The Grovestead

Farm, Family, Fun.

Month: July 2015

A farm needs a barn, part 2

A barn with a view

Construction is complete!

Today we had our final inspection and we are so pleased with how everything turned out and so grateful for a competent team of builders who were here everyday weather-permitting, paying attention to every smallest detail.

Second floor under construction

Workers building the roof

Barn stairwell with kids

Second floor without walls

My father-in-law gave us the best compliment when he said, “it looks like it’s always been here.” It’s big, but sits on the edge of our woods, framed by much bigger oak trees.

Barn construction is complete

A neighbor came by and asked Ivar what his favorite part was and he answered, “the big sliding doors” then proceeded to give a demonstration.

Inside of the barn

The most common question we get is “what are you going to put in there?” The traditional layout of a barn has space for animals, machines, and a workshop. And that’s pretty much what we’re planning to house. Before we can take the next steps with our farm, we need a place to put bigger animals and equipment.

Checking out the upstairs

The second most common question is about the upstairs loft and what we plan to put up there. I don’t have a good answer for this. It could be storage. It could be for gatherings. It could be a play area for the kids in the dead of winter (Becca refers to this as the “playloft”). The truth is, we built this space and much of the barn for that matter on faith that it one day will make perfect sense.

A view from the outside

As much fun as it was to watch this barn go up, we’re even more excited to see all the ways it will be used.

 


Garden Update

Garden beds

Tomato starts

Planting tomatoes in late Spring

Garden update 2015

With the new barn construction taking most of our attention this summer, we didn’t have as much time to devote to the garden. But we still managed to get our favorite crops planted: tomatoes, corn, peas, onions, potatoes, beets, cucumber and another testbed of watermelon (we have yet to be successful with watermelon).

Corn and potatoes

By the way, did you know beets make excellent salads? Just chop up the beets and leaves (throw the stems) and add some dressing. We’ve been eating them daily around here. In fact, beet greens are the healthiest part of the plant and are ranked among the world’s top 10 healthiest foods!

Health Beets

The main lesson I learned from last year was that you can’t slack on the weeding and “make it up on volume”. It’s much more productive to plant a smaller garden and keep it well weeded that a huge garden that doesn’t get tended. The harvest of corn, peppers, potatoes and onions last year was pathetic where I let the weeds take over.

Blueberry patch

Another lesson learned is how incredibly “fruitful” our perennial fruit plants are. The blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and apple trees are healthy, abundant, and require almost no work on my part. Minimum input, maximum output.

Strawberries

This has led us to more conversations about what other kinds of fruit we should be planting. Cherry, apricot, peach and plum trees may be in our future.

The only trick is finding ripe fruit before our kids do.

Picking blueberries


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