Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Three projects that made a difference in 2010

And I guess we are off to another year of action and adventure!

My pal, L, and I are getting together next week to talk about our respective goals and objectives. So while I'm thinking about planning I wanted to note three projects that made a difference last year. I did this for the previous year here. Back then it was adding dairy goats, increasing our use of electric fencing, and completing the turkey house.

Here are the three projects that really made a difference last year:

1. Fenced in the upper garden, the front garden, and the square garden. I had already done some fencing but this new commitment to setting it up correctly really helped give the property some structure, define different production areas, and of course kept those chickens out of my darn radishes.

Gates, paths, and fencing did wonders to define these garden areas:


For me fencing is kind of arbitrary, I always feel like it can be ripped out and moved. And I like having gates, pathways, and poultry-free areas. We were able to use the front garden as the playground for The Meeps, which was tremendously helpful. Remember when they were so little?


And I don't think we need to talk any more about the Bad Neighbor's bad dog or all the fencing we had to do because of it. 

Fencing Project Grade, B+

2. Mud management by gravel. I love gravel. Really. Its my favorite thing. There is nothing I like better than driving the big ol' truck into the quarry and tellin' that guy "I need a little over a ton of 8L." Pea sized limestone gravel makes my heart go pitter-pat. And I use it by the gross. My dream within a dream is one of those huge king sized dump trucks roll up with 10 tons of the stuff.

Creating gravel garden paths keeps weeds down and feet of all kinds dry.

Since we have the worst soil in recorded history -- which does not drain at all and we have all these little feet muddin' it up all over the place - we use gravel to make paths and help with the drainage. We especially use it to keep our stalls and coops dry. We put at least six inches in our duck garage, the goat house, the turkey house, and most recently in the goose house. The goose house was always wet and muddy no matter how much bedding we put down. I cleaned it out the other day and the gravel was nice and dry.

Gravel to improve critter quarters and pathways, Grade: A

3. This one is for Goodwife and I have to choke out these words...... the creepy meats. After all my complaining and carrying on I have to admit the meat chickens were a pretty good project. I'm still standing by my assertion that I like the Red Broilers from Meyers better. But this was a darn good project if you can get past the creepiness of these meats. The food value is very good, they are pretty easy, and we found that a fall/winter group really worked out well.


Creepy meat chickens, Grade B+ for me but I want to give a special "A+" to my pal AL who boldly marched out there, raised up some creepy meats, dressed them with some pals, and found out she can do it! Yay you!

And now onward to 2011 and beyond. Buckle up, friends, I have a feeling this is gonna be a heck of a year!

16 comments:

Mr. H. said...

Beautiful garden.:) You said "For me fencing is kind of arbitrary, I always feel like it can be ripped out and moved." Me too, I have never met a fence that I didn't move at least ten times...especially around our garden areas. And yes, 2011 is going to be the best darn year ever.

vrtlarica said...

I like how your garden looks - with the paths and fences. I love the structure in the garden... and I don't have any in mine. Maybe I should work on that this year.

The "creepy meats" is the only chicken that is raised for meet here. The "regular chicken" is kept only for eggs.

Heiko said...

Things looking up all around, even for us. It looks like we might even have money in 2011, as much as I'd like to be able to do without it.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hi Mr H! glad you got your tech problems solved! and yes, fencing is for moving. ha!

Thanks VRT! having structure just makes it easier to move around in...and its nice to have something nice to look at.

Sometimes chickens are considered 'dual purpose' - which is what a lot of folks like to raise. They take longer to grow out but thats ok too.

Greetings Heiko! All good news - onward and upward!

the Goodwife said...

HAHAHAHA! Thanks for tossin' me a bone OFG. I do like my creepy meats, and will be ordering some here pretty shortly. We've had them for years and never had any troubles. I just call them our Arnold chickens and go with that.....LOL!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

thats my girl, GW! *high fives* and yep its true. in fact, its what for dinner. we still have a couple left and today is their lucky day. sending hugs and well wishes
:-)

Lori said...

I must say 2010 was a season of firsts for me! I never (EVER) would have imagined myself with creepy meats... but there are several tucked away in the freezer and maybe some with my name on them in the spring.

(Gasp! Did I just say that?)

Naomi Banta said...

we are considering some creepy meats this year - your term is sticking around in our house. :D

And yep. Fencing is for moving, esp as we figure out the new place to put the goats so we can plow up their area outside the fence for the dogs so I can grow green beans and such in that area.

Dad is going to teach me to use the roto tiller this year so that makes Mom happier about stuff getting done!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yes! you did just say that! I think we need to keep this creepy meat revolution going - one backyard at a time!

Hi Naomi! Like GW *tried* to tell me, once you get creepy meats you wont go back - so do it!! Are you getting your hatchery catalogs already? I've picked out about 100 little peeps that I MUST have!

Naomi Banta said...

Too many hatchery catalogs that I can spend too much money on.

But I have a friend that breeds chickens, turkeys, etc and I'll be getting a fair amount of babies from him - including some black mottled turkeys and hopefully some marans.

He's the same guy I got my sweet coturnix from. And they are healthy and sweet and it supports a local!

kenleighacres.com said...

Your 2010 projects look great! I am a gravel lover too :) I love your term 'creepy meats' a very fitting name ;)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks kenleigh! I think all of us with livestock come to love gravel. and yep, i've come to.. ack... love the creepy meats. I guess most folks call them "meaties" but they are too creepy. And its fun to say.
;-)

suburban farm girl said...

How is it that the creepy meats grow so quickly? Are they just generations of hormone raised hens?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hey SubFGirl (there is already a SFG!).. the creepy meats are bred to grow super fast. they took fast growing and meaty breeds and got them together. i'm not sure there is much chemistry in it.... but commercially they do everything to encourage growth. unfortunately they are subject to some problem - the "leg thing" (malformed legs) and they can also randomly flop over dead (kinda like chicken heart attacks), and the awful "green muscle disease." its my experience they are less resistant to diseases such as cocci. and they just arent as "chicken-y" as regular clucks. folks have had success raising them on pasture are more 'free ranging' but they still require a lot of food. and they grow really really fast. prepare for some losses...but you'll be excited once you harvest them.

suburban farm girl said...

Hey OFG thank you for the explanation! I guess Im just not farmy enough just yet. Very much makes sense-> Overly fast growing and not much else going for them

Ohiofarmgirl said...

You said it perfectly SubFG! And you are farmy enough - there is just a lot of learn. Great work!

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