Farm Life: Fix It jobs

Frost Heaves, Thaw, 60 MPH wind gusts

Community property seems like a good way to distribute labor and reap the rewards together.  Then you come to realize that a few are doing all the work.  The others either do not see the need for action, do not believe they have the resources to act, or have excuses as to why they are not doing something.  More likely, they are calling the “doers” to ask why they have not started….  Our friend Jacquie say “Life is made up of doers and coasters”.  Maybe this is why David Hume wrote “life, liberty, and property” as the core of his philosophy, not “communal sharing of possessions”.

Ownership is a key concept to farm life.  When you own something, you take care of it, or id rusts.  As many of our family friends express curiosity about life in the mountains, I shall begin a series of “farm life” blogs.  For clarification, we live on about 35 acres of woods 2000 feet in elevation, 400 feet above the valley floor and 600 feet below the ridge.  Less wind here.  We have cleared about 3 acres, leaving the rest for the forest critters, from whom we are borrowing the land.  In addition to our cabin, we have a garage/shop/root cellar outbuilding, goat/calf barn (“The Raddison”) in the paddock, and goat shelter (“Motel 6”) in a field.  Our gardens expand every year, but probably cover, collectively, about 1/2 acre.  The “meadow” grows over the septic field.  We have plans to cut 2 more fields, but I’ll write more about then when I discuss wood stoves.

Our garden fencing has evolved over the years.  We have found that a 4 foot fence w/ 3 electric wires (made hot by a solar panel) keep the deer, groundhogs, rabbits, et al out.  Once we got dogs, we had to put fences inside to keep them around the cabin and in the meadow.  Cats are allowed to hunt rodents anywhere.  The most effective fencing system has been garden stakes (5 foot) with fencing.  Not exactly stylish.  Linda had suggested that I could build some less rustic (rusty?) trellis gates at the entrance to the gardens.  Not having had a shop set up yet (more on that later), I procrastinated until last summer when I made a trip to the Tractor Supply Store.  I happened to find in the “sale items to move” section 3 trellises for sale for 1/2 price (lay-away which must have gotten waylaid).  I scrapped my planned errand and secured the 2 that I could fit into the back of the truck before heading home.  Fortunately, Linda liked them and I got back to pick the 3rd one before someone else discovered it.

Our friend, Paulette, had been coming out for “garden weekends” through the Spring and Summer.  She stained the trellises and put 2 of them up before the end of the garden season.  A few days ago, a storm rolled through, toppling these, as you can see in the photo, above.  Oh, the joys of private property.  No one else was going to come along to right them and figure out how to keep them from going over again.  As universal as duct tape is to urban living, garden stakes and baling twine are to farm life.  Four stakes and four lengths of baling twine got everything secured again, to be tested by the next westerly wind.

Garden Stakes and Bailing Twine

By the way, the mail box sitting on an old ladder, holds hand tools for easy access in the garden.


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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9 Responses to Farm Life: Fix It jobs

  1. Paulette Burdett says:

    I was afraid they would fall over. The ground they were set into was hard as a rock. The gate areas were never worked like the rest of the garden area. The beauty and richness of the soil in the gardens is the result of years of moving compost and turning over the soil to break through the rock of West Virginia. I have participated in two seasons of compost moving and can tell you that the beauty of these gardens was not easy. The experience is a lot like birthing a baby. Some how you forget the pain when you eat those fabulous meals. Linda and Oscar always feed the help. Paulette

    • hermitsdoor says:


      After securing the trellises, as noted in the blog, I poured a wheelbarrow of gravel on the supports to add some weight. We’ll how they do in the next storm. You will be happy to know that we have spread manure over most of the garden already this winter. We moved about half of the compost pile last weekend. We can just sit on the deck and read gardening magazines now while sipping red wine… right?!

  2. The Vicar says:

    When I looked at the first picture I thought it was one that you snapped somewhere along the road. I’ve only seen the garden during the growing season so it’s always been lush and green. The brown grass and rocks seemed out of context. I agree with Paulette, that the two of you have had a tremendous vision for what could be, and the determination to see it through. We are looking forward to spending time in the garden this summer.

  3. walkingsmall says:

    I am so enjoying the peek into your world. Will visit back often.
    Right now, I am looking out to our tiny postage-stamp yard and thinking “I can do this.”
    My biggest obstacle is Sadie the dog, who is really good at digging the holes before I place the bushes and flowers inside. The unintended consequence, of course, is that she is really good at digging holes.

    • Hermit says:

      We thought that Bella was a hole digger until Tippy came along last year. Bella digs holes to get to rodents. She specializes in voles. Tippy digs holes because dirt exists. She also likes to collect stuff around the yard and deposit it near the entrance. We have rocks, sticks, firewood, shredded dog toys, broken tools, etc piled up from her explorations.

      • walkingsmall says:

        Does she have a favorite hole? I have found that if I give Sadie her two preferred holes, she lets me plant. Voles? Are they those tiny finger-sized creatures?

  4. Buget Busting Mamma says:

    Well,Well, I surprised myself by attempting to enter this contest. It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. I need a new supply of paper to read it all. Looking at a computer screen is not my thing for very long at a time. I will have to use the back side of the throw-a-way’s!

    Spring has finally come to my part of California. The blooms started before the rains came, but I’m enjoying a gorgeous plum colored tree out my back windows, which really are my front windows, but you know what I mean. I wish I knew the name of the tree. The birds love it, also the squirrels. Might have something to do with the lady resident who feeds them. However, I wish she would take away the plastic pink flamingo’s she has place under the tree and leave the gnome’s to enjoy the space!

    • hermitsdoor says:

      BB Mamma,

      Love the description of your yard. Did you see “Gnomio and Juliet” recently. We missed it in the theaters, but I bet it will be out on DVD in a couple of days. I understand that it will give you a new perspective on the garden gnomes. By the way if you need scrap paper to print blogs on, I bet the Vicar could procure some from his father’s office! Mamma Suzanna might give you a hug for taking some paper away!

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