The BIG Tractors started rollin’

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So spring has sprung on the first year of the JAZ Farm.  As I posted previously we agreed with our neighbor to let him farm the back thirty or so acres with wheat.  We hadn’t heard from him in a little while but then round about dinner time I heard the roar of a loud diesel engine, looked out back and there he was pulling this huge plow!  My tractor for the organic garden has a one blade mold board plow to turn over the soil.  This guy’s is 10 feet wide!!  He did about 3 passes and dug into the soil about 18 inches.  My goodness those things are powerful!!

I have to admit some hesitancy here.  While the land would simply lay unused if he didn’t lease it, it is still “conventional” farming.  In that, he turns up the soil and burns diesel fuel.  Because it is wheat, it isn’t a GM crop.  If it were, this would NOT be happening.  It is dry farming so there is little else being done to it until harvest. I get a tax break for Ag use of the land and I should get a huge load of straw from it come harvest time in July.  We have agreed that he will win row the stalks so we can have someone come in and bale it.  So to loosely quote an author:  It is the best of times and the worst of times.  I guess one shouldn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  After all, I could be out there with my little putter tractor planting a sunflower or two.  This way I will have all the straw I could ever need for mulch and chicken coop litter.

Building the JAZ Farm Observing Site

What a whirlwind the JAZ Farm cleaning, refurbishing, rebuilding and repurposing has been.  Its hard to believe that so much has happened so fast and how livable and comfortable the place has become.  We are so looking forward to all of it coming together to become the functioning homestead its intended to be.

Today was a project for pure Zen and pure enjoyment of the night sky:

In order to do astronomical observing, it is important to have all white light sources doused.  If they are shining (like headlights) one’s night vision quickly gets ruined and makes stargazing difficult. Our neighbors to the north have one of those bright streetlight type of mercury vapor lamps over their barn.  It is the only irritating white light out back where the scopes get set up.  Until today, we had been moving a utility trailer out back in order to block out the lamp.

Today Bruce of Bruce’s Fences and his team came out and put up an 80 foot windbreak/privacy fence that easily blocks out the neighbors streetlight.  It is rated to 170 mph winds and should also help keep the snowdrifts to a minimum in the observing area.  We joked that if thats the case, the house will blow into OZ before the fence does!

We are looking forward to clear skies in order to go out and observe.  With this fence in place we now will have about 2/3’s of the sky observable, the best being to the east and south.  The house itself blocks out the Denver light dome to the west so we are all set!  Zina’s Binoculars, Aaron’s 10 inch Orion, and Jon’s 22 inch Webster now have a more permanent, useable home!  We are looking forward to many years of gazing up at the stars and losing ourselves in the gorgeous and awe-inspiring objects that create the JAZ Farm night canopy!  Looking forward to many other Astro-nuts coming out to party under the stars.

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