Blogging at last!
Category : Around the Farm
[Originally posted March 3, 2014 at caitlinpatton.com/blog]
I’ve been talking about starting this blog for a while now, and since today is a snow day, this seemed like a good time to get started. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my farming/homesteading/gardening/poultry-raising/general country life fun and adventures. And maybe misadventures.
For those who many not know me in “real life,” I am the Executive Director of the National Music Festival, a violinist/strings teacher, freelance writer and animal lover. My husband and I live on nine acres in Galena, MD with two cats, three dogs, two horses, and (at the moment) two geese, two turkeys and 19 chickens. This is our first spring on this property, so I am excited about gardening, planting fruit trees and bushes, etc.
I used to think that it was sheer acreage that made a farm a farm. When we started looking for a property of our own, I wanted at least 50 acres. It’s probably a good thing we ended with only nine…
As I learn more about farming, I am becoming more convinced that what makes a farm a farm is not acreage but productivity. What about the urban farmer producing thousands of pounds of vegetables per year on half an acre? Could you say that is not a farm? Of course not – not when it is being cultivated so thoroughly and producing so much abundance. On the other side of the spectrum, what about the wealthy person who buys 50 acres but lets it all go to wild forest or mows vast sections like an enormous lawn? Is that a farm? I think not. (Which is not to say that preserving open land from development, even if it is not farmed, is a bad thing – I don’t think it is. Likewise, there is much to be said for the habitat such land could provide for wildlife. But it’s not a farm in my newly evolving definition of the word.)
So what does all this mean for me? It means that I now feel – as I would not have ten or even five years ago – that my little nine-acre portion of the world can be a farm if I want it to be. Of course, when you factor in the woods, the pond, the buildings and the horse pasture that leaves relatively little space…but I do believe that we can turn this property into a productive working farm.
For starters, I’ll be putting in a garden this year (more on that in another post), as well as blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes. When we first moved in, we planted fruit trees (apricots, pears, peaches, apples, cherries and plums), as well as half a dozen pomegranate plants. We have brought life back to the chicken coop that existed on the property before we came here, and I’m raising my first-ever batch of chicks. I’ll be getting my first hive of bees in early April. One step at a time, we’re working toward a farm.