The Butterfly Effect Hobby Farm

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Chickenaddition, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. This is a thread dedicated to our progress on our property as we slowly renovate a 1935 home and transform the property into our dream hobby farm. I hope people follow along as they see our successes and our follies.


    A quick background to where we started. My SO and I rekindled our search for a home at the start of 2018. After a series of frustrating searches in Raleigh a former employee who called me to see how I was doing and when I told her that we were searching for a house with a decent amount of property, she mentioned to check out Wendell. (hence the start of the Butterfly effect) I am so thankful that she called and mentioned this. We then began to search this area and eventually landed this property. We both turned 50 in 2018 and are so thankful to start our dream hobby farm. It is going to take a huge amount off sweat equity and a decent amount of money to get it to the shape we desire.

    This property is 2.33 acres and there is a fairly unique situation on it. The main house was originally built in 1935 and there was an update on it in 1960. The good news is that the house also has a manufactured home about 70 feet away from the main house. Our real estate lawyer told us we were very lucky as this was grandfathered in. You are generally not allowed to have two homes on one property. So currently we are living in the manufactured home while we renovate the main home. This allows us to work at our own pace (both physically and monetarily). Each project that we need to do we figure out the way we want to do it and then what we can’t do ourselves we can then save or prepare to pay to get it done the way we want. I am so very thankful as it saves us a great deal of headache and heartache that is typically associated with renovations.

    We moved in and headed into working on the house as we were very curious as to what was behind the walls and what good and bad things were hidden. I will show what we discovered later in the thread as it’s both exciting and daunting.

    During the summer after we had been on the property for a few months, I realized that no one had done any tree management on the property in quite some time. So with a hand saw (yes… a hand saw) I went about to start cleaning up some issues. I don’t know if I have many pictures of the early days, but I will find what I have. On the property was a 40’ burn circle that apparently the previous owner had “cleaned up” the yard and the only evidence was this 40’ diameter burn circle. I decided to carry all the trees I hand fell to this circle and would repeat the burning. As I worked the pile quickly grew in size and I honestly got carried away (you will hear this as a reoccurring theme on my weekends). I realized the burn circle’s proximity to a line of trees and the huge pile of pine trees was not a good combination and so things stalled for the rest of the year on my cutting of trees (not to mention hand cutting trees is fairly taxing… if only they made a device that would cut trees… maybe someday someone would solve this dilemma). 20180426_184531.jpg
    Here is an early picture of the tree pile. It gradually got bigger until I stalled. To give scale it was easily 30'+ in diameter and eventually got to be around 6'+ high.

    I am fairly terrible at documenting so I am hoping this format helps me keep up. Hopefully people asking questions or commenting will also help in the process :idunno.

    More coming.
     
  2. I learned something about myself after we purchased the property. I really really really dislike tress planted in straight lines. (to those of you that do.. I apologize I guess I should say I really dislike it on my property). Unfortunately our property had it in droves.
    We had 7 Eastern Red Cedar trees planted 9 feet apart that started about 12 feet from the manufactured house.

    20180426_184633.jpg

    This is the line after I had cut down two of the trees closest to the house and also the two that were blocking sunlight a then mystery grapevine.
     
  3. The grapevine even in it's neglected situation wound up giving us a bunch of grapes. It wound up being a Concord grape (seeded) which we were able to produce a bunch of grape jelly which we gave out to friends and family and also several pitchers of grape juice which we enjoyed that fall. This was when it first started leafing out. It really went gang busters after the trees went down and allowed it to get a decent amount of light. We plan on adding more grapes down the road but if we trellis them they would have to go north/south which would put them right in front of the 16'x16' shed. :he:barnie

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  4. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    Agree on the trees in straight lines... if they were fruit trees at least it would make some sense for harvesting, but cedars? And it’s not like a hedge at the property line even!
     
  5. This is what bothered me about the cedars. They were planted way to close. Cedars can grow huge! We have two huge cedars on the property (and in fact several mid sized in the front yard too). They also unfortunately did this with pine trees. Planted way to close to each other and wayyyyyy too close to the house. Not sure what the plan was but. 22 of the 30 huge pines are going to be removed in the next couple of weeks. It will open up a huge chunk of the back yard for raised beds.

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  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    Proximity to house and the straight line also creates a huge risk of them falling on the house in a major wind event. Good decision!
     
  7. Speaking of their removal. This all came about from another incidental occurrence. In early January 2019 we had snow and that brought several limbs of pines along our driveway to put pressure on a power line. This is actually another example of the butterfly effect that is fascinating to me. The power line is to a Light post that the previous owners had installed. We didn't like it at all and told the power company to turn it off (as one of our enjoyments is going out at night and looking at the stars). So for most of the year the light post simply sat there dark and without purpose and simply eye clutter. So my SO called a few tree cutters to see about getting these bigger branches cut. While they were out we had them quote on all sorts of things and wound up getting a quote on the 20 huge (and I do mean taller than any pines in the area). We truly thought this was just a dream to have them gone, as they truly impact the back yard with shade and would limit where we would be able to grow our garden.

    The next impact was that they said in order to get the trees cut we would need to deal with the tree pile I had to create.... So it motivated me to get a Dewalt 20v electric chainsaw. This has been a godsend. So that weekend my SO and I tackled the pile. It was hard, but rewarding work. The first 3 hours in on saturday you couldn't even really tell we had even worked on the pile. It was disheartening. However she and I kept plugging away at in and by Sunday the only thing that remained of the pile was wet piles of pinecones. (trust me an epic amount of wet pinecones). The picture in post 5 shows the pile gone and those were branches from our recent weekend and we were about to do a burn pile. I try to do a burn pile on a larger pile of the wet pine cones so that they eventually are gone too.

    The other impact was that the tree guy told me that I could contact the power company to ask them to "drop the line". I had never thought of that to be honest. When I called the power company on that Monday I got to speak to an engineer and I also asked if they could remove the pole. The pole was less than 10 feet from our Pecan tree in the front yard. He said he would check it out and see if it could be done.

    Well this weekend as we worked I eventually walked out front and was looking at the Pecan tree and kept thinking something looked weird. I looked and kept thinking and couldnt' figure it out... until it dawned on me... The Pole was GONE!!! :eek:

    Here is a pic of it before the pole was removed.
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  8. N F C

    N F C coffee time!

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    Following!

    If I remember correctly (not always a sure thing :rolleyes: ) you & I have talked about your trees in the not so distant past.

    I love reading this stuff...my husband and I did so much of the same thing when we lived in FL and we both really enjoyed it. Job change required us to move so now I get to live vicariously through homesteaders like you!

    Keep up the good work! :pop
     
  9. N F C thank you for following and if you have any words of advice I will always love to hear it. I am truly re-invigorated by this. 10 years ago I felt like my dreams of having a small farm were crushed and I had honestly given up on having that dream occur. Every day here bad or good has been a blessing. I am sorry you had to move away from where you had built your spot. How is Wyoming?
     
  10. N F C

    N F C coffee time!

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    WY has it's good and not so good points just like any place else. But I really miss what we had done and were planning to do in FL. Not able to recreate that same scenario here but maybe some day.

    Isn't it exciting to see what you can accomplish with your own 2 hands (or 4 hands counting the SO :D )? For too many years I worked in corporate America and it was hard to see, actually see, when a project was finished. In your type of setting, at the end of the day, you can stand there and see what you did. A great feeling!

    I totally understand what you mean by it being re-invigorated and I'm looking forward to reading your updates!
     

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