The summer is when the majority of our major projects for our farm/ranch get tackled. After last year, building our barn, we decided we needed a year of maintenance.
We took care of a handful of things that were hanging out on the "honey-do" list, including staining the cabin (see our Log Home Living Restoration Series), organizing wood sheds, adding safety railings, mulching areas of the property, etc. We did make time to build a garden however - though this project was more for fun and not as time consuming. It has also been a tremendous year for our personal family growth - we are 10 days out from delivering a baby boy! After our tragic child loss in 2020, we took time to seriously focus on the needs of our family before proceeding with our long term ranch goals - though this did not stop us from adopting additional horses (What can we say? We are who we are... crazy and all).
Once we get into a routine with our upcoming "new normal" we plan to continue working toward our larger ranch goals, which include raising beef! We've been doing quite a bit of research on the subject, including pasture, breeds, feeding, breeding programs, and then some. The initial phases will include additional land clearing, fencing, and the funding of a starter herd.
This has been the goal since the beginning, but it can be quite a road to get there, if we want to do it right. It's been helpful to acquire a lot of the machinery we'll need ahead of time, including the tractor and brush-hog attachment which has already proven useful in the early stages of clearing some woodland area for a new pasture. While we don't have open fields (that would make things too easy) we are working with nature and our land to sustainably practice "silvopasturing" (a woodland based pasture, providing natural grazing and supplemented feed for a herd, a form of permaculture if you will) while making more open space as time goes on.
(Pictured here: the equipment that gets the job done - and my big baby belly - ha!)
We're always careful to harvest trees that can be utilized for heating our cabin in the winter, and leaving those that are strong and growing to a good size, for later timber harvests. We also don't aim to flatten the land entirely as we appreciate the privacy provided by the woodlands, and the ability to practice responsible hunting and wildlife husbandry as well.
When it comes time to bring home a herd, it may take additional time before the cattle are up to market weight - this truly is a long term process, but something we feel passionate about. We're aiming to make our beef eventually available to the local market for purchase. It's important to us to build something community-centric.
Other farm-based goals we have discussed include adding more fiber sheep, and building a larger apple orchard, expanding our mini vineyard, building a horse arena for greater riding options, honey bees, run-in shelters, and potentially adding a farm stand for excess produce and products from the ranch. Though, I am sure as time goes on, this list will change and probably lengthen (nevermind personal goals and dreams for adding to the cabin).
We are dreamers - and we love to create big visions - if we make these things happen, that's always wonderful, but it is never lost on us to be happy with all we have. We know we are blessed beyond measure to have made so much of our dream come to fruition as it is.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates about our new baby ranch hand, partnerships, and new recipes from the Garden of Eatin'.
Photography by: Kate Michaud Photography, Maine