White April

Geez, it’s already been almost three weeks since we last posted – time flies when you’re keeping busy.

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So what all have we been so busy with?

We finally processed all of the coconuts we harvested on our WWOOFing honeymoon, creating all kinds of delicious treats … macaroons, tarts, coconut butter, frozen bars, coconut milk, flavored ice creams (vanilla and lemon grass), and more we can’t remember now (really, Kristin made all the delicious food, and Gabe helped – primarily by smashing open all the coconuts).

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We’ve been staying out at the farm more and more – if we didn’t have seedling started back in town under lights, we’d be out there full time now. The wood stove has been working great to keep us warm at night – and now that we figured out the power of the flue, we’re not rocketing the temps up to 90 in the trailer at night anymore. The snow has melted off … twice so far … buuut we just got hit with over a foot of new snow yesterday. Looks like it should melt off later in the week though – and stay away til next winter.

over a foot of snow on April 17th
over a foot of snow on April 17th

 

We pruned the apple trees, cut down a couple of oak trees for shiitake mushroom log cultivation, and cut, hauled, and split a bunch of new firewood for cooking and heating.

!!TIMBER!!
!!TIMBER!!
haulung firewood from the woodlot
hauling firewood from the woodlot

 

fresh cut mushroom logs awaiting innoculation
fresh cut mushroom logs awaiting innoculation

 

pruned apple tree
pruned apple tree

We’ve organized our storage sheds and the living space of the trailer, created a toolshed workshop, built a couple simple rocket stoves from scavenged bricks, started decorating inside and out, and added steps up into the semi and shipping container.

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rocket stove 1.0 in action with 2.0 being built in the background
rocket stove 1.0 in action with 2.0 being built in the background

 

organizing the tools
organizing the tools

 

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We burned downed oak branches for a whole day to make a big pile of pure wood ash to enrich our soil (ash contains potash, a vital nutrient for growing plants), raked and bagged up a huge amount of oak leaves for mulch & compost, and took soil samples for analysis.

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we packed 5 of these giant ~4x4x4 bags with dry oak leaves before the next wave of snow hit
we packed 5 of these giant ~4x4x4 bags with dry oak leaves before the next wave of snow hit

 

We took down the existing individual fences around the new apple trees and made one big fence around the group, mowed down a bunch of old crops and weeds, broke down last year’s processing tent (we are reusing the cattle panels, and moving processing operations over behind the new semi trailer), and continued nurturing the growing seedling and planting new seeds (1,250 planted so far).

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We’ve planned and started building our first greenhouse, made almost entirely from free materials (an old cedar garage door from a construction dumpster, rescued abandoned cattle panels, sliding glass doors from the Free section on Craigslist, scavenged lumber, and materials from both our childhood homes/dads – an old storm door from Kristin’s, and redwood deck boards from Gabe’s.)

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Next up we’ll be upgrading our solar system to roughly triple the current power.

Then when this thick blanket of snow finally melts away over this coming weekend, we can get to work finishing off the greenhouse and then moving the baby plants up to the farm until they’re ready to transplant into the field – but before that we have to plow, amend the soil with boron, and plant some cover crops out beyond the cultivation area. And then it’ll be time to build fences, dig a root cellar, erect a new processing area shade cover, corral the compost pile, build some hugelkultur mounds, some bat houses, a solar dehydrator, hop trellises … etc … I think we’re going to be staying busy!

And loving it.

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One thought on “White April”

  1. I’ve got the chimney sleeves for you but your craigslist reply email didn’t work. Do you still want the sleeves and how can I best get ahold of you?
    John
    C 651 283 4352

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