On March 31st we finally got our very own farm! Here's what's gone down so far... 😄
The above photo is the first that was taken when we moved in. It was a misty and cool morning when we arrived on our farm, set in the beautiful agricultural belt of Nova Scotia known as the Annapolis Valley.
The #chickenbitchez survived the move. It wasn't a small undertaking getting all 30 of them here, but we made it. They have more land than ever to free range for treats. The bonus is that I rarely step in chicken poop anymore (or find it on my deck), I may have to stop calling them that name soon...
As you can see the farm came with a small chicken coop and a pretty big barn. First thing Brendan did was expand the chicken coop and build 6 new doors for the barn.
An addition was then built onto the original chicken coop, also their run was made bigger too, B used old cattle fencing and we put net on the top. The chickens free range after they are done laying their eggs, but to prevent Easter Egg Hunts we keep them penned during laying time.
We've definitely had some drama with the whole turkey thing, I could have blogged daily about it but too damn busy on the farm! We experienced hatching eggs in an incubator and having all of the babies die one after the other, days after hatching. We then bought 14 one week old turkey poults which now only 6 are remaining.
What we learned: Turkeys are finicky and fragile and soooooo not like chickens.
Chickens are badass, tough ass mutherfuckers compared to turkeys. That's probably why they tell you to eat chicken soup when you are sick and not turkey soup.
Anyways, these remaining 6 seem really healthy and hardy. We haven't had a turkey die for 2 weeks, so fingers crossed!!
The Need for an LGD
Introducing Freedom (Great Pyrenees/Sarplaninac cross) 😊
About a month after we got here we began to notice a few chickens gone missing...sure enough one day I look out the window and see the happiest fucking FOX I've ever seen in my life trotting around the yard with a shit eating grin, deciding what kind of chicken he wanted for lunch that day.
With the chickens roaming so far it was hard to keep them from being eaten (I tried penning them full time but it breaks my heart) and no farm survives long without a good dog to watch over the livestock and chase away predators. Also she's an amazing outdoor alarm system for human intruders as well.
We haven't lost a chicken or turkey to a predator since we got Freedom! She was 9 months old when we bought her (yes she came with the name), and has put the chase on the fox multiple times.
She sleeps in the barn with the turkeys, which is a big comfort because the barn has drainage pipes that I feared mink could easily get into. Also she keeps rats and mice at bay as well so they don't eat the feed.
We have her tethered on a 150 foot line where she protects the flocks from any intruders from the back 30. She goes on 3 "boundary walks" a day where we take her along the perimeter of the area we want her to guard.
We plan on fencing in the front 4 acres and allowing her to fully range in it, it's tricky because she's really good at digging, and her breed is known for roaming so we need to put in quite a crazy fence for her. A project for next year.
Level 6 Gardener and #GrowFoodNotLawns Guru to Level 0 farmer was quite a big Change!
For one, what do you do when most of your land is young trees and cow pasture?
You get a Massey Ferguson!
I'm sure we will write a song one day about selling our truck to buy a tractor and the various implements to do the heavy work required to change pasture into farmland.
Oh and you get to look so cool doing it 😄
First you plough, then you leave it to dry out for about a week. Next you disc harrow over what you have ploughed. After that you use a spring tooth harrow to pull up rocks and sod. And after thaaaat it's all manual labour because we don't have the implement that removes all the rock and sod. Another thing on next year's list.
After all of the tractor work and weeks of raking and pulling out rocks and sod, we ended up with a 1/2 acre main garden, with 1/4 acre of cucumbers (and failed corn) in a separate space and 1/8 acre of potatoes way in the back of the acreage. Not bad for first year!
In total we have 70 tomato plants (cherry, scotian, moneymaker), 100 cucumber (pickling and long english), 100 strawberry, 200 bean and peas, succession planted of course. We also have a tonne of kale, lettuces, beets, cabbage, bok choy, asparagus, raspberries, squashes, corn, radishes, potatoes, and 8 fruit trees which went in, in May.
Right away we did the most important investment, fruit trees. This year we planted 2 apple, 2 peach, 2 pear and 2 cherry trees. We also planted raspberries, strawberries and asparagus. Gotta get those perennials going immediately!
The vision for this 1/2 acre plot is to be a perennial orchard and we will keep moving the vegetables further back on the property.
An added bonus:
A gentleman keeps bees on the back of our land, he pays us 24 jars of honey a year for rent. Soooo Sweeeeet!!
I have so much I want to share...feelings galore! It's busy here, and at the same time really relaxed and peaceful...I find myself not opening my computer for days at a time.
Well, I must get back to the weeding lol.
I appreciate anyone who made it through this 4-months-packed-in-one post!
Hugs 🤗 and see you soon hopefully~~