Prepare Your Fields (April)

Proverbs 24:27 Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

With our snug-little-cabin all in working order, though far from finished, the Lord has put it in our hearts to put first-things-first, according to His Word! I really enjoy how He reveals His order and methods for how to live life, which always make so much sense, and keep things from getting overwhelming!

And so, on those warm winter days, and now that spring has sprung, we have concentrated our efforts on clearing all trash from the perimeter of the house, preparing the area where we will be planting our garden and establishing our firewood storage for next year. Where initially we thought that there was one trash pile on one side, recent excavations have uncovered trash piles on three sides of the house, lol! Carpets and shingles and sofas, oh my! And oh-so-many plastic bags and tin cans and nails-upon-nails-upon-nails…

And then, too, we finally were able to tackle the pile of appliances that came out of the house, dismantling them for recycling. In one small house, there was a washer and a dryer, a water-heater, an enormous microwave, and four various-sized refrigerators! It has sometimes been hot and dirty work but, working together, we have sorted and shifted all the debris down to the end of the mobile home, ready to be hauled off in loads for disposal. 

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The next order of business is to complete a couple of burn piles, and then to rake out our planting areas. From the front of the house, we have an area of about 70 x 40 feet that we can dedicate to farming first off. We have a single pathway down the middle (made of log-slices from timber that we’ve cleared, and following the septic line where we don’t want to do any digging or planting anyway), and we’ll be planting row crops like onions and cabbage and broccoli and beets and such on both sides, where we have the most sun.

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We’ll have one long line of sunflowers down one side, separating our farm area from the mobile home, with the added benefit that the sunflowers will also hide the eyesore from view, while still allowing access for us to dismantle and haul out, and will also begin to clean the soil there from the years of whatever-has-been-leaching-out-into-it. Along the other side, we border the forest, and we’ve left several tall saplings that we hope will be good poles for growing beans, and we’ll plan to intersperse most of our tall crops there.

And, of course, as we work, I am sometimes inspired to clear a shady spot or two where we can enjoy a drink of cold water and sit and watch the garden grow! 

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We have a local wildflower mix, which we’ll sprinkle over the top of the septic tank on one corner of the farm, as well as over a previous-trash-pile-that-we-cleaned-out on the opposite corner, to make things pretty and attract all the wonderful pollinators to our farm 🙂 We also picked several seeds to scatter in the forest itself, things like wild onions and mountains spinach and sweet woodruff and wintergreen that will begin to fill the forest with good grazing for us and our woodland neighbors! There will be an herb garden somewhere, and we have some grain crops like flax and wheat and oats that we want to sow in small patches near our driveway so that we can start to learn how to grow and harvest and use them…We have a compost pile to establish, and we’ll be moving dirt around from high spots to low spots, to level some places and to get more nutrients into our planting areas, and we’ll be setting up stakes and poles and trellises as needed…

Besides farming, we also have a wood-shed of some sort to build, so that as we work on our land, we can be putting our winter firewood aside and drying, and we have work to do around our foundation, to grade the land properly from the house and reinforce some spots where erosion has occurred.

It will be a year of great experimentation, and this month, our primary focus is getting it all started! 

There are still small inside projects from time to time, like when Asher asked for a slate top on their work desk, for note-taking and sketching…

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Or when we hung our two hammocks inside, dramatically increasing our seating capacity, haha!

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But any major household projects will have to wait, and most of our work these days is outside, with an eye towards putting our outdoor work in order and getting our fields ready.

As always, it’s a work-play mix, and one Sunday found us exploring a new trail system about 20 minutes from home, called the Pigeon Hill Reserve down the coast in Steuben. 

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It was a thirsty walk…

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And the kids were worn out by the end!

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Of course, there’s always bread to bake…

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…and sometimes there are logs to balance on…

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…and a new spinny-dress to enjoy…

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and nature to admire! Asher has taken up an interest in photography, and trades off with his brother capturing those little wonders of the world that catch his eye…

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On Joe’s birthday, we continued our tradition of birthday-breakfast at Helen’s, and then went on a treasure hunt around our property, which Asher organized. Each stop yielded a treat and a puzzle piece, which came together at the end to reveal a mystery animal that Asher had drawn – a weasel!

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 Followed by birthday cake and lunch, and then a trek out to the stream where we watched a nuthatch that seemed to be making its nest in a dead tree-top, and then sat on the shore and watched the water flow by, it was a great way to spend a warm and sunny day!

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Easter took us out into the forest again, hunting eggs dyed with orange peels and onion skins and berries, as well as snacks and treats, and a special series of things to help us remember the Easter story – 30 pieces of silver, crosses, and one empty “tomb”! Praise the Lord, He has overcome death and the grave, drawing all of us to Him!

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Spring is a magical time when things are awakening, migrating, arriving, nesting and breeding…We’ve begun to hear the little frogs called Peepers (though we haven’t found one yet), and to see new birds, like an Eastern Phoebe, singing all around our property to defend his territory!

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We seem to have a nesting pair, though I’m not sure where their nest is – I hope they are successful!

The kids asked to use some of their own money to buy some birdseed, and we set up a few rocks and logs outside the window at their learning area, where we’ve begun to see some new visitors, like this Pine Warbler…

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…the Hermit Thrush…

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…the female American Goldfinch…

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…a female Purple Finch…

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Each new arrival is greeted with a flurry of excited shouts, “Look, something new, something new!”, followed by a series of “ssshhh, ssshhh, ssshhh”-es, as we grab cameras and binoculars and gently slide the window open to get a good look, and then a quiet patter of footsteps as Asher goes to get the bird book and starts identifying 🙂

Familiar visitors like the squirrels and the nuthatches are equally as delightful to watch, and the kids are often distracted from their schoolwork to sketch them or take photos or videos…

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Nothing’s leafing-out yet, so you can still see a long ways into the forest, but everywhere the mosses are puffing up as the snow melts away, and pink maple buds are growing. We see a lot of water on our land – lovely clear pools, but it does make one think that the potential is high for mosquito and black-fly season…We shall see what’s in store for us there. I hope we also have lots of critters around to eat them all before they eat us!

So, here we go, time to work outside and plant and prepare…Mud season, here we come!

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4 thoughts on “Prepare Your Fields (April)

  1. Syd, I absolutely love your story and what God has done for your beautiful family. I miss ya friend. You guys are brave for taking the leap and truly enjoying God’s gifts.

    Like

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