Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unity Farm Journal - Fourth Week of August 2016

Often people ask me how Kathy and I are able to care for 126 animals, grow half our food, and continuously develop 15 acres of wilderness into a farm.    My wife took this photo after my recent orchard work which seems to indicate we have supernatural help!

Last year we started the summer with 20 guinea fowl and ended the summer with 70 guinea fowl.    At this point we still have 60 and every day we listen for the distinct call of a guinea sitting on a nest (it sounds like a seagull).   We empty the eggs and offer them to friends.   The ones we do not find in the deeper forest, the raccoons tend to eat.   Thus far, we’ve had a successful guinea contraceptive program in 2015.   We do have a friend in Connecticut who wants guinea fowl, so if we miss one nest, we'll have a friendly home for the chicks.

I’ve put the last coat of water seal on the hoop house back wall, so now our 24x17 foot equipment space is fully ready for winter.

Speaking of winter, this week we received 2 tons of Chaff Hay - a prepackaged blend of alfalfa and molasses that provides extra energy to the alpaca on cold days.   Soon the second cut orchard grass hay arrives to fill the barn loft, signaling that we’re fully stocked for the 6 months of cold ahead.

Next weekend we release the pheasants we’re raised from eggs - 6 females and 1 male.  They’re beautiful birds and our hope is that they will free range on the farm property for years to come.

As I mentioned last week, I am designing a 12x12 foot tree house, ten feet up in an old oak tree.   I put one of orchard ladders on the tree and climbed up 20 feet to assess the view.  

With a tree house floor at 10 feet, my eyes will be at 16 feet.    Here’s the view from the perspective of where the treehouse will be.    The engineering required to keep a large tree house in the tree will include 2 nine inch tree attachment bolts, 4 cantilevers, and construction on the ground that it raised into the tree at the appropriate time.

I've marked the tree with builders twine at 8 feet and 10 feet.  I've decided the floor will be placed at 10 feet.   Next weekend, I'll pickup fourteen 2x8x12 joists and get started.

The upland area at Unity Farm will have a treehouse, what about the lowland near the marsh?  I've toyed with the idea of weaving thin willow trees together to create a Hobbit House.   More about that next week.

No comments: