Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coexisting Hugelkulter

 Remember the hugelkulter beds we made?  Well, we've been growing Austrian Winter Peas in them through the winter, not because we get any peas from them, but because they take nitrogen from the air and bring it into the soil (amazing right?).  This will help with the logs buried under there that are sucking nitrogen away.  I planted the potatoes right into the thick - my theory is that they will sort of coexist there until the summer sun burns away the peas at which point the become mulch.  We'll see.

Oh yes, and let me say that potatoes and peas are things that can coexist.  Human persons, on the other hand, are called to much more, and the minimum is well above coexisting.  I refuse to coexist with my neighbor because I think he deserves much more than what my potatoes offer to my peas.  I will not coexist, thank you, and I wish you and your bumper sticker would think better of me as well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I didn't know this old tractor ran.  How good it is...

Monday, March 4, 2013

More Gratitude! OR How to Fence a Pasture

I'm back.  Thank you to my wife who reignited the blogging with the last two posts.  But, let's move on.

Some say that all ages have their problems and sins, that ours is not so different.  I disagree.  I think we are more sinful than past ages - I'm talkin' pre-flood wretchedness here.  I know this as one of the sinners.  And certainly among one of the worst of our sins is ingratitude.  I recall sitting in a delightfully decorated kitchen with a family member, with sun pouring in the window and perfectly cooled air piping into the room from magic vents, and hearing said, "What has God done for me lately?"


I know that I am one of the ingratitudes.  (I made a noun!).  But, I'm hoping to change that a bit right now.  I cannot put into words the unique thankfulness that I feel right now.  Even with this deep feeling gratitude, it is inadequate.

But first, the dream I'm after.  I want to live at peace on the land.  At peace within myself, which requires being at peace with God, and at peace with my family and community, which requires being at peace with myself.  So, I want to farm, because I am convinced that within that noble work I will find a greater peace than in others.  This is my dream.  But I cannot do this on my own.  I desperately need help.

Labor, support, food, friendships - all of these things have flooded into my life recently - manifestly so this past weekend.  My friends and families, none of which were within an hours drive and most of them more of a 5 hour drive, came to the farm (which I am allowed to farm because of someone else's generosity and openness) and helped me fence in roughly 15-20 acres of land.  I've mentioned this before, but part of our farming dream is to own cows.

But I can back up even further.  I have debt.  Paying that debt off has kept me from being able to invest in the dream.  Yet, once again, some dear friends showed me what it looks like to have a generous spirit.  These friends have put my debt "on hold" by paying the usurious collectors and floating it with their own money.  As the dream progresses, I will always remember that they made it possible.

Back to the fence.  We pulled, nailed, shoveled, packed, tightened, and slowly crept around the fence posts with brand new woven wire fence.   The fence was even purchased by someone who, for some reason, sees fit to invest in this dream.

Soon I will buy the cows.  I can only do that because customers have pre-purchased the finished beef at retail cost so I can buy the heard wholesale.  Actually, I've only sold a portion of the shares I need to sell, so.... wanna buy a cow share???

Do you see what's happening here?  It is amazing.  There are problems, confusions and set-backs, but clearly something is progressing here.  And it is all because of other people helping me.  I once had a priest tell me that most people who set out to intentionally create community fail because they don't actually need each other.  We amass everything we need to be fed and comfortable and then realize that we're void of true community, so we try to make it.  He said that we need to need each other first, and community will follow.  Well, there's community forming here, at least I know it is so in my heart, because we need each and every person who has helped us.  I need them.  We are not fed and comfortable.  In fact, money is very tight and life is somewhat uncomfortable in many ways.

We need lots of things, and where there's a need there seems to be a blessing there waiting.  God is indeed being faithful beyond what I can put into a blog.  Above all, I have learned that I really do need Him.  I'm looking out of a sunny window and seeing a brand new fence around a pasture that looks eager to feed some bovine guests.  I am grateful for it.

To all of those that helped, thank you dearly.  I hope this wasn't too wordy of a thank you, but I am very grateful.  To my dad, B and J in CO, S and R and all their kids, J and L and their boys, J and M, and Josh, who is 19 and gave up a whole day because he wants us to farm - thank you all!

Also, and I must say above all, thank you to my loving, gentle, hard-working, caring wife.  She is not the "mighty woman behind her man" but a tender love beside me.   I could not possibly do this without her.  Thank you my beloved. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cow meet Chicken

Jason said I could keep on posting on here until the fence is done.  So, I'm going to share one of my favorite farm pics with you.  You might have seen this on facebook, but I wanted to share the story behind it.

We moved the teenage roosters over to the cow barn.  We call it the "boys club" over there because as soon as you pull up, all the boys come running over to check you out and see what you're up to.  We moved the roosters over there because we are trying to build up a NO-GMO laying flock, and can't afford to keep feeding the roosters the expensive no-GMO feed.  The boys are quite hilarious and act just like teenage boys, running around everywhere in a pack, exploring. 

So while the boys enjoy their new layer, the cows aren't as pleased.  They chase the chickens out of their water and dont like them hanging around.  It will be a transition for them. We do see moments that make us hope for better cow chicken relations, and I was happy to capture the above one on film.

Below is Abigail looking annoyed while the boys party behind her.