Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Family on the Farm!
Concetta's sisters Suzanne and Lorraine, Lorraine's daughter Susannah, and her nephew Grant came to town to visit and to help on the farm. It was wonderful to spend to time with them, and we achieved more than I thought could ever fit in one day.
Turns out family is the best team there is.
When Lilly and I arrived on the land at 11:30, we were greeted by a massive metal frame and four woman hard at work.
Susannah deciphered the instructions, and with her guidance we staked, secured, and assembled. Poles connected to form the frame, and tarps were tightened over into a weather-proof seal.
There were million little nuts and bolts, but once the last piece was in place, we had a sturdy shelter ready for our tractor and tools.
We moved the chickens to the new grass below their pasture. It went much faster with more people around to help, though we spent far too long chasing after two wayward buttercups.
Before a single tire can pass through a new area, we always have to clear the grass of hazards. The pears are fighting us even as stumps, but we've got Sawzalls so we'll win eventually. Suzanne took out several big spikes with the help of Susannah.
Whenever we leave behind a chicken area, I over-seed with mixed grass seed. We don't want bare soil exposed to the elements, and the quick-growing grass will help protect it until it's ready for use.
The ladies have properly recovered from their winter molt, helped along by their protein-rich bug snacks.
After we had driven the coop into its new pasture, Lilly opened the door to find a chicken had been laying an egg the whole time. The chicken looked rather startled, but recovered in time to contribute to the 15 eggs we collected.
Long after noon, we returned to Kome base for food.
After tucking away a grilled cheese, I visited the seedlings downstairs. Under Concetta's constant care, they've grown strong and green.
Outside in the cold sunlight, the old blueberries's buds are primed to burst. We dug them out of our garden and wrapped their roots carefully in plastic bags. Then we dug up the raspberry canes, and tucked all the bagged berries into our car's seats. A few had to ride in the trailer with a load of dirt.
The people squeezed in between the berries and we headed back to the land.
An empty bed across from the flower beds made the perfect place for the raspberries. We broad-forked the soil, breaking up the underlying grassroots. Then we dug a dozen shallow holes and planted the canes.
Welcome worms greeted us with every shovel-full of earth. We made sure to press the earth firmly around the canes to get out large air pockets, but not so tightly as to compact the soil and harm the roots. Then we tucked them in with a thick blanket of hay.
Meanwhile, Susannah and Lorraine unloaded an entire trailer of soil in record time.
The sun was beginning to set as we crossed to the blueberry nursery. We carried the heavy bushes to their new homes, staggered between the present plants with plenty of room to grow.
We dug into the cold ground. Several inches of brown soil lay on top of the hard red clay. We buried the 5 blueberries and circled little burms around them with the extra dirt. We didn't fertilize them because blueberries, like most heaths, prefer low-nutrient, acidic soils.
We also planted a young fig about twenty feet away. It needs ample room because in a few years it will have stretched into a broad, shade-casting tree.
Then, we hammered stakes around all of the new plants and circled them with plastic mesh. It was a temporary defense to inconvenience the deer enough that they won't nibble away all the buds.
The sun had long ago sunk beneath the horizon by the time we had planted and protected the newest members of the land. Cold was beginning to nibble at my fingers. Still, as I got into the car, I was warmed with the day's success. With our family's help, we had completed days and days of work all in one go.