A silver lining to COVID-19 is that I've had ample time to work on things around the property. Usually I feel pulled in multiple directions: photography gigs, hangouts, post-work libations with my coworkers, potlucks, travel, etc. Noooot so much now. As a result, my to-do list for the barn and property that I expected to take until autumn has been completed.
Preparation and Liming of the Pastures
I'll likely lime my pastures for a few years in a row to get them up to a better pH. When I tested the soils last year, they rung at a pH of 4.6 This wasn't at all surprising, but it is a bit too acidic to grow lush pasture grasses.
To prepare for liming, I spent a few days picking up rocks, firewood, and wood scraps/shavings from the milling process last summer. This involved three more pick up loads of firewood to be transferred (we had already done a good 6 loads last fall), raking and shoveling of all the scraps and shavings, and clearing out rocks that remained from excavation.
I slowly did these tasks over a period of a few weeks while I waited for the weather to get its shit together so I could lime. When I finally found a window of time, I headed up to Oakland to get a buggy from Southern States that was full of pelletized lime and returned to spread it in the first pasture (I'm waiting to do the other one this autumn).
|Spring pastures sans all the firewood that had been piled up here!|
|Wheelbarrow with scraps, one jump that hadn't been moved, and tarp-encased slab of wood we're letting cure before turning into a bench|
|Hooked up to the buggy waiting for pelleted lime to fill|
|Hooked up and about to drive around the pasture spreading the lime|
|And the only morel I've ever found in Canaan...in the middle of my damn pasture!|
|It was a funny shaped little thing, but I was happy to discover it right before liming. I totally ate it with dinner that night lol|
As my barn routine normalized, I began to notice that I was wearing a path down to the barn. This wasn't unexpected or surprising in the least. What was a slightly surprising and a bit frustrating though was that the last 6 feet or so was muddy because despite spreading top soil back, the vegetation was really struggling to reestablish itself. My constant trodding on it really wasn't helping either. The area was muddy and becoming worse by the day.
A big reason why I designed the barn/dry lot/pastures in the manner I did was to avoid ever having to step in mud again. I hate mud and one of my big goals with the barn project was to do all I could to effectively manage mud around my property. And so, in an effort to resolve the little bit of mud I was encountering on my walk down to the barn, I began building a stone path.
It wasn't anything special at all, but it did help get me up out of the mud! I worked on it bit by bit this spring. First the topmost and bottom-most sections. The middle remained incomplete for a long time. And when I was about to mobilize and go fetch rocks to complete the middle section, I screwed up my shoulder.
Fortunately for me, my brother - who has been back in WV for a few weeks and staying with me during that time - took it upon himself to upgrade/complete my rock pathway last week. Thanks, brother!
|Norah checking out the lower part of the walkway|
|Rock walkway pairs well with the rock perimeter on my flower bed|
|Brother and his work in progress|
|A lot of the small rocks in the middle of this image and the next have been replaced with giant river rocks|
|I'm a big fan!|
While not the biggest or craziest upgrade, I did finally buy a few more barn mats. These damn things are pricey - especially when one needs to buy multiples. I'd like to eventually get about four more before calling it "good", but for now this is more than workable. I LOVE having mats to sweep. It's so much simpler than raking them for cleanliness.
|Earlier this spring, I just had a narrow strip of mats up the middle.|
|But now mats fill the very large majority of the space!|
|We're pretty happy about this development for all barn aisle needs.|