Friday, December 24, 2010

House shopping

After the holidays we are going to look at houses.  I'm pretty excited and nervous about it too.  On one hand, I've put so much energy into the land we have and trying to get a house on it that I think I'm having some trouble letting that idea go completely.  On the other, it would be pretty exciting to have both and having both really expands our possibilities. 

There are a few complications to the idea of having two properties.  One big one being that there is no water source on the current lot so we may have to consider either hauling water, digging or having dug for us a well or setting up some really creative rain water containment system.

I have a lot of ideas roaming about in my head of things to do if we had two plots to work with.  Growing crops and trees on the one we aren't living on comes to mind....that would leave us free from having to do much over there in inclement and winter weather.  This spring, house or not we'll be adding in critters so I should have some lovely pictures once we get going. 

I expect this will be my last post for the year and maybe for a while (or at least until I order seeds) so have a happy holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Take a cookie break from my drama

and visit my friend over at Stay at Home Chef for a chance to win her super secret cookie recipe.  You'll need to become a follower through networked blogs :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So we have decided....

We've decided after much discussion with relatives and friends that we are firing our banker dude working on our home loan.  What does that mean?  It means that we are either going to wait until spring to build or we are going to find an existing home with acreage and divide projects between both lots.  There are actually 3 homes in our searches that would be a good place to start looking so probably after the new year we'll start our search for existing homes and put building on the back burner for now. 

We may come back to the idea to build and we are going to leave our deposit with the builder we've selected for now.  As it stands we wouldn't be moving in until spring or summer anyhow once the house would be built so a few months of clarity would be good for us.  We DO still plan to get chickens and goats in the spring despite the fact that we won't have a house out there.  I've seen some really nice igloo style goat housing, movable fencing and I think the addition of a milk stand and an "instant" canvas garage might get us started.  For chickens we will build a chicken tractor to keep them safe and contained.  We only live about 10 minutes away right now so we will be transporting water and spending a lot of time out there gardening so I think it will work.

The nice thing is that we own the land we planned to build on and I think with some creativity we will still make it a farm, even if we are farming from another location too.  Ideally if we find an existing home to purchase it will have land of its own.  One of the ones on our short list includes 12 in that purchase we will go from 9 acres to 21 total acres!  Holy cow(s)!  We may have to start raising grass fed beef to keep that managed.  Darn!  I "hate" having such high quality problems. :D

I'm reading Joel Salatin's book right now, You Can Farm, and its providing me with some inspiration about farming remotely since in this book he's adamant that you don't even have to own the land you farm on (too late for that one). 

I'll keep y'alls posted on what happens next.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Contemplating a change of course

We are at a point where we are considering other alternatives to our original plan.  One option is to keep with what we are trying to do, build the house on our land starting sometime hopefully soon with the banker we can't stand.  The second option is to find an existing home with land and farm it or both locations.  The third option is to stop where we are with this lender, regroup and find a new lender in the spring with a fresh face- this may or may not include keeping the current builder.  If we don't keep this builder I have a mind to revert back to one I interviewed before that we were pretty impressed with and our original smaller cape cod style plan.

The builder has really gone out of their way to try to make this work, its not their fault.   I'm not even sure if the fault lies on the bank themselves.  The banker that we are dealing with though is about to make me go off.  Its been since the end of August since we signed on.  They approved our loan back in early october.  Our appraisal has been done for nearly a month and now they are saying its a bad appraisal, that the house out front is/was a problem, etc, just goes on and on!  I think we've just about had it though. 

If any of y'alls have been here, have any advice or whatever...we'll take it!  So far our families think we should walk from this bank.  We are pretty much in agreement.

In other news (see I'm not all gloomy), I met with a survivalist group today.  Lots of great people with good ideas and skills, some of which we've not yet dabbled in yet.  Its good to have folks to ask when starting something new :)  If I get the ok from them I'll try to post a link sometime soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Next week maybe?

I spoke to both the bank dude and the builder today and it sounds like the problem is the appraisal.  Remember that 10k in improvements, well apparently that means to one party something different than it means to the others.  To the appraiser, its the lot improvements such as to be done well, sewer, drive, etc.  To the bank, it meant improvements we had already completed.  To us, it means more money at closing...but they can't yet say how much that will be.  Both the builder and the banker agree that the goal currently is to close by Friday the 10th and by Dec 15th at the latest.  

On a cheerier note, we are getting snow and if it actually will stick long enough to get a picture of it I'll have to put a pre-construction snow picture up under pictures soon. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last day of the month

...and I have nothing to report :(

Friday, November 26, 2010

The walkout with Jack

So this is approximate the home site.

Neil is about at the front left corner of it.

Neil at front left corner, Jack at rear left corner

Jack is at the front right corner of the garage.

I don't know if you can see it but the upside down hammer Jack is walking away from would be the garage entrance.

view from front porch

facing out the front door

approximate view from living room window minus a truck

approx. view from office window

builder's sign

Its cold! I want to go home!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Walk out scheduled

We have more progress!  On Friday, we will be meeting with the builder to do what they call a walk out (and I keep wanting to call a stake out- sounds so much more elusive doesn't it) where we go to the property and mark with stakes where the house will sit.  Pictures to come with the stakes in place :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Small, but big stuff happening

I just got off the phone with our bank dude, Tony, he has officially locked in our interest rate.  He says the goal is to have our loan closed by the end of the month.  All goes well that means the build will begin in December.  Fingers crossed! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How it looks right now

So this is our 9.4 acre field as it looks today.  Nothing too exciting yet.  I decided to take this picture as I pulled in on my way to drop off compost from our kitchen and I thought this would be a good time to take a picture like this.  I'm really hoping in a few weeks I can show you a similar picture but with a scurry of excavators and workers trying to erect the framework of a house.  The tire treads you see now will be the driveway and we plan to make it 400 feet long for privacy and well, if you have this much space why not?  We go all the way back to the tree lines on either side and the houses in the very back.  If you looked to the left you'd see the Christmas tree we planted the first year we bought the land and just after that our nearest neighbor's house.  We have a little additional land on the other side of her house too. 

Speaking of that tree line, thought I'd show you my husband's latest project: Removal of extra, broken, diseased trees in the windbreak.  Boy, he took on the task.  This picture (below) is either a Bradford or Cleveland pear that was broken in a storm recently.  Fun huh?  Still lots to do.

Hoping to have more soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Slowly moving along, but we have progress!

Ok so now we have the appraisal back....its good!  They appraised the land and house at about 20k higher than the cost.  The only possible problem at this point is that the land itself appraised at 50k which is about 7k less than it did 2 years ago.  The upside is the appraiser made a note that we had made about 10k in land improvements so fingers crossed that those count toward our down payment.  It sounds like we might get started next month if the weather holds but I'm still not ready to declare it as a done deal.  More to come soon I hope!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dehydrator giveaway

Anyone need a dehydrator?  Nourishing Days is doing a giveaway.


The new of raw milk and cheese raids just keep rolling in don't they?  This Grist article suggests the problem will get worse and not that that is any surprise to me but it still just makes my stomach ball up to hear about it.  So it brings me to a pretty final realization in my head that dairy is out of the realm of possibilities for us.  No herd shares, no underground, no nada! 

Quick funny mental image but my son has been singing "cow, cow, cow, moo!" as I'm typing this..not sure why but its super cute.

It makes me wonder though, if I say takes my cheese or any kind of dairy product say to a pitchin or a family get together....will I be breaking the law?  Say I make my bread with whey from the cheese I make, is my bread illegal (for sale that is)?

I'm not even sure if we will drink our milk raw.  There is an awful lot of hype about its "healing" properties and quite frankly I'm not so sure.  One producer from my FB page said they "healed" three chronic illnesses with their milk.  A baby with an ear infection, a three year old with a runny nose and a viral infection in an first off...why wasn't the baby drinking human milk?  Seems like a momma as crunchy as to server her baby raw milk would breastfeed....not buying it. 

Going off course here but anyone follow the supposed food gurus?  Mercola, Weil, Weston A. Price, heck even Dr. Oz jumps in there....who are you supposed to believe?  They all have some overlap and some contradictions to each other but in trying to follow any of their advice I find myself really confused over simple things like say canola oil- which I don't use much because most of it is GMO- but Mercola and Price say its rancid unhealthy oil and Weil and Oz tout its as very healthy. Butter, which I use a lot of, is praised by Price and maybe Mercola but for Weil and Oz its unhealthy saturated fat.  Meats are avoided for all but Price.  Soaked grains to remove phytic acid or unsoaked to help move out cholesterol?  See how confusing this can be?  Of course this comes back to raw milk as Mercola and Price sing raw milk praises.  Not sure about the other two but Oz would probably warn about how dangerous it is.

Thats all I have, sorry for my rambling on and on.  Its been that kind of week already!

Monday, November 8, 2010

its just about seed ordering time

Guess I should start planning next year's garden.  I think we will move it, shrink it and keep it simpler next year.  This year it was still too big even though I only used half the space Neil did from the year before but it was still too much to keep up.  I think I could probably use the larger garden next year but I'm hoping if I can do a better design job and really maximize the space and plants I'll have a better outcome. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The stars!

So tonight my husband and I picked up some unwanted limbs and firewood and drug them back to our property to burn tonight.  They finally lifted the burn ban in our area so my husband has been just itching to start a fire.  We left him to it.  So I called around 9pm wondering if he was camping out...nope...just needed some water to put out the remaining embers.  I drove out to the property to meet him with a 5 gallon bucket of water and looked up into the sky on the way there and didn't see any stars so I assumed it was cloudy.   Once I arrived at the property I realized I was wrong, yes it was partly cloudy, but our city has a good deal of light pollution in town that prevents you from seeing those lovely stars.  Out on the property, you can see a lovely sky full of small white twinkles and only a few wispy clouds. 

This is one of many reasons why we love this property!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gahhhhrlic and cake

I have all the garlic planted!  Yeah!!  I planted a little over 50 cloves in between our asparagus plants.  About 20 were from last years crop and most of the rest were whatever white variety was at the store this season.  I did also put down some store bought elephant garlic, but only about 6 cloves.  I totally didn't get an order in this year so here's to a little experiment :)  I plan to try more of these experiments next year.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I've heard from the bank that our appraiser has requested additional information from the builder.  Not sure exactly what that might be but I put in a call to our builder today to follow up and try to get this thing off the ground.  I had hoped that I we might be started by now since my mother is coming next week but alas, we have no progress at this time.

Speaking of next week, its my husband's birthday!  I'm making this cake King Arthur's favorite fudge birthday cake recipe  and it just looks so indulgent.  I may have to post pictures of it.  My mom is coming up from Florida on that same day and the following day we are going to see my sister.  Should make for an exciting week around here.

Here's the birthday boy and his biggest fan.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pondering on Profitability

Ok well maybe not exactly profit but at least supplemental income to help support our farm efforts.  Obviously the hay business is not for us.  Our plan is to take 4-5 acres and fence it in for pasture.  So what after that?  I'm pretty sure I want to do pastured broilers and layers...those are pretty easy with low overhead.  I'm debating goat herd milk shares but I'm still not sure what I need to do to get started.  I mean obviously we need goats and milk jugs and grass but do I need any kind of licensing or special equipment?  What if we get a cow and do cow shares?  I know to sell our own cheese I pretty much am out of luck until we have the kind of money that will allow me to purchase full on dairy equipment.  I know I'd like to try to do a small CSA eventually but I need at least another year to work out the issues with nutrient deficiencies in the land first. 
An idea I'm considering for the spring farmer's market is selling baked goods.  So far my breads get raved reviews and at the church bake sale they sold pretty fast at $4/loaf.  I could also do jellies and pickles I believe without a special kitchen as long as its through the farm market.  I think if I tried it otherwise I'd have to set up a commercial kitchen.  Another idea would be to make soaps from the goat milk and also I've been making dishwasher and laundry detergent...maybe I could sell versions of that too?
So much spinning about in my head, I really hope something will clearly come through as the right path.  Might be a whole lot of trial and error next year...actually I can promise that!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A lovely walk

We took today a lovely walk around the perimeter of the property and my husband is embarking on the task of removing saplings and brush that have grown up and are eating up valuable acreage.  We were IDing trees and we have elms, maples, oaks, chokecherry, mulberry, crab apple, elderberry, apple, wild plum and hawthorns.  Among the rest of the plants we have a bunch of raspberries, blackberries, wild grapes and wild roses.  There are a lot of forageables there to work with really.  Hopefully I'll report next year what I manage to harvest and process of those.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So if you look back a couple of posts you'll see we've had this problem before.  Hay cutters come out, cut the field, fluff it and bale it only to let our bales get rained on (there was obvious rain in the forecast) and to make sure and take their share of them....leaving us high and well ...wet!
Our arrangement is that in exchange for half of the hay they are to cut and bale our field, leaving us bales to use for whatever or to sell.  The first cutting was in big round bales, which we have about 11 remaining of.  The second cutting was square bales in which they were supposed to stack and put a tarp over.  They claimed the hired help wasn't worth the trouble and fired them, leaving our bales in the rain and making sure to get theirs home.  We have about 160 of those bales, all ruined now.  Now on our third cutting we actually didn't expect them to cut.  They didn't call, they just came and cut.  Well they baled that on Monday and once again left ours to the least they stacked them this time but we didn't even have a chance being as it rained on Monday!  Seriously I would have been happier to see them leave it to improve the soil after cutting than to bale it up. 
So in my book, they are stealing our hay.  We should have really good hay to sell  but they've left us with ruined bales twice now and made sure to take theirs.  I think we should fire them, I also think they should pay us for the bales that have ruined and take them off our hands.  I'm so over it.  We were never looking to make a profit selling hay but we had hoped to offset the cost of planting the field.  Now, we have a 1/2 of our years worth of hay, most of it unsellable.  Really high quality garbage! 
I have someone coming (at least I think I do) to take the bales as a donation.  At least we can get them off our land as right now they are just sitting on and killing grass.

Still no news on the appraisal.  I really hope to hear something this week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Channeling a great grandmother?

Today we celebrated my grandfather's 85th birthday.  It was lovely to see family and enjoy a good time with some good food. 

Strange conversation topic came up between my grandparents and my uncle about some foods that my grandmother's mother used to make.  It all started with me talking about the baking I did yesterday; I made 16 loaves of bread and 4 dozen cookies for a bake sale.  It reminded them of my great grandmother baking many loaves of bread at a time.  A little further into the conversation they were talking about some of her German cooking....things like fried brains and some kind of loaf that contained tongue, heart, liver and oatmeal (and/or cornmeal) that was chopped, congealed, baked and sliced.  I'm not sure how likely it is that I would make those exact dishes but they spoke of the dishes with a great deal of fondness.  I guess as we plan to raise and probably butcher our own animals we may have a unique chance to try some of those out.  Like they were telling me .....nothing should go to waste.  I can't help but be the modern day girl that I am and my knee jerk reaction is yuck!  Maybe I won't be channeling her after all. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm told it won't be to much longer now

 I'm told by both TK and by Tony the bank dude (yes, that is how I have him listed in my cell phone) that we should hear something from the appraisal in the next couple of days.  This is so unnerving.  I'm mostly worried that the appraisal will be too low and we will be back to square one (or two since we already own the land).

I did have the pleasure of visiting the old house I grew up in since its in foreclosure now and I have to say that I thought I might be more interested in buying it at one time but in reality its just too much work.  It was a little sad to visit memory lane, after all I did get married there, had my sweet sixteen birthday there and so much more.  The house is in some disrepair but not unlivable or impossible to make nice.  Its also going for a bargain so I REALLY hope that someone who buys it will fix it up and really love it.  Houses that old really deserve to be well loved.

I did get some pruning done in the last few days.  All of the fruit trees have now been fall pruned and the trees on the back acre have been relieved of their water sprouts and dead limbs.  By fall pruned I mean pruned to restrict growth.  I'm really hoping to properly train our fruit trees to be a manageable size and highly productive.  I'm also really hoping we actually get a few pieces of homegrown fruit next year.  We still need to fortify and possibly move our blueberries, plant the new honeyberries and goji fruits I just received yesterday and move the surviving raspberries into our windbreak.  Lots to get done before winter :)  Oh and we have more orchard trees (1 each apricot, apple, nectarine and asian pear) on the way and 3 additional blueberries.  Some year we should have a crazy amount of produce from our own land...I can't wait.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Maple Valley Off-Grid Farm

First let me give you the linkage to them:

So after visiting the beautiful Hope College in Holland, MI we headed north to visit Homemaker Ang of Maple Valley Farm.  She greeted us with spiced cake and coffee and we got a peek at farm living for just a few hours.  They are off-grid but not like the new generation of off grid but rather the Amish version of off grid.  I didn't take any pictures of inside the house, quite frankly because I forgot but I did take some outdoor pictures.  We didn't stay long, mostly because we were trying to get back to Anderson that night but we really enjoyed meeting the family and getting a look around. 
a quick picture with Homemaker Ang

the fawn, Betty

Those crazy kids!

Maylon pets the fawn

Mighty Hunter Neil petting the fawn


the cabin bedroom (which you can rent for a night ;) )

a view from one of the rooms into the kitchen

kitchen complete with wood stove

another cool building on the farm

the view of the main farm from the cabin

a trail in the woods leading to the cabin from the pond

isn't this scenic!  They said there are some big fish in there.

One of the girls coming up the road on her pony.

milking time


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crazy Week!

This week has been an incredible roller coaster. 

Monday- I'll keep this short, basically we found out last week that we were pregnant, however, the pregnancy appeared to not be viable and I had a miscarriage on monday.  We are fine, this is something that has happened to us several times (4) before and while it sucks we are moving on and not trying to dwell on it. 

Tuesday- We left Tuesday evening for South Bend to visit my sister.  I <3 her :)  She's the best, we really kind of sprung on her with us arriving late, with our dog (who I totally neglected to make plans for while we were out of town)....and she loves our son-  I have the best sister!  Really!

Wednesday-  We had the privilege of listening to Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms speak at Hope College in Michigan.  The earlier lecture was "Ballet in the Pasture".  In summary, it was a description of the whys and hows of their farm's pasture rotation system of cows, followed by chickens, followed by pigs and rest.  We plan to model some of what he does on our own farm.  The later lecture was "Local Food to the Rescue" and that was about the ins and outs of the processing, packing and sales of locally produced meat.  I've not listened to that one yet because my husband and I switched off between watching our son and the lectures.  We filmed them both so we will watch them more closely later and I may have more details to add in another blog post.
Later that day we visited Maple Valley Off-Grid Farm.  I'll make a separate blog post for that one too since I have pictures to share.

Today!  Thursday- We have bank approval on the house subject to the pending appraisal.  That's really the only thing holding us up at this point.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still waiting on the bank

Well, title says it all.  We are still waiting for a response from the bank.  We know it went over to appraisals because they finally cashed our check.  I'm making a basic assumption that they would have ran our finances before it went to appraisals so we should be nearing the end of the process of the bank part.  Either they will say yes or no.

I've contact two Indiana goat breeders to let them know we would be trying to obtain dairy goats in the spring.  I was thinking on getting two, I figure at just under a gallon a day, two would allow me to have milk to make ice cream, cheese, store some and have plenty to drink too.  Also in the plans are some broilers and layers.

I'll be glad once we get going on all this stuff, its stressful around here right now with the way things are around the apartment.  We're pretty squished and just lots going on.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


There is nothing going on right now.  We hired the builder, we are waiting for the financing and the garden has slowed WAY down. 
I've been dreaming.  I still have lots of that going on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yay! we are moving forward!!!

Ok we are onboard for building this fall.  Sounds like after talking to the finance guy that we should be approved (not worried) and able to get started.  Trying to wrap my head around it.  Its this plan
The Raleigh


Friday, August 20, 2010

Moving forward?

Moving forward is more of an inquiry than a statement today.  Tomorrow we speak with a builder about beginning a build.  Its very exciting but I have some concerns related to financing that hopefully won't amount to anything. 

The hay has been rained on now many times and I'm sure is only good for cows.  We've had a couple of people call on it but they never seem to follow through with the call back and pick up.  Not exactly sure what's going on there.

The garden is fading fast with the exception of a few plants; okra, popcorn, cowpeas, pintos, chard and kohlrabi.  I'm actually a bit eager for the end of this years garden.  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ruined Hay

So this morning we had planned to wake early and deal with the hay only to have it rain before we leave the apartment.  Ugh.  I think someone/thing is trying to let us know that this hay was not meant to be.  So now we need to try to unload it or find a creative use for it.  I thought about donating it, freecycling it, making a shed of it (like a strawbale but hay instead), using it as tree mulch.  Its hard to say what is the best thing to do with it now that its pretty much worthless.

On the positive, we are going to visit TK homes today about an email offer that is pretty awesome and might allow us to build soon.....REALLY soon!  More to come on that, I'm trying not to get too excited about it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wet Hay

Wet hay is a very bad thing.  Its our second cutting of hay and we had it done in square bales this time and it was all going pretty well until it rained this morning--and looks like its going to rain off and on all night.  For us it means making tepees out of hay bales so they air out and dry again or suffer the consequence of ruined hay.  Like 100 + bales of ruined hay.  At $3.00 a bale that's money lost.  Not to mention, what do you do with that many bales of bad hay?  I guess it could be mulch for our orchard but we still have about 10 round bales left from the first cut that are needing to be used up or sold.  Did I mention that we suck at selling hay?  I'm thinking of asking my DH to let me handle the business of hay since I'm more available than he is in the hopes that we can do a better job of selling it off when the time comes. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What! Its August???

Time flies, does it?  My last entry was in May so that's 2 months of busy work to keep me from updating my blog (I swear busy non-stop...haha!)  Ok, so I may be exaggerating a bit.  We did find a couple of builders that we like but the cost of building with a custom builder seems too high for today's housing market- we have some big concerns that the bank won't finance a custom home because it won't appraise high enough.  I think we will probably end up with the likes of Hallmark or TK homes.  There is also another option we are considering in that we are going to look at existing homes with acreage.  This could be a really good thing since we would have more total acres and we might end up paying less overall.  Anyhow, nothing at this point is set in stone.  We are going to start looking at existing properties and in the spring when we have our down payment together we will build if we don't find the perfect existing home. 
I have a couple of new ideas for a home based business.  One is home orchard management- taking care of existing apple trees in people's yards for the payment of 1/2 the produce.  It doesn't make money but it would give me valuable practice and of course lots of apples and hopefully other fruits.   I'm not ready to share my other idea, I still have much research to do.
The garden has been crazy.  We went on vacation in June and low and behold the skies opened up and rained for an entire week!  My garden looked pretty good before we left but when we got back the weeds had shot up a foot and the bugs had gone wild.  My tomatoes took it the hardest.  It looked (and still looks) like they were hit with blight, hornworms, blossom end rot...the works.  For about 2 weeks I was throwing away tomatoes for rot.  They are recovering and I'm getting some decent 'maters but I'm not sure I'll have enough to do much with them.  The corn also suffered; was stunted and lot of tassels but no ears.  Some patches are doing better than others so we might have some late corn but overall pretty disappointing.  My squash/cukes/melons were getting taken on by squash bugs.  I was tearing off leaves to remove the eggs and eventually I dusted them to kill them off.  I can however seem to grow beans pretty well :)
My son is growing fast, he's 15 months and walks well so when we go to the garden he usually ends up heading for the tomatoes.  Boy that kid can make short work of a 'mater.  He will pick it right off the vine and just begin chowing down.  That's my boy!! Glad I grow organic!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

another month passes by

So we've been in the apartment now a month.  We are really no closer to selecting a builder but we are making progress; I've already met with 2 builders, eliminated one, with 3 appointments next week.  I do think we have a plan we like that we are using for estimates and its a very flexible cape cod style 1 story with a future planned addition.  Its a smaller house but I think it will be perfect. 

The garden grows!  We have already harvested several pounds of radishes as well as some spinach, lettuce, strawberries, even some buttoned broccoli.  The cabbages are beginning to form heads, the chard and kale are growing fast, corn is breaking ground and the first run of beans should be producing in a couple weeks.
Next up we need to plant melons and cukes.

Lots going on here, looking forward to the next chapters

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Greening up Anderson

So I created a new Facebook page to help me (and anyone else who cares) find local businesses and farmers worth supporting.  Might also help me discover what businesses keep their money in the city I now live in.  I figure it will also help me find a customer base once our little farm thing gets off the ground. 
click the badge on the left of my page to view it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Its Done!

The house in Greenfield is sold, done deal, no more anything to deal with. Have to admit its a bit surreal no longer being a homeowner but this is a step closer to our farming dream.  I've been neglecting the garden for about a week or so but next week I need to jump in full force to get pea trellis up, weeds knocked down, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants planted and staked where need be.  Its going to be a crazy week (as if I ever don't have a crazy week). 
We just celebrated my son's first birthday and we had no idea what we were doing but it went pretty well regardless.  New toys and new clothes and about half a cake came home with us that night.  We were so exhausted but it was great, got to see family and friends and hopefully a good time was had by all.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Planting and Hancock Farm Tour

I've been busy planting; peas, beans, carrots, potatoes, chard....and so on. Its been so nice to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and feeling like I'm actually accomplishing something for a change besides a clean house.
I'm seriously considering a hoop house for our property, looks like a nice big one will run me about a grand for something not too fancy. While on the Farm tour we visited a nursery that had about a dozen hoop houses and he told us he started with just one to start his own seedlings and he started selling and before he knew it he was making more money doing that than his regular job and bought more houses. Seems like its been a good business for him.
Also on the farm tour we stopped at a dairy. Funny because just earlier we were discussing the possibility of beginning our own dairy; not really feasible for us we believe. Anyhow, we saw they had dairy bull calves and the dairy operator said they do sell them for beef steers. I'm thinking this could be a great way to get into raising cattle without the commitment of buying 2 dairy cows, kind of a test the waters approach. We actually plan to do the same with pigs, just buy a feeder pig or two to raise and see how it goes. With chickens we will start out at Tractor supply with their spring chicks. Low commitment but loads of experience I'm sure. I do however plan to get dairy goats right off the bat.
While I'm indecisive about cows, mainly because of their size and quantity of milk, I'm quite sure goats will work beautifully for us. I'm also quite sure I'd like to have turkeys and chickens. Anything beyond that we will just have to see how it goes.
We are still looking at house plans, seems like we just do it in spurts. Perhaps after writing this I'll browse through a few.
Until next time :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our house sold!

Finally we have a sale! We close out this chapter of our lives on May 7th. My DH and I decided to move into an apartment so we have plenty of time to find and start building on our property. This is so exciting. We are researching builders right now, getting some mixed reviews on a few; fortunately we have 6 months to find one which will allow us 6 months to build a home. I may have to rename my blog to How to Build a Farm after that.

Our apartment will be cramped for us, a good 300 sq ft smaller (missing a bedroom and a bath from our house). Most of our stuff will remain in storage so building a house will be a priority. One big plus is that our apartment is very close to our property so we will be able to garden and make daily trips out there as the season calls for it.

We spoke to Hallmark builders, they want us to begin building in August... seems too soon for us really since we took on a burden of debt to sell our house and we'd like to pay that down first.

Well more to come as the events unfold...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Its March! ramblings from me

Oh my its March....that means garden season is nearly here. I have some head starts on broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage all ready to go for spring planting. I'm direct sowing this year carrots-rainbow, nantes, tendersweet, peas- misty and maestro english and snow peas, variety lettuces, spinach....just to name a few.

I seriously have cabin fever. I'm trying to arrange a walking group and the idea thats floating in my head would be a walking group that visits various historic areas and walking trails on a regular basis. Sounds good to me anyhow, social interaction plus the added benefit of some great scenery.

My son is going to be 10 months on the 5th and I'm still in awe of how fast a year is approaching. This time last year I was on bedrest, bored out of my mind going in for weekly ultrasounds and checks. Amazing what a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Food Inc.

I've been on a documentary kick since we enrolled in Netflix. I finally watched Food Inc. and it was really moving. I nearly cried listening to the seed cleaning guy have to turn in his customers and friends while on trial with Monsanto (GRRRRR! I have NO love for that company). So many disturbing things about that video and a few things that some people would find disturbing that I didn't. (I also watched King Corn so if I confuse the 2 sorry )
The corn subsidy, the folks who complained about the price of medicine but bought crappy food, the GM foods, the prevalence of E coli in beef and elsewhere all bothered me. Oh and the ammonia laced beef additive---ewwww! I'm so glad I don't eat beef!

6 more weeks of winter

I have my seeds, mulch and starting medium and I've been busy potting up seeds for the spring. So far I have 8 cold set tomatoes, 8 plum dandy tom, 8 variety slicers (rutgers, marmande, cavern, etc) and 8 cherry tom (golden current, swt. baby girl, reisentraube, etc), 6 red skinned potato (out of my, 8 dusky aubergine, 8 variety aubergine, 8 hot peppers and 8 bell peppers. tonight I think I may start my cabbage, cauliflower, broccolis and whatever other ones I need to start early like amaranth (don't have many seeds). I lost my packet of amish paste tom seeds so I'll look for some at a nearby store.

This is looking like the start of a busy season.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Business of Being Born

So I decided to watch this documentary Ricki Lake put out called The Business of Being Born; I think I may have even seen it at least in part before. Also right now in Indymoms there are some discussion threads about home births and their values, risks etc and the posters like to refer to this movie as pro-home birth. Anyhow mostly this movie is pro but at the end the filmmaker who was pregnant during filming and planning a home birth ended up having a c-section at a local hospital and delivered a teeny tiny growth restricted baby...something that probably would have been caught had she been monitored by an OB rather than a midwife and had she had a homebirth as she had planned she probably would have lost her baby. seems like they defeated their intent.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Planning for critters

I'm thinking positive today. I believe that sometime this year we will sell our house OR we will obtain the house at the front of our property...either way its a good thing. So for critters out there here are the zone rules we must follow:
concept of Farm Animal Unit has been created to balance the impact of large and small animals.
FA-01: This Farm Animal Standards section applies to the following districts:
A. Exemptions: All lots shall be permitted up to and including 0.4 animal units for the purpose of
facilitating participation in 4-H and other educational opportunities. All lots which include 0.4 or
fewer animal units shall be exempt from the setback requirements of this section.
B. Farm Animal Defined: Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as regulating the keeping of
household pets. For the purpose of this section, farm animals shall be defined as those which are
raised and maintained for, or in support of, the production of food or other products.
C. Lot Size: The minimum lot size on which farm animals are permitted shall be 4 acres.
D. Animal Units Permitted: There shall be 2 animal units permitted per acre as determined based
on the following table. The Planning Director shall have the discretion to determine the minimum
acreage for any farm animals not listed.
Animal Type Units:
Large Animals (horses, cattle, buffalo, camels,
donkeys) 1.5
Medium Animals (llamas, emu, ostrich, alpacas,
sheep, goats) 1
Small Animals (pigs, turkeys, geese) 0.5
Very Small Animals (chickens, rabbits, ducks) 0.1

so any 2 goats or sheep per acre, any 4 pigs, turkey or geese per and any 20 chickens, rabbits or ducks. I think my ideal situation would be a 3-4 diary goats (staggered lactations - kids for meat or sale), a sow (to breed yearly-piglets for meat or sale), 8 layers, 20 fryers, 10 turkeys and rabbits ...this would give us meat, dairy and egg self-sufficiency. we have just enough room :D

that and a 1 acre garden(eventually) and our orchard (planted just needs to mature), leave an acre for the house and yard...should be fantastic! Boy, I hope this is our year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Goals

I'm not even going to try to call this a resolution. Its more like goals or ideas.

1. I going to continue my deconstructive phase; that is taking convenience items and breaking them back down into their simpler origins.
2. I would like to lose some weight. I figure I'm about 70lbs beyond where I should be...if I could lose half of that I would be a lot healthier.
3. I would love to find myself pregnant again sometime in the late part of 2010. I know that could be contradictory to my 2nd goal but a girl can dream (and if I lost the weight it would make my pregnancy easier on my back)
4. Plant a productive garden and actually use the produce that comes out of it.
5. Stick to our budget and begin to save money toward an emergency fund.
6. Learn to thrift shop- might need some help with that one from a few friends...I'm no good at shopping at Goodwill.
7 Actively search for an independent work from home business. Might be selling produce or sewing or jewelry but I really think this is something I should be aiming for.