Monday, April 27, 2015

DECISIONS DECISIONS

Sometimes we have to make the tough decisions.  Having this property and only being able to do it on a part time basis means that we have to really look at what we focus our time/effort/money on.  Saturday/Sunday for example was spent cleaning up limbs and of course it was too wet to mow so once again, we are behind on that.  So we decided to look back at our list of of things to do at the farm and sat down to focus on priorities...

What do we need to work on most of all?
What will have the biggest impact?
What is most important for the future?



We have also, in the course of getting some things done on that list (clearing the new areas for example), created new opportunities (and challenges) that weren't even on it to begin with.


The weather has played a significant role in this year's decision making process as well.  I like to keep records of the weather and out of the first three months of this year, twelve weeks, we only had five weeks that we could get to the farm and work outside.  The rest of the time it was raining and/or too cold.  

We made the most of the time we had of course, but when you add in that one of those weeks was during the barn construction, that left us with exactly four weekends we had to work with.  April has been hit and miss too, this weekend another wash out, nothing could be done outside so once again, we're working from behind.


Our primary long term goal is to get the infrastructure in place now so that we can move out there in a few years and have all the hard stuff done (and enjoy the day to day keep up).  The last couple of years, the big thing we focused on was the garden area because of course, food!  First clearing the space for it (it was a jungle), then building the raised beds, then fencing it all in, then getting water to it, and finally getting it ready for growing with mulch, soil, etc.  That's all been done now and last year, using only a few of the beds to start, we had a nice first experience.  This year though, we have not even been able to get the garden beds weeded yet because of focusing on other things, the barns, the bees, the land clearing, etc...and it's getting too late for that now...

Now we have the bees.  
Now we have extra "new" space that's currently just dirt.  
We also have no flowers (and you all know how much I love want flowers).

So for this season, we have decided that we will skip a Spring garden.  Instead, we're going to focus our Spring and Summer time on the bees of course, that will be a priority, and then getting more of the property cleaned up, trimming trees, clearing some brushy areas, and doing things to improve the look of the yard around the house.  Building flower beds and planting them with flowers, working on outdoor seating areas so people will have places to sit, a fire pit area for the Fall, getting the grills put up, etc. 

Without having to work on keeping up with the garden, we can focus on these other areas of the yard that we have neglected. The garden is there and the hard part is done (other than weeding and more mulch of course).  It's not going anywhere so it's time to start on the rest of what we call "curb appeal"...even though our 'curb' is several acres away, LOL.  

That's not to say we won't have food growing.  We're still going to do herbs, and the sweet potatoes, and we might throw a few veggie plants in some containers and see what happens, it just won't be the chief focus this Spring.

Do you ever change your plans from what you were expecting to do?


44 comments:

Linda said...

Do I ever change my plans? Nev- SQUIRREL! LOL! Everything we do changes the future just a bit. So even the best laid plans need to be flexible. You guys are doing a great job setting up your future home.

Kev Alviti said...

Why don't you sheet over the garden your not using so it's not growing weedsor causing you maintenance then concentrate on perennial crows and fruit trees that require much less day to day care? I agree about getting the infrastructure in early, we've been trying to as funds have let us. Hopefully when I'm older and my energy is less all the hard stuff should be done!

Kev Alviti said...

That should be crops not crows!

Texan said...

There are always so many decision to make aren't there. Its good to slow down and look at the list and think about it all sometimes.

I am afraid I am just as bad about wanting flowers. I tell myself if we can't eat it or use it in some manner or it doesn't serve a purpose than I am not planting it. Ummm then the flower bulbs go on clearance an I see Stargazer lilies and well that all goes out the window (I now have 64 to plants) LOL....The daffodils serve a purpose :O). and I still want those old fashioned orange road side lilies.. tee hee

Texan said...

PS Hey but the flowers are for the bees!! There we go LOL. Though not all flowers are as good as others for the bees LOL. But lets go with that anyway! So bring on the flowers right!

donna baker said...

I think you are spot on about the veggie garden. It is so much work and time consuming. Covering it up will kill all the bad stuff during the hot summer and break down the leaves and weeds. Use as much peat as you can afford in it - fyi. I would go ahead and try to get a start on fruit trees. Get an edible crab apple tree as the bees love all the flowers and you can make liqueur with them or can them and they are beautiful in full bloom.

kymber said...

Kev is sooo right about focusing on perennial crops and trees! guys - when we first got to our land we put in extensive gardens, worked on the pond, worked on trying to make the land nice, tried to build cold frames, built a green house, etc., etc., etc. - we ran ourselves ragged! this year we are taking a much slower approach (finally) and are going to try and enjoy ourselves instead of always being run ragged! it sounds like your priorities this year is the bees and surprise-surprise - the bees are gonna need flowers! so plant flowers all around your yard for the bees to enjoy! and when you are sitting outside in chairs and tables that you have arranged around the yard, enjoying the sunset and listening to bees buzzing - you'll have that sense of wonder and accomplishment.

honestly - it doesn't matter how much time you have - it takes years to get it all together. unless you move to an already fully-established farmstead! take time to enjoy and know that you have the entire rest of your lives to do it all. you really do! so enjoy it as you are building it!

much love to you both! your friends,
kymber and jam

DFW said...

Our plans constantly change. For instance, we thought we knew where we wanted our fire pit but since adding the metal building we are changing our minds.

Leeanna said...

You plan and God laughs and laughs.

FionaG said...

Maintaining a farm is hard work. It's easy to feel like time is getting away from you and that you are being snowed under. I feel it every year going into spring and then again at the end of summer (preparing beds for their winter rest). I can imagine it must be so much harder trying to cram it into weekends. The beauty of it all is that it is your farm so your decision!

Anonymous said...

There is an old proverb: “Man makes plans and God laughs”. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, (S)He must think I am the best stand up comic in the universe!

Plans, in my opinion, should be looked at a guidelines or a to-do list on an easily erased whiteboard. They should also be of the *-able* variety . . change-able, do-able (when the time is right), cancel-able, renew-able , enjoy-able . . . well you get the idea!

Enjoy the process of your beautiful little farm and don’t get so worked up in the plans that you both begin to resent the farm because of an arbitrary deadline you have set for yourselves.

Loved the bee stories. So happy the hives are happy and safe.

Much happiness to y'all!

jaime

2 Tramps said...

Like you, we are dealing with two places - ours being 150 miles apart. We have found it is good to re-evaluate and revise plans as life changes. Or weather! Or our physical abilities and interests. What sounds good in our hearts and minds might not really be the best choice. Being able to table some things will give you much more quality time instead of that crazed get it done feeling. You have made a wise decision.

Anke said...

All the time!! Sometimes it's about things indoors, sometimes things in the garden/yard. Guess that's how it goes when you own a home or property. You evaluate, reevaluate and then you might still have to change your plans because the unforeseen happens. Like with us just now, we were just going to tile the laundry room "real quick" and then it turned into a 11 day (so far) project because we realized the water heater was leaking and needed to be replaced. Sigh...

Gail said...

Welcome to Mother Nature, she is a fickle b.,,, uh, babe.

Don't worry, you will have so many jobs on an acreage there will always be something to do. I hate to disappoint but plans change and not every thing gets done.

Enjoy the journey.

Delores said...

Life is all about compromise and changing horses mid stream isn't it?

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting article on Apartment Therapy regarding bees, hives, and bee friendly, pollinator friendly plants etc. Here is the link, I hope you enjoy the article.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-visit-to-the-white-house-vegetable-and-pollinator-garden-beehive-apartment-therapy-at-the-white-house-218706#.sh3qhk:2gAQ

Velva said...

Owning property keeping it beautiful and maintained, will always require a lot of work. You guys are doing a fabulous job-the satisfacton must be amazing. Just keep at it, it will all come together.

Velva

1st Man said...

you made us laugh out loud. SQUIRREL! I saw that at work all the time, ha. And that's a great way of saying it, 'everything we do changes the future just a bit'. It really does doesn't it? Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Kev, amen to everything you said. I just picked up some more fruit trees today as a matter of fact! You are right, we are going to get our raised beds cleared out and then cover them to keep the weeds out. That's my fault for not covering them before, then it just got out of control, ha. And yes, that's us described exactly...we want to do this hard, back breaking (and pricey) stuff while our bodies (and budget) allow, ha.

1st Man said...

LOL! Funny thing I read it as crops, but crows is funny!!! ;-)

1st Man said...

Kymber, sweet Kymber, always my voice of reason I hear in my head. Maybe I should dub this "the year of flowers"? And perennials (both edible and floral, ha). We kind of have that sense of do it all as fast as possible at times, and we do need to slow down and enjoy along the way, right? Thank you! Luv to you both!!

1st Man said...

SO so many!! You are so much like me. Everything I do I think "I need to focus on planting food, and stuff we can eat". But then I want color and flowers and fun. We can have fun, right? Ha. I'm going to focus on that now and maybe throw in a few edible perennials (nuts/fruits/etc) and just get some color in the yard. And maybe some of those lilies. ;-)

1st Man said...

I love the way you think!! Yep, that's it, bees need flowers!! It's food for the bees! I have to feed the bees! Bwahaha

kymber said...

she meant to say "but since adding the buildings that will house kymber and jambaloney, we are changing our minds".

have you seen their recent, beautiful outbuildings??? they are on par with yours!!! and we are moving in to either yours or DFW's! i swear! bahahahahah!

(just couldn't help myself. oh and DFW actually invited us to move in - she's a good friend!)

1st Man said...

You have a great thought about the veggie garden, just covering it up and let 'nature' take its course. And edible crab apples? I had no idea! Will have to google that and see what works best for us down these parts. Thank you for that!!!

1st Man said...

DFW, your journey is so much like ours (and you've been at it a bit longer than us and have had some of the same issues). Your advice is ALWAYS welcome, from one kindred spirit to another, ha. Funny thing you said about the fire pit, we had 'pictured' in our heads for it to be in one spot, then when we had the sheds put up, it needed to move further away. Now after our rains recently and the standing water in the yard, the area we picked as our second choice is a flood zone, LOL. Sigh, it's a work in progress huh? ;-)

1st Man said...

Kymber, hey, you know I've always say if Jam wants to work in our heat, and you want to share meals, y'all are welcome here too, ha. I will have to go look at their buildings, I bet they are great. :-)

1st Man said...

Amen girl, amen!

1st Man said...

Yep, the weekends are all we often have (though vacation and days off are often spent there too)...we do pack as much in as we can, but then we often have, since it's weekends, friends inviting us to birthdays, or 2nd Man's family inviting us over for dinners, etc. Then we have to balance that too, ha. But you are right, ultimately it's just whatever we want to do, right? Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Well hello Jaime! Welcome! Where have you been all our lives? LOL. Love the -able list...awesome!

Thank you for these kind (and wise!) words.

Happiness right back at ya!

1st Man said...

Wow, that far apart would make things so much more difficult. I didn't think about interests changing...there are times when we're aiming for something then sort of lose interest in doing that particular thing because, to quote Linda above, 'squirrel'! ha. Thank you for the grounding message. Much appreciated!!

1st Man said...

Evaluate and reevaluate, definitely!!! One thing can create another thing. We changed our water heater out a couple years ago and that created other issues, ha. Bad water heaters!!! LOL!

1st Man said...

You almost made me spit my Dr. Pepper all over my monitor, ha. True dat!!

Hey, that's ok I need to hear that as a reminder, much appreciated!!

1st Man said...

Yes, great point. Life is life isn't it? We have to remember that. Thanks!! :-)

1st Man said...

Wow, thank you for that. I knew that the White House had gardens I didn't realize they had bees Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Thank you for the words of support. We do need to take the time to stop and enjoy the accomplishment as we do it, small as they me be, ha.

Colleen said...

It's a never ending job living in the country and living on a farm.
Nothing we can do about Mother Nature but to take it just one day at a time and accept the bad as well as the good days. We just have to accept what the Good Lord gives us and be thankful for the things that we are capable of doing.
Enjoy your week and stay safe.

Scarlet said...

We have had so many changes of plan about the house and gardens since we moved here 4 years ago. Some plans were changed for financial reasons, some because we came up with ideas that were better, some were changed becuase of time constraints. We made our back garden very low maintenance with lots of trees, shrubs and perennials which gives us the time to concentrate on our front garden where we grow veggies, and our allotment plot where we grow fruit and veggies.

Texas Rose said...

I’ve started a yard and gardens from scratch twice - once in the country and 16 years ago in town on 2 large lots. It just takes time. You’re doing it right by building the infrastructure and setting up a good foundation with fruit trees and perennials. Y’all have accomplished sooo much in just a few short years! It’s important to sometimes just sit back and enjoy the beauty you have created so far.

1st Man said...

That's is so true. We work with what we get, right? Ha. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Money, time, new ideas, that does make it different each time doesn't it? Awesome, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I like the idea of doing low maintenance things and then keep other things for the things that need more care. ;-)

1st Man said...

I never thought about calling it that, "a good foundation". That makes sense....yep fruit trees and perennials...and now flowers, ha. We need to stop and smell the "soon to be" roses! ha.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Granted, we don't have a farm, but we have quite a few flower beds, raised veggie beds (8) , a large garden plot (40x40), a grape arbor and 3 peach trees. When we first moved into our house the original garden bed was 50 x 125 and the fools we were, planted it. It was the worst summer of my life! Over the years we have scaled back to the now (sometimes) manageable 40x40. Except this year we have made the choice to not plant the 40x40 plot. I have other things I need to focus on. I can't imagine your struggles to manage 2 homes, work and build your future farmstead.

I think it is ok to take a step back and reprioritize. It makes sense to build the infrastructure (outbuildings, land clearing, and house repairs) as opposed to the pretty stuff. You are putting your money and time (the 2 most valuable commodities you have) in exactly the right projects.

The beauty of garden is you can establish one in a season. If you don't like it, you can start over the next! I like the earlier suggestion about sheeting your beds to avoid weeds invasion. You could also seed all those raised beds with cover crops (clover, cowpeas) which is great to build soil nutrient or plant flowers/ herbs in all of the beds (sunflowers, stonecrop, yarrow, Globe Mallow, penstemon, lavender, bee balm, dill, sage, rosemary and marjoram) will draw beneficial insects and provide nutrients for the bees.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

If you grow a cover crop of cowpeas (blackeye peas)you can harvest and dry them. You can harvest the sunflowers seeds (when the heads begin to set seed cover them with netting), when ready to harvest cut the heads, place them upside down in paper bags and hang in your shed or barn to dry. All the plants I listed will grow well in your climate (drought tolerant, erosion control). Yarrow, Mallow, lavender, and stone crop are perennials and could be transplanted to others beds as you work on landscaping. Penstemon is a hardy annual/ tender perennial depending on zone. Technically Yarrow and lavender are herbs.