We had a momentous weekend here in the Valley! Oh, it was wonderful – the merging of friends, family, and strangers to work with a common purpose slashed item after item off our heavily laden to-do list.
Personally, I brought in seven outsiders, all adorned with a “do-it-for-me-because-you-love-me” ornament dangling above their heads. And girl, did they!
From the start of the farm’s conceptualization, we have had a broken fence enclosing the designated gardening corral, doing absolutely nothing for our deer problem.
You know deer, the biggest, greatest pest to beautiful greens and flowers in the garden. You’ll have beautiful pumpkin buds blooming to the morning and before you know it, your plant is void of all bright orange color, deer droppings left carelessly behind. There was a time or two that I was tending to the plants when I looked up to see a beautiful buck standing 20 feet away from me, entertained by the pear tree and completely unaffected by my presence! They’re ornery, you know. If you try to scare the deer away, they might just look at you, still chomping away on your hard work. I guess I’m not as intimidating as a mountain lion.
This weekend the fence went up. It’s probably four and a half to five feet tall, not high enough to stop a deer from jumping over, but they can’t just mosey on through the gap that once lined our northeast edge.
We will have to add some deer fencing on top of the existing fence to be fully effective, but for now I believe the deer are able to find plenty of food elsewhere on our property – food that doesn’t require taking a leap to get there.
In order to plant things, you have to have somewhere to put them. Well, another pest we run into around these parts are gophers. The little buggers tunnel deep underground and come up for air only to form a nice, fresh heap of dirt around a sizable hole, dangerous land mines to ankles everywhere! In order to keep the gophers out of my ground garden beds, we must take precautions.
Here, Tess is laying down chicken wire and weed cloth. The gopher wire lies directly on the ground and the weed cloth lies on top of that. (It’s reversed in the picture for measuring purposes.)
And then we wrapped our straw waddle in a spiral (Looks suspiciously like a cinnamon roll… hmmm…), filled it with our soil mixture (vermiculite, peat moss, and home-made compost) and voila! Ready for planting.
My coworkers and I are thrilled with the progress we’ve made in the past week. But not all the work happens outdoors when working towards a dream.
Let’s just say I’m learning a lot as an Intern at Happy Valley Conference Center. Planting schedules don’t make themselves, and the conversation between kitchen and farm is paramount to incorporate a successful transition from a kitchen fully stocked by outside resources to one totally supported by our own hard work.
We are also making our entrance into the Social Media World, even planning out an educational YouTube series! Need to know how to mix a successful compost? Curious about Square Foot Gardening? Let us teach what we know.
The big challenge is identifying all the little puzzle pieces, twisting and turning them, getting help from friends and coworkers, and letting out a great big gasp of wonder when the pieces all slide into place over time. The to-do list is quite long yet, and a heck of a journey it is turning out to be.
Keep up with our progress here weekly, and anxiously await our publishings on Instagram (HappyValleyCC) and Facebook (Happy Valley Conference Center) as well.
Have a wonderful week!