Friday, January 04, 2008

Gotta get farming

This morning's sunrise

1/4/08 Friday
I pretty much lost most of Wednesday. About the only thing that got done was running the sprinkler, and there wasn’t much of that either. Yesterday was much better. I can’t remember much but I know I got some things done. Cherie and I went to Midland where we visited with Don and Cynthia after picking up some hay they no longer needed. I was surprised by how much a bale of hay carries when it’s all uncompressed from the bale. Filled up the back of the truck. We talked about politics and Islam, which came up regarding Obama. I googled that later and got lots of different views saying he is and isn’t a Muslim. Who knows the truth on that. I was able to share some of what I’ve studied and heard on the Islamic faith. We talked about other stuff like developing a self sufficient farm where we produced our own electricity and biodiesel fuel, thus insulating ourselves somewhat from the uncertainties of this world. After that we went to Sam’s and Walfart to pick up some needs and Cherie’s prescription. That’s mostly what I can remember at the moment.

This morning I am conscious of our need to get motivated on this farm. Last night I visited one of my favorite blogs, Homesteading Neophyte. There I saw Phelan’s design for the seed starting apparatus they are building. Reading that and some of the plants they are starting for early planting made me realize I was already behind on that. The earlier I get stuff started the better it will do. Last year I failed miserably on some stuff by planting it too late. Lots of the seeds I put in the ground didn’t even come up because they were baked by the sun. I have PVC pipe, sunscreen netting from Eric, and other things I have gathered to create cold frames and things that will greatly enhance my production. Considering that this is the first year I will grow stuff to sell it is vitally important to get off my ass and get to work. I have a job, it’s this farm, so it’s time to start punching the clock and organizing my days. By organizing and scheduling tasks I can overcome this thing called a disability. It’s what was taught to me at the Brain Injury Institute in St. Louis so I need to put it into practice.

Phelan listed three sources for heirloom seeds that we will be ordering catalogs from. I will stick to heirloom seeds as much as possible because it fits my philosophy and will enable us to harvest seeds for the following year with some assurance of them being true to the original. Care must be taken to keep separate different varieties of the same type of vegetable such as tomatoes to prevent or at least reduce cross pollination.

One of the tasks I must do is map out what I’m going to put where on this five acres. Some of this will require study and perhaps advice from those of you who have the experience I don’t. With that thought in mind I talked to Cherie about starting a thread on the Homestead forum about building this farm. I’ve been a member for well over a year but haven’t participated much lately though I visit it daily. This will allow me to access a world of experience that can help guide us and hopefully avoid some major pitfalls. Because I have a hard time keeping up with things I will probably just put some of the blog entries on it to save time. So you’ll probably see blog entrees more geared to that stuff.

We ordered ninety Afghanistan pines for windbreak trees. They will be ready early March. One of the reasons I need to develop this map is to design the drip feed and subsurface irrigation system. Yesterday we stopped by the NRCS office to submit our CRP paperwork. There we learned they may have funds available for installing such an irrigation system. It is a co-pay program where we must match the funds. That will be hard to do with our budget, especially this first year, but we can probably do it little by little. They gave us the name of a local company (In West Texas anything within an hours drive is considered local) that specializes in this stuff. We plan on visiting to nail down the cost and just learn. This will be one of the most vital investments we will be making in this farm. Water is the key to life in farming, especially out here in the West Texas desert. Eventually we want to dig a well and put up a windmill on the house side of the property. The other well is a half mile away on the far corner.

Looking at the one catalog we have I can see lots of the things we plan on growing. There will be a big emphasis on berries at this farm. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, boysenberries, strawberries, and many others. For the most part these are perennial plants that will last years before needing replacement. However they are thus more expensive and will be beyond our financial ability to get. Blueberry bushes run about eleven bucks each as do many of the others. Some of the berries grow on trees that are twelve to twenty feet tall. These are all long term investments that will pay off big in the future. Many of them won’t produce fruit till the second or third year.

Lots to do and must catch up on what I didn’t get to during the slowdowns I had Wednesday. Cherie tells me I’ve had several bad days regarding the seizures so that all puts me behind. I’m doing great now so must move to take advantage of that. Plus it’s going to be warm the next few days. Gotta go.
Just had a thought. We have had several who have donated using the PayPal button on the right. If any of you wish to help us build this farm by getting bushes or fruit trees you can specify what kind you want and we will label it as donated by you. If you don't want it labeled that's fine. Everything on this farm will be clearly identified anyway so I can keep up because I won't be able to remember for the most part.
It’s 2:00 and I am having a major slowdown. Dropped me to a two on the bob scale. If I was driving I would pull over to be safe. It has a headache with it. Am laying down with curtains closed. Took aspirin.
I cleared up by 4:30 but had a couple of minor episodes. Cherie cooked a fantastic dinner and made banana pudding from scratch. There was a great sunset.

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