Fluffybottom Farm & Homestead

Carving a farm or homestead out of a forest is a long and continuous process. Clearing trees is just the first of many steps necessary to create productive land. In addition to just open land, buildings and infrastructure are needed. In this view you can see progress to date.

Starting at the far center left is the small Equipment Shed that houses power equipment like the tractor, tiller, mows, weed whips etc along with a limited amount of workspace. The larger green roofed Main Barn is mainly Winter storage and a few animal breeding pens. The grey roofed building to the right of the Main Barn houses the Rabbit Shed and Brooder Pens for young poultry. Toward the bottom with the red and green roof is the Wood Shed for storage of heating wood to last through the cold Winters and frosty nights. Further below is  a tarp covered wood pile consisting of uncut logs that will be cut and split over Summer before being stacked in the slot walled Wood Shed. Directly in the center is the Cabin that came as unfinished shell when the land was purchased. Above (or behind the Cabin) is a larger Egg House for fresh eggs, a Breeder Coop for exhibition chickens and a Grow-Out House for raising chickens.

The clearing to the left of the Breeder/Grow-Out Coops is the Tree Fruit Orchard and future pasture. Currently there are 30 Apple trees of many varieties along with a row of Apricot trees. The smaller clearing to the right of the Coops is the Soft Fruit Orchard. This area contains Honeyberry, 5 colors of Raspberry, Blackberry, and Strawberry plantings. For some reason, the Cherry trees were also planted in this area. The last feature of the Soft Fruit Orchard is the fledgling Grape House that contains 4 varieties of seedless Grapes.

The last developed area is to the right of the Cabin and consists of the Vegetable Beds, Greenhouse, and two small poly-PVC season extension houses. These Poly Houses allows for such long season crops such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and long season tomatoes with few worries.

The future may required further development including addition vegetable spaces, fruit orchards, and pastures as Fluffybottom continues to grow and develop.

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Spring/Early Summer Crops

Spring and Early Summer crops have been in for awhile and doing well. It won’t be long and the harvesting will start.

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Wildfires

When one lives in area surrounded by mature Jack Pine forests and sections of clear cut fields wildfires in Spring are a constant concern. Disaster was avert by the quick and skillful work of several local fire departments, forest service, and Natural Resources folks. This fire came within just a few feet from stands of dry Jack Pine trees which would have likely destroyed Fluffybottom and other homes in the area. 

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First Apple Beginnings

Over the past three years, the Tree Fruit Orchard has been taking shape. There are now a full compliment of 30 Apples for fresh eating, preserves, and ciders. Last year there were just a few blossoms, but this year it looks like about a third of the trees will bloom. Hopefully this will produce a modest harvest come Fall.

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Asparagus

The only thing better than the new Asparagus bed taking off…… is the old Asparagus bed!

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Last Soft Fruit Crop

The final soft fruit for the orchard will be Grapes. Using an old frame from a portable storage “tent”, an area to be known as the Grape House was prepared. The varieties will center around seedless table grapes for fresh eating and juice. This year just 8 grapes will be planted to see how they will do especially over Winter. For protection, they’ll be straw munched and the roof covered to help minimize the snow.

 

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Asparagus New Bed

A second plant that needed to move was the Asparagus patch. These are a bit tricky so rather than moving current crowns this year a new planting was made. ‏

These Jersey Giants will be allowed to settle in and establish themselves while the old bed harvested. Next season half of the old bed will get moved consisting of Purple Passion and Martha Washington with the second half getting moved two seasons from now.

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More Transplants

Unfortunately, when the garden was started, not much land was cleared and so the garden area was small and included everything together. Now there are separate soft fruit and tree orchards as well as an expanded vegetable garden – with more to come. Consequently there were some plantings that need to move to their proper location.

First among them is the rhubarb. 

While it’s best to leave rhubarb to its own for many years, the first beds were 7-8 years old and the decision was made to begin to move to a better home in the soft fruit orchard. This year half of the old bed consisting of Victoria Rhubarb were divided and moved. Next season the Canada Reds will be equally divided and moved. By doing only a portion each year there will still be a harvest to be had.

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Early Spring Work and Orchards

My Summer intern had a few days off from school so he came up for a little work. The downed tree (and a few more) were taken care of and the fence repaired.

Min addition the orchards got some early attention including the spots for the (last) new apple and apricot trees were prepped.

There are now 30 Apples in 25 varieties and 7 Apricots in 3 varieties.

In addition to the tree orchard plantings, we also got the last of the Raspberries transplanted along with about half of the blackberry plants moved – still another 20 or so blackberry plants to go.

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March – the Arrival of Spring

 The Arrival of Spring signals the start of planting. Seeding starts in a flat saves a bit of money and increases the choices of varieties. Shown above is a 128 cell flat that will start this years tomatoes and peppers. Also shown is the packer/dibbler board for use in packing the soil and creating the depression for seeds. This saves a bit of time as a half of the flat can be readied at one time rather than doing individual cells one at a time. Once seeded the surface will be covered with vermiculite and a humidifier cover. Placed on a heating mat the seeds should germinate quickly. A few other flats will be seeded now for bunching onions and in a few weeks lettuce and other Spring Crops to be transplanted out for the earliest and first harvest of Spring.

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