I can’t believe it’s been four months since we moved to the farm! This summer has flown by. We’ve made a lot of progress on the house, but not as much outside. While I could have rushed and started working outside immediately after we moved, I’m so glad I didn’t. I took some great advice from my farmer friend, Barry, who told me to move in and do nothing. For a few months, he suggested, just walk the land and observe.
So that’s what I’ve been doing this summer and I’ve learned a lot. I have a good idea where the first and last places to get sun in the yard are, and places that hardly get sun at all. I’ve squished through the areas that stay wet the longest after a rain. Mystery plantings have come up to flower and surprise me over the months. I’ve been stomped at by a sassy baby deer grazing outside my front door. And I have excitedly been trying to identify all the new birds around the house.
As the cooler weather moves in, I’m ready to start planning for the farm’s debut year. I’ve been daydreaming for years about everything I’d do once I had some land. Now that it’s time to start making plans, it’s actually kind of difficult to know where to start! Dreaming and wishing is one thing. Knowing you have to put in physical labor to bring each project into reality is another. Time, energy, resources, need and interest have to be balanced and prioritized. While I don’t need a final farm plan, I’d like a “where to start” plan. Forming an idea of where structures, trees and perennials fit in the big picture would make getting started a little easier.
I’m a planner. Actually, I enjoy planning just as much as the execution and results. I love seeing and recording where I start against what ends up happening… it’s fun to me. I know it isn’t everyone’s approach and some will say, “just toss some seeds out there, it’s nature!”. Well, as the kids say, “that ain’t me”. I’ll be planning. I’ll be planning my planning. It’s my nature.
So, my plan for the farm plan:
Part 2: Brainstorm // Big Dreaming. All those articles I’ve saved over the last few years. All those post-it notes and Amazon book topics I’ve accumulated. Anything and everything I’ve ever had the slightest interest in doing on the farm. I’ll also think through questions on goals and lifestyle.
Part 3: Specifics, Whys & Priorities // I expect some of my brainstorm to produce overarching ideas, projects or philosophies. This will be where I identify smaller actions that make up those abstract ideas. This is also where I get into the whys of doing something. The last step will be prioritization. I don’t want my plan to be overwhelming (well, I do, but I know I shouldn’t), so establishing priority is essential.
Part 4: Questions // Once I get into the nitty-gritty, I know things will come up that I don’t know much about. I’d like to have a list of questions along with ideas on how to find some answers. Figuring out every detail isn’t required, but I don’t want not knowing something to hold me back. I also want to set myself up to be exposed to ideas I may not know anything about yet. It’ll be winter and a good time to do some research to fill in the gaps.
Part 5: Five Year Farm Plan // I read that a Five Year Plan works great because it gives you enough time to make some bigger plans, but isn’t so far in the future that it’s inflexible. We have a lot of life changes coming up, so 3-5 years out sounds reasonable.
Part 6: Site Design // This is a detailed map and diagram of the property, its assets and future additions. I’ll be doing this along with the Five Year Farm Plan. At the end of this month through October, I’ll be going through a local Permaculture Design Certificate course. The final project of this certification is the site design document.
Some of these may get broken down more as I go through the process, but right now this is a blueprint to move forward. Really excited, really overwhelmed… but I can’t wait to get started!