This was a busy and productive weekend on our homestead. There’s so much to do to get ready for the Makers and Growers Market on April 27th – lots of planning and research and networking and homestead clean up… AAAAAAND is time to get the gardens ready for planting and even do some planting.
Braden and I get up first thing in the morning to let the sheep out of their shelter and give them their morning feed and hay… and of course love them up! We always say good morning to the alpacas and check on the chickens, and we run and potty the dogs at the same time… all before coffee… Yes, in fact, I AM a Superhero! 🙂
Sunday morning treated us to a beautiful foggy scene… I had to pause and enjoy it, and then take a picture so I could enjoy it later, and share with you, too!
Once Shaleigh and Carson got up, we got to work! Our raspberries from the past couple of years haven’t done the best… the grass grew around them and we think shoved them out. We have a few offers for new raspberry plants from friends, so we decided cut down the rusty wire that was there, clear out the grass from one of the rows, add a bunch of alpaca poop compost and see if we can do better this year.
I also cleared out the dead raspberry plants, “volunteer walnut trees, blackberry bushes and grass from the other rows of raspberries and marionberries by hand. It looks so much better!
Here’s Carson adding our alpaca poop compost into the garden bed that will have corn, beans and squash in the Three Sisters Method that I learned about recently.
The past two years, we’ve planted our corn in rows and then pumpkins and gourds in between the rows, and we haven’t gotten more than a few ears and our pumpkins didn’t grow very big. This year, we’re fertilizing heavily with alpaca compost which should work wonders for our soil quality.And we’ll do a few shorter rows of corn in the middle, beans around those so they can use the corn stalks as support, and then pumpkins and gourds on the outside so their leaves can get more sun and hopefully everything will grow well… can’t wait to try it!
Here’s more raspberry row clearing. Shaleigh FINALLY decided to help out for approximately 7 minutes, after a lot of fighting… she’s not much of a farm hand when it comes to work, but she’s an excellent outfit chooser… and she’s a great story teller and farm tour guide.
Shortly after this picture, she joined Braden at our neighbor’s house for a chat, probably hoping that it would end with a popsicle!
Oh, look… I was there, too!
This is about as good as it gets for dates for us these days… kids otherwise occupied and not asking us for food for saying they’re bored, while we work on big projects and to do lists… and we’re okay with it.
Then… Carson started up the weed whacker for me, and attached the rotatiller attachment and I rotatilled the Three Sisters garden bed… all by my onesies!! A new skill for me. We all have our gifts… and using power tools is not one of mine… yet! I still can’t get the weedwhacker started yet, but I sure can rotatill after it’s started! Go me!! 🙂
I also met with two amazing women about the Makers and Growers Market yesterday afternoon. Both women have way more experience than I do and were so open and kind and shared all kinds of information that I wouldn’t know otherwise.
Marissa Cornish, the “Urban Farm Girl PNW”, ran a store in Marysville and had a booth at the Marysville Street Fair, and has tons of retail experience. She will be one of our sellers at the Makers and Growers Market and she had so many helpful tips and lots of great ideas.
Heidi Hill and her husband Andy make beautiful metal art. Their company, Freeborn Metal Arts, travels to at least 20 craft shows every year and have tons of experience as vendors and lots of stories from event planners and things that have gone right and wrong.
My head was spinning at the end of the day – but in a good way! I feel like I both have done a lot of good work, and have tons more work to do and so many things I hadn’t thought about yet. I feel so supported and excited about this cool community we’re building.
So, the other part of the Makers and Growers Market is that we’ll be introducing our farm stand which will be out along the road in front of the house all summer – and maybe into Fall, depending on what we have. This awesome hay feeder belongs to our neighbor to the south who had horses and llamas, but doesn’t have any animals right now. Carson had the idea of making it a farm stand… we won’t change much, just add a shelf or two and some signs and baskets to display veggies and fruits and flowers. The farm stand is a very sweet collaboration of several neighbors and friends contributing pieces and harvests and I am so excited to see how it all works!
The hay feeder hadn’t moved in 20ish years even though it’s on wheels… it’d been in one place in our neighbor’s field, until last week when they moved it over to our market area. We weren’t sure until yesterday exactly where it would end up but we made a plan yesterday and Carson leveled the gravel in the area it would go, and it was time to move it. The front axle (is that what the wheels are attached to?) was stuck and one of the frotn wheels was turning while the other was straight and it made it really hard to move it with the trailer hitch and truck… so the men got together and made a plan. That’s Carson, Marissa’s husband Mike, and our other neighbor JimBob. They decided to lift it with the trailer and then push from the other end.
It is perfect!!! It’s so perfect! I love how people slow down when they drive by to figure out what it is! Excitement is building!
After our friends left, I still had to do farm chores – the sheep needed their evening feed and hay, and to be tucked into their shelter. The chickens needed food and water. I needed to do alpaca poop patrol.
And, I needed to enjoy this beautiful evening. Such an amazing day and I’m so grateful for all that we have, all that we’re building, and all of the wonderful, generous, loving people in our lives. And apparently I’m a little sappy, too… But look at this.
And these alpaca butts…
And this beautiful walnut tree.
And I know this is blurry, but that’s a bald eagle at the tippy top of that tree… the same eagle that’s been flying around all weekend doing shows for me!
I also had to go out and have one more look at our farmstand… in the sunset.