HISTORY OF THE FARM & LAND

It took almost a year to find the perfect place to farm...to check-out....

About a mile off the road...

A relocated, restored late 1700's Adams county cabin on 10 heavily wooded acres in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, in Adams County, Southeast Ohio.

Two hole outhouse. No running water. No electricity.


January 2010

Our farm was a small part of a large Adams County, Ohio farm that has been owned by the same family for generations. Alot of the family members stop to say hello, to hunt or run the fence line.

The homestead consists of several relocated and restored late 1700’s log cabins. The main house consists of 2 cabins attached together with a large native stone fireplace with a working iron cookarm. The barn has a brick 1st floor and a massive hand hewn log staircase leading to the large wooden loft. As no homestead would be complete without plumbing, we have an antique hand crank water pump and a 2 hole outhouse. Rounding out the homestead is a woodshed made from split red cedar logs from the farm.

Truely pioneer; there is no electricity and no running water. We have had to rely on imagination, creativity and a pond for a lot of what we are doing! Spending weekends in the winter have been a challenge, though there is an awesome fireplace, we have come to understand and appreciate the struggles of Ohio pioneers in winter!

February 2010
We began clearing a field for red raspberry production. We determined we needed 1 acre of our 10 acres for raspberry production. We accomplished this by removing a band of invasive red cedars on the hill side. The field is terraced and uphill from the pond. We also cleared several areas for herb production.

Once the fields were cleared we installed red raspberry canes and relocated many of the herb plants I had growing in the city and introduced many more plants. Beacause of the abundance of shagbark hickories present, we named the farm Shagbark Farm.

In addition to the farm operation, we corrected the flow of the stream which runs through our acerage and returned it to the original water path. We also did additional grading around the cabins to improve water drainage.


2011 In Review
We increased heating in the main cabin and decreased the ability for cold air and animals to enter the cabin. We also replaced a leaky roof on the front porch.

We increased the number of herb gardens and currently we are utilizing approximately 1/2 - 3/4 acre for herb production.

2012 In Review
Because of the drought in 2011 and the planned increases in our crop production, we enlarged our existing pond. We also improved our water pumping system for crop irrigation.

We also removed a poor performing raspberry variety in order to add 2 additional varieties to extend our raspberry season. We are also installing bird netting structures to support netting to protect all of the berries from bird theft and damage.

We removed our row of lavender and chamomile in the berry field in order to install blackberries. The lavender was moved to several gardens near the cabins and pond. The chamomile continues to thrive as a ground cover in the berry field.

 

2013 In Review
We finally added the bird netting to the raspberry field. It was a huge project and it was successful. We also added some additional drainage in the raspberry field. We added 2 new varieties of raspberry and some beautiful blackberry plants as well both for harvesting in 2014.

We installed the orchard which includes apple, pear and plum trees and also blueberries.

As if the raspberries weren't enough for the bees, we installed a butterfly garden which has mostly edible flowers, and an added plus, the bees love the garden too! We began experimenting with vertical growing and learned some lessons there. We had the largest raspberry harvest to date, in spite of the fact we had only 3 of the terraces producing! We increased our production of hot peppers and began making a hot pepper sauce. We also discovered wild ginger and began stewardship of the area with the hope to bring fresh harvests in the future.

 

2014 In Review
We added a new structure to house all of the herbs we produce. We call it the "herb shack". We began producing hickory smoked salt to add to our lineup of hickory products. The winter months were pretty harsh and many farmers lost lavender plants, ours survived as did the raspberry and blackberry plants. Our rhubarb crop was pretty phenomenal in the Spring.

The blackberries we installed produced beautifully. We took blackberries to market a couple of weeks. We look forward to 2015 harvest as the variety we chose was awesome and will be even better as the plants mature!

Wild mushrooms were slim this year, in spite of the harsh wet inter, the Summer months were dry and did not yield the mushrooms we usually can collect. However. Autumn produced some pretty amazing Maitake. 30 pounds to be precise!

 

2015 In Review
We had a lot of Spring rain and it was the year where we twice almost lost the pond. We found out what a crawdad collar was and installed one of those at the drain pipe.(If you want to know what crawdad collar is, just ask. We didn't know either.) Our rhubarb crop was again pretty phenomenal in the Spring and we were able to begin offering rhubarb at markets.

Raspberry harvest was good but thin, Spring rains caused most of the fruit to mold. However our blackberry harvest was great. We also started growing and offering melons. Ever since I tried charentais melons in France I have been interested in growing good melons here. You just can't get a good melon around here anymore, so we started growing them. Adams County seems to have a great climate for melons. Who knew? Wild mushrooms were also pretty plentiful - all varieties we harvest.

2016 In Review
We moved to the farm house in January! Strange time of year to move, but when you're a farmer, winter is the best time to do "big" things - that you have control over! The farm house isn't exactly as we want it, but what house isn't an ongoing project?

The raspberry harvest was good as were the blackberries. We're still having problems with the birds getting through the netting. Last year they hadn't quite figured out how to defeat what we we did, but we're guessing the winter physics classes they all took paid off, we again had significant bird damage, so it's back to the drawing board for 2017!

The melon crop was phenomenal, we are so happy with the heirloom varieties we chose! We look forward to even better melons in 2017!

Wild mushroom harvest was good and with everything we've learned about mushrooms, we're looking forward to cultivating mushrooms in 2017. An exciting and new endeavor! Pawpaws were also strong this year in spite of an early frost that damaged many of the blossoms. This was also the first year our pear trees really produced, but the squirrels got most of the fruit before they matured. Plans are in place to remedy this issue for 2017!

We tried garden huckleberries on a small scale and they were successful and we tried ground cherries in a large quantity and discovered what the horned tobacco worm was...Most of the lessons learned on the farm are hard ones, but farmers are the eternal optimists - there's always next year!

 

Read further to learn about our farm practices, how we use the land and water.

 

 


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