Table of Contents:
A satellite image from Google maps overlaid with a contour map from Google Earth.
Next, using the satellite image as reference, I filled in the important features of the yard. Lastly I added the chicken area, garden, and a few more trees and shrubs.
The idea is to update the map every year filling in and eventually labelling everything.
Putting last year's chicken coop to use, Dad and I put in a simple chicken wire fence with mostly recycled materials. I even made the gates out of sticks. Once I snugged it up enough to keep the chickens from escaping under it, they started to fly over it (even with clipped wings). We used some bamboo and plastic chicken type fence to extend the fence about 18 inches taller. That kept the rascals in place.
As they slowly destroyed the grass I added more and more mulch/straw until it was almost totally mulched by the end of the year (not pictured).
The coop works nicely; my only complaint it that it doesn't offer enough shelter in more blistery weather. I used tarps and pallets to shore it up as winter approached, but eventually slaughtered the flock before it got too cold. While they were still alive I harvested a lot of eggs. Once or twice an enormous egg was produced. I feel bad for the hen that laid that one!
As usual I had a lot of stuff growing before the season even started.
The first grape vine made it to the top of the trellis.
This year I installed a proper garden. It took me quite some time to finish since I did it everything except a final rototill by hand. I decided to dig only the rows where I would plant things and leave the paths unmolested. As I dug I added sticks, newspaper, compost, and gypsum to the soil. The chickens did their part scratching for grubs and worms. Once all the rows were done Dad installed an electric fence and ran an old rototiller he fixed up across the mounded soil.
Next I built some A-frame trellises from old pallets and filled in the perimeter and paths with newspaper and cardboard topped with straw.
Everything grew quite well from amaranth to squash. The tomatoes and PA Dutch Crookneck squash thrived on my pallet trellises.
For now the majority of the yard remains an untouched pallet. These pictures will serve as a reminder to the future of what once wasn't.
In August there was quite a bit of rain that led to a flood. The garden was almost unscathed, but the neighbors was waterlogged and much of his crop died after turning yellow. The creek banks stood up swimmingly to the torrent.
The pear tree and aborvitae on the side of the house are coming along nicely. I trimmed the blossoms off of the pear tree to focus all of its growth potential into actually growing and not making pears.
A few bales of old straw and a pile of mulch dropped off by the neighborhood tree trimmers, a cutting of prickly pear cactus, and some of the fruits of my labor. You can see how large the PA Dutch Crookneck squashes are in relation to the quart canning jar.