I remember the first time Jasper brought me out to the farm. It was almost 17 years ago on a bright, late spring day, and we were just teenagers, newly in love. We held hands as we walked through the fields and the woods; we kissed in the tall grass. And we dreamed. I’m sure that that one youthful romantic day helped color how I see the farm even now – I always view it a little bit like I did that first time – and how I feel when I’m there.
Over the years we’ve talked endlessly about saunas and secluded bowers and tree-houses hidden in the woods, of barns and goats and horses, of CSAs and roadside stalls, of picnic tables under trees and lanterns in the branches, of just about everything you can think of. This place was a dream, our dream, and we imbued it with infinite possibilities.
Now that we have, actually, bought the farm, I’m still excited by all the roads that are open to us, but I know that a good portion of what will be done is just plain old work so that eventually, down the line, we can get on to the fun stuff. So, first things first, these are the main things I’d like to get accomplished this year:
- Deconstruction and Demolition: We’ve talked long and exhaustively about this, but at long last Jasper and I have decided to go ahead and deconstruct the farmhouse. We just couldn’t reconcile ourselves to the size and layout of the existing house, so we’re going to salvage everything we can and go from there.
- Clean Up: The farm is far and away a beautiful place. But it is over 120 years old, and it has had lots of inhabitants in that time. And there is a LOT of junk just floating around (case in point, the bus) that needs to be thrown away or burned. We are going to need to rent some dumpsters!
- Tender Loving Tree Care: The apple trees have been performing fabulously the last couple of years, but we can see that it’s time for some pruning. There was a serious bumper crop last year, and a lot of those old limbs were sagging with the effort of holding up the weight of the fruit. In the future this is something we want to be able to do ourselves, and it would be great if we could get an arborist to show us what to do. We also need to have someone evaluate that huge, very large, monstrously tall Port Orford cedar tree right next to the house, and make sure it won’t fall and kill us all anytime soon.
- Water Source Upgrades: Clean drinking water is important, amiright? The water source for the farm – all of it, plants and people included – is a natural spring up near the top of the property. Jasper helped build a cedar structure over the source of the stream about a decade ago, but it really needs to be upgraded with a cement floor and sides, and larger holding tanks for the water to run into. We also need a good filtration system for the house water, and more spigots for the garden.
- The Vegetable Garden: The garden, to me, is pretty much the heart of the farm, and so it should come as no surprise that it’s one of things I want to focus on this year. In addition to the yearly chore of amending the soil with manure and compost, I’d also like to expand it another quarter acre or so! We also really need to buckle down and make it deer proof. Liquid Fence and a motion-sensor deer sprinkler worked fine last year, but we did lose a fair amount of beans and blueberries that were growing on the periphery of the sprinkler’s range to those beasts. We’ve talked about adding more sprinklers around the edges, but it might behoove us to just put up a higher fence. In more mundane garden plans, this year I really need to take and keep more detailed records of planting, harvests, expenditures and overall price per pound of food. Boring stuff, but goals nonetheless.
- A Cabin in the Woods: I am willing to concede that this is something that doesn’t HAVE to get done, but wouldn’t it be great if we could cobble one together? A cabin! In the woods!
I guess we’ll see what we can get done by next January, but I’ve got high hopes. Wish us luck!