It only took two years of living on the farm for me to recognize that there’s a very fine line between holy-effing-freezing and holy-shit-my-garden-should-have-been-planted-already. As far as I can tell, this magical period of time lasts approximately 0.0078 seconds and falls sometime between March and June. And you better be on your toes, because if you blink, you might miss it.
Last year I had grand plans for a fenced in garden full of raised beds, stone walkways, and a big chicken coop in the middle. And, um…
Okay, maybe I spent too much time planning and not enough time actually planting (early enough.) And I might have underestimated how long it would take me to hand shovel three-thousand pounds of dirt into those beds to get them ready for seeds. Didn’t stop me from ending up with a massive amount of tomatoes last year…
But it wasn’t quite the garden I envisioned. This year, however, my act is slightly more together. (Anyone who has seen the state of my laundry recently just started laughing hysterically.) Still, when it comes to the garden, I’m making some actual progress.
I planted two of my beds full of garlic last fall…
And this is what they look like right now…
I scored some salvaged fence through a family connection last year, and called the guys who helped me with the split-rail on the donkey pasture to help me install it as soon as the frost is out of the ground.
And I’ve got a crew of friends and family coming over for a Raised-Bed-Building Party in a couple of weeks, where we’re going to knock out a bunch of these $25 beds for everyone, assembly-line style.
By the end of May, the real infrastructure for the garden should be in place.
As far as the actual growing part goes, well, I started planting seeds indoors a couple of weeks ago…
Okay, technically that is outdoors, but only for the planting part. The growing part is totally happening in my kitchen.
So far I’ve got bush beans, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant started. With a long list I’ve also got, well, this…
You’ll note that there a few larger packages of grains out there… this is something I’m going to attempt on the Back Four this year.
But in order to mow, plow, and otherwise tame the jungle that is the four acres on the back of my property, I needed, well, this…
(Buried the lead on that one, didn’t I?)
Now, there’s a reason that I didn’t go overboard on the exclamation points yet, and that’s because this tractor is a little bit broken. It runs. It also leaks oil all over your work boots (which is fine for work boots, less fine for the ground you want to plow to plant veggies in) and there might be few missing parts. But, listen, I’m not entirely sure that I don’t have a few loose screws myself. We don’t judge around here.
You guys know I’ve been talking about buying a tractor forever– or for a year, which basically feels like forever to a girl who compulsively buys tools rightthisminute— but other than a few fruitless google searches, I hadn’t put a lot of effort into the tractor-search. My fruitless searching may have come up in conversation with one fantastically bearded dude on our very first date. If I remember correctly, that conversation went something like this:
Me: It’s pretty much impossible to find a decent tractor for under $10,000. Even a really old one.
Him: Impossible? No, it’s not impossible.
Me: Do you even know anything about tractors?
Me: I’m telling you, I’ve done a lot of research on this. [All lies.] It’s impossible.
Him: Right. I’ll find you a tractor for under $10,000 dollars.
Then I was like, who the hell is this guy who thinks he can just waltz in to my life with his fantastic beard and take over all of my fruitless tractor searching? Except he kind of did just that. (Clearly, clearly, I have a weakness for beards and stubbornness.)
Next thing I know I’m thisclose to buying–for significantly less than $10,000– an old tractor that I’ve never seen in person through an online auction (sound familiar?) when my family was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a tractor that may or may not be broken, we’ll just give you this broken one and you can spend that money on fixing it up.
And that’s how I ended up with a tractor with a broken frame, and leaky oil, and a transaxle that’s maybe missing some parts. It’s at the shop right now, and I’m hoping to get it fixed and buy a few accessories before I miss my opportunity to plow and plant my back field this season.
And don’t even get me started on the fruit trees and grapevines.
There is going to be a lot of dirt under my fingernails this Spring…