This is the first of our periodic updates for The Piedmont Homestead. We’ll go over the progress we’ve made and the steps we take to get closer to our goal of growing food in such abundance we can support others around us.
We have a lot of ideas, some of which are written out in a project plan(like a high tunnel) and some that are still wondering through our heads.
We plan to build a small-ish pond to use for irrigation on our future market garden. We certainly do not want to rely on our well to do all the watering. That is A LOT of water to pull out of the earth. The general idea is to build a pond and use a series of swales to collect water from the hill on our property. The swales will require clearing some young trees and brush. We will eventually plant nut trees in the cleared areas.
We contacted a variety of contractors in the area to do the job. Some have a forestry mulcher to clear the land and others are focused on making a pond/lake. So far, we haven’t had much luck. We are either waiting to hear back or it just wasn’t a good fit for our needs. After a lot of discussion, we decided to focus our efforts on getting the pond done before we spend time and energy on swales and planting trees.
100 Yards of Mulch
Currently the Piedmont Homestead contains about 2 acres of fallow land. In an effort to grow less grass and turn more of our property to natural area, we had 100 yards of mulch delivered to the homestead in May 2018. It was brought in from a company in Hildebran, NC. The mulch was delivered by an 18-wheeler truck with a walking floor. That driver had skills! Seeing him back the 18-wheeler up on a two-lane curvy road into a narrow driveway with ditches on both sides was nerve-wracking! The first words out of the driver’s mouth were “never again” when he stepped out of the truck. In the process of backing up, two wheels lifted off the ground and he was close to jackknifing.
We chipped away (no pun intended) at the mulch pile all summer long. In October, we finally made it through the 100 cubic yards of mulch we had delivered. All of the mulch was spread through a little hard work, sweat, and maybe a tear. No tractors, just a pitchfork and a wheel borrow.
This ended up being a memorable experience. Our Grandpa who is 85 years old came to visit the homestead. He was eager to get to work and was a big help in mulching around our apple trees.
Here are a few pictures of the process.
We were eager to get the mulch done so that we could plant garlic and start focusing on other projects around the homestead. Look! We already got garlic coming up! Joy!
Piedmont Homestead Market Garden (High Tunnel)
We tore down all of our old garden space and started leveling the area so that we could set up our new-to-us (drum roll please) HIGH TUNNEL! A high tunnel is an unheated version of a greenhouse that is used for season extension and crop protection, while greenhouses are heated and provide a more stable climate. Our structure will be used to extend our growing season and give us the ability to grow crops like ginger and turmeric.
To start the clearing process, we had to dig out a dozen 2” saplings and move some other larger trees/bushes we had growing in the designated area. Leveling started the first week of November in what seems to be the wettest, worst time to do it. Leveling is almost finished, but we are forced to bed prep later after things dry out. We are extremely blessed to have family close by and enlisted the help of Mike’s dad who was able to bring a small tractor to our property to assist with leveling. In one weekend, we were able to level the land and spread 15 cubic yards of compost. Getting this leveled was a big “check” off the list. It was going to be the most time consuming part of the project. Once completed, our goal for 2019 is to simply learn:
- What grows best on our land
- The best time to plant
- Establish watering practices
- Establish a plan for crop rotation
We still have a lot of other parts to source to complete the tunnel, it should be quite the adventure! As we write this, we have roughly 60% of the parts needed to complete the build.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Years of work has paid off – we finally wrote down a Pumpkin Spiced Latte recipe that is dairy free! (Link to our Recipe!)
Mac and Cheese
Our diet is pretty restrictive. Mac and Cheese and pizza are the biggest offenders that we both miss. We found a cheese substitute that we’ve been putting on almost everything. We’ve been having it once a week! Recipe coming soon!
Edison Bulbs in a Mason Jar
We took down our builder grade pendant lights(terrible) and replaced them with these. Bought new fixtures online on Amazon and added some wide mouth mason jars. Link To Fixtures
Edison Bulb Chandelier
Chandelier doesn’t sound right for what we are planning, maybe “slab hanging above the dining table” is better? We picked up the Pecan slab shown below and are going to come up with a creative way to incorporate the slab as a fixture. Stay tuned on Facebook or Instagram for those developments.
Thanks for reading more to come from The Piedmont Homestead soon!