The Weekly Digs #39

by Becky
Published: Updated:

 winter Gem Lettuce Winter Density Lettuce

This week started out with looking at a house with 100 acres. It’s been on my list to look at for a while but it was also out of our price range. I had it up on a pedestal as a great property that I just loved. I was equal parts scared to see it (for fear of falling in love) and excited to know what 100 acres looked like. Cameron suggested we go look at it just so we could know whether or not the acreage was too much.

We made an appointment to look on Saturday. The land did not disappoint me. It was by far the most beautiful land we had seen. The house was perched on top of a hill with an amazing view. When we pulled in I told Cam I could do paintings every morning of the sunrise. The kids were equally enamored. As we drove up the driveway each of the kids were like “yes, we love it!”.

It was already set up as a ranch. Everything was fenced and had water to each of the paddocks for the cows. As we opened the car doors after pulling up the driveway, the realtor and the owner were there to greet us. There was something else there to greet us too. It was the smell of roughly 600,000 chickens and their manure from the neighbors property.

We knew from looking at the listing that this property was just downhill from twenty commercial chicken houses and we had a hunch it might be smelly. Unfortunately, the smell was overpowering.

Being so immersed in natural food, I sometimes forget that farmers still raise chickens that way. It smelled so putrid from a quarter mile away, it’s hard to fathom how it would smell if you opened the door to the chicken house. Cameron once visited a neighbors chicken house and he wasn’t kidding when he said you need a mask to go into one of those, the ammonia smell will knock you over.

Part of our initiative of moving to a new place is to raise and possibly sell some of our meat. I can’t even imagine trying to set up an all natural farm with the lingering smell of the commercial farm down the road. If potential clients came to visit they would not be able to tell the difference between the zero smell from our place and the gag-me smell from the commercial farm.

It was enough for us to say that even if they slash the price, we would never buy that place. Then on top of the smell issue, the house had the strangest layout I’d seen yet. I told Cameron I needed a break from looking at houses after viewing the 100 acre property, it was such a let down.

We now know to make sure to find a property not next to commercial chicken houses. Did you know Arkansas is among the top 5 states in the US for commercial chicken broiler production? I didn’t. Over 1 billion chickens were produced in Arkansas in 2018. We passed so many chicken houses on the way to this property I had to look up the stats.

The next step is we are going to take some time to buckle down and finish up our own place.  We need it to be ready to sell immediately if we do (by a miracle) find the right property. It’s hard not to get discouraged but we feel like we haven’t found the right place yet because we need to be ready on our end too. We are learning so much from looking at each property so it hasn’t been in vain.

Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I spent all day getting ready for a hard frost. I’m determined to hold onto my garden plants as long as possible. We now have all the low tunnels set up and row cover on. I also doubled up some beds with plastic over the top too.

Last year I used plastic over row covers when it got really cold and it worked beautifully. This year, I ran to the store to get some more plastic and bought some a 6 mil thick roll. I opened it up and realized it was way thicker than what I bought last year.

I decided to just roll with it, after all, it can only be a benefit to have the plants a bit warmer as we go into the winter months. It was pricey stuff but if it keeps the plants alive it will pay for itself x10.

In the garden:

  • Transplanted spinach

  • Covered all the low tunnels with 6 mil plastic for our first hard frost

  • Mulched in beds where there are still plants

  • Harvested 6 heads of Chinese Cabbage. Also harvesting lettuce, arugula, kale, sorrel, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, daikon radish.

 Chinese Cabbage. I can’t help myself making art out of it. Chinese Cabbage. I can’t help myself making art out of it.

In the kitchen:

  • Dehydrated another half gallon of apple chips

  • Canned 3 quarts beef broth

You may also like

Leave a Comment