Farm Beginnings: The End of the Beginnings for Sweet Showers Farm

A freshly painted mailbox!

This is my last posting about Farm Beginnings because I feel we have passed by the Beginnings part and are onto the beginning of the Doing part.

The Doing part, as you know, is the steady pace learning and exploration tango contained within every moment - you try corn on the lower field for the first time, the squash borer kills all of your cucumbers, goats escape (again), the strawberries are too wet, the chickens are decimated by a hawk, you hold a baby lamb as the sun rises, the sunflowers are pulled down because you planted your peas too quickly to trellis along and everything falls onto the pumpkins. (In the future, may all of my “problems" be as simple as sunflowers falling onto the pumpkins!)

Part of the Permaculture Design Course was to envision what would be on the land in 15-20 years. So this is the global view.

We are calling our land Sweet Showers Farm, courtesy of my Chaucer days. Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, The droghte of March hath perced to the roote. Sweet Showers Farm works two ways. The Sweet can be a noun showering down upon the Farm and/or the Sweet can be an adjective describing the Showers of rainfall. It makes me wiggily with happiness.

For my future questions there are many online resources to help me: Start2Farm.gov, Virtual Grange, Greenhorns, Beginning Farmers, Young Farmers Coalition, and I have been cultivating neighbor mentors.

Courtesy of my Permaculture Design Course (PDC), which I highly highly recommend as a way to recharge your educational, spiritual, and joy of life batteries, we have a farm plan and goals for the next 25 years.

A closeup of the plantings and whatnot near the house - akin to a vision board.

The PDC did a wonderful job inspiring me - but it also left a bug in my ear. The first day, our instructor Andrew Faust, punctured through my idealism in one obvious comment. It was along the lines of, “You know, people want to run away and create their little paradise, which is great. But what happens when your well is poisoned from the leachate from the municipal landfill, your air quality is so poor you can’t leave the house some days [which happens to those close to Concentrated Animal Feeding Organizations - aka factory farming, the EPA did a study on it], your weather is so weird that you can no longer plant the crops of your grandparents [see Tabasco], and your animals are stressed from the heat and stop producing enough milk to feed you.”

Duh!

So there it is - the balancing act of life. I am you and you are me and we are all in this together. The choices rest in the Doing.

May sweetness shower our farm...

Here is the post on Real Time Farms

Farm Beginnings: In Awe of House Builders

People keep telling us that building our farmhouse is going to break up our marriage. I can certainly see why.

Just when you think you are finished with your day - errands and jobs and family drama and dinner all complete - you and your partner sit down at the computer to figure out what kind of faucets you want in your new house. Suddenly you have an opinion about something you have never consciously thought about - grout color, porcelain vs metal handles, whether the toilet flush lever is on the left or the right side, depth of bathtub, how much molding is going to be around your doors, what style doors do you want, how long the cords are on the lights that hang from the ceiling, on and on and ON.

I know these are nowhere near real problems. But depending on whether everyone is well rested and has their humor glasses on - such a conversation can be turned into something huge and dramatic and end up with one partner retreating to the bath with a glass of wine and Cherry Garcia, especially when some appliances and bathroom fixtures cost more than our car. I am grateful for the most part my partner doesn’t care and I can play the princess, but sometimes he does.

Septic fields, running the electric lines, and digging the well - three things I knew nothing about in my naivete of wanting to have more control over where my food comes from. But as many people can tell you - in addition to choosing faucets, those are vitally important things one has to think about when away from municipal utilities.

I learned inoculating mushroom logs that it is much easier drilling holes without having to worry about the charger dying on you. So until we get ourselves organized with water and electricity we are taking a break from the planting.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t started planning - as I will talk about next week with a run-down of my Permaculture Design Certification course.

Here are a series of pictures showing what has been going for the last month.

Digging the trench for the frost walls

Frost wall footings (there is no basement)

Pouring the concrete into the frost walls

Laying the plumbing pipes underneath where the slab will be poured

Insulation goes under the radient piping

Using sand and gravel from the land to lay on top of river stone for a driveway

A completed driveway

A septic field before being backfilled

A slab!

It is beginning to look like a house! (soon we will be ready for faucets!)

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna gave an update on the land - and specifically the bonfire bonanza. Today she gives an update on the house.

Here is the piece on Real Time Farms!

Farm Beginnings: Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza

The hickory tree on the left is perhaps 55 feet tall.

Join us for a Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza!

Bacchus is not a controllable god (as you may remember from your Euripides in school) - and neither, it turns out, is fire. My lesson from burning a pile of wood 25 feet wide and 15 feet tall is this - don’t have any guests nearby but do have an excavator.

The moat of dug earth preventing the fire from spreading to the tall grass.

Don’t have any guests nearby because it is hard enough to watch the large fire catch the grass on fire without having witnesses join you in trepidation. Also, it felt better to have a smaller more sober crowd for when the fire marshall showed up to make sure we had everything under control. It is only because of the excavator that we were anywhere near under control.

The excavator is necessary because as the grass scorches along the ground outward from the fire, the excavator can dig a moat around the area. Helpless, I watched sparks fly into the tall grass. The excavator quickly would rotate on the treads, tamp those out with the bucket, and turn back quickly towards the the line of fire. “Behind you!,” I wanted to shout, “the grass is burning towards the tall grass behind you and on the left, and on the right and did you see it on the other side? The other side is moving fast and...”

and then it was over.

Still smoking the next morning.

45 minutes after the flames were reaching 30-40 feet into the air, the intense heat pulled the dry wood down upon itself and the focal point of our Bacchanalian Burn Bonanza celebration turned into Mordor.

But I am learning that even Mordor can be put to good use, our neighbors with the horse farm will take the ash and spread it on their pastures for the potash and the lime.

Cheering to sharing with neighbors.

(Here is a video of the fire starting, a haybale was drenched in diesel fuel and lit on fire...)

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of growing what the deer won’t eat. Today she gives an update on the land.

Farm Beginnings: Boxwood; Loving What the Deer Don’t

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke to why she farms. Today she speaks of farming with deer and boxwoods.

Farming with deer might bring visions of Bambi and all of his cousins running around a field prior to harvest into delicious venison steaks. That is not what I am talking about. No, farming with deer is growing goodies I want to eat/enjoy without having the deer demolish them first.

I have a very complicated relationship with deer. I love to watch them run and jump and whisk their tales and yes, I have seen Bambi. Yet I feel the anthropomorphization of the deer population by Disney has adversely affected the biodiversity of our forests. I also like eating them - they are a good source of protein (free range anyone?) and delicious.

Part of planning where to plant goodies on the land involves protecting them from the deer. Deer like to eat most everything in the garden I want to eat and certainly many of the ornamental plants that I would like to smell and look at.

My first step is to plant boxwoods, a trick I learned from Toby Hemenway's book, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Deer don’t like boxwoods. According to a recent NY Times article, “boxwood contains alkaloids that are toxic to deer.” (and a small side note for me to thank them for such a great title). I plan to use boxwood as a fence.

Boxwoods appeal to me for several reasons. They are evergreen, we are renting in an apartment that has many full grown specimens of the slow-growing plant, and I was curious to try propagating from cuttings. I know I am going to be needing a lot of them to make a shield of any utility and the idea of purchasing 50 plants at 20 dollars each was not exciting.

After two months, no evidence of roots - but also only one has yellowed. I am hopeful.

I read recently a book that described a woman who started her arboretum, now filled with 70 foot trees, from seed. “It was cheaper, and she was quite frugal, which is considered sustainable today. She would trade seeds. As she said, plants people share; antiques people don’t share.”

Inspired to be frugal, I purchased Dip N’Grow, and following the directions snuck out very early 2 months ago to barely prune the boxwoods around my apartment. I dipped them into the solution and popped them into the earth. As I lifted the small cuttings from the soil this morning, I did not see any indication of root growth - but Martha Stewart says that it can take up to 3 months.

Besides, it is more fun to sneak out in the early morning before my neighbors are up to take cuttings than to contemplate the cost of a deer fence.

Here is the article on Real Time Farms.

Farm Beginnings: We Farm because Seeds Grow

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of farming trees for the wood stove. Today she speaks to why she farms.

A few weeks ago I gently tucked tiny black and silver specks into wet soil. I placed plastic covers over the soil, put the flats under a sunlamp on the radiator and waited. The soil was very wet. I did not disturb the flats at all, water condensed on the inside of the mini plastic greenhouses.

Four weeks later there is a green carpet of tender strong dynamic life reaching upwards, unfurling new leaves with the courage of a new day.

The flecks of seeds GREW!!

That is what this whole thing is all about.

Sigh.

In my Master Gardener class a few years ago, the teacher stood at the front of the room the first day and asked us, “Why are you here?” Responses varied: “I love to garden,” “I volunteer at a farm,” “I want to keep my husband company when he gardens,” “I like to grow my own food.”

She listened patiently and then summarized all of the disparate sharing into one shooting star, “You are here because once upon a time, maybe when you were young, you planted something and it grew.”

It grew! Without any sleepless nights, or bank loans, or driving across town running late to an appointment, or jealousy, or broken hearts, or any of the beautiful facets of our human existence - you can place a tiny seed into moist dark earth, show it the sun, and the universe will give you a tree.

Or sunflowers, or kale, or barley your animals can eat. It is the most humbling and beautiful thing to me. On the days when I think I need to be in charge, or even may want to be in charge, am I kidding?

The universe can grow a tree.

Beyond Grateful.

Here is the post on Real Time Farms.

Farm Beginnings: Farming Trees for the Wood Stove

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of inoculating logs with fungus plugs. Today she speaks of farming trees and splitting firewood.

Splitting wood as people have done for hundreds of years.

When I think of farming, I think of neat rows of greens interspersed with chickens and a cow in a field or endless rows of corn - but as you know, one can “farm” many things: honey, Christmas trees, apricots, maple syrup, hickory nuts, mushrooms, etc. As I become more and more excited about perennial cultivation instead of annual plantings (my bedside table is currently groaning under the two volume tome Edible Forest Gardens), I am beginning to shift my timeline for what farming can encompass - like the farming of trees.

Tree farming is a long term endeavor. I think immediately of the story from one of the Oxford Colleges where they planted oak trees when the college was founded in the 1400s; 450 years later they had the wood they needed to replace the 2 feet wide and 45 feet long beams in the dining hall. That kind of forethought and planning is a long cry from the annual gratification of most vegetable farming.

A wood splitter is the easiest way to crack the big logs.

According to the rings I counted on the trees we harvested when the land was cleared, most were probably around 50 years old, and most were around the diameter of my hug. (They would not have worked for the Oxford College dining hall.) Fifteen years before I was born these trees started taking in the sunlight and turning it into carbon. This winter we will release that carbon back into the atmosphere when we heat our house. On a side note, I am sure you read that we are just about to cross over 400 ppm for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - but that is a whole different can of worms.

Or is it? Living in a northern climate means we need to keep ourselves warm somehow in the winter. After three layers of long underwear and a few thick wool sweaters, it is still nice to not have to wear gloves inside the house when cooking, or typing, or reading a book. So therefore what are our choices? We can heat our farm with propane (economical these days thanks to fracking). Or we can heat our buildings with electricity - generated from coal, natural gas, biomass, or the 13.2% garnered from renewable sources. We could add solar panels and insulate the heck out of the house (thank you Transition Challenge Month for listing those as energy challenge ideas), but the sun goes down every night and it is nice to be warm in bed. Ideally we would not be adding more carbon to the environment at all, but that is not the current reality most of us live in.

Hopefully this will last us at least two winters.

Using wood to heat our house will be one way we can reduce our carbon emissions to help the Keeling Curve return to the 350 ppm so touted and celebrated by 350.org.

Because at the end of the day an issue that seems like a Gordian Knot the size of a fire breathing Leviathan is really very simple. I don’t think anyone but Mother Nature knows how to plant more propane or coal, but I know I can plant more trees.

Here is the post on Real Time Farms!

Farm Beginnings: Inoculating Logs with Mushrooms

The spawn saturated plugs fit snugly into the drilled holes.

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of mulch. Today she speaks of inoculating logs with fungus plugs.

Innoculating logs with mushrooms is like playing Wack-a-Mole, immensely satisfying on a visceral level. Also on a visceral level, like so many of perks that have to do with working to grow your own food, at the end of the day there are glorious mushrooms to eat! (Or in 9-12 months.)

The most fun thing about the process was sharing something new. Whereas the majority of my friends have grown tomatoes, harvested kale, or even made cheese - no one had ever banged a spore-infused dowel into a mushroom log. So there were a lot of questions as we waited for the portable drills to charge: What are we doing? Why are we doing this? When will there be mushrooms? I thought you promised to bring beer? etc etc

Mushrooms blooming on a log gently decomposing in the woods.

Just so we are all on the page, here is 3 minutes about mushrooms. I am not a mycologist, so this is neophyte’s attempt to explain an entire branch of terrestrial life. Fungi - mushrooms, yeast, and molds - are an entire taxonomic kingdom onto themselves (like animals, plants, amoebae, etc). Mushrooms that we see and eat are only the fruit of fungus. A fungus is a collection of weblike strands that thrive on the organic compounds in a decomposing wood, or pollutants like oil derivatives. (Last year there was a big outcry about Amazon fungi which thrive eating plastic bags in landfills.) Wood that is left to decompose on the forest floor becomes colonized with many different species of fungi. The fungal species that is able to outproduce and thereby dominate the other colonizers will be the one that eventually may fruit on that log. Fruiting happens when there is enough water in the soil (or log) to force the fruit to the surface.

Here is a short snippet of a real mycologist, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwMH0tMfeWchp" target="_blank">Nicholas P Money who wrote the book Mushroom, explaining how mushrooms reproduce once the fruit emerges (and he has a great accent).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwMH0tMfeWc

However, as I am sure you remember from high school, there are many different types of mushrooms and not all of them are fit for an omelet. Therefore if you want to eat mushrooms you need to make sure that your spores are the ones that are going to dominate any other fungi that might want to start colonizing your log, which brings us back to Wack-A-Mole! (you knew we would get there eventually).

After scouring the permaculture listservs, I purchased the starter kit from Fungi Perfecti and extra plugs of shitake (as well as morel spawn and maitake from Gourmet Mushrooms). The recipe for inoculating logs is simple: drill, plug, paint, water, wait (water). When you order your own spawn they will give you very detailed instructions (what size bit to use, how close to drill the holes, whether or not they recommend you paint the holes with wax afterwards to keep the moisture in and deter bugs, etc). 

Wack-a-Mole!

Here is what I learned from the process. Make sure the logs are not more than four feet long - ours were five feet on the theory that we could bury them into the earth a foot (helping to keep them moist), but five feet logs are difficult to maneuver when your body is tired. Make sure you have either a drill that is attached to a plug, or many extra battery packs that you can recharge in the car while you drill - on average one battery pack would last us about one log (100-60 holes). If you want to go whole hog and paint wax on the holes make sure you have access to heat where the logs are - I ended up transporting the logs back and forth to our apartment.

Our directions say we should make sure the logs are watered at least once a week or so, glad we have access to water!

The weekend resulted in 4 fully inoculated logs. An entire veggie drawer in the fridge is full of plugs awaiting their logs. I am still committed to growing more mushrooms - however, pushing forward before we have power on the land (or at least not during the burn ban so I could melt the wax in a fire) throws up unwelcome hurdles. More mushrooms will wait until we have the infrastructure in place to make this easier.

In the meantime, I have seen several places that sell mushroom kits where one can grow mushrooms on your kitchen counter. Back to the Roots out of California will send you one if you are not lucky enough to live in Ann Arbor, where the mushroom man comes to the Farmers Market!

  Here is the piece on Real Time Farms!

Farm Beginnings: Chipping Mulch

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl starting to farm. Last installment Corinna spoke of clearing the land of trees. Today she speaks to chipping your own mulch. I learned the difference between “gym fit” and “farm fit” this weekend. I am barely gym fit and I am nowhere near farm fit.

I am standing on top of the brush pile at the beginning of the weekend.

Imagine a pile of twisted laundry - except that it is made out of various logs and twigs, heavy, full of splinters, and 9 feet high and 12 feet wide. Imagine dismantling that pile in order to hoist the heavy wood to a machine that is fearsome in the Fargo sense of the word.

The machine grabs with its dual rotating jaws the edges of 10 inch wide logs, small twigs, or entire cedar trees. The log that we were barely able to manuever is devoured like a teenage boy inhaling a piece of pizza. Oh and make sure to get out of the way - as the log enters the mouth of the machine, it will twist and move, so any branches that are still attached will whack you on the way in if you stand too close.

Let me take a step back and explain this more completely.

I like mulch. It retains moisture in the soil as it decomposes. You can plant potatoes and make a mound of mulch and easily dig them out in a few months.

Mulch also means you don’t have to weed as often. And if you really want to splurge, you can find cocoa shell mulch (perhaps for a herb garden), and your garden will smell like chocolate when it rains.

It struck me as crazy to go out and purchase mulch when we have a huge pile of brush from clearing the land that we could chip and turn into mulch. So I rented a 6 inch wood chipper delivered to the land on Saturday morning, to be picked up on Monday.

Up drives this truck with a yellow machine on the back. The delivery man gets out, takes a look at our small pile of brush in the woods, and a look at the HUGE pile of brush in the middle of the field. “Too bad they didn’t put this small pile on the big pile in the field. That way you could burn all of it.”

“I asked them not to.”

“Why?”

“Because I want to mulch as much as I can.”

“Really?”

“Yes, that is why I ordered the wood chipper.”

(Truth is, as they say, stranger than fiction.)

The bemused gentleman looks with a renewed eye at the smaller pile of brush. “Hmmm, this is the 6 inch chipper. I could run back and get the 12 inch one? That would eat through the pile in no time.”

“Sounds good, and in the meantime we will start laying out the wood.” My husband smiles at me.

Laying out the brush the morning of the second day before feeding the machine.

Lesson number one from wood chipping, always get the biggest machine you can. Lesson number two, “laying out the wood” is easier said than done.

Writing this, I feel naive but I did not grok how difficult it would be to untangle 12 foot branches and logs, piled willy nilly on top of each other. We tugged, we pulled, we lifted, we strained, we grunted, we heaved, and eventually the pile started to feel more manageable.

I have 32 bruises on my legs from tripping over sticks, falling into the pile as the wood moved, or carrying logs and running into other logs. I am grateful it was cool enough that I had several layers of clothing on, or it may have been much worse.

After laying out the wood, one feeds it into the machine. As I mentioned above this is a loud, fearsome, powerful, intimidating machine that takes the heavy wood and moves it like a piece of cotton fluff. Here is a little sample (watch the volume on your computer).

After two days of this task - here are my conclusions.

  1. The best wood for chips are the actual logs, not the brush/twigs. Therefore there is a diminishing return on labor to feed in the smaller stuff.
  2. Not counting our labor, we spent $600 on the machine (including delivery and fuel) for the weekend. We ended up with perhaps 10-12 cubic yards of mulch. In Rhinebeck, NY the village will deliver to mulch to me for $20 and each cubic yard is $20 - 11 yards at those prices would be $240.
  3. The proffered option of burning the big pile looks more and more attractive after this weekend of doings.

Live and learn, and the bruises are fading.

Here is the post on RealTimeFarms.com

Farm Beginnings: Clearing the land of trees

Farm Beginnings is the chronicle of a city girl pulled into farming. Last installment Corinna spoke of the why that brought her to farming. Today she speaks to clearing the land of trees.

The oak, cherry, and hickory logs are piled high in front of the brush piles and the stumps.

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees... which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.” That is how I am feeling this week.

It is difficult to watch majestic sturdy creations crashing down and portioned up. I am disturbing the habitat of birds, furry nocturnal creatures, and the soil - all so I can indulge in my self-sufficient quest and live more in “harmony” with the land. Beautiful bird nests used to swaying 55 feet in the air are catapulted into brush piles.

To this I answer - the trees must be repurposed to good use. That is my pledge to the dryads of the forest.

Dryads, I promise to turn your former oaken homes into floors. Not as dramatic as feeling the sun and moving in the wind, creaking against the bark and striving against the pull of gravity, but at least you will be useful and still on the same land.

(The willowy maidens seem nonplussed...) But what about the pink hued cedars, the clover shaped shaggy barked cousins nearby?

How about closets for the milled large ones and fence posts for the smaller ones?

And the smaller oaks, those too adolescent for flooring?

We can inoculate you with fungus plugs, you will house shitake or oyster mushrooms. That way we can start farming this spring. Those that are too big we will split into logs to keep our new home warm in the winter.

What about the brush that is too small for even mushrooms?

That we shall mulch.

But you have no idea how to use a chainsaw or a wood chipper.

I will learn.

The dryads flit away - perhaps mulch is an unwelcome word to tree nymphs. However to me, mulch is the crux of beginning this farm on the right foot. Every farming conference I have attended lately has been dorking about the importance of soil health.

Mulch is my first step.

Pondering, Corinna

Here is the post on Real Time Farms.

Armed with a chainsaw and a small excavator - the clearing commences.

I can imagine dryads weeping as they see the stumps.

Over the next few days the brush is piled up and more and more trees are felled.

A birds nest in an ?hickory" tree (still working on my tree identification skills).

A tangled mass of heavy wood = brush pile.

Cedar trees have the most remarkable clover patter to the rich pink (almost purple when freshly cut).

A friend has a portable mill, which makes the process relatively easy. The boards will be kiln dried before being laid on the floor.

Perhaps I can use the ends from milling for cutting boards for gifts? So many possibilities!!

Farm Beginnings

We can bolt lettuce, can we do more than that?

I envision this series might be a long lived one. I am embarking on a project that to some people on this planet might seem ridiculous (because they are already doing it and they grew up doing it), to some absurd (because they would rather not be doing it), and to some dirty (because, well, there will be dirt). We are starting a farm.

Chronological seems like the best way to start this story. I grew up in a city. Not just any city. I grew up six blocks from the Capitol (OL) Building in Washington DC. My father loved, and still loves, the ability to walk to the corner store for last minute ingredients - so do I. I started taking public transportation home from school, seven miles away, when I was nine years old: bus, metro, bus, walk. School finished by 3:15 and if I was able to time it correctly I would be home by 4:05 (Unless I took the bus all the way home to do my math homework, struggling to hold the pencil still over bouncing potholes. In that case, I would be home by 4:30.)

In other words, I am a city girl. I love cities, I love walking around cities, I love the energy of the cities and the beauty and the smells and the humanity all piled on top of each other, jostling, stretching, striving.

What the frak (thank you BattleStar Galactica) am I doing starting a farm?

The real thing might be a tad messier.

The short answer I am going to borrow from Shannon Brines, of Brines Farm in Ann Arbor. I asked him in December 2009 about his decision to start a farm and my memory tells me his answer was along the line of “time to put my money where my mouth is.”

The long answer is this. I have always been an eater: good food, cooking, being around kitchens, fun ingredients, etc - bring it on. My grandparents had a wonderful home in Massachusetts with lots of plants, grubs, bare feet days, and summer warmth. In 2006, I started rethinking career - do I want to be in charge, do I want to sit at a desk all day, do I want to live and contribute according to what makes my heart sing and my soul flutter, do I want to feel creative and useful? Yes. Do I want to know where my food comes from? Yes.

We started off in Ann Arbor, MI with chickens and a vegetable garden. I love keeping chickens, they smell good (I am not kidding, I like to bury my nose in their warm down - they smell like life), the eggs are amazing, killing them is not too horrible, and they are fun to spy on while dust bathing. Vegetable gardens are an exercise in hope and miracles every year - a connection with the seasons and the adamah (humus) that makes up our adam-ness (human-ness). (Thank you Fred Bahnson at TEDxManhattan 2013).

One of our girls devouring the last of the raspberries.

But there never seemed to be enough room in our tidy back garden. And wouldn’t it be fun to try our hand at goats, or pigs, or growing nut trees, or an orchard?

It was also appealing to be self-sufficient and hone our useful skills, not just continue practicing my consuming skills, but to dive into the nitty gritty homo sapiens survival skills. Finally, there are the niggling doomsday reasons: what if oil goes to $200/barrel and the price of bread goes to $20, etc? When we moved back to the East Coast - this was our chance.

Step #1 - find land. I feel very privileged and lucky to have access to resources that made this a very painless process - some of our land was used for hay, some for a woodlot, and some was just overgrown with poison ivy and pin oaks.

Step #2 - live on the land.

That is where we catch up to the present day. We are in the process of navigating the living part. In order to build a house - we need to clear some trees from the overgrown area. However, I feel a bit like the Lorax - which is what I will address next time.

Giggling as a Greenhorn,

(Here is a little snippet of who I am - from a few summers ago when I was managing the Westside Farmers Market in Ann Arbor. Hopefully it will make you giggle too.)

Here is the post on the Real Time Farms blog!