There have been lots of questions on the progress of the lavender lately so, as promised, here are all the dirty deets on our first summer as farmers.
The work load has been insane, to be honest. It has pretty much consumed every free moment we have…thank the Lord there are four of us! Along with an enormous to-do list that only gets slightly chipped away every week, just about every piece of machinery we own has broken down. We are still praying that someone just hands us the keys to a tractor with a bucket on it and takes our rusty old Ford with no brakes in exchange 🤞.
It hit me this week though. Since early September it has been exactly 1 year since the farm dream began…WHAATT?!
By October we ran across this amazing property on Zillow and had our realtor show us around…yep, that is really how fast it happened.
It is crazy how quickly this land has felt like home. Somehow it seems like living in downtown Columbia was a lifetime ago, but then I am reminded that we moved just last Christmas and I see what has been accomplished. Suddenly, I don’t feel so daunted by our never-ending list of to-do’s.
For goodness’ sake we moved in the dead of winter with piles of snow on the ground and somehow, in 9 months time, we have this to show for it.
Basically all of it has been done by hand too. We didn’t have a pile of money to fund us at the start so relying on tools and equipment we already have is our only option (even if they are constantly broken). Lucky for us we have two very competent husbands to fix things when they break…time and time again.
All this to say, we are not living some fairy-tale (although photos might tell you otherwise). We have, however, really enjoyed this adventure . Although we look forward to more progress made, it has been a humbling year filled with learning, and I am thankful for that.
I feel equipped for it all one day and the next I think there’s no way I have what it takes to make this dream reality. That’s when I am grateful for the other three members of our team and I see how awesome this farm will be someday. The four of us make a pretty kick-ass team, I tell ya.
For a little perspective, this is what the field looked like after we took the disc to it and then tilled it a million times
After a ton of work which is detailed in previous posts, we planted our little baby plugs…yes, they really were about an inch tall.
Then while we were trying to weigh the pros and cons of grass versus gravel…
We went back and forth on gravel or grass rows throughout the summer but finally decided to commit to laying a million rolls of weed cloth down to later top with gravel. Although it is a big upfront investment of money and labor, it will be much less maintenance down the road which seemed like a wise choice for us.
I hope that the gravel will give the farm more of a European feel to it rather than other lavender farms in the Midwest that have grass paths. If nothing else, it won’t hold onto morning moisture as long as grass does, which is exactly what we need for lavender which thrives in dry climates.
Another thing we worried about, with trying to get grass to take over where a variety of weeds have been growing for decades, was that chemicals would most likely need to be used. With our commitment to organic practices it just seems like grass wouldn’t be realistic.
Also, when the plants are not in bloom, it is almost impossible to see the lavender from far away without the contrast in color to help your eye catch it. The weed cloth and gravel rows make it easy to see them from a long way off. When the grass and weeds were there the plants lost all definition in the landscape.
We will move onto the gravel detail this fall and here’s hoping for that miraculous tractor with a bucket to appear on our property at any moment. If not, grab a shovel and come on over…ANYTIME! We have done just about everything else by hand so clearly we aren’t scared of a little more manual labor…*deep sigh*. I can’t wait to reveal what the gravel looks like in the next farm update. Stay tuned!