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Our homestead garden blog

 
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Location: North East Wisconsin
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Ive been separate creating posts here but I will now combine them into a single ongoing thread to chronicle our homestead journey to convert this new (to us) homestead into what we want. In a month I will be starting my 60th trip around our sun. My wife is near my age so we are not spring chickens and there is not much time to get this place ready to hand it off to the kids and grand kids so they can leave the city life.

In Oct. of 2022 we bought this wooded property (which has a latitude that puts us further north than Ottawa Canada and Halifax Nova Scotia (zone 3a/3b) and then It started snowing and for the first 6.5 months of us living here we got 138 inches of snow. This left us only to plan for spring and some indoor renovations.

The nearest town is 8 miles away with a population of only 1,700 people The population is mainly first nation (Tribal) folks. We like the seclusion and no neighbors. This property met all 7 of my "Must have" criteria for purchasing a homestead that I wont leave until there is a gravestone over my head so we snapped this place up as soon as it hit the market.

Before the snow got too deep we hired loggers to clear the trees  to both provide our outdoor wood furnace with fuel to heat our home but also to clear space for a garden, chicken coop/run and a parking pad/composing area.

Here is our location. We are also buying an additional 10 acres to the north to expand or property size.



I put my drone up shortly after moving in and then again after the leaves fell.





The logging started ASAP and by then the snow was falling.







It was pretty to look at but not so fun to keep moving it so we could get out





The deer really enjoyed the tender maple tops left by the loggers.



In the spring we did more planning for outdoor projects and then tapped some maple trees and made maple syrup.



And we get a front row seat for the Northern lights.





The last of the snow left us almost exactly 7 months to the day of the first snow fall. Then we waited a few more weeks for the local load limits on the roads to be lifted so we could begin excavating for the projects.



Here are some before and afters.











Phase one (year one) is 12 raised beds prepared using the Yakisugi method of wood preservation.



Here is a video detail that.



All along our journey our land has been covered up in high numbers of deer (and lots of other critters.



We got the 12 raised beds in and leveled and filled with soil a but leveling them was a bit of work.



Right now we are at the rock spreading a deer fence building phase



Today the deer fencing arrived.  We now have the fencing to enclose the garden space with an 8 foot tall "Deer-acade" Ive got the treated posts and some of the holes dug. One step at a time.

The bottom 4 feet of fencing (the part the will see the most abuse and attempts to breech) will be metal with 1 inch openings which is rated for 950 lbs and the top 4 feet will be their Trident extruded plastic with reinforced bottom (where I will join the top of the metal fence to the bottom of the plastic fence (using hog rings) The top fence will have 2 inch openings and its rated for 650 pounds.

The thought of her and I trying to raise and stretch 8 foot tall fencing by ourselves seemed daunting so using the light trident fencing at the top should make the task far easier.



A week ago I ordered a tractor with many attachments (mainly needed the snowblower) to make life on the homestead easier. I hope to have it in June.










 
Ron Kulas
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Today, before it got too warm today we finished spreading more of the rock around the raised beds. We can spread the rest once the tractor arrives but for now we can work in the beds without twisting an ankle.I flew the drone to see if any of the beds had moved since they were placed. Im pleased to say they are where we placed them.


The next task is  to start the fence to keep wildlife out .













 
Ron Kulas
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86 degrees on the homestead today. That marks our hottest day so far. (and the next 2 days are forecasted to be warmer) We have not had rain in 2 weeks so its pretty hot and dry out there.


This might be the wrong weather for fence building but all 29 holes are dug and the first post is burnt and set. We will take a break during the peak heat of the day and pick up the task later this afternoon.



 
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Thank you for starting this thread Ron, it will be easier to keep up with your projects in one place. I have several threads on my different projects - like a 'blog. You can always start a new thread for new projects or questions too.
The aerial views put your property in context - It looks like how I imagine the 'little house in the big woods'- Complete with gallons of maple syrup! I used to love the Laura Ingalls books as a child. I seem to remember they had lots of stored squash in the attic, is that on your growing plan?
 
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Wow! Amazing (and I have Aurora borealis envy)!!

I am also thinking of the Little House in the Big Woods stories! That was the first time I heard of the process of smoking meats for preservation when Pa made a smoke house from a hollow tree- Ron has perfected the art with his smoker build.
 
Ron Kulas
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Nancy Reading wrote:Thank you for starting this thread Ron, it will be easier to keep up with your projects in one place. I have several threads on my different projects - like a 'blog. You can always start a new thread for new projects or questions too.
The aerial views put your property in context - It looks like how I imagine the 'little house in the big woods'- Complete with gallons of maple syrup! I used to love the Laura Ingalls books as a child. I seem to remember they had lots of stored squash in the attic, is that on your growing plan?



Winter squash in the basement or root cellar only.

Here is our list

Summer Squash yellow crookneck
Winter Squash acorn and butternut
Cabbage (stonehead hybrid)
Spinach Acadia
Tomato (better boy)
Potato (Russett Burbank)
bell pepper Red/green (calwonder 300)
Kohlrabi (early white)
Jalapeno pepper
Garden Pea (maestro)
Sweet corn (bi-colored)
Cucumber (straight eight)
Onion set (yellow)
Carrot (tender sweet and Nantes)
Green beans (bush) blue lake
Pumpkin
Rhubarb

But nothing happens until the fence is up or it will all be lost to the deer.
 
Ron Kulas
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Slow and steady wins the race. When its too hot to build the fence we stop and work in the afternoon/evening. When the bugs get so bad that even long sleeves, bug spray and head nets stop helping we stop for supper. As I said early on, Im starting my 60th trip around the sun this year and while Id like to finish this fence in a day, that's not in the cards.

I dont know if I want double swinging doors or a sliding barn door style of door but this is the larger of the 2 entrances so I can fit the tractor and the ATV with its wagon through this opening.



Then 2 of the local building inspectors showed up while they still have access.

 
Ron Kulas
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Its hot (sunny in the 90's with not even a breeze) but fencing must continue. We have 3 of the 5 sides of our "Deer-icade" poles up. I have5 brothers and sisters, Nearly all of them stayed right around where we were raised. I wanted to get away from farming and fencing and roofing and other manual labor so I went off to work in the field of engineering (mostly medical equip with the last 25 years in Diagnostic imaging) But now here I am back at farming and fencing and roofing and other hot, sweaty and dirty endeavors.

I will say that fencing is great for OCD types like me that must make everything perfect and level and plumb.







I bought these treated 4 x 4's and they were wet and heavy so I put them in my garage (which has been over 100F on these 90F days) hoping they would dry out before I had to burn the ends and use them. The were spaced off the concrete slab by setting on 2 x 4's but still they soaked the floor.



This is where we will put a gate. As we dug the 29 post holes we learned about how rocky this ground is but this is where we want a walking path through the gate. Rocks everywhere. It just doubles the amount of time and effort it takes to do things.

 
Ron Kulas
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ALL THE FENCE POSTS ARE IN!!!  I took the drone up to check our homework to see if we needed to move any of the posts but Nope! all the lines were perfect. And I got to see the coverage of our new sprinkler in the process of flying about. Attaching the actual deer proof fence material is the next step.



















 
Nancy Reading
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You certainly got those fences straight Ron! I think I would use a line or wire between the corner posts as a guide.
I'm enjoying your drone pictures too. Technology can be useful sometimes. I like to take lots of photos for record keeping. Digital imagery makes us spoilt I suppose.
We've got a few threads on making use of stones in the garden. this one about concrete debris and this one about small stones. I rather enjoyed this one about gabions - maybe you could have used some of your rocks as gabion posts:

(from gabion thread)
 
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