It was exactly one year ago today that I packed the last of my belongings into my car and left the city that had been my home for 20 years. My destination was my family farm! I can’t believe it’s been a year! Actually, yes I can. 🙂 Living in your parents guest bedroom for a year doesn’t exactly make the days go by quickly. 🙂 I never would’ve believed my house wouldn’t be finished after my first year on the farm (but it’ll be soon! I think). I thought today, on the one year anniversary of my move to the farm, it would be fun to remember the things that I have done on my homestead (because it’s so easy to think about the big thing that isn’t done).
The first thing that I worked on when I moved here was clearing the homestead. The hill that I’m building on is heavily wooded and full of thick brush. I’ll love having the mature trees around the homestead but in the beginning it meant a lot of clearing before anything else could be started. My dad and I had started clearing my little plot of land long before I moved to the farm but it was slow work trying to get it done on the weekends when I would visit. We spent all of last Fall and into December clearing trees and brush from my homestead, I called it taming the wild.
After we’d cleared the area where the house and guest house (studio/workshop/whatever I’m calling it 🙂 ) will be built we shifted our focus to clearing the driveway. Now, I know you’re thinking “Build the driveway? How have you been getting up there if you didn’t have a driveway?!”. We’ve been going through a hay field and driving up from the back of my homestead. It was time to clear the path for what will become my driveway. It took us the better part of last winter but we cleared a driveable path through the woods to my homestead. The driveway goes through about a half mile of woods, I have big plans for that road someday (lots of landscaping and fun details) but right now it’s my dirt path through the woods. 🙂
While we were clearing the driveway we had a couple obstacles to deal with. The first was a creek branch that the road crosses. Most of the year it’s a dry creek with a few pockets of water but when it rains it turns into a raging rapids. For now we’ve made a low-water crossing, We laid a bunch of limestone rock in the creek bed and tamped it down really firm. We’ve had several heavy rains since we made the low-water crossing and so far it’s held up.
The other obstacle was a steep ditch. Rainwater runs down the hill into the creek branch and has cut a deep ditch into the hillside. It’s impossible to drive across, we’ve tried. 🙂 We ended up building a log bridge over the ditch, it’s a pretty cool bridge (if I do say so myself).
In the Spring we started clearing the area that will be my orchard. I selected an area on my hill just west of my house. The orchard will require a lot more clearing but I have an area large enough that I was able to plant four apple trees, two plum trees, and about a dozen tame blackberry plants. In addition to the plants in my orchard I also added plants to the side yard of my house, there are six grape plants and two blueberry bushes. I can’t wait for all my yummy fruit.
In addition to all my fruit trees and bushes I added some farm animals to DaisyDoo Homestead. You’ll remember late last Spring I bought chickens and guineas, I’m up to 18 chickens, 6 guineas, and 3 ducks. My dad and I built a little coop for them and so far they’re all getting along really well. The coop is moveable so once I’m living at my homestead we can move it up there.
The last big thing we worked on at my homestead was installing my water tank for the guest house. I’ve decided not to dig a well for now so I bought a 1,200 gallon tank rated for potable water use. To keep the water from freezing in the Winter we had to bury the tank. It took us about a week to dig the hole, set the tank in place, and back fill around the tank with sand and gravel. Once we had the tank in place we had to fill it. I bought a second, smaller tank to transport water in and we had the in-ground tank filled in no time.
So, even though we haven’t built my house yet, you can see we’ve been quite busy establishing DaisyDoo Homestead. 🙂
Our plan was to start building the guest house this past summer but it’s been a busy summer of putting up hay, selling calves, and building barn stalls. 🙂 I barely had time to keep the lawn mowed around my homestead, nature was trying to reclaim all the areas we’d cleared. The good news is that we should finish up with our last cutting of hay by early next week and then I think we’ll start construction! I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much. 🙂
Hopefully when I’m celebrating my second year on the farm it’ll be in my own house at DaisyDoo Homestead. 🙂