Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've gotten two truck loads of horse manure this winter. I found a nearby farm that feeds organic oats and organic local hay. The first truckload I bagged in 1 cu ft bags and gave away as Christmas presents. I thought it would be nice with a bow under the tree, or maybe as stocking stuffers.

The second truckload went into a compost pile, layered with coffee grounds from the T&A espresso stand down the street. I could easily use 4-6 more loads.

Can you tell from the picture that I have tractor envy?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We set out raspberries last weekend. These had been ordered last spring from Raintree Nurseries and 'heeled in' in our yard for the past summer. Some of them bore lots of big red berries last fall, right up until the first freeze. This one is Autumn Britten. Se set out at least a dozen of these plants.

This one is called E320 Caroline. I believe it bears in June. We will see next year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preliminary Farm plan

This overlay on the overhead photo is my current thinking about how I want to use the land -- primarily the half acre north portion of the former pasture. Here are my thoughts:

1. Orchard: Raspberries, Boysenberries, Filbert and peach trees. Perennial beds.

2. Carport, shop (2 rooms), barn.

3. RV parking.

4. 3000 gallon water tank to catch water from the roof for the garden

5. Patio and picnic table

6. Small chicken house.

7. Chicken run or orchard.

8 - 9 First year garden (1/4 acre)

8. Garlic, shallots, carrots

9. Early stuff -- lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

10. Beans, corn, squash

11. Strawberries, corn, squash

12. Reserve for garden in 2 years. Chicken run with moveable house, Perhaps a grain plot

13 - 14 ???

15. 1/2 acre part of house rental.

16. Small building with prta-pottie.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fall Planting

This fall we planted shallots and garlic for harvest next summer. One variety of shallots is up and the other is well rooted but has yet to send up any green top growth. The garlic is well rooted but is not yet showing any top growth. We have three 3x30 foot beds of garlic and 2 3x30 foot beds of shallots. This should make plenty for us and plenty to give away or sell.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting to the Farm

We live in an Earthquake zone and we could get the Big One any time. I am concerned about I could get to the farm from our home in Everett. The farm is on the other side of the Snohomish River. There are bridges over the river as well as several sloughs in the mouth of the river. In the event of a serious earthquake, those bridges could be damaged and my access to the farm could be cut off. That might make driving there difficult or impossible.

An even more certain possibility is major disruption in fuel supplies leading to decreased fuel availability and sharply increasing prices. Remember the 1970's when gasoline was rationed and the price quadrupled.

Of course if the roads are open, even in the case of bridge damage if the bridges were open to pedestrians but not heavy vehicles, I could get there by bike. It's only 15 miles and the route is mostly pretty flat. An hour each way? There are also several bus routes that connect Everett and the Smokey Point area. One bus leaves Everett Station every 30 minutes and would drop me only 2 miles from the farm. So I could ride the 1 mile to the Everett Station, ride to Smokey Point and then ride 2 miles the farm.

If I had a bike trailer, I could transport modest quantities of food back home, but I would have to ride the 15 miles. The bus bike racks don't accommodate bike trailers. I am also looking at electric bikes. I am 68 years old and I don't have the stamina I did 40 years ago.

These are things that I think about when I am waiting for sleep to come at night.
So when we bought the farm, I considered alternative access. Fortunately, there are several bus routes that connect Everett with the Smokey Point area.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Berry preparations

We have prepared a place for raspberries, blackberries, rubarb, fruit and nut trees in what was formerly part of the front yard. We cleared the sod and tilled strips for the berries. Then we worked in compost and an organic nitrogen fertilizer. Then we set the posts and strung the support wire. Finally, we covered the beds with leaves for the winter. In early spring we will set out the plants in the nice beds we have prepared. The picture here was taken about half way through the process.