Happy New Year From The JAZ Farm!

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On the last day of the last month of the year 2013, the last fencing staple went into the acre garden fence.  Spiking the ball in the end zone  today as the last of the major infrastructure projects to get the homestead functional are finished.  There are many more projects to embark upon as we anticipate planting the garden for the first time, but the huge, necessary and often ridiculously heavy projects are done!  What an amazing year this has been.  We are so happy to have gotten to this point.  There have been major frustrations, setbacks, expenses, cuts, scars, and mental duress, but the JAZ Farm is now a very nice and tidy place.  A place to call our farm, our refuge, and our pride.

For my own processing I thought I’d simply run down the list of things that have gone into this place.  It is kind of astounding to all three of us what has gone into it.  As I know there are several folks who follow this blog who are either getting started in homesteading or wanting to, here is what you can expect if you buy a foreclosure and it needs a little “fixing up”! :

> 10 yards of fill dirt around the foundation to create positive draining

>Fixing 10 broken windows

>Fixing 12 holes in the drywall

>Cleaning out dirt, dog mess, beer bottles, dead moths, and all manner of crud out of the basement

>New roof

>Cleaning out the barn

>Replacing the water heater

>Cleaning the furnace

>Steam cleaning and re-stretching all the carpeting.

>Buying hauling and installing all new appliances (it didn’t have any)

>Cleaning all of the blinds and getting rid of smoke infused dusty drapes

>Replacing the sinks in the bathroom, removing all of the rust from the sinks, shower, and toilets

>Buying new toilets.

>Re-mounting the kitchen counters and cupboards from where they had been pulled from the walls.

>Trying to find the linoleum in the kitchen (It was caked with dust, mud and dog mess)

>Scrubbing every wall in the house to get rid of the smoke, dust and urine smells

>Priming all of the walls both upstairs and down

>Choosing colors and painting the walls

>Priming and painting the entire ceiling

>Moving truckloads of belongings out here

>Building a dog run

>Pulling out destroyed ranch fences and corral gates

>Demolishing the horse shed and rebuilding it into a chicken coop (took several months of weekends)

>Installing chain link, field fence and privacy fences needed for the chickens, gardens and observing field

>Buying a tractor

>Plowing up the old horse corral to build the raised beds for the future garden

>Cleaning all of the windows and making them functional

>Having the place re-sealed up, weatherized and painted before the snow flies

>Replacing all of the doors and a leaky bathroom window

>Buying plows, tillers and fencing tools

>Learning how to keep the water for the chickens from freezing up in arctic cold

>Replacing the major light fixtures

>Getting a kid graduated from high school

>Sending a kid off to college

>Buying beds

>Installing a washing machine and stringing clotheslines as we don’t want to use a dryer

>Learning how to and then brooding 33 chickens

>Setting up seedling tables

>Actually getting the urban farm planted at the same time.

>Harvesting, canning and freezing the urban farm produce

>Learning how to navigate the property either during blizzards or our recent Colorado floods – we had lake front property for a couple of weeks because of it.

>Both Ma and Pa Farmer people holding down full time jobs at the same time.

>Oh yes…. and more trips to the Home Depot than I can even count!


Happy New Year!  I think we may simply collapse for the rest of our holiday break.  If you want to build a farm…..  be careful what you wish for!  It is exceedingly satisfying. The work will make you feel like superman when it is all done.

Starting To Get Ready For The Seedlings

Aaron helped assemble and put up the new seedling tables.  This is where we will start the plants to go out in the garden.  The farm is turning into a farm.  The fencing is almost done and the tables are set up.  Next up is mapping out the beds and ordering the drip irrigation tapes.

Anyone need eggs?  We have one or two!

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A New Way Fancy Farm Truck

After 14 years of use and all of the adventures it took us on as a family, the black Ram pickup died.  It is heading for the Make A Wish Foundation as a donation.  For Solstice we replaced it with the latest and greatest.  The new farm truck is ready for duty!


Thou Shall NOT Pass!

So we are still trying to decide the fate of at least one of the roosters.  At this point we are kind of leaning toward keeping the Wyandotte male, the biggest of the Orpingtons and one other.  The one we hear crowing the most may just be advertising his willingness to become stew.  It seems that his favorite hobby is crowing.  All four crow but this one seems to be calling out to the crock pot.

The Wyandotte’s name was Sorpressa (Spanish for surprise).  When she was found to be a he it became Sorpresso (masculine).  We have decided to call the biggest Orpington Gandalf.   Gandalf protects his flock, is compassionate and gentle with the ladies and isn’t overtly noisy.  He even lets us pick him up.  The other two Orpington roos are noisy, rough and obnoxious.  Gandalf fits.

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Da Eggs Was Tasty!

Da Eggs was Tasty!

Although the first eggs from the new girls were not much bigger than golf balls, they were very tasty! The yolks were practically rusty orange. Of course, if you have never had eggs right outta the bird’s butt you haven’t lived! We compared them to the organics we get at Whole Foods and the store boughts couldn’t come close in color and flavor. Fun!


JAZ Farm Egg Business Is Now Receiving Inventory!

What a surprise!  After over a week of bitter arctic weather, today was in the 50’s.  The waterers are thawed, the chickens were out in the sun, and……..  we have our first 2 eggs!

I put decoys in the nesting boxes to kind of show them where they should go to lay their eggs.  Right now we have 5 boxes (two more are built and in the barn waiting to be hung).  Each of the boxes had three of the ceramic decoys placed inside so it was quite easy to see if there were more.  Today there was!  The birds are right around 22 weeks old now and this puts them right on schedule.  They weren’t very big, in fact one was fairly small.  But they will increase in size as they get a big older.

I think the heat lamps gave them enough extra light that they started to develop their eggs.  We will see in the coming days if there are more or if this was just a one time shot!  But what fun to find your first eggs at the right time and in the right place!  JAZ Farm be havin’ eggs!

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So What Does A Farmer Do When He is Cooped Up Like The Chickens?

So What Does A Farmer Do When He is Cooped Up Like The Chickens?

He starts building the seedling starter room in the basement of course! Until I get my greenhouse made of recycled and reclaimed windows built (another heavy outdoor project) I need to have a place to start the seedlings for this spring. As the basement is just about 60 feet long, I have most of the light fixtures and cords, Voila order some greenhouse tables, string some lights, get the hydroponic lettuce tables going and we are in business. Just found out the tables shipped yesterday. Now I get to go to where my money lives! Home Depot!!! Woohoo!


Ready To Call The Chicken Freeze a Success

We have now survived the 3 nights of minus 10. No bird losses and only minor frost bite on a couple of the rooster’s combs. Even in this cold, the boys are gleefully engaging in Fen Hucking. The new jiggering of the water system has kept the water thawed in wicked cold. Zina and I went inside the coop to see what the conditions are really like in the cold and wind and it is surprisingly comfortable. No drafts. The girls are all roosting, the boys are strutting their stuff and we can hear them crowing all the way inside our house. JAZ Farm chicken ranch has been put through the paces and come out the other side with a gold medal! Woohoo!

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