Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Rye's done

12/13/07 Thursday
I’m gonna have to get the chainsaw out and cut some more of the mulberry wood. The elm just burns too fast so isn’t as good for overnight heating. It’ll work fine during the day as long as I’m around to keep the fire stoked. (is that the right word?) It won’t be a problem as I cut down a dead trunk off the tree last month or so and most of it is still on the ground waiting to be cut.

I’m finally done with the rye grain. It took five weeks to get done. The first weeks plantings are coming up well and the rest will catch up. In a recent conversation there was concern expressed about my being out in the cold and rain to do this. “You don’t want to get sick” I think is what was said. I appreciate and understand this concern but firmly believe that being out in the cold doesn’t make you sick and in fact strengthens your whole system. The Norwegians commonly go from a hot steamy sauna and roll in the snow. They have one of the lowest rates of colds in the world. The reason people get more colds in the winter is they dress warm, providing an environment for germs, and all huddle together inside where they share them with each other. That’s my theory.

Anyway, the big reason I am working so hard to get this rye out is because I am real late in doing so because of finances and having to do it by hand. Would have been done in two days with a tractor. It is essential for next year. This year, our first year here, the weeds got over six feet tall in some places. Despite paying to have everything mowed down at the beginning of the year I just couldn’t keep up. Without even a lawnmower all I had to battle them was a hoe. So friends from the church came out with a rented tractor and mowed and chopped the jungle around the house. They gifted us with a lawnmower and weedeater so that will help greatly. However the five acres I tilled is now a ripe fertile area for the weeds to come back on. The rye is my first and most powerful line of defense against them. The first step in establishing a solid cover of native grasses that will provide a permanent shield to fight off the weeds. Sure weeds will always be around but instead of a solid field of them their will just be little pockets I can deal with.

So if I don’t get the rye established I’ve got a worse problem than last year. Plus the rye will condition the soil for next year’s crops. That’s good basic farming. Again the urgency is here for without the rye it will be an incredibly tough battle to keep the weeds from choking out the crops. That will be a battle anyway because I won’t use lots of poisons to kill the weeds but that’s my job. If I’m going to be a farmer I’m going to have to work hard and that I look forward to. Caring and learning how to care for the plants is the agenda for next year. But now I’m behind the gun. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, and if that means working out in the rain (and earlier the snow) and cold that’s the way it has to be.

This year was the basic garden to learn from but next year will be serious business. Now it’s about earning an income and paying for the tractor, my first big investment in this farm, or how Wally put it, this business. It is a business. Just like the companies I founded from scratch years ago it’s about profit and loss, investments and returns, marketing and selling products. This I have an extensive background in, I just need to learn about the farming end of things. How to grow, where to sell, and how much to charge are part of the equation. Learning I can do and I’ve been making contacts with others who can help guide me in all this. Wally suggested getting a partner. I’ll have to think on that. Not sure how to put it together having never had a partner before.
I’ve been out raking. Walked the perimeter of the five acre plot to see if the strip if rye seed I planted as a border was coming up. In the process I saw that I had neglected to rake the strip along the highway so will get to that today. It is also an area we plan to plant the wildflower mix in so it needs to be raked anyway. The way they said to plant it is to rake the earth, sow the seeds, and then just press them in with a roller, not rake them in.

As I work on things like this I have time and am able to think things through. I often can’t remember what I come up with but figure it’s there somewhere in the back of my head so should affect my decisions later. So I worked through the advice and thoughts I have about asking for help with the tractor and farm. I’ll write a short note on the Sunday school site to direct any interested in helping with the farm to this blog where they can read about it. It was suggested I talk to people we know in the class on an individual basis and I suppose that would be appropriate. However I value the relationship with the new friends we have made there above everything else and don’t want to strain or jeopardize it. To hit someone up we have only known for a short time for help could be very uncomfortable, awkward, and the pressure created if they didn’t want to get involved not good at all. I don’t know. As I write I question again if I should even do this. I don’t think so. I’ll call the one who already kind of offered to cosign and see what he says.
So much for that. After he discussed it with his wife the answer is no. I went out and raked some more. It’s hard to keep positive sometimes and hard to keep your hopes up when an open door is closed. But there is always another door somewhere that can open up. I know what God wants so He will make a way no matter what obstacles are brought up. But it is still discouraging. One way or another I’ll build this farm and become self sufficient, where I no longer need a disability check, where my wife and I will no longer live in poverty.

Tomorrow morning we go to the VA hospital for my regular visit. There is lab work to be done so I must fast. Cherie fixed an early dinner so that’s it till tomorrow afternoon. After that I’m not sure what’s scheduled. Matt Hanson, the guy who started the farmers market in downtown Midland, called. He has some grape vine plants and garlic he wants to bring over. They came from the Texas Landscape company that went out of business. It sure would be nice to be able to use the greenhouses at the closed up facility. There must be three acres worth of covered area there. We could grow a lot of stuff. And it’s all just sitting empty. I wonder if they have a tractor to get rid of? Wouldn’t matter if they did cause we don’t have the cash to buy it anyway.

That’s it for now. Not in a real writing mood. See ya next time.

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