A few months ago, when I was building the brooder barn
, I ran into some guys dumping wood chips at Copeland Quarry. They were paying to dump semi-loads of wood chips from all the downed trees from the ice storm
we had in February. Always on the lookout for a good deal, I passed along my information to one of the drivers hoping to score a bunch of free mulch. Well, after several months went by without receiving a call, I figured the message got lost in the shuffle. Imagine my surprise when I was contacted last week by Mike from Austin Wood Chips! He had 280 loads of wood chips and wanted to know how much I could take.
It was like Christmas in May! So far, Mike has brought in about 50 truckloads, and I figure I can take another 200. But in order for the semi-trucks to gain access to half of the property, I had to improve our low water crossing. This was a project that was long overdue, and free wood chips meant it got bumped up on the priority list. This low water crossing is a troublesome spot, and every time we get torrential rain, I have to make repairs. This time, I put down 16 tons of 5” limestone rock. I’m hoping the larger rock will be less prone to getting washed away. I’m betting that after 200 trucks drive over it, it will be well-embedded into the clay underneath.
Now, you may be wondering, “What are you going to do with 6,000 tons of wood chips?” Since we have very sandy soil at the ranch, I’m always looking for ways to build organic matter into the soil – to improve fertility and water retention. Over the years, we’ve brought in over 200 tons of chicken manure, 200 tons of hay, and we’ve planted a variety of cover crops in an effort to build healthy soil. All of these wood chips should aid in that endeavor. Unfortunately, these are not really chips, but more like kindling. It will take several years for them to decompose before I can spread them out and incorporate them into the soil, but by that time, they’ll be teeming with life.
Speaking of life, we had some new arrivals on the ranch this past week! Our sow gave birth to 14 piglets on Saturday, and we were blessed with a newborn calf and a few spring lambs! We're also seeing a resurgence of wildlife with mockingbirds nesting in the barn.
We are thrilled about the new opportunities and developments on our ranch, from the free wood chips to the new animal arrivals and the improvements we've made to the property. As we continue to work on enhancing our soil health and taking on overdue projects, we look forward to sharing our progress with you in future updates.
Pflugerville Pfarmers Market Schedule:
- Regular Season: May 2 - October 31
- Pfestive Markets: November 7 & 21, December 5, 12 & 19