More of the Same…

Keep in mind this is a chronicle of the building our farm, so you get the good, the bad, the ugly and the not so interesting. Maybe we should change the name of the blog to “Diary of a Wannabe Farmer”.

Just getting down to the farm and getting all of our ducks lined up for the weekend took an entire day. M took the day off so we could get a jump start on the weekend. We picked up the tractor Friday morning. That entailed leaving the house at 715 am to catch a ferry to Seattle and then drive to Monroe where we bought the tractor. If we left any earlier, we would have just sat in rush hour traffic adding a couple of hours to our already impossibly long commute that day.

We arrived by 1000 am at the tractor dealer but the owner was at a trade show and no one could find our paperwork or keys. and oops – no one told them they were supposed to also do the 100 hour service. Eventually they found the keys. The problem we brought it in for turned out to be a bad detent lever. They replaced it and – thank goodness – it was covered by the warranty. We picked up extra filters and will just do the service ourselves. It was just a matter of convenience since they had the tractor for almost 2 weeks.

We got out to the farm just in the nick of time to receive our pre- scheduled 200 pm plumbing supply order for the well hook-up but they never showed up and didn’t bother to call. In the meantime we unloaded the truck, got the camp trailer set up and marked where the trees will be planted.  M called the plumbing supply around 330 pm and it turned out they had a delivery “emergency” [really? another “emergency”? Not really – it was more of a poor scheduling problem which I find out on Monday]. Oh, and thanks for the call guys.

M swung by the plumbing supply place for the HDPE pipe in case we’d have time to start laying it this weekend on his way to pick up the box scraper [again]. M specifically told them they needed to call me next week to reschedule delivery of the rest of the order and to definitely not try and deliver on Monday as no one would be there.  Guess who called me at 1230 pm Monday to say he was waiting at the gate with my order???

Saturday morning. A new day.

Since M was primarily going to be using the tractor over the weekend, I brought 9 Empress trees,  14 Black Locust trees and 24 comfrey plants thinking I could get them planted while he was trenching and leveling. He dug a few holes for me with the backhoe for the Empress trees but he needed to get going with the box scraper as we had to return it by 500 pm.


I took the Empress trees out of their pots and into feed sacks so I could lay them down flat in the bed of the truck. I later tucked in the Black Locusts and Comfrey.  They were all a little tattered upon arrival, but in pretty good shape given the route they travelled that day.

I only ended up getting four Empress trees planted as our good friend and resident curtain drain expert “S” stopped by with our electrical cable (they got us a screaming deal on it) and pointed out that we really should top off the drain rock with more fabric as the clay soil will filter down through the rocks we placed on top of the drain cloth filled with drain rock and could compact and create blockages. Thank goodness she saved our butts again – but ding dang it – now I had to run into town, buy more drain fabric, lay it out and secure it ASAP so M can get on with the leveling and backfilling before we have to stop to take off the box scraper, clean it up and drive it back to the rental place 45 minutes away.

It looks a little sad - but this Empress Tree should be pretty impressive next spring.

It looks a little sad – but this Empress Tree should be pretty impressive next spring.

Unfortunately there had been just a little too much rain this past week and it was a mucky mess. He did the best he could to level the site, but we will probably need to take another pass at it next summer when everything is completely dry.


We will also have to finish backfilling the curtain drain later as well. He placed enough dirt to secure the fabric, but there will be no planting of this area until next year. Hopefully a few hours of tractoring (yes – I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual word but I’m taking artistic license here) won’t make or break the soil.


M returned the box scraper and put the backhoe back on so he could finish trenching for the well line from the curtain drain to the barn. While he worked on that I seeded the site with 65 lbs of a soil building cover crop and 10 lbs of Daikon radish. Then we covered it all with straw. That clay soil can use all of the organic matter we can get our hands on.

In the meantime back at the “ranch”, I have to plenty to do getting ready for the tree service that is showing up first thing in the morning to take out a few large trees that are in precarious positions threating the chicken coop and the house.  I need to move the 200′ of electronet fencing from around the coop and set up a temporary place for the chickens on the other side of the house out of harms way. That on top of unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning the coop, etc….


Hemlock looming over the coop

Hemlock looming over the coop

This is right next to the house. A Douglas Fir and a Cedar sharing a root ball. The cedar (on the right) has split up the trunk. Even though it is leaning out towards the woods, the fear is that when it falls it will lift the Douglas Fir by the root ball and would definitely fall on the house.

A Douglas Fir and a Cedar sharing a root ball right next to the house. Actually my view from the office through one window is the hemlock over the coop and the other window is the doug fir/cedar.  The cedar (on the right) has split up the trunk. Even though it is leaning out towards the woods, the fear is that when it falls it will lift the Douglas Fir by the root ball which would definitely fall on the house.

close up (well as close as I can get with a phone camera) of the split cedar

close up (well as close as I can get with a phone camera) of the split cedar


About La Femme Farmer

Starting up a small farm is the goal for the second half of my life. It's a late start I know, but better late than NEVER! Growing food, cooking and eating are my passions and now I get to do it full-time (and then some). and yes, that's a tomato from my garden!
This entry was posted in Construction, Farm Machines, Forest Management, Homesteading, Preparing the land, Sustainability, Tree Care, Water Management and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More of the Same…

  1. DM says:

    I’m sure I’ve said this before on your blog posts, but I totally feel your pain. You’ve done a great job articulating the stuff that happens all the time in the construction field…delays, dropped communication/ missed communication/ breakdowns/ weather delays/ people not listening/ people not following through on what you clearly and simply articulated. I have learned to allow double the amount of time something should take and in the event something actually works out the way it should, I am a hero for finishing early 😉 thanks for the update! DM

  2. I hate to generalize about anything, but this has always been my experience with the construction industry – and it’s considerable experience – 14 residential remodels, also worked a year as a pm for a guy that invested in fixer uppers, plus the farm stuff.
    I worked in law firms for most of my professional life and I learned the hard way to double my time estimates on projects. I was the “hero” a lot, always getting things done before deadlines, but that worked like a double-edged sword – everyone started to expect the impossible.
    Thanks for stopping by DM – always great to hear from you.

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