Friday, September 12, 2008

Where we live

In 2001 my grandparents moved into the nursing home. My parents didn't want to live on this run down farm so my wife and I and our infant son moved from Colorado to this homestead. I call it a homestead because my great great grandfathers brother bought it in 1866 and started farming it. In the 1870's my great great grandfather bought it from his older brother and it has been in a direct line ever since. Our two sons and daughter are the sixth generation of our family to be on this land.

When we first moved onto the farm we were just renting it from grandpa. After a year or two he had a financial need and we were unable to purchase the farm so they cut off 70 acres and sold it to a neighbor. A year or so later we were able to purchase the 29 acres that remained.

We have 5 acres of woods where we cut our winter heat. We have an outdoor wood furnace. It's a lot of work and uses lots of wood but that is better than the $1000 a month propane bill.

Our driveway is 1/3 of a mile long. It is a real challenge in the winter if we have any wind with our snow. I have a 4x4 truck that I use to break it open when I have to get to work.

The house is a very large 100+ year old farm house. It is very drafty but with the wood furnace we can keep the thermostat at 74 and be comfy. Much better than freezing at 65 trying to save money.

We rent 17 acres of cropland to the neighbor that bought the 70 from grandpa. It is enough to pay our land taxes but not a lot more.

Speaking of paying.... part of the reason for this site is to help others make it on less. We are a family of five and our oldest is seven. I am the only one employed outside the home. We get by on less than $30,000 a year all told. Yes we do tithe on that also, the first 10% goes to God through our local church.

Things get tight like this week when all three of the cars had something wrong with them. We are spending about $1000 to get them fixed, My car is still in the shop so I have been driving the truck to work it's a 50 mile round trip. The truck gets about 16 mpg and holds 32 gallons. It has it's own problems, like a sucked valve that we finally diagnosed after driving it like that for five years. A few more won't hurt right?

We always try to be frugal. Last time we ate out was fathers day when we went through the drive-thru at burger king. I know this all sounds so boring, but it's not. So much to do and see out here. The kids and I went down to the fire ring after supper last night and sat around the fire while Tanya picked bunches of peppermint and lemon balm. She has the last batch bagged up for sale and might already have it all spoken for. If you need some let me know and I will see whats left.

We had two peach trees out back that my grandma planted from seed but last winter killed them so no peaches. She also planted two apple trees from seed. She got it from her family's old homestead thinking to carry on the variety. She didn't know apples don't breed true from seed.
Those trees had gotten huge since they were never pruned. One put out and apple so bad the bugs wouldn't even attack it, the other put out a nice early transparent that got destroyed every year by the bugs.

This last year I decided these trees were going to produce or die so I pruned then severely. I cut them off flush at about 10 feet. We will see what happens next year since I didn't get any apples from them this year. We also have an ancient Grimes Golden apple tree that is a survivor from the orchard. I pruned it also but not as severely. It has apples but they are buggy and gnarly.
I am going to have to read up on organic orcharding, and take appropriate steps.

There are two old pear trees left over also. They produce lots of small hard pears but my mom took some a couple years ago and made some wonderful pear jam. You need to pick them while they are still green and let them ripen in storage to avoid the hard grit they get if you leave them on the tree.

My mom also came and picked a couple buckets of Green Gage plums this week. These were planted by my great great grandpa and have grown to a tangled mess. I really need to thin them out. Anyway the trees are loaded more than I have ever seen them this year. The branches are all bent down with plums. They need some organic fungus control tho, since the brown rot will get them.

Hope you enjoyed the little overview,

No comments: