Sunday, 24 May 2009

Is It Worth It?

A View From the Green Barn


Like many of you, I have a long list of things I did, am doing, or want to do. I don't know about you, but my list seems to grow exponentially, sometimes without my knowledge! Today, Saturday, I checked my list and spent the entire day chipping away at it. One project I worked at today was my vegetable garden. Since I was starting from scratch, I had a lot to do. I started hundreds of seedlings back in April and they were starting to get a little leggy and anxious to get in the ground.

Since my compost piles weren't ready for use, I bought a half ton of peat moss and composted cow manure and using my Ryobi mini tiller, I worked it into the five raised beds. I know this is sounding familiar to you and you wish you were here to get a spade working! Well, as you can see from the picture below, (please note the central location of my green adirondack), it is definitely looking like a garden that has just started. (The nice looking plants in the foreground are all perennials, heading to new homes and the space they are occupying will become a three sisters garden).

Pole Beans

I have a patch of hardy bamboo growing and this is a skeleton of a plant from last year. I have six pole beans ready to climb to the top. In this picture, you can see that I have dug exactly one post hole, and have 23 to go. Have you ever dug a hole with a post hole digger? I have dug lots of them. It should be on your list of 100 things to do in this life, then you will always be able to make a crude comment whenever someone talks about using a post hole digger. I plan on enclosing this garden with 200 feet of cattle fencing to try to keep out critters like ameracaunas and barn cats. I know it will have limited effectiveness, but I have to at least try.


These are mostly tomatoes I grew from seeds. I am wondering if they are going to survive one night! I have been nursing these things along for about a month, and am planning on making my self sick on fresh tomatoes. Should I put another row down the middle?

Point and Plant

In the picture below you can see an old guy (me) trying to plant seeds that are smaller than salt crystals, and of course they are exactly the same color as the soil, so I can't really see where they are going. As I sit here typing this, I am stiff and sore all over! It must be from all of that pointing.


Another item on the to-do list includes keeping up with all of the poultry that has wandered onto my farm. I really don't know how all of these birds got here! I have over forty layers in various stages of "laydom." I also have over fifty meat chickens in a separate coop. They will be going to the Amish butcher in about three weeks. I have calculated my estimated costs, and I will end up paying about $1.60 per pound for my free range, mostly organic chicken. I saw a sign at the grocer the other day that had drumsticks for .69 cents per pound! (I know how that drumstick was raised). I am raising ten chickens for my nephew and he wants to know if I have extras he can sell to co-workers. Uh, no. I love my nephew and am more than happy to do this for him, but I am not quite ready for the open market.

Pictured below are some of my eggs. I like the way they look, a lot! Every day I go to the coop during egg gathering time is an adventure. Not only do I look forward to gathering the eggs, but I usually have to do a little egg hunt as well. Some of the girls are on to my scheme, and are good at hiding their eggs.

Pictured below are my turkeys. They are about five weeks old and are very curious. They like to get out and explore. They also like to follow me around. I have three more that just hatched this past Wednesday, and they will join these seven sometime in the near future. I'm not sure what my plans are for all of these turkeys, but some of them will help us celebrate Thanksgiving.

Is it worth all of the time, hard labor, smells, rooster attacks, chickens in the garden, digging, weeding, butchering, feeding and watering, did I say digging?

I think yes, with a capital YES. But I wonder if there are things I will lose my energy for?

Have you had similar thoughts? Do you have a garden that takes an inordinate amount of time? What makes it worth it to you? For me, it's mostly the thought that I know what is in or on my food when I raise it myself. But another big part, (maybe equally important), is that I feel more connected with life itself as I help provide life not only for my family, but also for the plants and animals I tend.