Saturday, January 29, 2011

Who's who on The Simple Farm

I've read many blogs where the author of the blog tries to stay anonymous for various reasons. I don't really care if you know who I am. I get a kick out of my friends making comments on my posts and teasing me about my silly blog.

However, not everyone in my family is as forthcoming with their identity. My wife is adamant that she keep her identity a secret although I'm pretty sure the only people reading this blog know exactly who she is.

I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable when I tell stories about them on the The Simple Farm so I have and will continue to give code names to my friends and acquaintances.

Here is a list of already mentioned comrades and colleagues. If you want to change your name or if you're not listed and want to be listed let me know.

My Family
Me
Milly - My Wife
Ringo - My Son
Molly - My daughter
Polly - My other daughter

My Mom and Dad's Family
Elvis - My dad
Shorty - My mom
Me
Penelope - 1st sister
Dolly- 2nd sister
Dorothy - 3rd sister
Sidney - 4th sister
Blondie - 5th sister
Alvin - 1st brother
Theodore -2nd brother
Duke - My best dog growing up. (He's dead and he's a dog so didn't feel the need to change his name)
Leprechaun - Uncle who likes ND for some reason.

Milly's Family
Greybeard - Father in law
Dancing Queen - Mother in law
Speedy - 1st Brother in law
Doc - 2nd Brother in law
Rico - 3rd Brother in law
Maddox - 4th Brother in law

Friends
Barnabas - Engineer friend (stuck in the muck)
Betty - Engineer friends wife
Roberta - Friend from school. A.K.A Crazy Dog Lady
Mr. and Mrs. Green - Our example of an ideal farming couple
Montana - Missionary friend that begged for a code name
Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Friend with DJ equipment
Martha and Ed - Martha Stewart has nothing on this decorating queen
Chocolate Thunder - The highest jumping basketball guy I know


P.S. It seems like I've offended some people leaving them off this listing. If you want a code name, I have lots of good ones waiting to be used.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Affluenza

Milly is reading a book called "Not Buying It" by Judith Levine.

Judith and her husband try to go a whole year without buying any necessities. So the question she tries to answer is what is a necessity. Are olives necessities? Is the plush double ply toilet paper a necessity?

She also states 78% of americans think americans are materialistic but only 8% think they themselves are materialistic. Go figure. 

In the book she defines Afluenza as "A painful contagious socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more."

She also says over consumption has been diagnosed as a medical disorder.

I've often said my kids usually have sniffleous in the winter. At least they don't have afluenza or consumption yet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Milly wins out

So I've not updated our well events this past weekend as I was too embarrassed to recall the events.

We get the well driller out on the property in the middle of a wind storm (slight breeze we are told by the locals) discuss well location, types of pumping systems, etc. We are followed by Maddox's (my brother-in-law) four fairly large horses that rub against, whinny, and sniff us out for goodies. Come to find out Maddox is only afraid of one of the horses. It must of been the horse that was chasing and trying to bite the drillers dog that was with us. Glad we had a four legged decoy to keep us safe.

After a conversation that concludes with runny noses and frozen fingers I'm thinking great, lets do it. The driller can do it on Tuesday and I say lets "git er done." Then I notice out of the corner of my eye a look of shock and disgust. Milly is giving me the "No way" look. Come to find out we are not ready yet to drill the well.

I have to take back all I've committed to with the driller and beg for a few more months to plan, fast and pray about, and decide where the stinking hole is going to be drilled.

She convinced me by the "what if we need it closer to the house in case we go for geothermal type heating systems" argument. I'd really like to do geothermal but it sounds expensive.

One of the other reasons for the waiting period is we find out the really get the well in place it's going to take something like $10,000 for it to have a pump, electricity, etc. So instead of digging a hole and letting it sit until we are really ready we are going to hold off and do it all at once.

Another conversation we had on the well subject came from my other brother-in-laws father-in-law. He's a witcher of wells. He asked if we have the hole witched. I said no. "Big mistake" was his response. I'm not sure I believe all the hocus pocus around well witching but I wouldn't discount it I guess. I do know Maddox had three holes witched on his last place and all of them were dry.

What do you think? Should I get the well location witched for good measure?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This here is from me, Milly

I'm a writin this here letter to set out the truth, plain as day. Everone knows the dangers of them force air furnaces, so I won't go into no laborations here. But for my man to say I'm agin the chemi-cals is just plane horse manure. What weed do without them pesti-cides, I can't farthom. As for them micro-waves, well we don't own nothin else, so I ain't too sure bout that. Prit sure there were somethin else, but can't re-call what, unless he brung up them flushin toilets, which bout scare the skirts off me, so I'll let him get this here letter off to the newspaperman so my good name, Milly, can be clear.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well, Well, Well

After getting electricity on the land I've convince my wife we need water and we need water fast.

***Side note. My wife doesn't believe modern technology is safe such as microwaves, force air furnaces, chemicals innumerable, and the Internet. I've been commanded to never use her name on this blog thus my constant referring to her as "My wife". Many of you may know her real name but for those of you that don't, rest assured, she is real and does have a real name.

We have a driller lined up for next week and we will be heading up to the land to decide where we are going to drill. I've found out the magic number in almost all instances is 100 feet. We need to drill at least 100 feet away from the drain field, 100 feet from the border of the land as we can't control what our neighbor may do in the future, and 100 feet from any contaminating body of water. We have kind of decided to drill on the edge of the hill as we can't put our drain field there and it's fairly close to our power source.

I've been told we can expect any where between 20 and 40 gallons per min from the well. That's a number based on past wells in the same area. Anyone know if this is really true from the area? I hear we can run a house on anything down to 10 gallons per minute so hopefully we get above that.

We don't need our development permit to get the well in so hopefully we don't have any troubles getting approval on where we want to build our house or we could be piping our water for a ways.

Need to talk to Barnabas (guy that got stuck in the muck). He's a water expert and knows everything about this type of stuff. Why did you move away Barnabas just when we needed you?

If you haven't guessed Barnabas is not his real name. My Wife has said I have to give code names to all our friends as well so we don't jeopardize their safety. Maybe I'll just call my wife "Milly" from here on out so at least I have a handle to reference her by.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Freedom from stuff update

I wanted to give an update on my goal to get rid of a third of our stuff. We've had this goal before as we've tried to cut down the things we have to move after selling our house. Our kids have gone through this dreadful experience before and I've heard them say "I don't want to sell this toy dad" or "do I have to give my dolly to Salvation Army?" Poor dears.

We started cleaning out the 100's of boxes we have in the garage. We have a goal of going through six boxes at a time and getting rid of two of them. I'm happy to report we went through six boxes and got rid of four boxes worth of stuff. It kind of gets addicting and my wife has to control me before I start hauling the junk we have out to the dump.

As part of the chucking process we made it a rule that if we haven't used the item in a year or we didn't think we were going to use it for a year it had to go. I have a tendency to throw things out. I'd feel bad sending my junk to someone elses junk pile. However my wife feels guilty throwing things away so we have taken trunk loads to Salvation Army.

One hard item she is struggling with is her wedding dress. It hasn't been used in a year and I hope it won't be used in the next year. My vote (off to make someone happy at the used clothes store) differed slightly from hers (don't you think we can find someone that may want it?).

Anyone need/want a slightly used, very pretty, size 8 wedding dress?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mishaps at the library while trying to find books on homesteading

I quite openly admit I have no skills related to running a farm. I grew up in a small hamlet with sixteen houses and my next door neighbor was a farmer. Does that count for having farming roots?

When I was eight years old my parents bought a milk cow and I had to do the milking at nights while my dad was at work. So I guess I remember getting stepped on and being hit in the head with Mindy's tail. We had the cow for a year or so and then butchered her. I remember thinking during Sunday afternoon meals that Mindy tasted really good and I was way glad not to have to milk the beast anymore. I hope milking cows is like riding a bike. I'm not really convinced of that but maybe if I say it enough it will be so.

So in an attempt to get ready for the fast arriving spring I had my wife go and pick me up any books at the library that even remotely revolved around homesteading etc. Here is the list of books she came home with.
  • The Self Reliant Homestead - Charles A. Sanders
  • Roast Chicken and Other Stories - Simon Hopkinson
  • The Clay-Pot Cookbook - Georgia MacLeod Sales and Grover Sales
  • Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs and More - Earl Proulx
  • Not Buying It - Judith Levine
  • Off the Grid Homes - Lori Ryker
  • Made from Scratch - Jenna Woginrich
So I get couple cookbooks, some stuff about being cheap and few books that look kind of interesting. Any guesses on which ones I think look interesting?

In my wifes defense, she had to hurry as she had a bunch of dirty looks and requests from the librarian to speed things up a bit. I guess it's not acceptable behavior for our three kids to push over a bookshelf or to have contests to see who can shoot the water fountain the farthest by sticking their fingers in the water spout, all while mommy looks for books for five minutes. Who knew? It's amazing how fast our kids can destroy a place. Like seriously, five minutes.

You'd think after being married for almost fourteen years I would have noticed that "go get them yourself next time" look when she came home. Note to self, be happy with whatever the wife brings home be it food, books, clothes, fully intact children.

Any must have books that anyone knows I should read?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you know what half a dollar is?

Farmer Boy (Little House)I'm reading my kids Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is the third book in the Little House on the Prairie series and a story about Almonzo, a young farm boy in New York State, who eventually becomes Laura's husband. The Little House series is a must read classic. Lots of moral teachings and is interesting and easy to read.

One story includes Almonzo going to town with his family for Independence Day. He meets his cousin Frank who has a nickle burning in his pocket and quite nonchalantly goes and buys a five cent lemonade. Frank teases Almonzo about not having any money and dares him to ask Almonzo's father for a nickle to do the same. Almonzo reluctantly succumbs to peer pressure and approaches his father timidly and asks for the nickle. After finding out the purpose of the request his father pulls out a half dollar and holds it out. Here is an excerpt from the story.

************************************************
"Do you know what a half a dollar is?"
Almonzo didn't know it was anything but half a dollar.
"It's work, son. That's what money is; it's hard work."
Almonzo didn't understand at all.
"You know how to raise potatoes, Almonzo?"
"Yes," Almonzo said.
"Say you have a seed potato in the spring, what do you do with it?"
"You cut it up," Almonzo said.
"Go on, son."
"Then you harrow - first you manure the field, and plow it. Then you harrow, and mark the ground. And plant the potatoes, and plow them, and hoe them. You plow and hoe them twice."
"That's right, son. And then?"
"Then you dig them and put them down cellar."
"Yes. Then you pick them over all winter; you throw out all the little ones and the rotten ones. Come spring, you load them up and haul them here to Malone (nearest city to where they live) , and you sell them. And if you get a good price son, how much do you get for a half a bushel of potatoes?"
"Half a dollar," Almonzo said.
"Yes," said Father. "That's what's in this half-dollar, Almonzo. The work that raised half a bushel of potatoes is in it."
Almonzo looked at the round piece of money that father held up. It looked small, compared with all the work.
"You can have it, Almonzo," Father said. Almonzo could hardly believe his ears. Father gave him the heavy half-dollar.
"It's yours," said Father. "You could buy a sucking pig with it, if you want to. You could raise it, and it would raise a litter of pigs, worth four, five dollars apiece. Or you can trade that half-dollar for lemonade, and drink it up. You do as you want, it's your money."
**************************

I had a lot of thoughts while reading this story. A few of them are as follows:
  • How many kids know how to grow potatoes?
  • What things do I buy so easily but cost me half a days worth of wages?
  • What things do I "drink up"?
  • How do I teach my kids to value hard work?
  • How does peer pressure effect me?
  • What things do I need to teach my children that will help them throughout their life?
  • I have a lot to learn about growing things.
  • Small things matter, five cents at a time.
  • Would my kids be able to handle a sucking pig?
  • Can I handle a sucking pig?

So, what would you do with your half dollar?

Here's what Almonzo does. Almonzo goes back to his cousin and shows him the half dollar. This draws a big crowd of boys at the news of Almonzo's good luck. Here's the last part of the story:
************************
"The boys wouldn't believe it till he showed them. Then they crowded around, waiting for him to spend it. He showed it to them all, and put it back in his pocket.
"I'm going to look around," he said, "and buy me a good little sucking pig."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Electricity is a go

We have about 2 months to get our land ready for our big move. Seems like a long time but we have a thousand things to do before moving.

Just this past week we had Fortis (our electrical supplier) put a transformer and meter on a telephone pole somewhat near where we are going to eventually build. I'm told we can just have an electrician tie into this transformer and we are good to go for power after signing up with an account with our power supplier.

We also have a well driller lined up for the middle of this month for a well. So in no time we will have power and water. What more do you need to live right?

It is kind of hard to do all this without being right there. I'm trying to convince my wife that we need water and electricity to do anything on the land but she has this thing about wanting to know where we are going to build and planning that out etc. She's a little gun shy, I'm too thoughtless. We are good for each other. We usually end up somewhere in the middle which is probably where we should be anyways.

I was surprised how fast the Fortis guys got the power connected. I received a quote a while back and finally signed the papers. The next week a Fortis guy called and said "Where do you want it?". That caused a little discussion with my better half as "don't you think we need to know where we are building" was debated vigorously while the Fortis guy was on the line. This also just happens to be my busiest time of year at work as well so I left my wife to talk to the guy while he was out on the land ready to install on the nearest pole. Bless her soul. How has she put up with me for this long?

I'll take pictures next week of the transformer as we probably will have to go up to Canada to decide where the well is going to be drilled. I'm OK with somewhere in the vicinity. My wife...I suppose is more realistic in wanting it close to our final building spot. ha.