Thursday, January 14, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of January 2016

I’ve finished the University of Massachusetts winter semester and submitted my final homestead map - pictured below.

It contains:

*Woodshed - store 8 cords of wood for heating
*Storage Barn - 20x24 structure for equipment
*Animal Housing which includes workshop - small barns for alpaca, llama, dogs and pigs providing weather protection, hay storage, and workshop
*Roof Catchment with cisterns - keyline design which results in water flow from gutters into the swales which irrigates cropland and feeds the vernal pond. A cistern under the front house gutter could store 900 gallons of water (based on the available space in that area)
*Cart Paths and Lanes - 1.5 miles of paths, some dating to the Revolutionary War which provide access to all agricultural and water features
*Contour Planting - sunchokes and ginseng in the understory of our forests using the partial shade on hillsides to produce crops
*Ponds and Dams with Swales and Terraces - Water management is an inter-related connection of house, land/hardscaping, streams, ponds and wetland.
*South Facing Outdoors - bee yard and all animal housing is south facing to capture
solar heat
*Greenhouse - 3 season food growth (with some winter production of lettuce/spinach/
*Food storage and  root cellar - storage for our canned/preserved foods and
onions/potatoes/squash to provide calories over the winter
*Wetland Water Cells - to absorb winter snow melt and heavy rains/prevent erosion
*Small Paddocks - for llama/alpaca, dogs, pigs
*Patch gardens - Herb Spiral near the kitchen to provide a convenient cutting garden,
perennial food crop planting throughout the property , mushroom logs
*Fertility Crops and Mulch and Compost - clover/legumes are grown as part of
polyculture in the orchard. Soil is amended by sources of manure and decaying mushroom logs

My Spring course is 13 weeks of farm marketing and management.   I’ve always said that you can make a small fortune in farming, as long as you start with a large fortune.   We’ll see.

Now that the weather has turned cold and wet, it’s time for indoor maintenance work such as sharpening tools, organizing, and streamlining.    I rebuilt 5 kegs by replacing all their gaskets, set up a bottling/label gluing area in the cider house, and re-organized all the cider and lager plumbing to make it easier to serve our hand crafted beverages.     Here’s a view of the re-built kegs and the new Unity Farm label.

We’ve divided the pig paddock into two half acre portions so that we have free area for letting the dogs run, isolating a sick animal or stacking snow if we have no other place to put it.   The pigs are very happy in their south facing sunny barn with a half acre of grass.   They come when called, recognize our faces, and are incredibly affectionate.    I realize that it is important in any herd to show the leadership of humans.    Here’s Tofu, standing on my chest, eating my nose.    Who is dominating whom?

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