Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Farm woes

I love our new life. Really I do. But every now and then, it gets the best of me. Today was one of those days.

Our donkey hates our goats. We have them separated now, and one of the boys has a fracture near his rear hoof after a run-in with Jinx. Should have known from the name... So now I'm adding donkey trainer and behaviorist to my list of duties. The goat should be fine in a month or so, but meanwhile, he's going to have a splint to deal with, and cramped quarters. Of course, we don't have much shelter for him in his temporary holding pen, and, of course, it instantly rained today.

Our "new" pickup truck tried to stall any time it idled, making for some interesting footwork while taking the goat to the vet. And it sounds like fireworks any time I take my foot off the gas pedal.

Two of my six apple trees are sticks. Two of my six blackberry bushes are sticks. One of my cherry trees is struggling mightily. The bugs are after the brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower (which I forgot to blanch). A fair amount of our pasture is golden brown, due to some mismanagement. Luckily, we have way more pasture than livestock, and we've had a bit of rain, so it's not a total disaster.

The pine trees I planted out back now have clover growing over their heads. At least they'll get a little nitrogen boost in the soil, if they can survive the competition. One of my oh-so-clever rain barrel irrigation contraptions has sunk into the mud far enough that the water drains to the wrong end of the barrel.

And after a quick review of our finances, we are well beyond broke.

Now you know what happens when suburbanites try to become farmers overnight.


At 6/27/2006 5:39 AM, Blogger Morgan said...

sounds like fun.
okay no it doesn't

At 6/27/2006 10:27 AM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Taking notes here. I have a mantra I keep repeating to myself regarding setting up an acreage... Woodstove, Clothesline, Garden. Woodstove, Clothesline, Garden. Hoooooome. (Rhymes with "Om". ;-)

When you say that your apple trees, etc, are sticks, you mean that they "failed to thrive"? That flowering crab I planted seems to be rapidly giving up the ghost, too. A bit depressing.

At 6/27/2006 10:37 AM, Blogger e4 said...

Yes, the apple trees have a distinct lack of leaves. It wasn't that they leafed out and died, they never did anything. Maybe I overpruned or something. I think the nursery has a guarantee on them, but I have to check how that works.

The blackberries just got beat out by the weeds. I wasn't exactly nurturing them.

I think I just tried to do too much at once. Lesson learned.

At 6/27/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger barefoot gardener said...

Ouch! I think I just lost a little farm envy. Good luck, I'm sure things will get better as you continue on your journey.

At 6/27/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger Beo said...

Too much at once is the easiest mistake-so easy that I am making it two years in a row...

I am fighting the weeds with my raspberries-hand sickling is working ok, but the root competition is the bigger problem. Will be sheet mulching cardboard in between the plants next week end to kill the grass/plantian.

Sorry to hear that you are feeling a lull-but remember the positives: for jinx to hate the goats, you need to HAVE goats in the first place-something you couldn't have said last year. Pasture problems are better than lawn problems. So go hug your injured goat, have a beer with Jinx (does he like reds or stouts?) and enjoy the sunset tonight!

At 6/27/2006 6:01 PM, Blogger Mia said...

Just think of how far you have come to experience all of these...erm...frustrations. They are piling up at the moment, yes. However sure and steady well always come out ahead. Have patience, Farmer E. You're doing great.

At 6/27/2006 8:22 PM, Blogger roybe said...

I'm sure It's brought out the pioneering spirit in you. keep up the good work.

At 6/27/2006 9:59 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

Life is like that. Buck up.

And know, I admire you going for so much of it.

But I kept thinking, they are buying an awful lot at once. But one never knows the extent of another's resources.

So as someone who has been there, every "failure" is a learning experience and is WAY better than to have only thought about it, considered it. We put out some new plants this year that haven't exactly got babied either -- I hope at least a few of them will make it. For years our blueberries were little more than twigs, and sometimes the deer would eat even that off more than once.

But now we have some magnificent blueberries.

Shit happens so it is a good thing it is fertilizer.

At 6/28/2006 9:14 AM, Blogger e4 said...

Thanks everybody. I'm not as discouraged as I may have sounded. It was just one of those days. A certain little girl's sleep habits may be affecting my mood as well.

At least Lori and I seem to schedule our bad days at different times.

I think our expansion days are over for a while. We had an influx of cash and motivation. The former is spent (and then some - oops) and the latter is already budgeted out for a while. Time to play catch up.

We do have some small projects (goat holding pen, training area for the donkey) and some necessary projects (winter housing) but we're waaaaay farther along than I expected.

At 7/02/2006 9:33 PM, Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

And I imagined country life to be simple.

At 8/13/2010 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all trial and error for us beginners. I planted my apple trees under a black walnut. Not knowing that black walnuts drop fruit that has black toxic ink around their nuts, and it stunts the growth of anything underneath. The apple trees are now moved, but the shock of that move took a toll, too.

I won't even TELL you about our black walnut experiment. Let the squirrels HAVE them, I say.



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