My goodness it has been a frenzy of late here at HiBar Ranch. We like to update our followers on what goes on at the farm each time of year as it helps others learn the cycle of things as they prepare to do more homesteading themselves. So, what has been going on over the last two weeks and what are we preparing for next?
As many of you know, our big project, the new equestrian barn and riding ring we completed this last week and we are now planting lawn to finish that area off. We are also reseeding all our lawns as we speak.
Shifting gears now that the big project is done, we have just completed other smaller tasks on the farm.
First, I purchased more ducklings, hatched out turkeys and am experimenting with ring neck pheasants. They are all doing well in the garage.
I am now starting to weed all of our flower beds around the riding ring and house. The dogwoods are in full bloom right now and it is absolutely stunning to be outside.
The skies are so dynamic, it is truly spectacular. The clouds are stunning, the blues and greens of the Smokies are stunning and then all the mountainous blooms really finish it off. It is truly lovely here in Spring.
Our big oaks and hickories that surround our Victorian farmhouse at the top of the hill where our house resides on the farmstead are all beginning to leaf out and will be able to cast wonderful shade for our hot August afternoons.
We got two new bee nuc colonies this week to begin standing up my apiary here in Tennessee. A majority of my bees are still up in New York at our ranch up there.
The garden is tilled and ready to plant! This is huge for me. My onions as you can see are up on the left. All my medicinal herbs are doing great from last year on the left. On the right are potatoes coming up and chives. Also, kiwi are doing great along with my rhubarb and asparagus. I have a cold frame that you can barely see at the upper left of the picture with tons of food that is producing already. But, now it is time to get to planting the rest of my spring crops.
On top of this garden, all of our fields for corn, squash, pumpkins, etc. are also tilled and ready to plant as well.
With all this prep work done and all my seed starts hardening off that I started in January, that gives me about a week to weed and mulch all of our landscaping around the farmhouse before things get way out of hand.
I am still bottle feeding our blind lamb and five little baby goats three times a day and I also milk out four does twice a day, as well. I am now in the kitchen quite a bit doing alot of dairy processing – which is awesome and one of the things I truly love.
Our big push over the next month will be to get the garden in, the beds tended to, wean the baby goats and lambs, overseed the pastures and build new pasture for our meat goats and cows so they can traverse the entire valley where our property runs along the river. This will allow for much more grazing of our livestock. We will also be closely monitoring all of our fruit in our fruit orchard to make sure it is as healthy as possible without pesticides. We live by organic here at our farm. We have huge apple trees and pears trees, various nut trees, blueberries, black raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, strawberries, concord grapes and muscadine grapes as well. since fruit is such a vital part of our homestead, tending to the health and nutrition of the soils and plants/trees themselves is very important over the next month.
I will begin to do alot of drying in the kitchen of my medicinal herbs as they are truly flourishing as we speak. I basically have my dehydrators running from now until fall, almost daily. Drying is a great way to preserve food and is quicker than canning, though I do alot of that too.
We are sending our horses out for training this week so they are tuned and ready to go for the month with a trainer here in the area. So, we are ready to get on to riding using our new ring and then on up into the Smoky Mountains.
Believe it or not, Spring prep for summer is our busiest time of the year, then second is fall during harvest. Summer is actually easier as there really is just execution of the produce in the gardens, fields and orchards. The babies are all out on grass so that hard part of livestock rearing is over for the year. And now we let nature do its work.
That means that we will finally start to take some parts of our day off and play – that means boating, golf, trail riding, teaching classes on homesteading and animal husbandry, writing for magazines and poetry, working on my childrens book series, etc.
Thanks for sharing in our journey here at HiBar Ranch! May your spring and summer be joyful and productive!
God Bless! L. Davis