Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dawn of a new day

11/10/07 Saturday

A new day dawning? We hope so and are confident it will happen. I think it wise to talk more about yesterday’s “Bad confession” entry to insure it isn’t wrongly received. The person who brought this up definitely had my best interest in mind. I have been told many times over the six years since I woke from the coma that I was too negative, and there is truth to that. While I accept or at least acknowledge that I was seriously injured I also understand that I have been getting better. Fact is a man reaps what he sows and my poor decisions in the past resulted in these injuries, so I take responsibility for that.

The same tree maybe an hour later.

However, when it comes to our future and the life we are building I am very positive. Our country loves to hear about those who beat the odds, who overcame adversity and triumphed, making lemonade out of lemons so to speak. I intend to be counted in that number. While the future remains shrouded in a fog I have a plan, a course to follow. (Just had to put it that way after this fog rolled in) I will soon be releasing that plan for you to see and hopefully give useful advice on how to achieve these goals.

The view of our house from the back edge of the tilled five acres

Yesterday was a busy and exciting day. We started out getting the truck inspected but that wasn’t the exciting part. While they did the inspection we ran over to the farmers co-op to see if they have rye seed. Things are at a real cross road here at the farm. Having tilled five acres we are under the gun to get a cover crop planted. If we don’t the weeds will come back with a vengeance having freshly turned soil which is full of grass burr seeds as well as other weed seeds. From what I’ve read we are late for planting so that just adds to the urgency. Rye should have been in the ground September and October. We just couldn’t do anything till the CRP check came and it came on the last day of the month. So we will do the best we can with what we have.

The co-op was sold out of rye or didn’t stock it this year. I don’t recall accurately but I know they didn’t have any. The guy at the co-op was easy to talk to and very familiar with what goes on in the area. As others came and went the topics often involved truck driving and the need for drivers. One fella asked if I could drive truck and said they pay $80,000.00 a year for drivers with hazmat certification. That’s a chunk of change for sure. To bad I can’t do that cause just one year would give us what we need to get this farm rolling. When asked the co-op guy said we should try a feed store in Midland for the rye seed. They too did not have any and I think had sold out if they did. Nuts.

We went to Metro, the rental company we rented the tractor and tiller from after that. I wanted to see what else they have available because there will always be things we will need equipment for. Besides I wanted to get my pliers back from Richard, who came out to fix the tractor the second time it broke. Jason and Russell (I think that’s his name) of course knew who I was when I introduced myself. We talked about how the tiller broke three times and come to find out it was pretty hard on it when I would make the sharp turns to go around the mesquite trees. Now I know. I priced their broadcast spreader and the trencher that I will need to put in subsurface irrigation.

I asked about the cost of buying one of their Kubota tractors. Jason gave me a speech about them, telling me that they were not John Deere or Cat’s, which cost much more, they were good reliable machines. I heard a price of twenty thousand for a used one like we had rented and twenty eight for a new one. Ouch!

The path home took us past Ronnie’s tractor business and I decided to stop in and visit. His Mahindra brand of tractors come in a lot cheaper. After paying $450.00 to rent a tractor for a day I am motivated to work on buying one for the farm. You really can’t be a farmer without one. It’s an absolute necessity. Ronnie has a comparable tractor that is priced new at $9900.00. Actually I think it is bigger and stronger. We sat down and discussed what it will take to get one. Right now Mahindra has a no interest financing program where they will stretch the payments out seven years.

Ronnie has taken a liking to me over the two years he has known us. We visited him way back before we moved here when he just had a few old used and what are called “grey market” tractors. We have watched his rapid growth into a full fledged factory tractor dealer. I have stopped in several times and just sat down to talk about farming. He has an extensive background with farming and gave me lots of good advice, which I am incorporating into our plans. So as Cherie and I discussed getting a tractor Ronnie gave us some greatly reduce prices. We can get the tractor, which has a nice front end loader on it, a tiller, a shredder, (that’s a big brush hog mower for you city folks) and a sixteen foot trailer that can haul them for around $14,500.00. The payment on that would be only $203.00.

We could almost make that payment on my nine hundred dollar a month disability check but it would be incredibly tight. However I am sure I can earn enough with the tractor on mowing and tilling jobs in the spring to more than make those payments. Then the possibility of earning enough to pay for the entire loan with crops raised on this land is good and I think it could definitely happen in two years. We grew forty watermelons, about seventy honeydews, and a couple hundred spaghetti squash just on this small plot. Earning enough to cover $2400.00 a year in payments I think is very doable. Unfortunately with the bankruptcy we had to file because of the nearly quarter million dollar hospital bill I had and the limited disability income it is doubtful we could get approved for the loan. Just another hurdle to overcome.

I think that for the first time we will specifically ask for help from our friends. We did ask Janie for a few bucks to make ends meet once but for the most part the incredible blessings we have received from others they did on their own when learning of a need. What blessings they have been. We have heat, hot water, a kitchen with new cabinets and working oven and stove, a new bed (helps Cherie’s bad back), and other wonderful gifts (just had a new window installed) that are an expression of love and compassion from the Christian community and the friends we have made. But this tractor with it’s attachments will enable us to build a farm and provide the ability for us to earn a living and stand on our own two feet.

Cherie is almost ready to go so I will end this long winded post. We are heading out to one of the farmer’s markets. There are three now we know about and they are all avenues for us to sell our produce next year. That plus the old school bus we plan, with Wally’s help, to pull out to the road and turn into a roadside vegetable stand. So gotta go.

1 comment:

Amy E said...

Bob that is a great idea about the school bus! If you go to you can see a picture of their bus coversion. They have a great picture on there of the shelves they have attached to the outside of the bus for selling their wares. Just a thought...