It's been a long time since we've posted here at Ladybug Farm. We were so excited about our new drip tape last year and then, maybe because we mentioned it, the weather turned nasty and we had way more rain than normal and temperatures were well below average throughout the season. I don't think we used the drip but once or twice all year. To make matters worse, I ran into a health issue, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and for most of the year had no idea what was causing the pain. Consequently, any and all projects I had hoped to complete last year had to be set aside as I was not in any condition to do much manual labor. Since August, I have started to receive treatment and due to the combination of medications, while not cured, my symptoms are managed and I can get back to work.
That said, this past Christmas break afforded me the opportunity to finish a number of projects that we needed to get done before the spring. The first thing I had to do was finish the pallet fence I had been building throughout fall. The garden, while "only" about a third of an acre, required a little over 100 pallets to fully enclose. Gathering all of those pallets was slow going, which was okay because I only wanted to work on it a little at a time. Nevertheless, digging the post holes for this fence with a shovel was time consuming and difficult work as I was still feeling the effect of the RA from time to time. Therefore, with the help of my friend Eli, we rented an auger. The auger made post-hole-diggin' so much easier but led to another health incident which set me back a bit. Upon digging one of our last holes, my left knee gave out as the patella tendon popped out and back in again. It was scary and did set me back about three weeks but it has happened before and is not that bad of an injury. By Christmas and with two healthy legs under me once again, I took to finishing the fence. Here's another photo of the fence "in action" and can also be seen in these pictures of our new laying hens (pullets now) that we have spreading compost about the garden.
Another important project was the construction of a new field gate between our house and the pasture. We already have a field gate from the road to the pasture but it has a very steep incline to the road and the road curves making accessing the road at low speeds difficult, particularly when people drive so fast. Building the fence between the house and pasture offered a flatter lay-of-the-land and was therefore a safer way to get the truck or tractor on the field. Here is a photograph of the fence I built.
Next in line was the eggmobile. While at first we are actually going to use this trailer for our broilers, I built the "mobile chicken coop" with laying boxes so I might transition some birds to the pasture for egg production. Versatility aside, this coop is pretty cool and while the framing is all new lumber, the siding and roofing are all salvage from the 100+ year old barn that is falling down on the pasture. Here are a bunch of pics.
So, that's what I did on my Christmas vacation. I still need to convert an old livestock stall on the back of the garage into a chicken coop and brooder before March, as well as get the beds in order for spring planting. So there is always a project to sink my teeth into around here. I ordered a couple of hives of bees for April delivery, so we're going to do that. Maybe we'll have honey for sale in a couple of years. Another project I would like to do is cut down some Sweet Gum trees so we can grow Shiitake mushrooms this year as well. Our goal with this project has always been slow growth and while this seems like a lot to add this season, I think it's right in line with the long term plan. Maybe we'll add another market this year and hopefully, now that we have been inspected and approved as meat handlers and processors, we'll get this meat CSA off the ground this year. More pictures to come as we get more done. In the meantime, here is a picture of the "Sun King," Louis XIV.