August 2010

Lots of exciting events have happened this month at Swampy Acres Farm. Earlier in the year, the State of NH was
harassing me for a drainage easement where the farm abuts Route 121. It would appear they wanted to put a new
culvert under this road and they want a drainage easement to keep this thing clear. After some heated negotiations
and typical government BS... they got there drainage easement and I got a check for 500 bucks. At any rate, this
month they finally started construction.

Well, construction of this magnitude (replacing a 4 X 4 culvert with an 8 X 8 culvert) is really big news in
Hampstead. They had to shut down Rt. 121 (which is one of the main drags in town) and lots of town folks were
migrating down to the construction zone to see what is going on. Well, the first day.. it was just a really big hole,
but soon the prefab concrete culvert was in place. This is the dry season, so "Hog Hill Brook" is barely trickling.
Because of this, construction is going quite quickly.

At any rate, this construction prompted me to get my the farm officially surveyed. I was curious where the
borders were (and I have about 10 abutters), and this gave me a good excuse. Well, per usual with my projects,
this turned out to be a nightmare. It would appear the original surveyor never bothered to put in half the markers
(probably didn't want to walk through the swamp) and the property records go back hundreds of years. The
whole "where is the property line" sitution was further compounded by the old dam.. which used to be a mill
back in the 1840. Apparently there was some property exchange then, that just wasn't well documented. Well,
after about a month, the surveyor finally figured out what was going on and we I had my property borders well
defined. But one of my neighbors has run his electric dog fence way over the line (like 50 feet) and he also built a
chicken coop on my side of the line. As you can see from the pic (below) this one is a real beauty. When I
knocked on the door to ask him about all this... I got a rather curious response that the coop was there when he
bought the place, and he didn't know anything about how the fence got on my side of the line (which is odd,
because apparently this is his business). We concluded this confusing exchange with the agreement that I could
remove the fence and all this junk. I wonder if he will remember our discussion?
In order to keep a better "eye" on what is going on over on the other side of the property, Dan and I hacked a
path out of the undergrowth, so now the other side of the farm is accessible by foot (rather than being forced to
drive to the other side!). There where tons of trees down from the big ice storm of 2009, and many of my
neighbors have been using the farm as there personal dumping ground for yard waste.... but we finally hacked
out a quarter mile path. We also had to build a small bridge (see below). We took two 6 X 6 landscaping timbers
and layered 4' pieces of 2 X 6 PT to make a nifty (and heavy duty) foot bridge over a small "tributary" to Hog's
Hill Brook.
Back on the farm, the garden is in absolute full swing. I have a ton of updates on the vegetable pages. There are
more vegetables than we can eat. I ended up buying a chest freezer and have already started blanching and
freezing several pounds of vegetables, at this point mostly summer squash and zucchini.
I also finally got tired of the goats knocking me over during feeding time. So I built a nice "feeding door" so that
I can feed them from outside the fence. This also limits them from shoving each other around to some degree as
they are now a little more "compartmentalized." I have a description of how I built this and a few more pics in
my "do it yourself projects" section.
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