The Thanksgiving Pause

Just some pictures of the dog, the JAZ Farm sunrise and Zina’s new grain mill and table.  We had all of the fixings but had JAZ Farm chickens instead of turkey.  We have spent the day making about 2 gallons of chicken stock and a gallon of chicken soup from the leftovers.

Zina is going to try out her new grain mill soon so we can attempt bread with our own wheat flour.  The dog continues to recover from her knew surgery, and of course the house is warm from the stove and all of the smells.

Hope everyone had as nice and relaxing a day as we had.  No stress, no strain, just rest.

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Happy Gratitude Day!!

We are waiting on Jon to finish the last of the chef-ing.  We have been fun recounting the JAZ Farm progression for the past couple years. December 4th 2012 was the closing on this place. Not quite 2 years. Basil the farm dog will have been with us 2 years tomorrow. I was sitting around Thanksgiving of 2012 wondering if the closing would actually happen (the first place we bid on fell through and I thought I would commit Harakiri). I started to think, whether or not we get the farm, I need a pooch.

I started surfing and found Basil. I emailed the powers that be and they held her for us. Off we went and the day after Thanksgiving the cutest little turd joined our family.
In less than two years we have refurbished a house, coop and garden from bottom to top and left to right. The farm in its second summer has produced almost all the core foods we need since around July of 2014. The work has been amazingly difficult but more worthwhile than anything I have ever done. We know the future includes more of the same and will soon include a huge greenhouse and a pig pen (if my wife can handle sending the “cuteness” of the piggies off to the bacon maker).
Our Thanksgiving dinner is all of the fixings but we are having chicken instead of Turkey. We did an inventory and the farm has produced far more of what we are eating than what we had to purchase.
We made the bread for the stuffing
The chickens were raised here
We raised the potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, carrots, chicken and squash.
We had to purchase the apples, raisins, canned pumpkin and cranberries and celery.
We figure that 85% of what we are being Thankful for today was grown by our own hands.
I love this place more than I have anything else ever. Happy Gratitude day everyone.

The Newest Projects for the Upcoming Year

I have this habit of dreaming stuff up and then actually making it happen.  Most of what I make happen involves time, money and back breaking work.  The projects for 2015 are no different it seems.  Any new work on the farmhouse has gotten to the point that it is stuff that needs to be contracted out.  We have plans to install a wood burning stove, solar hot water, and eventually solar panels (although our electric bill here is pretty meager).  The heating and hot water are the two biggest expenses as propane is never going to get any cheaper.  Those things need to be professionally installed.   The farming infrastructure, however, still falls to my back and hips.  This year is going to be no different.  I just got off the phone with the manufacturer to order our new GREENHOUSE!

Ironically, because it needs to be assembled on relatively level ground, it is going in the area we laid out for the pig pen.  The pig pen is going to move over by the garden which actually makes more sense as they will have access to the garden when we want to have them go in and root around in the fall.

The greenhouse is coming in a kit.  It looks like it is a pretty straight forward assembly job but as with everything else I do it seems it will be bulky and heavy.  I am drafting my son and one of my other farmhand volunteers and according to the owner, I should be able to have the frame up and anchored in a couple of days.  Delivery is supposed to be sometime toward the end of December.  If true, then we very well may have the thing up and operational by spring planting.  Should that happen then we will not be planting the garden in the city this year.  It will likely get dismantled, salvaged, the dirt smoothed flat and Xeriscaped with pollinator oriented plants.  Zina will be happy because I will not need to hack back the ash tree that is back there as it has sprawled over the years and shaded large portions of that garden.

We will still be starting the seedlings in the grow room, but when they start to get lanky and need to be hardened off we won’t have to suffer from the pain of watching them get destroyed by hail.  Allegedly this thing can withstand 100 mph winds and golfball sized hail.  They have several pictures of ones they put up in Colorado and they look to be pretty stout puppies.

We will be adding ventilator fans to it and I have a solar charger that can power them so it won’t be grid dependent.  As with the garden in the city we will put in raised beds and drip irrigation for efficiency.  With respect to keeping it cool, the manufacturer suggests putting up shade cloth over it that lets a certain percentage of sunshine through but also helps keep the building cooler during the blast furnace of summer.

I guess, as I always say, if it isn’t fun I wouldn’t be doing it.  Should this all work out not only will we have the kind of harvest we had this past season, we will also have pork, eggs, chicken, our own home ground flour, and all the salad fixins you can shake a stick at.  Not to mention, just a really nice place to go hang out and meditate on my belly button.