A Spring Orchard Tour

Today is the start of something different. We’re going to start posting YouTube videos as a way to provide more regular updates on our various farm related activities. Subscribe and enjoy!

In this video, I give a tour of the silvopasture and show off how the trees survived through the winter. For those of you who are new to the blog, we started a 6 1/2 acre integrated orchard and silvopasture in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Staged as integrated rows along more than a mile of swales and berms, our orchard includes chestnuts, hazelnuts, mulberry, elderberry, apple and black locust. While it is going to take years to develop, we are really excited about our future food forest. This was a huge effort last year.

Measuring Before Digging


Later this week, a massive excavator is going to arrive on the farm. It’s finally time to start digging our swales and berms. We’re going with the excavator instead of shovel digging because there are more than 6,000 feet of swales and berms that need to be dug. That’s nearly a mile and I just don’t have that kind of time.

This weekend’s dig is part of our larger plan to establish seven acres of permaculture-style orchard and silvopasture. We have a butt-load of bare-root trees showing up on the farm in late October and I want to make sure we have finished all the necessary earthworks to set the orchard up for long-term success.

Before you can dig, you need to mark where you will dig. And that activity proved to be a lot easier in theory than in practice.

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Year One


It was one year ago today that I woke up in a strange and unfamiliar barn. Having arrived after midnight the previous evening, I had just slept for five hours in a camping hammock hastily slung between two barn posts. Technically, I was trespassing. It wouldn’t be until later that afternoon that Allison and I would officially become the proud owners of a sprawling 158 acre property that featured an elegant-but-in-need-of-repair farmhouse and a massive banked barn located in a charming Vermont town roughly 50 miles south of the Canadian border.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we bought the farm. In a way, it wasn’t that long ago. But when I look back on all the work and progress of the past year, it feels like eons.
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