Saturday, May 23, 2015

Feed Me Seymour

Like those cute little houseplants that rise up to eat you as you sleep our new property is totally out of control. It's one of the things we like most about it. The wildness of it, but we also struggle with its trashy past.


The west side of the property.
 It's history is sketchy. Owned by a bank who repossessed it from an unknown resident it went on the market in Sept. 2013. We experienced a short bidding war with another interested party but because our realtor accidently wrote our bid $2000 then what we verbally told her, we got the land just a few days after it was listed.  We are thrilled about her mistake to this day.

But, no one had lived here for a very long time and before that the acreage had not been cared for. Piles of garbage was everywhere with the oldest trash on the far edges and the newest garbage closer to the house which was built in 1868.  We have literally removed truck loads of junk. Last spring we did several controlled burns and were able to visualize even more garbage. But now new grass has come to life and due to the recent frequent rains we've had the whole 7 acres is quite jungle like.

But, in our fourth week of homestead residency, we are making progress: beating back the bush, trimming the trees, slaying the ticks the size of a kindergardner (I'm not kidding, we saw one wrestling with one of our 40 pound feeder pigs just this morning,) and in general taking back the land.

Never underestimate the power of a pigs nose

Not all of it though. In fact the last thing we plan to do is get into that old mowing trap. Nope. This farm will be different. Which is why many family members have yet to visit. Oh well. Instead we are using the livestock to do the majority of the work. The pigs, just two as opposed to the 60 or so we used to raise, have completed their circle and had their pen extended. Keith assists with the excavation pulling out the glass, tin cans and keys...yes a whole set of keys..the pigs have unearthed.

 
 

A new neighbor told us this property may have been home to a "Chop Shop"
several years ago. Seems likely.

The steers, we have 9 here that have already been pre-sold and two for ourselves, are doing an excellent job on the east side of the property. It's easy to see the grass they have eaten on the left and the grass untouched on the right.




Our sheperd/huskie cross, Ashland, stands in the pasture area the steers will be rotated to tomorrow. We generally leave them in one area two days and then move them, so within a couple weeks they will have grazed the entire farm and we will have picked up yet another ton of trash. Another ten years or so and we will so be in control of this land.

14 comments:

  1. Control? Control? You meant Harmony - right?? Working together. Give and take. Sharing the space. I know your hippy blood would never try to dominate, only accomodate. LOL

    Meanwhile, it's like an archeology/anthropology dig there. Find enough keys and you'll be making windchimes in no time. Love seeing how the pigs are rooting and the cows are grazing. And I'd pay good money to see a chicken lay an egg on a clothesline! Glad you're having fun. And thanks for the updates. :-D

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  2. Key wind chimes? Brilliant. It is indeed a real shift for me to let some things "be" like the miles of grape vines around our small pond and willow tree, to appreciate nature more and mold it less. The rewards, in time, peace and contentment are immense; when I stop fighting them. :)

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  3. holy toldeo!!!! can we come next weekend?
    ~maggie

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    1. You bet. The compost toilet is all warmed up for you sis.

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  4. you've been making a lot of progress already. fences for the livestock, good land work. love the home idea!

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    1. Some days yes it feels like progress, other days all I can see is the years of work ahead of us. But 99% of the time I am giddy with glee!

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  5. Yes, definitely do not fall into the mowing trap! That's the worst part of having neighbors, IMO. Have to agree that the progress looks really good.

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    1. Thanks Leigh. As you know it's never ending and so hard to be pleased with what we have done. It is SO HARD to live a simple life :)

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  6. Polyface farm watch out - you are going to have competition. Its all good good good. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Naaaaaa. They have no worries. Polyface focuses on customer sales as we used to, now we just have to be sure to grow enough for ourselves. A whole different kind of pressure. Joel has been an excellent leader though for those of us trying to make our way through all the regulatory garbage.

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  7. Do you have neighbours close by btw or are you quite isolated? I wonder if any treasure is unearthed by the pigs??

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    1. Yes and No. Our property is surrounded by large open fields while our property has lots of woods, pasture and is on rolling ground. We stand out from far away. Most neighbors are 1-2 miles away but this is a very rural area and yet we are just 10 miles from a town of 11,000 and only 1.5 miles south of Chicago with their millions of people.

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  8. Interested in your tick control methods. Maybe a blog?

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    1. Hey D! We tried the natural essential oil routine and the ticks laughed out loud at us. Had to get hard core meds from vet which killed those buggers. Now with chickens and guineas roaming the place, plus mowing and steer grazing the ticks are nearly gone,

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