Things have been really slow around the farm these days. We're less than patiently waiting for the weather to clear up so that we can do some field work. I tried to do some field work early last week and immediately got stuck which is no surprise. Things are just too wet to get the tractor into the field.
We took time this weekend to catch up on paperwork, relax and wander around our property. It's kinda funny, but we've never walked the 8 or so acres that are behind our house! That land is so grown over we just never had a chance to go back there.
It's likely that we're gonna let this area be reclaimed by nature. We don't need it for crop production and it will be fun to see it grow back into forest over time. Ross and I are major bird nerds and carry our binoculars with us whenever we go walking. We saw a Northern Flicker woodpecker which was really exciting (seriously, we're giant bird nerds). We also explored the old tobacco barns tucked in the woods.
Through there's not much we can do outside right now, we have been busy planning for the upcoming season. We are also steadily growing microgreens and shoots in the greenhouse and selling them at market. Come visit us on Saturdays at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market and Western Wake Farmers Market and pick up a box (or two) of our yummy microgreens!
Whenever I get stressed out about all the stuff we need to do on the farm, Ross always says "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". And my response is always "Well, I'm choking on elephant meat".
The to-do list on the farm is never ending is quite overwhelming. Our major focus right now is getting the fields prepped and ready to go so that we can start planting as soon as possible. We will start working on transplants this week. There's a lot to plant including spring greens like kale and pak choy and brassicas like broccoli and cauliflower. We finished up some greenhouse tables this weekend so that we have a nice warm place for the transplants to grow.
We also spent a big chunk of time this weekend clearing trees off our driveway. As previously mentioned the farm was abandoned for a long time before we bought the land so everything is overgrown. The road needs light and air circulation to it keep it from turning into a bumpy mud hole. After cutting trees for a couple of weekends now, we're about half done with the driveway.
I'm really happy with the progress we're made thus far on the farm. Ross is totally right that we just have to take each day one step at a time because the chore list is endless. If you ever get caught up on the farm there's definitely something you forgot about. So I'm taking a chill pill and happily eating my elephant meat.
As is the case with most well meaning, tech savvy farmers who want to share their farm with the world... I will admit that I am terrible at keeping up with our blog. Our to-do lists are too long and we're always crunched for time. However, we've had a very eventful year and I'd like to have a record of some sort to see our progress over the years. So I'm going to try and update our blog at least once a week (hold me to it).
For the past couple of months we have been working really hard to clear our largest field to prep land for spring planting. All our pastures are filled with 6ft-10ft tall saplings that have to be removed before we can plow. We cut the saplings in the late Fall and have been pulling the left over stumps with a box blade. Not the easiest or best way to do it but it's all we can manage on our tight budget with limited equipment.
We've been slow to get this work done because it's difficult for me to pull stumps alone during the day. It's really a two man job and it's pretty dangerous to do it alone so we have to find time to work on it when Ross isn't at work. It took about a month but we finally got about 2 acres of stumps pulled with 0.5 acres to go. With a large area of stumps cleared, we started plowing!
At this point we have 2 acres plowed! We're very satisfied with what we've got done so far especially considering how much work we had to do just to get to the point of were we could plow. Hopefully the weather we cooperate and can get in as early as possible to disc and amend the beds to start planting.
On another note: the super cold temps this week have basically wiped out of field crops. We're not too sad though. We were pretty surprised how well the plants have done this far. At this point, we'll be taking mostly microgreens and shoots that we grow in the greenhouse to market for the rest of the winter.
Ross and Jillian Mickens are the owners and operators of Open Door Farm located in the North Carolina Piedmont.