We are so very blessed here with plenty of space to garden and farm! Each year we feel older, but just can't hold ourselves back from taking full advantage of all we can.
We maintain a beautiful greenhouse full of food which we grow year round without any power! We grow directly in the ground and start all our plugs for each year's flower boxes and beds in there. In addition to our food, we maintain a section of the beds during the winter for chicken/duck produce. They absolutely love the fresh greens we are able to supplement their diet with during the bleak months of winter, and you ought to see how wonderful their eggs are! The greenhouse is always a wonderland of escape. We especially enjoy it's soothing comfort during the colder months. Because of our growing methods, we have no need for either cooling or heating enhancements and so it becomes a very affordable way to produce food here.
We have an ever growing garden of raised beds full of vegies and fruits. Each year we seem to be able to grow more varieties. In our perennial beds we are growing, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, grapes, goji berries. Each year we plant as much as space allows, lovin' every minute of it. Each fall you will find us as busy as can be drying, canning and freezing for the winter. During your stay, we would love to share our gardens with you. We can pick and eat our way through them if your timing is right!
When we moved here, there were some fruit and nut trees that we have been trying to keep thriving. We are also in the process of building our orchard, growing as many trees from seed as we can and purchasing heirloom fruit trees when necessary. It is very, very challenging to keep trees thriving here. Fruit trees are doubly hard, but we are as persistent in our efforts as the environment is in our defeat! Currently we grow apple, pear, plum, peach and crab apple. We are sorry to say, we are about to lose an apricot tree that was planted by the original owners here, but we are hoping to replace it. We also have many black walnut trees and trying to start more.
We are growing an extensive herb garden, a big passion around here. It currently is contained in 4 beds measuring 16x20 each. If you count the native medicinals growing here and what we maintain, the count of different types of herbal plants will soon reach 75. Many of these are very rare and challenging to grow, but as stated, it's a passion.
Our bees are some of our most loved friends! Way on the top of our hill, nestled amongst the pine trees, sit our beautiful hives, full of busyness. We have been keeping bees for about 4 years now and totally love everything about them, except for the hot, heavy work of maintaining their hives. They are very gentle, Italian bees who have never been moved, treated with any drugs or chemicals or fed any such thing as sugar water. When feeding is required (and it always is) we feed them back their own honey, preferring to just leave plenty in their hives for them. We disrupt their hives as little as possible and they reward us with health and happiness. Our bottled honey is available on the counter in the office whenever possible. In addition, we are making products from their propolis, honey and wax and hope to be able to share soon.
Our current flock of hens are happy and healthy, providing us with the greatest eggs ever. Most are Rhode Island Reds but we now have a very beautiful and gentle rooster who is a Barred Rock, Cochen mix thanks to a very wonderful friend. Last year we added a few mixed breed hens thanks to Mr. Rooster moving in. We also have 10 Indian Runner ducks. They are a bucket of laughs! They are an unusual breed that are used in this part of the country to teach herding skills to puppies for cattle ranching. They stand upright and move as a group much like a school of fish, thus they are very helpful in training herding skills into the young dogs. We have provided them a stock tank for swimming and boy do they enjoy it.
We are indeed blessed and count it a joy when others can enjoy our little farm here. You are welcome to ask for a tour around the place. We try very hard to be available to show you around and answer your questions. This is NOT a high profile, commercially run farm. It is the reality of two hardworking, ever stumbling people who love what they do. There are no hired hands or equipment to ease the workload here. This means you will experience plenty of weeds, half done projects and poop in the walkways at times. But if you want the reality of homesteading by trial and error, we are sure willing to share.