15 Acres is a lot of Land

The last two weekends, Aaron and I have been out on the land  Our first endeavor was marking the two acres of planting area, begin marking the blueberry rows, and marking the windbreak tree rows.

The wind was fierce the day we marked the planting area. Standing in the area of our land with mature wind break trees helped us see the power of a natural wall. This is also a good lesson in “part-time farming”. When you have the time, you do the work - regardless of the conditions.

Before we were able to put any stakes in the ground, our dog, Cedar, found a deer scent and took off. She galloped off into another un-planted field and was nowhere to be seen. So, our first hour of work that day was looking for Cedar. After talking to a neighbor friend who said he saw a small, strange looking deer chasing after a herd, we resigned ourselves to looking for her for the rest of the day. She could have been ANYWHERE.

Realizing that we could cover more area driving our car, our neighbor gave us a ride to the area where we parked our cars. Laying next to the farm truck, exhausted, was Cedar. How she found our cars, I will never know.

Valuable Lesson Number 1 - Until you have spent the time training your dog to know where the boundaries of your land are and come when she is called, do not let her roam free in a field.

Last weekend, we planted our cover crop seed. Cover crops serve a few different purposes:
    1. They provide competition for weeds - i.e. choke them out.
    2. When you mow or till in your cover crop, the nitrogen contained in their leaves returns to the soil. Imagine compost, only in the form of a plant instead of manure.
    3. Minimize erosion - When roots of a plant are established in the ground, the soil will not wash away. Soil and it’s nutrients are precious. You want to keep the soil on the land and out of the streams and rivers.
    4. Provide a nice driving or walking space.

This wasn’t particularly difficult work, just tedious. 12 acres of land needed to be seeded with cover crop - 2 acres of grass and 10 acres of oats. I went it alone Friday seeding the 2 acre driveway with grass seed using a push broadcast seed spreader. Saturday, we started early in the morning and seeded the oats. Fortunately, my dad and brother were available to help as after 4 hours on my feet, walking, I was wiped. They drove seed to us while we walked with the spreaders. Aaron used a handheld spreader.

It felt good to be on the land, actually putting things into the ground. I look forward to walking out there in the next couple of days to see what comes of all those tiny seeds we planted.