Manisha Holm

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since Aug 10, 2017
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Recent posts by Manisha Holm

We had 3 ducks for about 18 months and loved every minute of it. We had to give them away due to a rogue, daytime raccoon and I really do miss them. They'd wander around our 2.4 acres, spend lots of time in their pond, and were a delight whenever they wandered by. Ours would NOT go into their house at night. We'd have to go out every night at twilight, give them some grain to lure them close to their house, then as soon as we spread our arms in a herding gesture, they'd turn and walk into their house. But they would not go in on their own.

They dabbled in the mud everywhere during really rainy days, but then confined themselves to dabbling along the stream and in their pond. They had lots of room to wander, so their poop enriched rather than burned. Our soil is high in clay, so unless it was raining, they couldn't dabble to the point of damage. They're very social and always stayed together in one, wandering troop.

If we had some way to protect them from raccoons, we'd get more ducks in a heart beat. They're the best!
1 year ago
Our farm has been situated on its gentle hillside for over a hundred years. Although older farming techniques nurtured the soil, subsequent methods that were dependent on chemicals led to a steady decline in soil health. We started the restoration process by reclaiming the pond at the top of the property, fencing off three young orchards to protect the plant life from local deer, and planting over 40 fruit trees. All three orchards have unique environments: Driest conditions in the upper orchard, situated above the pond; wettest conditions in the plum orchard below the pond; and moderate conditions in the chicken orchard, situated beside the other two. The environmental variety provides the potential for a wide diversity of food crops that will thrive on this hillside. We’ve piped irrigation water to all three orchards for supplemental watering during the dry summer months, via automated drip systems.

We’ve also created berms across the majority of the pastures and orchards that make up the farm. The entire hillside is beginning to blossom once again with animal life as well as more diverse plant life.

We’ve chosen llamas as the main mammalian species, because of their easy care, robust health, and gentle nature. The llamas perform the majority of the necessary grass mowing, freeing up our weekends and holidays. We also kept chickens and ducks to further maintain the soil and pond. Both species roam the hillside, adding their manure to the soil, scratching and dabbling the soil surface to break up hardpan, keeping down flies and mosquitoes, and providing general delight through their friendly curiosity and gentle busy-ness. The ducks improved the health of the pond by stirring the water, dabbling through the muck, and eating algae and insect larvae.

We also established two, deer-fenced, traditional, vegetable gardens. Both gardens are on automated drip systems. The first garden is located immediately outside the back door and contains mostly lettuces and greens, for easy, every-day harvesting in time for lunch and dinner. Most of the greens planted in this garden will self-sow, making springtime planting much easier. This garden is protected from harsh, late-afternoon sun, which is too strong for most lettuce greens.

The second garden is on higher ground in full sunlight. This garden is perfect for herbs, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, kale, squashes, peppers, sun chokes, all the sun-loving crops. Much of this garden consists of perennial plants, lessening the need for annual replanting. We’ve located a horse trough in this garden for easy preparation of manure tea to nourish the vegetables, as well as the ornamentals growing around the lawn areas. We’ve planted borage to attract local honey bees, which in turn provide pollination for all of the vegetable flowers during their visits. Birds love this garden. Their songs and flitting, darting explorations bring the garden alive. This past winter, we planted climbing roses at each of the arched, garden gates. We chose fragrant varieties, and although the roses are young now, by next year the garden should be drenched in sun and fragrance, all summer long, for many summers to come.

Our farm is a lovely, picturesque, tranquil hillside, burgeoning with life and potential. It’s primed and ready for its next stewards to step in and enjoy its beauty and productivity. We hope you consider a visit to discover whether it’s meant to be yours.

The main house is 2100 square feet, recently remodeled with lots of light and high ceilings, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. The feature that makes this farm affordable is the second, legal home (1500 square feet), bringing in a sizable rental income. There's also a large stable, chicken coop, duck house, two garages with three workrooms. We're happy to provide further details upon request.