Brown Gold to Green Gold

Little guy green.

This little guy is going to need some nutrients once he gets his little root-feet in the field, so my lovely wife and I recently spent a day distributing some composted brown nutrients, aka aged poop.

Manure spreader.

This is our manure spreader: a tractor, a pickup, a driver, and a shoveler. Oh yeah, and poop (two "poops" in one post, no three!). Court drove while I shoveled out the back of the bed. When I woke up the next morning, I made note that top on my list of used equipment to procure by next spring is a real manure spreader. My back, arms, and shoulders felt as though they'd been trampled by the cows all that poop (4!) came from.

Wifey-poo (5?) in her new bib overalls.

I'm pooped (6!).


An update on the tractor tire: it's been fixed. I'm more than a little embarrassed to say that my first reaction upon seeing it flatter than a pancake was to call in the experts. I called Ron the tire guy and he said he'd come out and look at it, and depending on what was wrong with it, it could cost over $300 to repair it or over $1,000 to replace it.

When I told my father-in-law Clyde about the tire, he asked me, "did you try to pump it up?" Uh, no. Why do that? It makes too much sense. I just hope the winter froze my brain and it hasn't thawed yet, and it's not an indication of some larger personal ineptitude. As a so-called farmer, that should have been my first thought - pump it up. So Clyde came out the other day (on his new leg - see this post for an explanation), pumped it up, discovered the valve was shot, replaced the valve, pumped it up, and there the tire sits, plump and happy. As for me, I think my brain has a flat. Now who can I call to fix it?


This is a reenactment of what I came upon at the farm the other day:

Something sure does seem off.

Yep, something is definitely off.

The Case is crooked.

Why is it crooked?

Uh oh...

I knew it.

Ouch. This is not going to be cheap.

Farming on the Front Porch

First I have to give credit to the title of this post to my good friend Jason (see the fan-man in the photos).

Yes, we're making do, and we're also making decisions and remaking them daily, and sometimes it seems hourly. I guess that's a nice way of saying I feel rather wishy-washy at times. We decided to hold off on the greenhouse we bought. We've gathered (i.e. bought) most of what we need to put it up, such as the plastic, inflation fan, and wire and channel to hold the plastic in place. But what we haven't sorted out yet is the propane and power. While both of those shouldn't be too hard to set up (though they do cost money - which we're trying to dole out sparingly), we were feeling a bit too much pressure to get this thing up and running in time to start planting. So we backed off. Nothing lost - we have the necessary supplies to put up the greenhouse at some point, but at our leisure (ha!). The ground is still frozen, so perhaps sometime this summer we'll find the time and crew to put it up in anticipation of spring 2011. For now, we have our nice little "greenhouse" in our rental house in town, which makes daily watering and care much easier than if all our starts were out at the farm.

More pictures from that day:

Making Do, Part II (Or: How to Be a MacGyver Farmer, Part I)

Last year, about this time, Jacob posted about "making do" with what we have, in the way of tools, equipment, buildings etc. And, since then, we've been doing a lot of "making do."

We both believe that when you can, make do with what you have -- a philosophy that's familiar to many a small business owner and almost second nature to any small farmer.

Luckily, both Jacob and I are pretty good at it.

I've spent the last five years building a small independent media company and I used to joke that I was good at the whole "start up" thing because I grew up fixing most problems with duct tape and bailing twine on the farm. (In the beginnings of NewWest.Net, my office was in the bathroom of the extra bedroom in my business partner's house.)

This time of year, those make-do skills come in handy. During the summer, we're farmers. During the spring, we're MacGyver farmers.

And, this year will mean even more "making do" than last year because Jacob is now working a full-time job in town and that creates a whole new situation for us. We're going to have to get really good at efficiency. We're already thinking constantly about work-arounds, not only to our sometimes less-than-ideal set up and equipment, but to labor as well.

We're starting early. Here's the first example of us "making do."

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