Friday, May 4, 2012

Antigua Farms

The main reason I wanted to start this blog up again was so I could have a record of our latest project.

Last year we bought a beautiful but run-down property with the idea of progressively turning it into a family farm. Our home has virtually no backyard and is surrounded by pine trees, which makes gardening a bit of a challenge. And we wanted our children to have a place to run around and play too.

This idea has grown and grown so quickly over the last months that I thought I would retrace this last year, as we started this almost exactly a year ago. So here is the accelerated version of the beginnings of ... Antigua Farms!

In May of 2011, we bought a 1930s stone house built on a 1.4 acre property near a creek, right in town. We had been looking all over for something similar and were incredibly lucky to find this beautiful place five minutes from our home. it was exciting and daunting all at once.

The "Farmhouse"

Over the summer, Jim went beserk. I forgot how incredibly efficient and tireless my husband is. He litterally gutted the entire house and nearly rebuilt the whole damn thing. And he did this in record time; by August, we had tenants.

I call this one 'Kitchen, Deconstructed'

Kitchen Before
Kitchen After!
 During the fall and winter months, we shifted our focus on the adjacent land and again Jim went nuts. This time it involved cutting trees, mending fences, weeding, plowing, and digging beds. If that wasn't enough he also built a 200sq ft greenhouse a cute lil' red barn for tools and equipment. Did I mention, the property has a well, so we have free water, which is usually an issue with farming in the Southwest. Two large water tanks were hooked to a well-pump to allow for easy water access throughout the farm.

June 2011

January 2012

May 2012
We also had the good luck to team up with Thomas from Karma Farms. He and other local farmersplant food on private property and then share what they grow with the owners. They fixed up the small barn that is on the property and added a goat pen. They have fresh milk, we have fresh eggs as trade, as well as some extra hands in the garden.

Refurbishing the goat pen

Twilla mid-crunch
Goat hotel and message board

The lil' red barn

Over the Spring months, we planted potatoes, garlic, and onions in the beds. The greenhouse kept us busy with a "pot party" during which we planted over 1,000 seedlings, including tomatoes, a variety of peppers, eggplant, zucchini, herbs, squash, etc. Lots of watering and transplating...

French Musquee Squash

The greenhouse was equiped with a solar panel connected to a fan to control the temperature inside the structure. We (Jim) also created a picnic/firepit/shade spot for our work parties, saturday night bbqs, and family picnics.

Pre pot-party
Pot party underway

Wind, earth, and fire

Tomatoes everywhere

Baby jalapenos and bell peppers

Now that we have finally moved into summer; tomato and squash plants were transplanted outside, Hopi corn was planted along the creek, and a variety of greens, carrots, peas, and alfafa were seeded in the beds. Basically, you name it, we planted it.

Alfafa for the goats to keep their milk nice and sweet...

Potatoes and onions sharing some straw

Lettuce mix

Itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny carrots

Tomatoes keeping cool in 'water tents'

Butternut squash chilling in the shade

Hopi corn growing using dry-farming techniques

I will now make sure to track the progress of this crazy endeavor of ours in more detail. Hopefully pictures of us harvesting loads of veggies will be coming soon!

Future plans in the works? Chickens, hammacks, a tree house, fruit trees and berry bushes, and a more permanent community space (yurt anyone?). And we're always looking for some helpers, so you and your muscles, come on over.


Silvio's aerial view of the garden!

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