarding the soil quality out here.  With all of the work involved building the farm’s infrastructure there hasn’t been a lot of time to get soil amended and ready for planting.  My self-imposed deadline was to have the garden planted this spring and I have been feeling pressed pretty hard to get that done.  My worry, because of how hard the water is here, would be that the soil would be too alkaline and that I would need to bring in sulphur to help make it more acidic.  My PH tester came this past week, so just like going to the doctor for tests not really wanting to know if anything is wrong, out we went.

Finally!  A positive surprise!!  My choice to use the old horse corral worked!  It is indeed the most fertile and  best soil on the farm.  The meter, when first stuck in the ground pegs WAY to the alkaline side of the scale (the green).  Exactly what one doesn’t want to see.  I stayed patient and stuck to the directions that said it would stabilize to a true reading in 2 to 3 minutes.  On all six sampled sites, the soil was a PERFECT 6.6!!!  Woohoo!!  Thank you horse crap!

We won’t need to do an awful lot to the soil so that gets me back on track.  After the windbreaks are built, the tiller comes out and the drippers get installed, then it is almost time to plant!  Thank goodness because the tomatoes in the grow room are already over a foot tall!

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