The Next Project Gets Underway

Now that the place has dried out some and we have had some cold evenings to knock down what has been a plague of mosquitoes, the next project in building the JAZFarm has begun.  Just like one has to defend against predators when building a chicken coop, the garden needs to be able to keep out critters… namely rabbits, deer and antelope.  I am not in the business of raising vegetables for the local wildlife!

A few weeks ago we acquired a tractor mounted post hole digger.  After using a hand held one for our dog run, and having the life shaken out of me trying to get into our concrete soil, I decided that there was no physical way I could hand auger the 60 post holes needed to enclose the half acre garden.  Today (my birthday!) I got the thing hooked up and took it out for a trial run.  Worth every penny!  It dug a 30 inch by 10 inch hole inside of 5 minutes.  The two holes I tried it out on would have taken half the day the other way.  This was pretty much done with no blood, sweat or tears!  AND, I can still walk!

The fence will be kind of a rectangle with a corner cut out of it on the north side where there is a metal wall that serves as a good wind break.  The posts will be 5 feet tall, cemented in and we will have a narrower people gate as well as one wide enough for the tractor.  The chicken coop will be enclosed within the perimeter of the fence, thus providing one more layer of deterrent against would be 4 legged chicken lovers.  The field fencing has squares in it that get narrower the closer they get to the ground so that rabbits and such can’t squeeze through them.  Once done we will then decide if we need to run an electric wire around it or if it is a sufficient fortress  to keep the produce safe for humans instead of deer.

So I have posted some pictures of the auger and of the post layout for the fence.  Zina has been tasked with hiring contractors to replace the front and side doors of the house and to have the whole place painted.  Somethings just never end.  Also posted are some obligatory chicken shots!





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Finally This Sees the Light of Day!!!

Its been a while since I’ve posted much new.  As many of you know, northern Colorado got hammered with a 100 year storm.  We have been keeping a vigil on things and keeping in communication with clients and friends who weren’t as lucky as we were and have sustained severe flooding.  We wish them all the best and hope that this isn’t a portend of things to come.

The fear currently, as some of these flood waters start to subside is just how extensive the damage is to all of the 1000’s of fracking wells in Weld County.  The report right now is that at least one storage tank has ruptured and sent over 5000 gallons of crude oil down the South Platte river.  I certainly hope that this kind of damage is minimized and that we don’t have to deal with the pollution of ground water, ill health, and general mess involved with uncontained, unconstrained oil.

On a more positive note I ran across an article that actually is bringing a very serious issue to light.  My doctor friends and I have often talked about how the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has repeatedly issued statements indicating how antibiotics are being rendered ineffective due to their overuse.  Most of the statements were admonitions to physicians to not over prescribe these drugs, as though the use of them on humans was the cause of this problem.  Never mentioned was the fact that 70% of the anti-biotic use in this country is used on animals!  Sub-therapeutic administering of antibiotics on animals raised in concentrated feeding facilities is releasing tons of these things into the environment through consumption of treated meat and their leaching into our drinking water.  None of this seemed to be addressed.  Big Ag is intensely powerful and it would come as no surprise if there influence over the USDA, the FDA, and the CDC would keep this from getting out.  Cudo to the reporter who finally brought this to light.  Sunshine is a great sanitizer.  Here is hoping that this has some influence in policy decisions going forward.

BAN CAFO’s!!!     Occupy the Food Supply!!!

From HandPicked Nation

This article appeared on the website/blog HandPicked Nation.  This is why The JAZFarm exists.  The disconnect between the Citiots and the world that supports them is indeed stunning.  You can walk practically any park or golf course and the only plants are a few trees and a field of grass.  The frogs slowly heating in the pan of water are the most oblivious the bigger the numbers on their balance sheets.  The meek may inherit the earth…. but those who know how to grow food will make that same earth worth living on.  Buy Locally Grown or Raise Your Own!!!

Vintage HandPicked: Joel Salatin’s Tyrant Neighbor

August 26, 2013

Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin › Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.


Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on HandPicked Nation in May 2012. Like most of what Joel Salatin says, we think it bears repeating.

“What are you doing here?” the neighbor demanded, elbowing her way through the cluster of Polyface customers surrounding our delivery vehicle. “You can’t do this!” she remonstrated, into the face of her dumbfounded neighbor who was in the middle of filling her cooler with pastured chickens and “salad bar” beef.

Citing homeowners association rules and regulations about solicitations and commerce, this neighbor was hot and bothered about a local food drop occurring in her community. The very idea. Tsk. Tsk. I suppose she never receives a UPS shipment. I’m sure she’s never hosted a bridal shower or Tupperware party.

What’s the difference between a group of friends getting together to play games and the same group getting together to pick up their local food order? The face of local food has many expressions: farmers markets, community supported agriculture, buying clubs, home delivery, office delivery. It doesn’t look like a supermarket, that’s for sure.

Innovation on this ragged edge of the local food distribution network creates nuances that don’t fit neatly into zoning and other regulatory definitions. These folks clustered around our delivery vehicle had ordered their food online and were simply meeting the delivery vehicle at an appointed place. We (the farmers) were not soliciting sales, not selling anything. It had already been sold. Just like a UPS delivery. If we had used a lot more time and petroleum to deliver to each household customer, it would not have attracted attention.

“I’ve noticed that the wealthier the community the more the people who live there seem disconnected from their ecological moorings.”

But because we (the farmers) were trying to be efficient and set up a food fellowship-shindig-social setting as well, the convergence attracted attention and raised the ire of a prudish neighbor.

Rather than appreciating the food connections and relationships being established, this neighbor was incensed that something was happening in her upscale neighborhood besides gardeners mowing the lawns, domestics cleaning the houses, and children either properly occupied with electronic entertainment inside or participating in off-site soccer games outside.

I’ve noticed that the wealthier the community the more the people who live there seem disconnected from their ecological moorings. Do they just assume that no matter how expensive energy becomes, they will always be the top feeders? Few things can be more environmentally reasonable than clothes lines, downspout rain catchments, gardens, backyard rabbits, chickens, and honey bees. But these elements smack of peasants, agrarianism, and self-reliance. Too many people think they’ve evolved to a higher level of sophistication than to be bothered by such drivel.

Just last week a city mayor confessed to me that she did not even have a kitchen in her home. Having just read Jared Diamond’s iconic Collapse, I’m struck by the aloof, disconnected spirit of too many people. Apparently some folks think we’ll be the first culture to extricate ourselves from these nasty ecological moorings. They think we’ll be able to forget about our dependency on earthworms, soil, water, and air. I suppose they think we’ll all sail off on a Star Trek space ship eating breakfast in a tablet, living in a world without diapers and decomposition.

The whole crux of the local food movement depends on transparency and relationships. Too many people are far more passionate about the latest belly button piercing in Hollywood celebrity culture than what will become flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone at 6 p.m. That is tragic.

Instead of threatening litigation over a group of local food connectors and the farmer who braves expressways to bring nutrient density to town, neighbors and regulators should applaud and encourage such connections.

With all the hoopla about local food in our culture, I never cease to be amazed at the new hurdles thrown up to derail and distract this movement. The whole notion of local food is such a foreign concept that many people can’t even fathom what it looks like. And yet this community imbedded, shindig-oriented, rag-tag confluence of friends and food predates tyrannical neighbors who think they’ve risen above menial life responsibilities like food and soil.

If homeowners associations were really progressive, they’d be offering staging areas for local food connections to occur rather than using their rules to eliminate food interfaces. At some point, people need to realize that if they aren’t part of the solution, they’re part of the problem. Now go meet your farmer and get real food.

This article originally appeared on It is re-posted here with permission from the author.

Would your neighborhood support a local food drop?

Photo Credit:  Craig McCord

Pulled Out Of The Mud By an Industrial Ag Tractor

After almost two weeks of being completely stuck in the mud and high centered, the truck has been freed!  Brad, the farmer we are leasing much of the property to, is almost to the planting stage for winter wheat.  He came by and saw the truck in its mud grave.  He was driving the same tractor that plowed out our driveway this past winter.  Using my heavy chains, he pulled up, hitched up to the truck’s trailer hitch and inside of about 30 seconds the truck was out!  A tractor with 8 five foot tall tires – pulling out a Dodge 2500 Ram V10 Long bed….. now there’s something you don’t see at the golf course or the mall!!

It runs and still drives but it isn’t a 4 wheel drive anymore.  Either the transfer case is busted or the front differential.  Oh well.  We decided not to renew the license plates and they expired August 31st.  I have a thirty day grace period to get some things I need to do done, then it is off to sell my soul to the Dodge dealership for a new truck.  This one was purchased when Aaron was 5, has taken us to the top of the world and back dozens of times, more archery tournaments than I can count, hunting camps galore, hauled thousands of pounds of gravel and topsoil, white out blizzards in the high country, is on its second transmission, needs a third, and now has differential issues.  Thank you big truck, The Make A Wish Foundation will appreciate your contribution.

While we may be in a drought, the monsoons sure did a number on this place.  Here are a couple of pictures of the drainage and truck.  Two weeks later, the lake in the back 30 is only now subsiding.  Hopefully, when it goes, so will the mosquitoes!

We have also begun work on the garden fence.  One project gets finished and a dozen more get started.  I am fencing in about a half an acre and will also electrify it to keep out the deer, coyotes, antelope and rabbits (especially rabbits!).  I have laid out the posts and corners for the front facing section.  Saturday, Zina and I took the newly freed truck up to Greeley to the Tractor Supply Company and picked up a tractor mounted post hole digger.  As there will likely be close to a hundred posts I didn’t want to have to do them all with the hand held gas auger I have now. That thing will shake the life out of you.  The holes need to be 30 – 36 inches deep.  The power washer, to soften up the ground, and the auger, are going to get quite a work out.

Once the fence is up, then the JAZ Farm can kind of officially be deemed functional.  The construction projects will slow way down and the work on the beds, the irrigation, and the soil amending will take the place of lifting, sawing, screwing, nailing, cussing, ……

The 32 chickens are all over a pound a piece now and we have identified the three roosters we ordered as well.  The hens are supposed to start laying eggs around 20 weeks of age and that will put them somewhere near the first of the year.  As the days are shorter then and they need long daylight cycles to lay consistently we may not have many to speak of until spring.  At this rate, I will have the garden fenced and ready to do at least some planting in the spring, the chickens will be laying eggs, I will have built the second coop for the meat birds, brooded the meat birds, and have produce, eggs, and meat by early next summer.  My goal was to build the place out in a year.  Knocking on wood, it looks like that will happen.  Guess no one can accuse us EVER of being lazy…. although some have tried.

Happy Labor Day All!