Today I thought I would tell everyone about our first planting experience, as I am getting super excited while waiting for my seed order to arrive!
In the past two years I have learned so much about land and planting and had many failures doing so I figured why not share the experience.
The first year we started farming we rented 17 acres and paid to get someone to come in during early spring and break the ground, and turn up the soil. It was utter torture from there on, we had no tractor and so where left with a field full of soil and chunks of grass. Shaking my head and wondering what I got myself into, I took a deep breath and said We can do this! So being 9 months pregnant with our seventh child and the determination to no longer fail, my husband and I took to the dreaded field with our children off to the side running and playing. Our two daughters that are the oldest of the children pitched in from time to time, but the days were long. We walked the field turning the chunks of soil and collecting rocks, singing songs with the children until we could only see the dark brown soil.
The next step was the worst for someone who had only dug a 4 foot by foot garden prior to this experience, yep that's right next we had to dig rows in a two acre garden. This took us a couple of weeks to finish, due to the large amounts of rain we were getting. It was not fun especially when you are half way out in a field and it starts to down pour. I still remember that day, the girls and I where finishing our tomato rows, when suddenly hard cold rain began to hit us, we tried to get back to the house as quick as we could but the rain was so hard it turned the soil to sticky mud. We lost our boots a few times and I ended up falling once or twice, by the time we made it to the house we looked like mud people. Needless to say we had to stay out of the field for a day, but I didn't complain it was nice to have a rest.
Once we finished our rows we planted corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, squash, peppers, onion and pumpkins. Throughout the season we constantly had to weed the garden by hand, and found it so hard to keep up with as the field used to be a hay field and so when we had turned the soil we refreshed the hay seeds that where on the ground. On top of that it was one of the hottest summers we had in a few years and with the exception of the spring down pours, we hardly saw enough rain to feed our plants. We tried bucketing out water by hand but it was not working. Later that season we had made friends with a local farmer and he said some of our problem was that we disturbed the water line in the field. I thought he was crazy at first but after listening to him explain all the facts, I shook my head once again. After all that hard work we only came out with enough tomatoes and corn to do us half the winter. I was so upset and the hubby had thought about giving it all up...needless to say we are still at it.
Here on the homestead I am starting to get frustrated with the amount of laundry we do in one week. Where a family of four might have two to three loads a week, our large family of ten seems to be coming up with 10 to 12 loads in one week. Sure there are a lot of us, but it still seems like so much laundry for one week and being that we are currently renting and are unable to make a drying room for our laundry, we are forced to use a electric dryer which frustrates me even more as I have been trying to limit the amount of hydro we use in a day.
So after a great deal of discussion we have come up with a plan. We have been trying to get back to just the basics and when it comes to the children and their clothing well I am pretty sure we could cloth about 10 to 15 extra children, so our plan is to go through all the clothing in the next two weeks and cut back to a weeks worth of clothing, pack away a few extras and then donate the rest of the clothing to children who could really use it in the area. After this is completed I am hoping our weekly laundry will be cut down by at least 50%.
Well it is the first day of February and things have been getting busy. In front of our patio doors we have our plant stands up and have planted an assortment of bell peppers, hot peppers, celery and some starter tomatoes. We are lucky enough to have the wood stove almost directly beside the patio doors so at night our little seedlings are getting enough heat to grow! At the same time we have been outside trying to get things done for spring, but with these cold wind chill temperatures not too much is being accomplished. We had a warmer day this past Thursday so my hubby decided to head out to the bush and bring a few dead fallen trees back in order to make it thru till spring, so later today we will be cutting and splitting it all.
Our ewe Cinnamon is doing very well and her baby Caramel is up and running just like one of the children. I have to admit I was a bit worried with the cold snaps this winter that our little Caramel might not make it but everything is going well! Our piglets are growing and we have now noticed that we have two male piglets, not one. So now we only have five gilts but that is okay, we will only be keeping the one male for breading so come March or April we will be making our way to the abattoir with our second male pig to get some rather yummy bacon!