Sunday, April 17, 2011

farmhouse update, april 17th, 2011

now that the weather is becoming more cooperative by the day, work on the house is starting to seem a bit less daunting . . .

this past week, we did some more hauling junk out of the building and taking stock of high-priority projects such as the blind roof valley (slated for the last week of april) and plaster tear-out. we also took advantage of the drier sunny weather to clear out the weedy overgrowth in the small backyard behind the house.

our newly clear back yard. the tilled area visible beyond the fence is the farm expansion.

to accomplish this incidental landscaping in the most satisfying manner possible, we enlisted the aid of an impromptu fire pit, which we set up in the lot that will eventually become the side yard. even though the wind gusts were quite strong while we were clearing brush, we managed to finish without creating an urban prairie fire.

the modest seeds of what will hopefully become a social nexus

more next week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

the seeds have sprung!

greetings friends!
with great enthusiasm, i introduce to you the future stars of rising pheasant farms!
yellow pear tomatoes!
the sprouted seeds: flowers, lettuce, tomatoes, you name it!
bold and beautiful borage-- these are the largest, most impressive sprouts in the chamber!
i eagerly await a week of warmer (and hopefully dryer) weather. the more beds we prep this week, the sooner the first round of head lettuce can be planted. oh, the joyous excitement that little green life brings in the beginnings of spring!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tilling begins!

ok folks we have officially started the growing season (nothing is growing yet, except sunflower shoots of course, but we're getting there)!

After another sold out market on saturday we borrowed a tiller from a dear friend and gwen went off to break ground.  we decided to completely retill the lot we've been growing on for the past couple years (borrowed from our wonderful friends and neighbors the Kemps) because i've learned my lesson when it come to garden paths.

despite the usually wonderful advice that my mentor/friend Patrick gives me about farming (and life in general), the idea to only till the beds and leave the paths as grass has proven to be less then ideal.  it has been a never ending battle to keep the grass mowed and stop it from creeping in to the beds.  plus since we wanted to get as much growing space out of our land as possible we had 12 inch paths, making it nearly impossible to mow with a standard lawn mower (oh the poor lettuce and greens that would innocently lie out in the paths for an extra bit of sunshine, sheared off without mercy!)

Kemp's lot freshly tilled
We have also begun soil preparation at our new site on Frederick.  it is the first year in production, so it will take quite a bit of work to get this land ready to grow (i think i was a bit optimistic in my planting schedule). gwen and i tagged teamed on tuesday...gwen on the mower and i on the tiller.  we discovered all sorts of lost artifacts in the long grass and i felt good about the work even if we never planted just because the trash was gone.  We tilled about1/3 of the total space planned for this season and we'll have to wait until this rain stops and the soil drys out a bit to get back at it.

I would say the most successful part of our initial tilling adventure was the fortuitous meeting of our new neighbors.  Since jack and i just purchased the house on moran and its been cold and wintery we haven't had a chance to meet the folks near the corner of frederick and moran (we already have great neighbors that we know on moran).  there are only 4 houses on our end of frederick and none on moran north of us, so its very important that everyone is on neighborly terms). though a little skeptically at first, our neighbors were pleased to hear that we were in the process of purchasing the lots and that they would be well maintained. i promised lots of beautiful flowers and help with their gardening if desired.  we talked about the importance of looking out for each other and possibly forming a block club to help communication between neighbors and keep our corner safe.  All in all i would say it was a great first impression and we're looking forward to doing our part to brighten up our little block!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

farm updates from the beginning of april


now that spring is upon us, we have no further excuses for not putting some updates from our projects up on the internet. our goal involves weekly postings, so stay tuned.

about a month ago now, carolyn and i purchased the building at 5228 moran on detroit's east side. after testing the soil of some adjacent vacant lots about whose eventual acquisition we felt rather sanguine, we decided to invest a substantial amount of our time, money, energy and sanity for the sake of the urban homestead dream.

as the rehabilitation of the structure has strategic value for the short-term future of rising pheasant farms, we are committed to regularly posting the progress of the house's rise from the ashes (resvrget cineribvs) on this weblog. if you have ever thought about doing something even remotely along these lines, please feel free to check back often and learn from our experience!