In the winter of 2013, we embarked on this subsistence farming adventure. Our first season, we pressed and fermented pear cider, planted 40 fruit trees, started a flock of chickens and subsequently lost them all to predators, constructed hugelkultur beds and a large cold frame, planted everything we could think of, delved into canning, brewed a few batches of cider, beer, vinegar, sauerkraut, kombucha, saved a bunch of seeds, among many other happenings, all while Sage was still touring with Elephant Revival. Needless to say, there wasn't much free time. Our second season we experimented with dry cropping and the garden was not so successful, so now we only water with rainwater (fertilized by fish) and the soil is looking better. We started a small cattle herd and have been offering grass-fed beef seasonally. Feel free to stop in for a visit! We can put you up in Bessie, Elephant Revival's old vegetable oil powered school bus, and maybe even play some music around the fire.
It's now 2019 (already?!), and we've since sold the herd in order to delve more deeply into musical creation. Sometimes you just can't do it all, you know? The orchard is still going strong: we got our first apple crop this past fall, and the other trees will likely bear fruit this year as well! The hops are growing ever-more-vigorously, and we will continue to add perennials little by little. We learned the hard way last year not to get too excited. We planted about 70 trees, bushes and nitrogen-fixing shrubs, but lost quite a few of them when we couldn't be there all the time to water and weed them. Most of the pecans survived, though, so come on by in about 24 years for some farm-fresh pecan pie!
2023. It’s really turned into a forest out there. It’s hard to believe it was just a field of grass and sandburs when we moved here almost 10 years ago. Many of the trees are over 20 ft tall, and the black raspberries, strawberries, and arugula are going wild. The pit Sage dug out with the tractor back in 2014 has turned into a swimming pond stocked with koi and minnows and filtered by a 25 foot stream. It has been fun to watch the dragonflies, frogs, and turtles move in, and the birds love to bathe in the stream. The greenhouse was such a blessing this past winter, providing ample greens, tomatoes, and sun when we needed them most. We hatched out a flock of Swedish Flower chickens this spring, and they are growing strong. What an amazing spectacle, the miracle of life! We lost much of our fruit this year due to very warm winter temps, which triggered early flowering, and a late spring frost, but we will still have some apples and pears:) We are grateful for whatever Nature wants to give. The trees will grow stronger this year, not putting so much effort into bearing fruit.