Let’s hope the Rolling Stones were right as we have a lot of plans for this fall and they are going to run smack dab into the all of the summer projects we are trying to finish up.
Summer projects included getting anything done that required dry, firm ground for the tractor. Oh, and can I say how much we LOVE having a tractor? Digging holes, trenching, moving logs, grabbing huge piles of branches, turning compost piles, moving dirt, lifting straw bales – all thanks to our trusty tractor Wiley (he’s a Kioti you know). We debated long and hard about whether or not we should get one, and man are we glad we decided to bite that bullet.
So to recap the summer to-do list, we moved the rest of the logs under cover, got in two mowings (it takes about 16 – 18 hours to mow our property), the roundabound is 98% complete, retaining wall is built, built a couple more large compost piles, thinned out the woodlot and secured this coming winters firewood supply, limbing up Douglas firs to prevent frost pockets and chipping the branches is getting under control, and we are in the middle of trenching for the well line. Speaking of thinning the woodlot, we just heard back from the county and our forest management plan was approved so we should see a significant break on our property tax bill next year. Yay for us!
This weekend M reached the end of the swale and made the turn down hill towards the barn.
Once he hits the top of the curtain drain (just beyond the Douglas fir behind him), he needs to stop trenching for a bit while I have a zillion yards of drain rock brought in. Once the drain cloth, perf pipe and rock are installed in the curtain drain we will backfill on top with dirt and then re-level the site to ensure water moves away from the barn and the future house site. M will then finish trenching from the curtain drain down to the barn and God willing – we will have running, pressurized water! Woo Hoo!
Another project we are trying to finish before the rains set in is caulking the underground cistern. It’s about a 20′ section of an old grain silo we put in the ground last winter and plumbed our barn roof runoff into it. Within a month of installing it, a section of metal crumpled from the force of the water (an underground spring?) about halfway down. No one saw that coming, but yet it holds water up to that point. From there up it seeps out (all underground and on a downhill slope), so we are sealing all of the seams and bolts and hoping that will keep more of the water in.
Now I know there is nothing lurking at the bottom, but there is something a little creepy about lowering myself into that cold, dark water… It was about 90 degrees this past weekend, so I quickly got over my creepies and enjoyed the cool respite.
We’d like to dig in another swale but not sure we are going to have enough time to get everything else on our plate done, and as we had to learn the hard way with the first swale – you need to plant it out completely so the pasture grasses and weeds don’t take over. And you also need to fence it to keep the deer from devouring all of your freshly planted trees and berries…
Next week we will be digging perc holes for our septic permit. We need to get those dug while the soils are dry and the water table is low. We also want to get our septic design submitted and our perc holes inspected now to make sure we won’t have any conflicts when we are ready to start the micro-hydro project. Our septic design guy has convinced us we can install the septic system ourselves (his wife installed theirs!) but thankfully we won’t need to start on the install until next summer. It just means another long, wet winter with the composting bucket…[heavy sigh]
On the fall to-do list is to sow more cover crops in the zone 1 area to help build that compacted clay soil into something more hospitable for our eventual gardens. The Chicken Food Forest is also going to be staked out and the perimeter fencing installed so I can get the trees, shrubs, vines, etc… I’ve been growing at home planted this fall. Not all of the plants will go in the chicken food forest – we need nitrogen fixers and other supporting plants for the nut trees, and some of the Black Locust and the Paulownia’s will be planted in various spots around the property for their quick shade and mulching properties.
Finalizing our design and filing our permit to build out a section of the barn for an eventual processing kitchen and a bathroom is next on the list. If we can pull that off we will spend the wet months framing the space out so we can install our solar battery bank in the space above and hang the solar panels on the roof of the barn. Hopefully by next spring we will have power in the barn. Imagine that – running water, electricity and dare I say it? – a flush toilet!