In the Bleak Mid Winter

Grey Winter Day on the meadow

Well. It’s been quite a year. Like most folks, I have been trying to keep on an even keel as the world spins through events none of us saw coming. I have been more fortunate than most, with continued steady employment, health, housing, and the like. But the disruption has been wearing.

And now that disruption has increased its reach. As the largest social media platforms have decided to engage in behavior that would make the Stasi blush (seriously, when you’ve lost German Chancellor Merkel…) and the alternative platforms are a swill of conspiracy theories, I think the best course may be to revive the blog.

While circumstances have rather prevented us from pursuing most of our plans right now, it also seems like this could be a time to attempt to branch into some other little things I have been thinking about. One of those things is a video channel/podcast or some combination of the two. Quite what it will be and look like, I’m not sure yet. Possibly I will take a leaf from the book of the BBC’s series, Victorian Farm, and it’s ilk. Although I have no intention of spending a calendar year replicating the life and agricultural practices of a specific period in history. Rather, I mean to try to preserve and revive rural American culture. Although, this project, too, will require choosing a platform. Peertube? Rumble? Youmaker? Something else?

Stay tuned.

Home, Uncategorized


As we navigate all the snags we’ve hit in our development of our homestead, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about purpose, integration, and stewardship. First, it was, “Let’s get sheep!” But sheep do not graze in a vacuum. They’ll be useful for brush control and clearing land, but they can’t do it all. And, of course, we’ll need eggs anyway PLUS chickens can follow the sheep across pasture and help scratch the manure into the ground while taking care of parasites. While we can graze sheep amongst the walnut trees, they’re unlikely to get a lot out of the dropped buts. Pigs would be a better choice for that, wouldn’t they?

And on and on spin the plans and ideas. No one element can be managed alone. All the pieces must fit together. I’ve spent quite a bit of my time in this cold, uncooperative Spring exploring video modules on farm as ecosystem, rotational cover cropping, and more.

Nor does the practical management of the farm exist without the spiritual framework. Stewardship. Preservation. Management. Community. All these things are integral.

I’m trying to return to blogging, and as I do so I intend to address many of these topics. Buckle in for a discussion of restorative vs. extractive agriculture. Why (in spite of the extensive modules at ag schools across the country) removing biomass and attempting to replace what is sold with inorganic carbon and nitrogen just doesn’t work – the missing piece, if you will. The way that ag schools have wandered off mission, the Morrill act, genetics and breeding, and the goal of improving the lives of rural people is fodder (pun intended) for some more upcoming posts.

I’ll highlight some people doing good work in all these areas and share some of my stumbling attempts at creating a system that will nurture us, the land, and allow us to leave behind something better than what we started with. You might even get some recipes, animal stories, craft projects, and other goodies along the way.

House Design, Uncategorized

Plans and a driveway

We finally got our finished plans from the architect. He’s a pencil and paper sort of guy, so there are no fancy 3D renderings. But I’ll share the elevations, because they’re still kind of fun.

Things will change, slightly, because they always do. But for now, we have a start on the project.

Speaking of changes, the excavators were out to do some preliminary work. They dug out the existing culvert, which was collapsed, and put in a new one. Then they did some clearing. So, we have a usable driveway, for the moment.

And there were the typical small snags. That power line? Super low. Too low to get cement trucks under. So we’ll have to see if we can get the power company to come out and put a pole. The excavators also permitted the septic system. That will, somewhat unfortunately, need to be 2 feet above the current grade. Which means the house will have to come up somewhat more than expected to allow a gravity feed to the septic. It should still all work out, but we’ll likely end up with a small pond toward the back of the property where all that extra dirt will need to come from.

Either way, everyone is pretty sure it can get done and still spare my apple tree. I marked it so the excavators would know to avoid it. I might have gone overboard just a wee bit.

I doubt much more will get done until Spring, now that the polar vortex has everything frozen solid. But it’s nice to get a little bit of a start on things.