FARM LIFE BLOG ~ Floods Visit This AM
Today’s Flooding And Morning Chores ~
We blog about farm life, homesteading and back to basics. Well today is worth blogging about. As homesteading becomes more in vogue again, we get asked alot of questions from alot of people. One question is often, “how do you pick the right land?” We tell folks who are buying land to really make sure you understand how the land flows, as in water. And, understand the natural resources you have on your land: including hardwoods, fruit trees, medicinal plants, soil quality, etc.
Well this am we awoke to flooding in our lower pastures of reasonably large magnitude. While we don’t consider this to be much of a travesty, it does wreak havoc on the fence and could kill livestock if they were in the pasture BEHIND this fence last night. I blog on this to make this point, flood plains are often great land for pasture. In dry climates the flood plain has access to water like this one does via the creek right here you can’t see as it’s ‘over the banks’. However, YOU MUST CONSIDER WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR FENCING and GATES and you must be alert to weather at all times so you keep your animals safe. We have our fencing braced with metal poles in the ground along with cement. The wire we have to often fix as it collects debris when this location floods. Most importantly, we have an exit gate located on the OTHER side of this floodplain where there is prime pasture, up a hill to the barn. This assures our animals will not get ‘trapped’ in the raging torrent of water that literally comes in a ‘flash’ on occasion. And indeed, this morning, though you can not see it…there is one heck of a raging torrent of water taking place in this stream. It is literally moving some serious sized fallen tree debris. These flash flood type of situations can be very dangerous for your livestock and infrastructure. Always have a disaster plan for your livestock and build your farm infrastructure to account for the topography and climate events that will indeed take place on your farm.
This morning, after the ‘wow factor’ of the flooding, we proceed with our morning chores checking on the most amazing an-fam (our animal family). Here’s a few shots of our critters. Our two week old lambs are doing great. Their mamma is Mary (the white ewe). Patches, the gray ewe is due any hour. Her udder is bagging up and vulva swelling meaning lambing in imminent. So, there will be more lambs any moment. We check every four to five hours to monitor Patch’s progress.
Upon tending to our animal chores (morning feeding) we head up to our orchard we are working to bring back to life.
I posted this weekend on our blog about how to ‘bring back your raspberries’ after your husband accidently mows them all down. Well, continuing on our journey to revive an overgrown orchard we’ve inherited that has been virtually abandoned for up to a decade we are guessing, we assess our work in progress from yesterday. This orchard is truly amazing as there are black raspberries, dozens of very mature blueberries, blackberries, peach tree, pear tree, six very mature apple trees, walnut trees, pecan trees, and a bunch of grape vines. As if that’s not enough, I am adding to the orchard this spring (the month of February is ideal for this climate) hardy kiwi, cranberries, a fig tree, strawberries, gooseberry, goji berry, an american hazelnut and a bunch of asparagus and sunchokes. (My husband loves me…smiles and says okay honey, yep, I’ll get the land cleared !)
Yesterday we spent the entire day saving this most amazing Concord Grape Vine. Mind you, the trunk of this vine is about three inches in diameter. This vine was buried in the ground impossible to even recognize. It was overgrown with honey suckle and completely non-penetrable due to blackberry briars as thick as your thumb. The effort to cut away the roots, barbs, brambles and vines and then save this gorgeous vine was truly thrilling for us yesterday. Here we have four metal leaders that run across the cross bars and there are vines on all four leaders. We are thrilled to have this old vine saved and able to produce this summer. We will next test the soil to check the PH. Typically, these abandoned vines need lime. But, test your soil so you know what they need. Tomorrow we will save three Muscadine Grape Vines that are entangled in an old apple tree applying the same approach we did here. Muscadine grapes are legendary in the South. If you like country music then very likely you have heard lyrics of muscadine wine. We will be making wine in the coming summers with help from our friends who have a muscadine vineyard here. We plan on helping them in their wine making and bringing our own vineyard on this property back to life.
Upon inspection of our work in the orchard, next Mike heads off to his shop to build in his wood working shop and I head off to 1) order seeds for my spring starts, 2) start my sweet potatoes in water to sprout and 3) thresh my wheat I grew this last summer for seeds for my 2016 grain plantings along with seed extraction of my pumpkin so we can have some nutritious pumpkin seeds around (they are seriously medicinal and valuable to have around).
Spring is popping and this morning on the farm is yet another reminder that mamma nature really dictates the terms of our day. Be it flooding, new babies, seed starts, or reclaiming vines from nature’s overgrowth, mamma nature always has a grip on our farm. It’s truly awesome to see the power of nature, be able to have the time to really engage with it and enjoy the bounty that nature provides. We are so blessed as retired empty nesters to have farming in common, husband and wife. We are truly partners in this passionate endeavor to raise our own food and run a sustainable low impact farm. We are truly blessed and we wish the same for all our readers.
God Bless ! L. Davis