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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.

Growing up in the Valley of Nova scotia, we never had to deal much with this stuff. long growing seasons, beautiful fertile fields. etc etc.

My girlfriend and I are renting and looking at a new property, 54 acres. from the overgrown, alder infested driveway alders are about 8-12 ft tall, not a problem with time and my saw. continue up the muddy slope (hoping after clearing the alders and scraping it off for setting the mini home down that reseeding clover & rye mix for the chickens will improve the soil and help with the muddiness) and eventually you get to the "flat" top of the hill top. nice view, sunsets etc. however... it looks like years ago, someone came up here and cut down every tree that was worth any value as firewood, left them to rot. and rotting they are. we are going to use those rotting pieces for hugelculture beds, and the stumps as stationary potting plants for chard, flowers for pollinators etc.

The real problem here, is that this "flat" hill top spot,has big dips and ruts where skidders and machine where in before. the logging is to torn up an ATV couldn't go through it. We are about as tight as can be on a budget. some dips are only 6 inches, some are 2+ feet. Also, being in the part of the province we are looking at, many of the rocks are, I'm sure like tips of the ice berg. mostly moss, thorny weeds, small trees are overtaking what may have been a pasture or silvopasture as one time.

Since we won't have the funds for machines, I'm wondering how reasonable it would be to remove all the rotting logs as mentioned, and

#1 - Should I just back fill it all with top soil? should I tamp it tight every inch?

#2 - any suggestions on destroying boulders in the ground? got about every hand and power tool known to man.

#3- Any particular cover crop or pasture I should plant to start adding life back to the soil?


Wish I had gotten pictures for you folks, so you would get an idea of what I'm up against here, potentially. still waiting on quotes for septic to see if this is feasible or not. Thanks in advance folks! new here, but enjoying the forums. nice to know there are folks like us out there.
 

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I don’t know how tight your budget is, but if you’re considering livestock anyway, pigs will do a lot of that work for you. They’ll forage on what’s there, root things up and fertilize it all at the same time. Possibly make some money back on them later.

Just one option to consider. Even if you don’t want to get your own, you might be able to find someone nearby who is willing to put their pigs on your hilltop for a while.
 

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You can break up the huge boulders by hand if you have the time. Drill holes about every 4 or 5 inches along the line you want to crack the boulder. Wait until it's below freezing then fill them with water. When the water freezes it will crack the boulder.

Leveling the ground sounds like it could be accomplished by good old grunt labor. There must be a place you can "borrow" dirt from and fill the dips. A shovel and wheelbarrow are tools every homesteader needs anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hugulkulture on a hilltop? I don’t think that is logical.

Is your location still Nova Scotia?
It is, yup. we're new to HK beds, just a thought we had. we try to do a few things with Justin Rhodes motto, "turn problems into solutions" hence turn old rotten-ish logs into HK beds for us and plant int he stumps.

MJR - Pigs were definitely a forethought, we were thinking 2. In Brett' McLeod's book "the woodland homestead" said that pigs will do more tilling and rooting if they're in pairs since it's a more competitive environment. We can only eat so much a year (since we typically hunt bear, deer, pheasent and rabbit as well) and fish. we raise dual heritage dual purpose birds and meat birds as well. Just weighing costs of raising hogs (likely either berkshires or durocs) just to slaughter in the fall.

Nimrod- great to know. Ill look into that! we've got most every hand and power tool known to man so i'm guessing a demo hammer of some kind and some special bits will take care of it. Thanks!
 

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Look beyond just hogs for slaughter.
Clearing the land. Feeding your family. Selling for profit.
If you had 6 hogs rather than 2, they are going to have a much greater impact on the area you locate them, and selling off 3 or 4 in the fall can cover or exceed your initial costs, and you'll still eat good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, we were thinking that, just worried if we can't sell them, and given the cost to feed one, that we would be left with an expensive mouth to feed.

Are there certain things for hogs that we could grow ourselves that could make up a good portion of their feed?
 

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I suggest reading about farming on slopes and the effect of hilltop locations and sloping land on frost temperatures. Those issues may effect your planting dates.
 

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Not sure if it is feasible where you are; however, here when our back few acres had "drainage" ruts quite deep, we placed bales of old hay across them. In just a couple of years the run-off soil had filled in those ruts. :)
 
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