The Weekly Digs #80

by Becky

House framing continues and they are already almost done! Our general contractor ordered the exterior boards and we had to eat the extremely high cost.

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This is a view from our backyard

But the good news is we came in under budget on all of our foundation costs so we are still in good shape.

Our land had no water and no electricity when we bought it. It took six months to get the utilities underway but they are rolling on it now. The big thing this week was the electric company cleared a path for the electricity.

It was coming from our neighbor’s property and not the road so we needed permission (signed and notarized) to take electricity from the power pole on his property.  Our kind neighbor was ok with a 60 foot swath of trees cleared from his land to ours! It is quite amazing and we are so grateful.

Electrical Easement

Initially, I really wanted to go completely off-grid. But we discovered it is really difficult to get a home loan for an off-grid house. In going off-grid, I never planned on going without basic necessities or making life more difficult for ourselves. Instead we just want to match the energy we would have used with renewable energy that is less dependent on others.

In the end, I think a slow transition is wise 🙂 The plan is to start with solar panels to run our well pump. 

In the garden this week I have been spreading mulch every single day! It takes a lot of time but I consider it so worth it. The area where we planted the peas and oats is where I began. 

It’s a good arm workout!

I have used chipped wood mulch in my old garden for 3 years. I used it in the walking paths and last year I even used it in my garden beds. The garden increased in fertility, decreased in bad bugs, and when I had enough mulch down I barely had to weed. It’s amazing stuff as long as you’re not mixing it into your soil. 

I haven’t done much preserving this week. It has been mostly taking down old plants and focusing on regenerating my soil. Speaking of which, I just finished reading a really incredible book about soil health by Gabe Brown called, Dirt to Soil.

Gabe Brown is a large scale farmer who practices no-till farming on thousands of acres and he even incorporates animals in with cash crops.

Even though we don’t plan on doing a large scale farm like him, I found many practices in the book worth trying on our own homestead. My favorite was his use of multispecies cover crops to regenerate the soil. 

I also find it ironic that I finished the book the week the documentary, Kiss the Ground, came out. I had no idea about this movie until I heard about it on social media a few days after it’s release. And even though we don’t have Netflix at the moment, we got a free trial for the month so we could watch it. 

The movie was very good and Gabe Brown had an appearance in it too which I am glad about. Some people don’t believe no-till is possible on a large scale and Brown’s Ranch is proof it is possible and profitable. It was a really positive take on how we can reverse climate change through regenerative agriculture.

In the garden:

  • Harvesting tomatoes from plants that are pretty much dead and done but I haven’t had time to pull out yet.
  • Also harvesting: arugula, daikon radish, sweet peppers, jalapeño peppers, lettuce, and lots of turnip thinnings. 
  • We have wild persimmon trees on our land that is giving us a few ripe fruits. They are huge trees but the fruit is mostly seeds.
  • As I mentioned above lots of maintenance and catching up this week. We are mulching, mowing, pulling out spent plants, and planting cover crops.

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