Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Enjoying the White Winter

In winter there is still something to be done on a farm. We are renovating our guest room now and Im building a few new bee hives for the next year. Feeding the animals and cleaning snow is another task. But most importantly I try to find time to enjoy this idyllic season covered in snow :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The snow has arrived at last

 Bailey is a very good farm dog. He is very gentle with all the animals we keep
 The sheep are using their shed if its snowing or raining
 One of the sheep is limping :( I did catch her and inspected the hoof in question which was a bit overgrown so I cut it. The problem remains because the "nail" tissue has broken on the side of the hoof which I dont know how to manage. I will keep an eye on her and see how shes doing in a few days.
 The forest garden looks idyllic but the soil is over saturated with water. I will have to make some sort of drainage there otherwise the fruit trees will not fare well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fencing the Plum trees

 Since we do have Deer around here and these trees are still very young there is a big chance of deer munching away the bark. Fencing is the easiest way of providing some sort of protection at least to the main part of the tree. I have also mulched the trees with a thick layer of seasoned wood chips. This will help in containing moisture next summer and it will introduce some carbon source to the soil to help mycorrhiza to form. Trees do better if mycorrhiza is present.
I am so happy to see so many fruit trees and bushes being planted by us the first year on our new farm :) Next year planting some more :))

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Electric sheep fence and new Plum trees

It took me 2 days to fence 1/2 Hectare of grass land for the sheep we bought recently. I wish I had some help but I managed alone.

The sheep are now officially free range :) They seem very calm and happy with their new home. They started grazing as soon as they touched the grass :)
 We bought 10 various Plum trees. We got them very cheap :)
They will be planted inside our forest garden 7 meters apart from each other. So happy we could afford this. For me it is very important we start planting fruit trees now because it takes 4-5 years before they will bear fruit. Next year I plan to plant 10 more fruit trees very likely Pears and something else depending what we can get. I will protect these Plum trees from Deer with a wire netting and will mulch them well so their roots have enough moisture next summer. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Willow Farm got sheep

Our farm got new inhabitants; 5 Norwegian Spelsau sheep :) They are inside the stable at the moment and will stay there until I finish the electric fence on the field. The plan is to have them free range all year around.
 Many thanks to Nicklas and David for helping me get these sheep into the trailer. It was not easy dragging them 200 meters from the stable
I made a new sheep pen in the stable with wooden pallets. The sheep seem to be stressed with the transport and catching them but once they arrived to our farm they immediately started eating :) which is a good sign. Must fix the el-fence asap so they can go out grazing fresh grass.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Willow Farm November update

When we moved into our new house it had an oil heating system. We didn't like that because oil is unsustainable and is very expensive. So we decided to invest our money (the little we have) into a brand new computerized wood-pellets heating system and we are happy with the result. It was a HUGE job to disconnect and take out the old oil heating system.
Tank filled with wood pellets smells so much better than the old oil tank. The pellets smell of Pine forest. 
Another thing we did is make some pickled Pumpkins for the winter :)
 And we are about to get 5  Norwegian Spelsau sheep this Saturday :) I went today to check them out and place a deposit on them. They look great. They are very agile, alert, no limping, calm and they have a good appetite. 
We got them very cheap because their owner got operated and cant look after them anymore. They are 3 years old. They are not mated and its late in the season for it so we will just keep them as grazers until next autumn. Then they will be mated to get some lamb the year after. Our newly sown grass is growing large and its very important to get some animals on it to keep it low otherwise taller grasses will outcompete the lower ones. At the moment they have lots of tick and long wool and I will first cut their wool in spring. Soon to start building an electric fence. I think 1 Hectare will be enough to give them a healthy home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Aging of Wood Chip Garden and Autumn Migrations

The Winter is slowly but surely closing in. The migrating birds are heading South towards warmer locations. We are left behind wondering where are they flying to ... some warm spot in Africa maybe, how does it feel to migrate I wonder with envy and amazement. I will not know, at least not in this life time ;) but I do know what Winter feels like ;)
One might say that kitchen gardens are dead for the year but that is not entirely true :) my new wood chip garden is teaming with life! Here you can see Fungi growing on the surface and creating a mycorrhizal web under it. Earth warms, various beetles and myriads of micro-creatures are moving into this friendly environment. All life prefers some sort of Cover. We have skin, fish has scales, trees have a bark, animals have fur and the soil has cover materials. At least in the wild it has but not on a man plowed field. Looking after the healthy soil life is my main objective, vegetables are just a bonus ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making ketchup and green tomato pickles

Its time to bring the last harvest to the end and prepare some food for the winter. I have taken in all the ripe and green tomatoes to make a home made ketchup and pickled green tomatoes. As per usual I will not write down the recipe for these since there are hundreds of good ones on the net and its all about personal taste any way :)
Chop chop chop
 Squeezing out the tomatoe juice
The roughage is being fed to chicken
 Evaporating the water content takes ages. It makes me think this ketchup is not that sustainable ...
 ... because out of all this work and energy I've got only this much
 Green pickled Tomatoes.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Harvest season ends with sowing

 A few days we had a frosty night so I made a decision to harvest all the Tomatoes and Cucumbers from the greenhouse. We will make pickled tomatoes from the green ones and the ripe ones will be ketchup. 
We didnt get many pumpkins this year. I have got these from a friend who got many. We will make pickled pumpkins for the winter use. I will make sure to keep many seeds for the next year sowing.
The wood chip kitchen garden has began to sprout with life :) I have sown many garlic cloves which have started to poke out of the wood chips. I have sown the garlic in the soil which I covered with wood chips. Wood chips will keep the weeds at bay and will make sure the soil is always moist which will benefit both vegetables and the soil food web.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Creating a Forest Garden

 I was cutting down some young Alder trees in the Willow shrubbery because they are simply taking over this ground. Alder is very invasive and spreads fast. During this adventure I found many young Blackcurrant bushes :) I know the previous farm owners had grown Blackcurrants, which they have removed to grow Wheat and Oil Seed Rape. These must be either grown from the seeds spread by the birds.
 So I move them out of shade into a place with full sun. Our forest garden area got 2 more rows of berry bushes. Will mulch this area with wood chips soon.
This forest garden area will be filled with edible berry bushes in the future, I hope :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Building a sheep shed

 I have begun building a sheep shed. We are planning to get 2-3 pregnant sheep in January and this will be their shelter from strong winds and rain'n'snow. Apparently the land-race sheep called Spelsau we are to get are outdoors even when its rainy or windy but still they should have a shelter in case they need it.
So far the structure is up and the roof is on. I am using reused planks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Collecting materials for composting

I have two large patches of Jerusalem Artichokes which are withering. I have cut them down with scythe
I ran the stalks thorough the garden shredder before placing onto the compost pile to speed up decomposition. I have coppiced many small Alder trees and now they are sending out new shots. Alder is a very good at fixing Nitrogen so I will make sure to cut them all down together with leaves and run them through the shredder. I have need for lots of compost soil and I better make that happen :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Harvesting the blight resistant Sarpo Mira potatoes

I have planted Sarpo Mira potatoes in 2x2 meter raised bed and I did plant them very close to each other. But this didn't cause any issues and they once again (3rd year) didn't get any blight problems :) Truly this sort is blight resistant!
 These will be used for planting next year in our large kitchen garden.
Lots of potatoes from a 2 square meters raised bed :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

The newly sown White Clover is growing well

 We have sown white clover and grasses on 1 hectare for our sheep and bees. They are growing very well. This is the south side of our small forest.
and this is the west side of our forest. To the right you can see a long row of well established Willow
Some of the clover has started to bloom already :)
We will get the sheep in January or February. I must start building a sheep shed soon and fixing the electricity fence.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Time to plant Garlic

October is the month to plant Garlic for the next year. So I went today into our wood chip garden with tools and a bunch of dried garlic plants and planted lots of it.
This video explains how to plant garlic;