Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Kailyard isn't a word you hear very often these days, but it's an often spoke term around here. It's an old Scottish term for cottage garden (Kail was a general term for green vegetables). But Kailyard doesn't just mean a small, rural, garden. It was also the term for a genre of romantic, Scottish, literature in the late 19th century about rural life. The term literally means kitchen garden, Scotland, and the romance of writing about rural life. I, Jenna Woginrich, am not planting a garden. I am planting a kailyard. And thanks to my good friends the Hoffs, I was able to break ground yesterday.

In a barter of farm-raised chicken for the use of a roto-tiller I was able to tear up a 15x15' area of sunny forest behind the barn. Being the contrary farmer I am, I am very happy to break that much sod with some borrowed power and write about it on this fancy internet - but there ends the amped technology. The kailyard will be cultivated, weeded, seeded and tended by hand tools. But not just the usually hoes and shovels. I have graduated to Varsity. I have a Kentucky Wheel Cultivator, and Precision Seeder from Earthway. I contacted the company about sponsorship and not only did they happily jump on board but sent along these tools of the trade. It's a big step up in backyard vegetable production for me. These are smart, simple, human-powered push tools that take the back bending and time loss to on-hands-and-knees weeding out of the equation. This 225 square feet of growing space will have a fence, rows, and a more sophisticated system of work and reward.

After we tilled up the ground Cathy, Tim, and their son Joe helped me assemble the Wheel Cultivator and it took us about ten minutes. When it was set up I stood behind it and felt three inches taller. I walked behind the big metal wheel with its shiny new paint and let the teeth grind into the dirt driveway. Hoo! It'll be doing much the same work as we cultivate and reseed the hill I am moving the sheep off of as well as in the kailyard rows. Today I'll assemble the seeder. I'll be using it to grow the kale that fuels me and this farm, my favorite vegetable.

Get it now, KALEyard.
I'll be here all week!

I gotta say guys, this farm is getting me excited all over again. I am downright twitterpated. There's all this new engergy and life now, and I'm not exactly sure where it is coming from? But there are pigs in the barn, milk flowing from goats, a brooder full of laying hens, packs of Antlerborn chicks running behind their mama's, geese sitting on eggs, turkeys strutting, kitchen gardens planted, kailyards tilled, hawk's molting, seeders being assembled, wheel hoes rolling, fences being repairs, horses being saddled, trails explored, lambs leaping, and I am about to get in an order of 50 meat birds and on May 31st ALL THE PEOPLE who came to the meat bird workshop this past sunday are returning to make our own chicken tractors! It was a hell of a workshop, that. Not only did everyone help, learn, and take part in backyard butchering but we decided that day that we would do it. Every single person put in money for birds, got out a supply list, and we are getting back together to build our tractors and raise our backyard broilers for our own safe and healthy chicken supplies. I'm so proud of these folks. And I'm excited about all the things ahead. So excited I tuned my banjo this morning. I still got it, folks. Still got it.

I did tell you guys to buckle up, didn't I? It's going to be one wild ride this summer. I'd write more but I need to go milk a goat and then load up the truck for a hay pickup. The radio will be turned up, the windows down, my dog hanging out the passenger side. I'll be singing and smiling because I am one happy gal these days. I'm busy, tired, and happy. Good food, healthy animals, sunshine, green trees, and hawk feathers swirl around my heart. My dance card is never empty at this place and I'm off to to go waltz!


Blogger Ken Newman said...

When we moved to our farm in 2002 we converted a 20' x 30' fenced dog run area into our kitchen garden ( mostly because it had a 6' chain link fence around it for deer protection ). You can coax a lot of food from a space like this, more than you realize at the start. The next year we found that we needed to reinforce the bottom 36" with 1" chicken wire ( damn woodchucks ). Things went along fine but you'll find this gardening thing is addictive and like all drugs a little garden is the gateway drug to a bigger garden, then a greenhouse, then a summer/canning kitchen, then berry bushes, then an orchard, then you get sucked into value added ( and you learn to cook in ways you hadn't ever imagined ), then you.....anyway you get idea of what you're in for. As it stands now , for the two of us our present 1/4 acre of raised beds, expanded up from the dog run in 2011(I told you it was a progressive addiction) now provides 100% of our produce. OOps...I almost left out seed saving...that's another story entirely. You are in for so much work, fun and reward...it's hard to describe. Welcome to the cult of Eliot Coleman...as you achieve green woman status your soil blocker will manifest itself when needed ( much like the sword of Gtyffindor ).

May 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Curt said...

This is what I desire for my own life.
"But there are pigs in the barn, milk flowing from goats, a brooder full of laying hens, packs of Antlerborn chicks running behind their mama's, geese sitting on eggs, turkeys strutting, kitchen gardens planted, kailyards tilled, hawk's molting, seeders being assembled, wheel hoes rolling, fences being repairs, horses being saddled, trails explored, lambs leaping"

And you along with Joel Salatin and my local farmer I get my raw milk,cheese and meat from are my role models.

Thank you for sharing your life with us newbies.:)

May 20, 2014 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I started my kailyard and have some kale growing as well (never liked it as a kid but tried it again as an adult thanks to you and love it). That means I'll be fighting the chickens and the deer who think I plant the garden just for them.

May 20, 2014 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger susancoyotesfan said...

Love the garden!

I am slightly confused tho...Woginrich or Jackson? The last name in your post (and the one I knew you had) is different than the one in your "about" sidebar. Did you secretly marry recently??

May 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Will you post your chicken tractor design for those of us stuck far far away? ;)

May 20, 2014 at 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That chicken workshop was wonderful! I went into it a little, okay, a LOT nervous. By the time we got to the second chicken I was feeling much more comfortable and feeling capable (and excited!) that this was something we could do. As I assemble the list of items we need and re-read Keeping Chickens by Ashley English I feel my excitement level rising and look forward to that text that our chicks have arrived! Am I a little nervous about raising chicks? Yup. I've only been responsible for raising a dog, oh and a kid - the human kind. It's a big responsibility to have another creature depending on me for it's warmth and sustenance. But, ever journey starts with one step and we've already taken that by going to the workshop and ordering chicks. It will be so cool to look in my freezer and see food that I raised and then butchered myself. Cool beans!

May 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Megan, a farmer at heart said...

Oh wow! Cool, it's looking better and better that I might be buying a house! First on the list get the chickens settled in and my own kailyard fenced off so the girls can start tilling for a fall garden. My whole yard is going to lables in Gaelic.

May 20, 2014 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

No secret or non-secret marriages, My name is Jenna Woginrich and Jackson is the town I live in. So What they are listing there is

Jenna (sans Woginrich, just first name)
Jackson, NY (my town)

May 20, 2014 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

CatH! you will do great. And while I love Ash and her book you should really try a little diddy called Chick Days.... just saying :)

May 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Will post plans when I have plans!

May 20, 2014 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Joan Myssenden said...

I've used one of the seeders before at a farm I volunteer at - they are a lot of fun! We've mostly used it for carrots, radishes, and the like and it saves so much time planting individual seeds. They started all their kale in the greenhouse instead.

May 21, 2014 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Joan Myssenden said...

I have gotten to use one of the seeders at a farm I volunteer at - they are a lot of fun! We've mostly used it for seeding carrots, radishes, and the like. It saved so much time planting. They started all their kale in the greenhouse, though.

May 21, 2014 at 7:59 AM  

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