An Urban Farm Update and Plans for the Future
I’m Tired This Morning
It was 90 degrees this weekend. I’m sure some of you don’t think that’s hot, but in western Washington, that qualifies as a scorcher.
So naturally we decided to finally finish building our aviary outside.
Why wait for cooler weather, right? That’s what smart people would do, and I’ve never claimed to be smart.
This is actually the second aviary we have built outside. The first one is lovingly called our ghetto aviary. It was built by two people, Bev and I, with no carpentry skills at all. We had an idea and we were determined. Nothing is square in that aviary. It looks like something built by a guy on a bad acid trip.
But the quail, guinea pigs and rabbits are happy in it, so there really is no place like home.
The second aviary, the one we just finished, actually moved out of the ghetto neighborhood and can be called a middle-class establishment. When we finished it I measured and we were one inch from square. One inch! That’s as close to perfection as this would-be carpenter will ever get.
The new quail are in there. Guinea pigs are in there. Finches will soon be in there. It has a nice roof for shelter, hutches for concealment and bird houses. Everyone is happy. Including Bev and I. But we are far from finished.
Plans Were Drawn
As soon as we finished this aviary we drew up plans for the rest of the yard. You see, we’re quite serious about this urban farming thing. Our goal is to make our 1/8 acre as productive as possible, and that means we have some serious work ahead.
We put our vegetable garden in three years ago, and it’s been bountiful, but we can do better. We have a ten-by-twenty covered structure that really serves no purpose, so we decided that our big project this fall is to move that structure to where our garden is, and to make it a greenhouse. We can easily double our vegetable production in a greenhouse, and the move is doable. It’s constructed by plastic pvc piping, so it’s not heavy at all. We can cover the whole structure with heavy-duty plastic and presto-chango, it will be a greenhouse.
All it takes is some elbow grease and we have plenty of that.
Next spring we’ll build the next aviary. It will connect to the aviary we just finished. It will look great and in it we can raise more rabbits and add doves.
But That’s Not All
We both want goats.
We love goats.
We are allowed two miniature goats in the city, and we want two miniature dairy goats so we can get our own goat milk. So we’re going to fence in the front yard, and make a connecting pathway to the back, and then the goats can roam the front and the back.
We can hardly wait.
And we can hardly wait for the ducks.
We both want ducks.
We love ducks.
We’re allowed a few ducks in the city of Olympia, so we know where we will dig their little pond, and I’ll make a shelter for them out of wooden pallets, and this time next year we’ll have ducks and duck eggs.
The farm is growing and will continue to do so as long as this carpenter-wannabe is breathing.
What’s the Point?
It’s pretty simple, really. I could talk to you about the economy and how I feel it is necessary for people to move in this direction. I could talk to you about companies like Monsanto and how I feel it is crucial that we start eating organic foods. I could talk to you about how great organic chicken and duck eggs taste, or how delicious goat milk is, and all the benefits of eating food we produced.
But the truth is we love animals, and we find peace when surrounded by them.
Some of you will understand that.
Many never will.
Those of you living in the big city, surrounded by the hustle and bustle and noise of city life, I’m sure you’ll think we’re crazy. Those of you who love the convenience of fast foods and a grocery store on every corner will think we are completely bonkers. Those of you who don’t care how those frozen tv dinners are produced will think we qualify for mental assistance.
Oh well! I’m not selling and you’re not buying, and I’m fine with that.
We love animals, and we find peace when surrounded by them.
Another hot one is in store.
I woke up at five-thirty to the sounds of the male quail chirping their mating call. I could hear the six chickens in the coop calling out their breakfast orders. I threw on some clothes and let the chickens out. They followed me around the yard while I checked on the other critters, clucking their impatience. I fed them, fed the rest and then fed myself. I watered the garden before the heat arrived. Our new colony of honey bees were busy in the raspberry bushes and I love their buzzing sound. The neighborhood birds were on the fence and at the feeders, singing happily. The dew clung to the bean and pea vines. The tomatoes looked a slight shade redder.
I kissed Bev, we had breakfast on the deck, and I realized just how damned lucky I am to be alive.
Life is good for this urban farmer. I am connected to the animals. They are connected to me. There is a bond between me and the land. I am continuing a tradition as old as mankind.
Quite frankly, I can’t imagine a better life.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)