Raised Beds

We have been working hard moving stuff into the house, but we decided that our first big farm project (our list is long) would be to start our garden!

Not only will this give us {fingers crossed} lots of delicious organic produce, but will be a great thing for us to work on as a family and help us get off to a running start to working this land and having our farm actually produce something!

So we’ve started all our seeds and have a good batch of little things ready for their new homes. With the weather warming up and the ideal day to plant approaching (thanks, master gardener at the local market for your tips), it is time to build the raised beds.

We originally wanted to wait on a garden this year and had told ourselves we would not jump into anything this year since we needed time to survey the land and get to know what will work and what won’t, but of course we could not help ourselves and what better way to learn than experience, right?!

The garden will be grown with 100% organic seed and we’re going to attempt to control pests via companion planting. I’m sure we will make lots of mistakes along the way, but so far we have a good little batch of plants growing in!

We opted for raised beds for several reasons, the main being that we may learn the position of the garden may need adjusting over the years, and we can better control the soil and make adjustments as needed. We also plan to dig a trough for water collection around the top slope near the garden that will help retain a lot of water that the plants can pull from as needed. Thankfully here in North Carolina we get a lot of rain and things seem to grow really well without much assistance.

We’reĀ  using a mix of corrugated metal and cedar to construct the beds. The corrugated metal cut down on the cost of making the entire things from cedar and also give them a fun industrial farm look. They finished the first 8′ x 4′ bed today as the prototype. It is over 2′ high which I think is quite a bit deeper than we will need or want, but we’ll see how that goes. We have a LOT of great usable dirt that we can pull from on the land, but are searching for a front end loader attachment for our tractor before we can really move the dirt that we want. Thankfully the farm came with an old John Deere tractor so we at least have something to work with and add attachments to as we move forwards.

We are still arranging the final layout of the garden area and have several more beds to construct, so I’ll do an updated post when we get them all built and put in!

the mountains are callingĀ 

You know how the best things in life happen when you least expect it?! So much has changed for us in 2017. We stumbled upon a gem of a spot late January, and one thing led to another. March 31 we closed on our new home and 30 acres in the mountains of western NC! It has already been a huge adventure….one that is just beginning.


While our love for travel and adventure has not changed, our desire to have a home base and a place we can stay outdoors and work the land has led us to this area. We had never imagined western North Carolina would be the place we’d call home, but now that we’re here we could not imagine it any other way!

The climate is very moderate both in summers and winters which will be a welcome change from the heat of the California desert. The views make it easy to hop out of bed in the morning and beckon for a cup of coffee with friends on the rocking chairs to wind down the day.

We have dreamed for as long as we can remember of eventually finding some land to homestead and let the kids run – to live a simpler, cleaner life and do it on purpose. While we aren’t planning on taking on animals for awhile so we can still hit the road in the airstream (once it returns from FL with all the repairs), we have an abundance of fruit trees and are seeding for our garden that will hopefully produce a lot of good food for us throughout the years. Amazing at how the boys are thriving in this new setting already. It’s like having a private mountain campground and the best part is we have no TV or screens to tie up their minds. They are playing hard, sleeping hard, and their sense of imagination and adventure is growing each day.

We couldn’t help but jump right into our projects and we have a long list that we’ll have to pace ourselves on over the years. First thing that had to go up was the new tree swing and we have spent the better part of the past 2 weeks cleaning out a lot of the house and old furniture as the original owners passed on about 17 years ago and it has only been used as a short term vacation rental since.

While life in a small town will be a bit of an adjustment, we love the idea of the slower pace and have already met some wonderful people in the community.

Stay tuned for our updates on building a homestead, lots of fixer uppers (renovating our old mountain cottage/farmhouse), landscape projects, beyond organic gardening and our journey to create a small permaculture farm in time with the 30 acres we have been given! We hope you’ll follow us on this new chapter of our ever changing journey – we enjoy sharing this with you and hope for lots of friends and family to join us here in this new home!
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how eat real food….really: CSA produce

The idea of eating real food is awesome, but the implementation in every day life with little ones running around, long days and empty cabinets can often be overwhelming. The secret to success is making small changes that you can sustain. Don’t try and change everything at once, but try and change one thing for good. Each change will take you one step closer to a healthier lifestyle!

One change that we made toward this goal was to join a local CSA.
csa
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is basically a subscription to a local farm for their produce. Not all CSA farms are organic, but many of them are and you can search for one that is certified organic to be sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting. Each one is set up a bit differently, but for the most part you agree to pay a set fee and get a regular pick-up or delivery of their box of produce!

CSA BENEFITS:

  • You support local organic farming
  • You get whatever they have growing that week which is part of the greatness of it. It will challenge you and your family to eat local organic produce and greatly expand your repertoire of real food. It often opens your eyes to new produce that you would not normally buy and more produce variety = big health benefits!
  • Most CSA’s are a cost savings over buying even non-local, non-organic produce at the grocery store, and a huge cost savings from buying the items individually at a health food store or farmer’s market.
  • Having fresh produce delivered to your door saves many trips to the grocery store!

 

HOW TO FIND ONE:
If you don’t know how to find a CSA in your area, just ask around at your local farmer’s market, google CSA and your city or visit a site like www.localharvest.org to find more information on CSA programs in your area.

BONUS TIP:
If you live in a subdivision with good neighbor interaction or if you have a channel to communicate news and information with the community, consider starting a CSA program in your neighborhood. Many farms or CSA groups will give a host discount or free produce box to someone who coordinates a neighborhood pick-up that exceeds a certain # of orders. It’s a great community event, and a way to supplement the cost with a little bit of time and effort!