The longest day of the year today. It's already blah outside so it won't feel much different. It's very warm though, making it not feel like Christmas at all. We're having better luck keeping the woodstove going now, trying to put only small wood in when the weather gets so warm. It's much better now. We do have alot of small wood to put in. Trying to get son out there chopping up branches to put in everyday. We still have so many piles of branches to break up from the tornado last spring that we just may have to burn up some of the piles come a nice wet day this spring. We're eager to get the back pasture in order so we need to rid it of the piles. As soon as it's a little dryer and colder we can at least drive the dodge ram truck in there and load up the big wood to put by the woodstove.
Talking about the pasture. We had Jack O'Connell from the Department of Agriculture come spend the morning with me last week. He was very, very helpful in letting us know what we'd qualify for and what we wouldn't right now. We were hopeing we could get help putting in fencing in the back 6 acres at least because we have the spring running right through the middle of it. Unfortunately, they can't come in and fence off the water source until there is a problem with the water source. So we'd have to fence the whole thing around the perimeter and allow the animals to come in and pollute all our drinking water, then they would come in and fix it. This is how the government works. Lovely, isn't it?
Jack did give help on the quality of our pastures, encouraging us to get soil samples and having them analyzed by Virginia Tech which we did. Then once that is done we'll know how much lime to apply to the fields to get it back to good fescue and not so much broom weed. The Broomweed evidently is caused by the old tabacco crops depletion of the fields. He did say that we have pretty good fescue growing right now in the back so that's good.
He was very encouraging also about getting a farmstand going on our property this summer, selling fresh fruit and vegetables. I'm really excited about it because he was so excited! He really thinks we'd do well because of our location on such a major highway. We get a lot of traffic and everyone is so concerned with buying local and eating fresh. Now, we have the large task of enlarging the garden to 3 or 4 times is size to get it ready for spring plantings. I had the soil tested near the graveyard especially to put in a peach orchard also. I think that should do really well too.
There is a government pilot program out there right now for putting in a large hoop house on your property for free that I would love to do but I wouldn't qualify until I have the business up and running and it may not be offered next year. We'll see.