Allison and I are just about to hit our two year anniversary of living here. It's both incredibly encouraging and sobering to see what's been accomplished so far. When we moved here two years ago, you couldn't see off the property in any direction. It was dark and closed in. There was no usable garden space. The place was covered in poorly located ornamental plantings and about half of the property was unusable for anything meaningful whatsoever. There was a pile of trash 6 feet tall, blocking the door to the shop. Blackberrys were swallowing the landscape and rubbish was littered everywhere.
Our first year was the year of Tabula Rasa. We were trying to create a blank canvas on which to paint our Eden. We logged the property, moved ornamental plantings to the edges to serve as hedge plants, or removed them, and made our plans. That first year was tough. Taking over a farm is one thing, taking a property that was never anything like a farm and raising it out of the ashes was another thing all together.
Our second year, last year, was about foundations. Allison finished her Permaculture Certification and we solidified our plan for the property. We put in animal housing and permanent enclosures and built up 2 of our 5 main garden areas. We built beehives, got some tenants for them, and received our beloved chickens and ducks. We started our website, became an LLC, had our logo developed (thanks Jago!) and started making bank (one of those is a lie).
2015 is going to be the first year we will begin to see real and literal fruit from our labor. Here is an overview of what's to come in the next year (let's call these our Resolutions).
- Allison has SO MANY seeds, which we will be starting here pretty soon for spring planting. We have annual and perennial fruits and vegetables, root crops, herbs and various medicinals.
- We will begin to put in fruit, nut and legume trees throughout zone 1 of the property this spring (that's the areas close to the house).
- More bees are coming in early spring, and we will be experimenting with different hive styles.
- Our Classes Begin.
- Pigs are coming mid-spring and our rotational pasture system will be up and running by then.
- We will start replanting timber trees along the northern and eastern border of the property and throughout the pasture (We are establishing a small silvopasture with natural succession of indigenous grasses).
- Our first CSA begins. It will be a very, very small experimental CSA.
- Mid-Late spring we will fence the whole property and build our bioshelter.
- The food forest will be planted on contour swales at the top of the property in the Fall, which is when the main bulk of our fruit and nut trees will be planted.
- Both ponds will be built around the same time as the contour swales.
I'm tired just thinking about all this, but also really, really excited. Designing and building the foundation and infrastructure involves the most time, money and energy and is the least visible and attractive part of the process. It's also the most important. I am thankful for the years we have spent (and the one or two more we have yet to spend) laying foundations here. Out of Ashes has truly risen from a property without much of anything to offer.
Thank those of you (and you know who you are) that have put in a stupid amount of free labor (MVP Aaron Miller) to make this place amazing. We have incredible people in our lives that have supported us in every way possible. We won't forget you in the harvest to come.
So join with us in raising a glass of Kombucha to 2015!!