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Our Farm

I've been neglecting this blog. I'm going to try to work on that. I've been sharing most of our pictures and updates on facebook, so a lot of you have probably seen these already. I'm long overdue for a picture post about our new place though, so I thought I would share.

First and most importantly – we have two new additions to our family! Well, technically we have three, if you count the stray and skittish cat that lurks around. Eden's named her Princess. I haven't been able to get a picture of her, as she has a tendency to run from all of us and only sneaks to the food bowls when she thinks we're not looking.

We got Bo, a rhodesian ridgeback, with the house. The german shepherd we were supposed to get was hit by a car, so the owners left us Bo instead. Apparently they couldn't take big dogs to the place they were moving. Bo is an energetic, kind of dumb dog. He reminds me a lot of our old dog Brutus, only slightly smarter. Slightly. Bo sometimes doesn't know how to handle himself around the lady-dogs. He got overzealous with Achaiah on an icy day and ended up knocking her down. Poor Achaiah twisted her ankle pretty badly and was laid up in the house for days, needing Josh to actually carry her outside to use the potty. We're trying to decide whether Bo should be neutered. Now, I purposefully chose not to fix Achaiah, but I generally feel most animals should be fixed. I'd hate to see how crazy Bo might go if the ladies go into heat. He's a good coyote dog though, and Josh is afraid that fixing him might take away that aspect of his personality. I think he's coming around to the idea since Bo hurt Achaiah.

This is Bo. We've taken to often calling him Bocephus.

Our next newest addition is Biscuit. We're not entirely sure what kind of mutt she is, but we think she may be a beagle/dachsund mix, maybe with a dash of something else. Biscuit didn't have a name when she came to us. She was given to us by the guy who sold us our new vehicle, and that guy never fed her. He'd picked her up somewhere and apparently tried dropping her back off, but she kept returning to his house. He hoped that by not feeding her, she'd just leave. The poor thing had obviously had puppies, but I'm not sure how recently. She was just skin and bones when we got her:

We've been doing what we can to rehabilitate her. Biscuit will definitely be spayed, if the vet thinks she's healthy enough to handle surgery. Poor baby didn't even really have enough body heat to keep herself warm, so I broke down and bought her a doggie-sweater, though I generally feel bad for victims of the whole pets-in-clothes thing. Her first sweater, an ugly hunting-orange thing, was stolen right off her back. Someone's been messing around our place pretty regularly again. We're working on nipping that in the bud. I was really upset that they'd take a sweater off a poor dog who obviously needed it. We bought her a new one, and so far, that's helping. Josh also built her and insulated dog house, and she and the other pups all got new pillow beds for Christmas.

We've only had her for a week and a half, but I think she's looking much healthier. I thought I saw actual improvement after only a day and a half!

Biscuit's close-up.

Biscuit at Christmas, two days after we got her. Doesn't she look so much healthier already?

Sable kept coming in through the heating vents. This picture turned out to be the last time, though. She's gotten so big!

Josh was so happy to get a home with a fireplace. We paid to have a chimney sweep clean it up before we used it, and then we found out that we can't use it yet! We have about $500 in repairs that we'll have to make first. (Sadly, that seems to be about two months worth of our freaking electric bill. Never had central heating before, and it sucks.) The back plate in the fireplace is missing, and the chimney pipe was taken apart and put back together incorrectly when they put the new roof on. Apparently they used it anyway, but we won't take any such fire-hazard chances.

House from the front yard. You can't see, but it has two additions built onto the back. They're not the best quality, but it'll do. We have a lot more room than we did in our other trailer.

We have a carport and nice rock-lined garden areas.

Our two outbuildings. The front one is Josh's work building, and the one in back is the barn/chicken coop.

Babyface & Sable, who's growing by leaps and bounds. We have our own woods, and when we take walks, even the kitties come along! Bo is the only one who doesn't, and that's only because he prefers to get the food bowls to himself.

Cinder digs walks in the woods.

So does Achaiah, my first and oldest baby.

Hello from the Mack ladies!

This is in the clearing across the street. We have 30 acres on the house side of the road, and ten acres on the other. Most is, unfortunately, woods. We'll have to clear some land before we can farm too terribly much, but we're working with babysteps.

We found the coolest rock in all existence. I named him Philbert. We have to refind him and bring him back to the house. I want to keep him.

I finally broke down and bought a gun. This will hopefully help with the weird trespassers who keep messing with us, as well as with our goal to become hunters. Josh found half of a gun cabinet in his building and finished it up. He also made the bullet belt and bandolier. He's so crafty.

The girls, all safetied up and holding Biscuit out of the way.

Target practice.

Apparently I'm not the sharp-shooter that I was back in my JROTC days. Then again, this is a much bigger gun (30-30), and it's been thirteen years since my JROTC days.

Not too shabby for our first time. We seem to hug the right side, though. Josh's are closest to the bulls eye (he's had BB gun practice, so his aim is a bit better), but one of those up there is mine too.

You might notice that there aren't a whole lot of pictures of the inside of the house. That's because most of it looks like this:

We're still living out of boxes! Our brief bug problem seems to be well and truly taken care of, so now we're going to buckle down and get everything unpacked. I'll save the rest for before and after pictures.

If you'd like to look through my whole Farm album, you should be able to access the public link here.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
This is so fun to read! Keep it up!
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm hoping to have awesome things to report much more often. :)
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
wow! that is so wonderful!
I love your farm! It's wonderful, all that land, space for animals, Philbert (hope you can re-find him!)... I'm jealous.

Do you know what crops you might raise, eventually? Any other 'farm animals' other than chickens? Do you think you would consider an orchard, maybe?

Good luck on everything!
Jan. 3rd, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: wow! that is so wonderful!
Thank you! Our goal is to be self-sufficient, so eventually we hope to grow nearly everything we use. Last year at our old house, I had a successful garden for the first time. I focused on salad & salsa makings (lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic, & volunteer squash from our compost pile). It was the first time I was ever able to grow anything, and it took years of working with the soil & composting to make it happen. So an actual farm will probably be slow going. I plan to start with another kitchen garden and work my way up to more crops. (If you're interested in seeing last year's work, I have my garden album here).

I'm hoping to add potatoes (which I've tried before with little success), broccoli, and anything else that catches my fancy when the seed catalogs come. Eventually I hope to get into herbs & medicinal plants, and possibly try a few citrus fruits if when we get a greenhouse built. I do indeed really want an orchard, but we'll have to wait until we can afford to clear out several more acres. I'm wanting apples, plums, pears, cherries, and maybe some nut trees. The local extension office sells a pretty cheap pecan package, with several different types of pecans. I don't like those, but Josh does. I personally would really love chestnuts. We used to have two chestnut trees, and nothing is better in the winter than roasted chestnuts.

As for animals, I hope to have a lot! We're starting with chickens and working our way up. I'd like to have a few goats, and eventually a little Jersey milk cow. Josh is really interested in getting into the Angus market. Since we're hoping to focus on endangered breeds, I might look into that and start breeding cows on the critical list, but I'd like a jersey first for kitchen milk. One day I hope we can have horses, and we really want to do rescue work as much as possible, so I'd take anything whose life we might save, really. I don't want to get larger animals until we have the room & skill to grow our own hay and grain, though. Without having jobs, we just can't afford to buy in so much food just yet.
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - i_scribble - Jan. 3rd, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - ahavah - Jan. 3rd, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - maiabee8 - Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - ahavah - Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - i_scribble - Jan. 4th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - i_scribble - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: wow! that is so wonderful! - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
This is so cool! So much land to explore, the kids and animals are so happy (and you two, of course). Congratulations!
And grrrr on biscuit's owner. He thought the best way to deal with a dog was to starve it? He would be good for target practice.
Just sayin'.
We're still not completely unpacked and we've been here 5 years.
Jan. 3rd, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! We're all very happy. I can't wait until it's warmer and we can actually start the farming part.

I was pretty disgusted by Biscuit's "owner" as well. I didn't realize he was starving her at first. She had a scavenged turkey leg the first time we saw her, when we test drove the car, and she was scared and ran off with it (obviously feeling like she needed to guard it!). We went to pick her up several days later (almost a week, I'd say), and when Josh went to get her from their back yard, he said that there were no food or water bowls whatsoever. And there were also several cats whom the guy called "strays" that adopted him. Poor Biscuit got car sick on the ride home, and she threw up the turkey we'd seen her with days earlier. She'd had no other food since then. :( I just can't fathom how someone could do that to an animal. We've been feeding her well and giving her table scraps to help get her more nutrients. Poor thing. She's doing so much better, IMO, and she absolutely loves us to death. I think she's grateful to be out of there.

We're still not completely unpacked and we've been here 5 years.

That's extremely reassuring! lol I made a deal with Josh after we cleaned out our "junk room" at the old house. Any boxes that we haven't looked in for a year can be tossed, since we obviously don't need what's in them.
(no subject) - aimingforpeace - Jan. 5th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 5th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Everything sounds really awesome! Do some research about which plants do best where you are - tomatoes will grow as weeds here in St. Louis as will peppers but it sometimes gets too hot for squash without shade etc. The Missouri Botanical Gardens has a lot of resources to help people garden - I'm pretty sure they'll do soil sample analysis for free and help you plan out good rotations on garden crops. Raspberries and currants grow well here too and might be an idea for sweeter fruit so that you wont have to wait for apples.

On getting all your stuff moved in, the only way we were able to do it is by inviting a bunch of friends from out of town to stay over the weekend with us. There is no better motivation than having guests to get your house looking nice. If we didn't have friends over for dinner or to play games regularly we'd probably never clean. :)
Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I really appreciate all the local tips. I've been gathering fliers and catalogs from the local extension office, and I'm hoping to get some of their berries & currants. I'd love to find a place that will do a soil sample for us! That's something I've never done and know little about.

Our goal is to have a housewarming party in late summer, so I have plenty of time. Sorta. I'm still trying to decide whether we want to paint right away or not. It'll probably go faster if I choose "not".
Jan. 3rd, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
This was interesting to read, I love your "furkids"
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! They seem to be multiplying, but that makes for a happy and full family. :)
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
It wouldn't surprise me if the people who are messing with your property are teenagers or adults who have that same mental attitude. The previous owners probably did nothing to discourage them, so they may think they have a right to trespass. You need to put up signs around the boundaries of your property. "Private Property. No Trespassers." I might be inclined, although it probably would be illegal, to post a sign, "Trespassers will be shot."

Since your dogs are not effective in guarding your property, try geese. They are very territorial, will raise a lot of noise when they feel someone is invading their territory and their bites can hurt. What you need to do is buy geese chicks and raise them so that they become familiar with you, Josh, your girls and your managerie. When they are grown, they will protect you as part of their flock. If you buy several females and at least one male, they will provide you with eggs that are delicious to eat, or you can grow them and sell them to a local butcher. Christmas goose is an olde English tradition.

However, before you can set up any kind of farm, you have to get your trespassers under control, or they will destroy whatever you begin because they think that they can get away with it. It is one thing to have local wild life raiding your farm. It happens. It is another thing to have man/teenagers ruining your farm. You might want to talk with your local sheriff about the trespass situation and get his advice on how to protect your property and what is legally allowed in your area. It might be a wise thing to get them on your side. Be friendly, bring them homemade cookies and muffins. Once you are settled/unpacked, you might invite them to your property and ask their advice on home/farm security. It can't hurt to do so, because there may come a time you may need them. I have found law enforcement officers respond faster to someone they think of as a friend than just a random stranger.

Anyway, I think that your property looks wonderful. It already looks nice and has great potential for the future. You might consider setting aside some of the property, perhaps the property across the street, for an orchard. It is a long term goal venture, because it takes time for the trees to mature, however, once it is established, you will be rewarded with a lot of fruit/nuts, which will help you be self-sufficient.

Another long term goal. Once your farm is established and running, you might contact a local beekeeper and offer to let him put some of his hives in your fields to help with better polination. It is kind of a mutual help, as you will get better crops and he will get more honey in return.

As always, my advice is worth what you paid for it, so take it or leave it as you see fit. :-D
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! We have a feeling that the trespassers are either the old owners or friends of theirs. They've left ATV tracks in our yard, so we know they're familiar with the ATV trails around here, and they opened one of the old padlocks on the outbuilding with a key! We had nothing in that room, which was why we hadn't changed the lock yet. We suspect maybe they were looking for something, but are now messing with us just to mess with us. The tore down my angry, cursing sign I put up. LOL I did call the police out when they actually stole Biscuit's sweater - and we knew it was them and that she hadn't just come loose, because first of all, it was small enough that she couldn't get her head out on her own, and secondly, we found the grocery list that had fallen out of their pocket.

We've bought signs to put up, and I've bought motion lights for the outbuilding. The police even said to let them know when we head back to NC and they'll watch out for our place. They've promised extra patrols down our road. They were really much more help that Asheville police ever were. We do hope to get a proper guard dog, which Bo is actually good at. If he knows them, though, that's not much help, and Achaiah will bark up a storm but they usually come round while we're gone or sleeping. I'm not sure about geese just yet, since I don't have a pond or water source on our property, but that's definitely something we want to add in the future.

We also do want to make room for an orchard, but I'd prefer to clear out some of the trees between our house and our nearest neighbor, and then replant with fruit & nut trees. Josh will eventually add bees back there, but I'm highly allergic and have quite a phobia (not to mention the weird-but-totally-true fact that they always go for my eyes), so that's also on the long-term goal. Eventually we hope to be able to fence at least the whole yard area, if not the whole property. The pasture area out back is fenced, but nothing fences the front & back yards. We need to do that for safety anyway, since we're right off a main highway and Bo likes to chase cars.
(no subject) - times_suspended - Jan. 4th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
The comment about geese is a great idea. I hadn't thought of that but I do know, after taking pictures of Canada geese that they do in fact have one heck of a bite and are VERY imposing if you get a few of them all worked up.

I love reading your entries and following your progress and hearing about your dreams & plans.

The orchard is a great idea. Llamas are an excellent idea as well.

I don't typically use this term and to be honest I'm not even certain I'm spelling it correctly, but *SQUEE*
Jan. 4th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Ha ha! Thanks so much! I do like the geese idea, but I think we need to make some sort of pond or something for them first. I never thought to use them as guard animals, but I totally dig it.

Thanks a bunch for caring and being all excited with me! I hope you get to come check it out. :)
(no subject) - i_scribble - Jan. 4th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - i_scribble - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 4th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Nice place! Your animals are so cute. What kind of dog is Achaiah? She's really pretty. I want a dog someday.
Jan. 4th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)
Thank you! It definitely needs some work, but I'm happy with it. Achaiah is half pit bull, 1/4 boarder collie, and some undetermined grandpa, but I think it may have an albino husky.

Edited at 2010-01-04 03:02 am (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
I am so glad that things are working for you guys (besides the trespassers it's still legal to shoot them, right? ;-))

My uncle was a pretty successful farmer (as in bought new caddies every year kind of successful) just outside of KC, MO. He raised black angus cows & pigs and fed them on grains that he grew on his farm. So it can be done! ;-)

Have you had a chance to get to introduce yourself to any of the neighbors yet? Maybe try that fresh baked muffin/cookies on the neighbors and get some bridges built. Chances are that they can do a better job keeping an eye out for anything going on than the police.
Jan. 5th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! As far as I know, a lot of shooting goes on around here. lol I don't think we'd get in trouble for it. Don't care, really. Apparently they tried kicking in our back door the other day while we were gone, so imo, it's war.

Josh met a couple of the neighbors. He met the fella who owns the field next to us, where the people are coming in from. Sadly, that guy lives in St. Louis and this is like his hunting property, so he only comes down on the weekends. We met him before all that started, but if we see him again, we're going to let him know what's going on. While meeting that guy, Josh also met the neighbor from across the street. Our neighbors are pretty few and far between. From what the old owners told us, they almost never saw that guy. He was over bragging about a new horse or something.

We haven't met the neighbor on our other side yet, but I'd like to some time. I'm not a baker though, so I'll probably just walk that way and give a smile instead. LOL Our woods are between our place and his place, so we can't even see him from our yard. Just when we drive down the street. I do plan to introduce myself at some point, if only to reassure him before I start cutting down all the trees between our houses. That's where I eventually want my orchard to go. :D
Jan. 10th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
Good luck with the farming and with the new pets!
Jan. 10th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's proving to be quite an adventure. We might even be getting two new cats, too.
(no subject) - alycewilson - Jan. 10th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Jan. 10th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )


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