The Tractor Is Coming To Save Us On Taxes!

So the neighbor farmer across the road lived up to his billing.  Today after we sent my mom and sister back from whence they came, we got home to see the big John Deere discing up our back thirty.  What a relief.  We have enough to concern ourselves with than having to wonder what to do with the big back field in order to not have to pay residential taxes on 40 acres.  We are also going to use the proceeds of the land lease and pay it back to them so they will mow our front 10 acres in order to have some fire suppression when all of the “cheat” grass dries up.  That stuff turns to a flash fire hazard as soon as their seeds dry.

So thanks again to my mother for all of her help planting, especially when I hurt my back.  Note to self:  one need not rake and till the compost in on the big garden all in one day.  Sincerely, your smarter self…. idiot.

It was so great to have my sister here to see the farm for the first time as well.  We had to be very watchful of her to make sure she didn’t steal my dog!  They hit it off pretty good and Basil is now looking around wondering where everyone went.

So the field is plowed, the gardens are planted, the animals are all doing quite well too.  I’ll post a picture later but we hooked up our fifth wheel’s solar charger to an inverter out by the broiler’s chicken tractor and plugged in a fan to help keep them cool.  As I type it is around 90 degrees.  Gotta keep the critters comfortable!



Why We Don’t Plant Until June!

Spring melt is happening up in the mountains.  May is always a nail biter here on the plains.  It is almost a certainty that we will have severe thunderstorms and hail through Memorial Day weekend.  This year was no exception.  This is why A: we got the greenhouse (to protect the more delicate plants) and B: why we don’t plant outside until Memorial Day weekend.  I was lucky to escape hail damage to the truck on the way to the airport to pick up my mother.  I was pelted with golf ball sized hail and it made it impossible to see or hear and even in four wheel drive there was enough ice on the road to make me slide around.  Of course today it was 75 and sunny and we spent the day weeding out the big garden to get ready to plant.  The damage to the thistle plants was apparent (not that we cared) as many were broken off.  Looking forward to getting past this part of the year.  It is always a bit nerve wracking.

Tomorrow our newest layer hens head out to the coop and on Memorial Day the broilers head out into the tractor.  Its always an adventure and we play Farmville here for real!

JAZFarm Aerial Tour

Aaron, my son, has been experimenting with the drone, the GoPro Camera and editing software.  I found this kind of awesome.  We have some other flyovers but this one is pretty neat.  Zina even makes her movie debut!

Learning How To Use You Tube

I had posted a bunch of videos a while ago through Facebook and was told that they wouldn’t play on this venue.  My technogeek son schooled me up on how to upload to You Tube and these seem to be working better.

Here is a fly over of the farm from earlier this spring.  The solar panels and greenhouse aren’t up yet but it is a good fly over of the place.

A Little Homesteader Vacation

We have been building out this farm for 3 years.  Time off from work and farm construction has been virtually non-existent.  Also, while we have had our followers during all of these years behind the hammer and drills, we have never had a time where we could sit and just chat and swap stories about our successes, failures, and future developments with other hobby farmers.

A great friend of mine from archery, due to various reasons, found himself living in Michigan only about 90 minutes from where I grew up.  We used to talk everything archery and shoot a bunch together.  I hadn’t seen him in several years since his departure.  We hooked up via text and email about a year or so ago and were both absolutely stunned by what we found out.  We had both gone off, bought land, and proceeded to destroy ourselves physically by building farms!!  Ours grew out of gardening, and theirs grew out of dairy.  Understand this though – in all the years we had known each other we had NEVER talked about it.  I still find it uncanny that we have both made this leap to self-sufficiency and simple living!

Every year Mother Earth News magazine hosts their sustainability fairs in various places around the country.  It is a collection of booths of many subjects and products as well as seminars spaced throughout the weekend.  We saw how to build straw-bale houses, keep bees, winter gardening, making solar panels, rocket mass heaters, and many others.  Two of my heroes, Wes Jackson, a biologist and Joel Salatin – the guru of the small farm movement were also there.

Paul, his wife, son – in – law, Zina and I decided to meet at the fair in Topeka, Kansas.  We had an absolute riot!  We went to breakfast, out to dinner, hung out at lectures, wandered booths (I even got to meet a Facebook brother face to face for the first time and bought one of his hand made brooms!)  It was just the ticket!  It was a short weekend with two long drives at either end, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.  It has been so long where traveling didn’t mean having to visit family, or clients.  The astronomy star-parties are fun, but the total upheaval of one’s sleep schedule makes it not as relaxing as it could be.

All in all the fair was pretty basic.  I have my ideas on how the vendor displays could be more homestead-ish and self-sufficient oriented than they were, but if my friends want to hook up again at one of these things, I’m all in.

Paul, Cindy and Jonathan, it was so great to see you!