The plan is to head out, car and trailer packed, across this great country on or about the 15th of June. I may have to tweak this date a bit, but for now that is the target. Just me and my dear friend – we’ll call her G.
G has been so supportive about this project and helpful in ways I can’t even describe. She grew up on a farm without electricity and without running water and made it go. She was camp cook on many a trail ride and in logging camps and other such. She is a pioneer. A maverick. Inquisitive, always ready to learn and a dear friend.
So, off we will head into the land of the silver birch, home of the beaver! (Literally – there is a 300′ beaver dam on the property.) “Where still the mighty moose wanders at will.”
We’ll take a tent and camp along the way, unless we are tired and cranky and then we’ll get a room. Neither of us are ‘destination bound’ so the journey will be a blast. Be sure that one of us, whoever isn’t driving will be knitting or reading along the way. We’ll stop when we want, go when we want, have the coffee flowing freely and may or may not pay attention to the “recalculating” in the condescending voice of the GPS.
G has never been to New Brunswick. She has lived in the Rockies, in the Foothills, in Germany and Austria but never the rolling hills of Maritime bliss. She’s in for a treat!
We figure about 5 leisurely days to Toronto where we will pick up three willing “almost-farmgirls” who will work for food, laughter and I suspect… wine. One of whom is my eldest daughter.
At the farm there are several orders of business this year.
- The outdoor Adobe oven must be done sometime in the first week as it will need to dry before we can use it – and use it we shall! It will be able to hold 16 loaves of bread at a time!
- The barn will be in some stage of construction upon our arrival, and we’ll need to map out the barn yard and a gate without getting in the way of construction crews. This one may have to wait until later.
- We’ll need to build a brooder for the little chickens to stay warm in at night inside their cute tiny cottage, and fence in their yard as well.
- There are 12′ x12′ stalls that will need to be installed in the barn when it’s finished. Electrical and water will already be in there – which is grand because the “almost-farmgirls” want to stay in the barn. (I’ll have to come up with better names for these girls)
- A few more trees need to be added to the orchard – one pear, two kiwi vines, a hazelnut and on the other side of it, two gooseberries and two quince trees.
- Just out side of the orchard guest cottage there is a small oasis, shielded from view by a large clump of trees between it and the workshop. I want to erect a seclusion screen of trellis and roses or wisteria and underneath it, the outdoor bathtub dug into the ground and heated with hot stones from the fire pit on the meadow side. This could take some doing, although it doesn’t need to be terribly deep (I’m thinking about 3 feet) it will need to be uniformly level and square enough to fit it with flat stone or wood to line it. (I’ll talk more about this later)
- Mapping and preparing of market garden. I have a pretty good idea of where this is going to go, but we are waiting on the placement of the well that will feed the barn. If it is placed on the south side of the barn, the market garden will have to move to the orchard side. If it is placed on the north side of the barn, the garden can be on the field which has already had rocks pulled out of it and we keep it close to irrigation should we need it. Then the layers of compost, mulch of leaves and maybe some straw with chicken droppings and a black top of landscape fabric held secure with spikes to cover and incubate the space for a year. This should kill all the weed seeds and leave the top soil full of nutrients for our new plants next year!
- Root cellar needs to be dug and constructed with the earthbag construction method. http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/ Shelving rods can be inserted during construction of the wells. (these are just metal rods placed in the wall that the shelf will hang onto after construction – they don’t rot!)
- Solar shower – we’ll dig a bit and fill with drainage gravel, top with the tiled round platform and circular cedar enclosure. That’s the esthetic stuff. The functional plumbing takes a bit more research.
- Guest cottage flooring, insulation, wall board and paint – maybe even small wood stove!
Now although these are my priorities for this years activities, my sweetie may have his own list of stuff that needs to be accomplished and I will bet dollars to muffins that his list requires work with a tractor. He’ll be pulling out loggers litter and dead fall, cutting it up and chipping it into a pile for use as mulch for gardens or paths.
He is at the farm as I write this. Left on Wednesday to check on security systems, polish his tractor, and add attachments to it. His sister has joined him there and my guess is, they are having a ball. Four to six feet of snow on that field and a brand new snow mobile, snow shoes and 100 acres to explore. What fun!
I’m sure that our respective lists will mesh at some point between now and then. They almost always do. I have to try to control my awake mind as it tends to create all kinds of possibilities that may or may not be practical for the time we are there. For example, I know we likely won’t get finished all the things on my list, but that’s okay. I put them there in case we can. I may even add to it, or rearrange it, or remove something. That is one of the most fun parts of a project like this. The possibilities are endless!