I can’t sleep at night. I feel excited but anxious, brave but overwhelmed, capable but scared, cheerful but slightly panicked.
Can I really join this elite group of people who call themselves farmers?
Can I really grow food not only for ourselves but others as well?
Can I really make a living from the land?
I have no answer to those questions. I only know that I am determined to make it work. I grew up in a small agricultural community in Israel. The view of a field of vegetables is very familiar to me, still, I don’t have one farmer’s bone in my family. No one to ask the stupid questions even Google don’t know the answer to.
Sometimes, you just have to jump in the pool if you want to learn how to swim. Hopefully, I won’t drawn in the process.
I would like to document this year, for myself and for anyone else who might want to go into farming. So from now through the growing season and to the end of the year, I will post a farm update once a month. I’ll show you around; what we’ve been doing and how the vegetables are growing. How the farm is changing and how I manage things.
I’ll also allow myself to complain. Just a little bit. Sorry.
The truth is, it’s nowhere near easy to turn a piece of land into a working farm. And I am not just talking about the back breaking work. About those days that you feel so much pressure in your feet, you can’t stand up. The days that the skin of your hands is red, blistered and raw because you’ve been working with a rake or a how for hours.
I can deal with those things.
But some things are not in your control. Like the lack of rain or stupid laws you suddenly find your county has…
Like, do you guys remember the old RV we bought especially for the farm? It was a great find for $1500. We had to do the whole roof though, because it was leaky. We worked on this RV for months. Cleaning, restoring, replacing, and what not. The plan was to put it on the land so we can have a place to take a little break from the cold or the heat until we build a house there. We were planning on camping the weekend on the land so we can get an early start on Sunday morning. Most of all, I was happy to have a place for the kids to take their naps, and a place for me to store food and a change of clothes so I don’t need to pack every weekend.
So when the RV was finally ready, we drove it to the farm and made a nice place for it. We camped there almost every weekend for a couple of months until we got a letter in the mail. A letter from the county, telling us that one of our lovely neighbors complained that there is an RV parked on our land.
Well, it’s our land! We bought it! Right? What’s the big problem with us parking an RV on OUR land?
We came to find out that we are not allowed to park an RV on OUR land if we don’t have a house there.
Hello people! If I have a house there, I don’t need an RV.
Apparently, our lovely county has two wonderful lakes in it. People will buy the land around the lake, but instead of building a nice house, they will park an RV there and enjoy the outdoors. That made the land around the lakes decrease in value so the county passed a law that you can’t park an RV on a piece of land if you don’t have a house there.
So, let’s understand something here. As they proudly say, they want to help new farmers. That is why you can place a shed or a barn or any other structure on your land without needing a permit for it if it’s for farm use. Your equipment can have a home. You, however, cannot stay there and work the land until you have a house built.
Stupid, annoying, aggravating. Why don’t you take the precious piece of land around the lake and make it into a community with HOA? Then you can make any rules you want and leave the rest of us alone.
Those things drive me crazy, and I will totally write letters to the USDA, the county, the mayor, the state and to Obama about that. If only I had the time. Which I don’t cause I am actually trying create something that will benefit the county and the community.
One thing is for sure. I have to invite my neighbors to work at the farm. They are way to board.
So we are back to the tiny house that we found for free on Craigslist. It cost a bit of money to move it to the farm, but it was totally worth it. We store everything in it, and I have a small pack & play in there for Benny to take a nap. We don’t have a stove or a sink like we have in the RV, so for now I have to pack food for each day.
Once things start picking up the RV will be back. I need to have a place for the kids to rest and if someone has a problem with it they can kiss my backside. Hopefully, we will have a permit for a house by then so they won’t give us any problems. Or kisses. I don’t want their kisses.
I am a big fan of hay mulch. It decomposes on the spot, it takes care of the weeds to a point that you don’t need to do almost any weeding, and it keeps the soil moist. Last year we had enough rain that I didn’t have to water my garden once!
But I can’t rely on rain if I am growing for the market, and I don’t have a well yet. We have this pond you see in the picture above. It is in an ideal location to turn into an irrigation pond, but, unfortunately, it is broken. For some reason, it doesn’t hold the water. We tried to clean it a bit but at some point it got too muddy. It’s going to be a big project to fix it. We will do it, but not right now.
There is also a spring fed creek that runs along one side of the field. I can legally pump 1 million gallons a day from it. So I think that the next project will be to set up a pump and a few 275 gallon water tanks by the edge of the field to store more water.
Once we dig a well for the house, I will set up a drip irrigation system for the field. Hopefully, this will happen before the hottest months of the Summer.
The outhouse came from the same old homestead the tiny house came from. It’s still standing and still in use. I’ve gotta tell you, it just feels right to not flush 9 gallons of water down the toilet a few times a day. If it was up to me, we would never use modern toilet around here anymore.
To the side of the outhouse is my husband’s collection of removed stumps. It’s his pride and joy. The man is refusing to get rid of those things. He placed them smack in the middle of the field; God forbid a visitor will miss them.
The driveway is a work in progress. We have about 2000 ft of driveway to install, and we are doing it all ourselves. We even ended up buying a small dump truck to haul recycled asphalt. Check out my cheap driveway post, it is the most popular post on the site so far.
The greenhouse was an awesome $300 investment. Not only it gives me much-needed storage room and a place to start seeds early, but it’s also a great place to hang out if it’s too cold outside. So if we get to the farm a bit early and it’s still too cold, the kids can sit inside and read books or draw for a while until it’s warm enough to go out.
We need to build tables for the greenhouse, but for now I use two large folding tables and four barrels with planks of wood between them. It’s nowhere near ideal, but it is what it is for now.
That is pretty much it. There is so much more to do even though we’ve been doing so much in the past nine months since I decided to start farming, but now that we started planting it feels like it’s all becoming real. I can’t wait to see how this place looks in July!
Please follow me on Pinterest here…
Lady Lee’s Home
And join me on FaceBook here…
If you would like to receive my posts to your mail box, please subscribe here…