Monday, November 26, 2007

building a farm

11/26/07 Monday
It is a great morning. I am always thankful for times of lucidity and I am running a good eight or nine on the bob scale. As always I hope it stays. There have been times when I go for days without a slowdown.

It is a bright cloudless morning. The temperatures dropped to 27 degrees last night but it will warm to nearly sixty today. The puppies and I went for our morning walk. Haven’t done that in a few days so they were thrilled. We walked all the way to the well as I wanted to check on the wrapping/insulation job I did. Particularly I wanted to see if the rat or whatever had dug back under the tank. There was no sign of that, which is a relief. I wrapped a blanket around the plastic I used to protect the insulation from rain. I did this because the West Texas sun makes short work of plastics. They become brittle and disintegrate. So hopefully this job will last more than one season.

Another thing I did at the well was walked off how many paces the pipe leading to the house is from the line of telephone poles that mark the border. It is fourteen paces and that is how far the mysterious hole that had an inverted pressure cooker pot in it that I found not far from our outdoor spigot is. I suspect I will find the water pipe and perhaps a cut off when I dig farther. I had dug a three foot hole there when we first moved in to see what was under this marked spot. However the dirt has drifted four feet high right there so I may have six or more feet to dig. That is a lot of digging, almost as deep as I am tall, and will be hard on me but as always I will do what I have to do. I might be lucky and find something at four or five feet.

If I do then I can be fairly confident that the pipe runs in a straight line from the well so I will be able to accurately determine where to dig out in the future five acre truck farm. Thus I can tap in to access water closer to where I will plant. This way I can rent a trencher and lay pipe as the first step in building a drip feed irrigation system. Dirt and water are the key elements in successful farming. That and some hard work. It’s all part of building the framework, the foundations of this farm. The alternative is to piece together hundreds of feet of garden hose, like I have been doing up to this point. A hundred foot garden hose costs fifty buck or so and I think that’s for the cheap stuff that doesn’t last. I’ve got eight or nine hoses that people had thrown away in the landfill that I replaced the ends on or spliced together.

All this will cost money of course. That brings up the next thing I wish to bring up. Several people have suggested and also requested that I set up a PayPal account so they can send donations. It is a concept I hadn’t considered but in retrospect not a bad idea. So last night Cherie worked hard to figure out how to do all that. We now have the account and Cherie managed to put the PayPal icon on the blog. I haven’t seen it yet but if it’s there you should be able to click on it and make a donation, which will be deposited directly into our account.

So with that in mind I will present some of the needs we have to build this farm. One of the important investments is windbreak trees. These are vital to provide protection from the ever present and sometimes violent West Texas winds. One of the tricks I’ve learned from one of the “native” gardeners out here is to cut the bottoms out of those plastic buckets plants from a nursery come in. Then you push them securely into the ground around each plant. In this case he was referring to pepper plants.

When we went to check out the apple orchard near Lubbock we stopped at the Texas Forest Service nursery. They have a wide variety of trees available, some specifically for windbreaks. The best one for our area is the Eastern Red Cedar. They come ready to plant in a square paper tube in lots of thirty. I was surprised to learn thirty trees only costs $55.00. They suggest planting them ten feet apart so it would take fifty trees to cover each side of our five acres. This five acre plot is a square 528 feet long per side so 200 trees would surround it.

In addition they recommend a shrub be planted on the outside of each row. The two mentioned in their literature as being ideal for that are Aromatic Sumac and Lilac. Unfortunately they are not listed on the order form for the West Texas nursery so I presume they must be purchased from another location. The Texas Forest Service brochure says “The Texas A&M University System” under the title. I don’t know what the prices would be or if they are available but would like to find out. They do have “Smooth Sumac” available from the West Texas nursery. It is labeled as a tall shrub or tree but no mention is made about use as an outside row windbreak shrub. The price however is attractive at fifty seedlings for $30.00. All these seedlings are one year old. Shipping and handling is $9.11 per 30 trees of the Red Cedar. The trees will be shipped in February though we may just drive up there and pick them up.

So if any of you would like to help us buy windbreak trees you can do so through the PayPal Donate button thing. Being new at this I don’t know if there is a place to specify what the donation is for but will eventually learn. If not please drop us an email at I suppose it would be a good idea to set up an email address just for Westbrook Farms and perhaps a blog as well. I tried a blog just for the farm but never found the time or remembered to post so let it go.

One of the other needs for building this farm is irrigation. In fact the windbreak trees will require that. I need to locate sources of material to build the in ground drip feed systems such as we saw at the apple orchard. The hose is really not that expensive. I saw some with emitters already installed for something like thirty bucks for a hundred feet at Lowe’s or Home Depot but it was gone when I went there a week or so ago.

Other than that our major need is a tractor. That will be a bit harder to get (Duh!!! You think?) but it will happen. God will provide.

I’ve got some soil samples to dig this morning so we can send them in to be tested. I also want to dig to find the water pipe from the well. That I will probably do bit by bit. The tiller is waiting for me to finish rebuilding the motor so perhaps I can get to it today as well. I will be running out to Chuck and Lillian’s to take some measurements. Probably ought to do that this morning before I get all involved with other stuff. So time to get moving.


Amy E said...

Bob, you need a website and email address more than a blog for the farm...I can set you one up on geocities for free, unless you want a more professional, fancy one...or you can go with a simpler one now and expand as you make money...entirely your choice.

You can checkout mine and see if it is something you want, mine is kind of cutesy since I sell crafts, etc., from home....

go to

Janie said...

Westbrook Farms dot com is available at godaddy

Bob said...

Geocities, godaddy ? this is a realm that is unfamiliar to me so would appreciate all the help I can get. Two years ago, when my dreams for this place were just starting, I purchased some website making software called Web Ceo. I remember getting lost as I tried to put something together. Back then even putting together the blog was a challenge but I managed as you can see. Now my brain is in much better shape as my healing continues so I can probably do it, but a little help from my friends will go a long way.