Dateline: 25 June 2015
|My Field is an ocean of tall weeds!|
June is a month of limitations for me. It is the busiest month for my Planet Whizbang mail order business. Which means I'm working from early morning, into the night, making sure that orders are processed, packaged, and promptly shipped.
There is precious little time for much else, and anything else (like working in my garden, or writing this blog) must be done at odd moments of the day, when I deliberately take a few minutes to refocus. By the end of the month (right about now) I'm nearing burn out.
So, last Sunday (a no-mail day), in the morning, I fired up Leyland (my tractor) and headed down to my field. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I bought me a field, with some woods, a few years back. Paid cash, earned from selling chicken plucker books and chicken plucker parts over the course of ten years. Land ownership was a dream come true.
The land adjoins my 1.5 acre homestead plot. But, due to the topography (a deep, wooded gully), my field is only accessible by driving down the road aways, around the corner, and down another road aways. Which means it is not exactly convenient to get to.
My field is about 10 acres in size. And, though I'm delighted to own a field, I'm kind of at a loss to know exactly what to do with it. If it had some fence and some cows, it would make a fine pasture. That would be nice, but I don't feel like I'm near enough to the land to properly tend the cattle. A good portion of the land could be an enlarged garden or a berry patch. But, again, it's not convenient to get there and tend to it like would be needed. I have planted a small apple orchard on the land and it doesn't get the attention it deserves.
The way I see it, I need to live in this field if I'm going to properly take care of it. I know from experience on our 1.5 acres that having a garden real near the house means it is a whole lot easier to take care of. Same goes for having critters.
So Marlene and I keep thinking about the prospect of building a house in the field. But that's an expensive proposition. The other possibility is that I first build a much-needed barn/building for my Planet Whizbang business. Then maybe the house could come later. But, to complicate matters, a good section of the lower part of the field is wet. Real wet. As in, water continually flowing over the ground wet.
The water comes from a spring on the neighbor's property. It has been diverted underground via drain pipes (aka, drain tile) for decades, but the pipes are inadequate for the flow and the area has been a recurring problem.
It is a perfect situation for making a pond. But I don't have the money to spare for such an extravagance.
I've been told that there is government money (aka, "grants") available for building ponds (and fences too), and I know neighbors who have tapped into such money. But I don't think it's right for me to take tax dollars to improve my land. Wouldn't that be a violation of the 8th Commandment? (thou shalt not steal). No thanks.
So, my plan is to someday hire someone with a bulldozer to create an open drain ditch from the source of water at the property line, down through the field to an existing gully. With the amount of water that flows over the land, it would amount to creating a man-made stream. I'll make it deep enough that the field around it can be drained into it. And wide enough that the sides slope down gently to the water. Once that's done, and the field is dry, I can then think about a Planet Whizbang barn, and even a house.
The only problem is my lack of financial resources. I reckon I have enough savings to have the earthwork done, but then I'll have to work and wait a few more years to save enough for the barn. Projects like this take time (a lifetime) when you have to work for your money, and are paying as you go.
In the meantime, my field is getting overgrown with weeds. It has been three years since I cut it with Leland and my sickle bar mower. Brambles are growing, and there are little sumac trees here and there. The field needs to be cut low. I have a person with a brush hog lined up to mow it all down (except the real wet area).
And that's what brought me to my field last Sunday morning. I needed to flag the wet spots so the brush hogger could steer clear and not get stuck.
In the process of pounding posts and putting up strips of florescent tape, I checked on my little apple orchard half way up the field (above the water problems), and I was very surprised to find actual apples on some of my trees!
|(click the picture to see a larger view)|
I did not expect apples to be on the trees for a couple more years. Altogether, there are ten apples on four of the trees. They are beautiful apples too!
Then along the edge of my field (close to the woods) I was delighted to discover an abundance of perfectly ripe wild strawberries.
I spent some time picking and eating strawberries.
Another pleasant surprise was an oak tree whip I planted a couple years ago. It was thriving...
I planted a lot of little tree seedlings, most of them maple trees, and most of them have either died or are barely hanging on, but that oak tree is living the good life.
Seeing as that tree has managed to do so well, it's kind of special to me, and I suppose it always will be. I look forward to seeing it grow much bigger.
(Note to self... plant more trees)
It was a nice morning. A very nice morning. And I enjoyed myself thoroughly, out there in my field. But I lost track of time.
I don't wear a watch and I don't have a cell phone. When me and Leyland got home, Marlene came out to inform me that we had missed church. Did I forget? No, I didn't forget. I actually thought I was getting back in plenty of time to make it to church.
I suggested to Marlene that we could go back up into the field and pick some strawberries. And that's what we did.