Monday, September 23, 2013

The Home Team is Moving On

"Slipperyslope", looking up from the main garden
Some of us woke up years ago and decided to redefine what it is in our lives that truly sustain us.

Before I retired in 2008, we both realized our dream of owning and running a small restaurant together was in fact a dream and we decided to incorporate the property we owned in helping to generate a small income where others could join us in the "good life" of owning how we live and sharing what we have.  David grew the garden space to feed 6-8 people and we worked on the existing infrastructure  in hopes of building a small community.

More than 10 years later we've learned that most of whom we've met don't want to share, don't want to work for their food and instead would rather have fun since time is running out, or to simply deny that our future will be any different than it is today and continue living the way they always have.

After failing at building community, we thought we would be able to find "business partners", someone(s) looking to team up with us to generate a farm income from fruit, as we fenced in a large area of the pasture and had hoped to put in drip irrigation from stored water at the top of the property.

Because we hoped that "they" would come and "they" never have, and because the property is too much work for just the two of us; we decided to market it ourselves hoping to find some youthful interest who can/may take it to the next level and prosper from the work we've done, and maybe we succeeded in that, we hope so.  With inspections happening this week, we should know if the deal is real and if everything goes well, we will be moving on before the winter solstice.

It's a bittersweet time for us, the longest we've ever been in one home, the hardest we've ever worked on one property and the most tears we've shed under one roof.  Someone once said, "the pain intensifies the joy" and we've certainly experienced joy while living here.

We believe that no one is exempt from working for what sustains them, especially food and water.  If you are not working for what you eat, then someone else is.

A great read by Walter Haugen, The Law of Physics Are On My Side, explores the fact that slavery still exists and states:

"Consequently, we pat ourselves on the back and think we have somehow slipped the age-old pattern of enslaving somebody else so we can have a good life.  However, this is just a delusion.  Instead of human slaves, we have energy slaves." 

We know we have worked for others in our lives and can say that it hasn't destroyed us.  In fact it's made us stronger in body and healthier in mind, all of nature works for food and we're no different.

Who we are:
David and Elaine married young at ages 21 and 19, been together for 36 years.  Not only do we still like one another,  we work well together and have always dreamed about having our own business or helping others to maintain/keep theirs.  Elaine retired from the telecommunications industry after 30 years in 2008 working from the lowest paid title of “operator” to the highest paid craft job of Central Office Technician.  David provided security for our two daughters teaching them “hands on” skills and spent time volunteering in classrooms and gyms where he coached basketball as well as mentoring as a “Big Brother.”  He held numerous job positions once our daughters were older such as Campus Supervisor,  Fraternity Cook, Sorority maintenance and Building Warehouse Supervisor for a major lighting company.

What we’ve done since 2001:
While I worked full time,  David built 1.5 acres of garden space where we grew the majority of our vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Our ad for selling stated this:
Secluded, small, productive farmstead on 5 acres 10 miles west of Junction City, Oregon
Land is gently sloped with southern exposure.
Soil is loamy, well-drained, balanced pH. Irrigation from 39 GPM well.
Ability to catch rainwater off buildings and slope of property.
No Chemicals or sprays.
Updated 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1488 sq. ft ranch home built in 1978.
Attached 2 car garage converted into recreation room
Separate 3 sided carport 33' x 36'.

Much has been written about our endeavors on our blog, specifically here:
and here:

We enjoy processing the food we grow and cooking with fresh ingredients during the summer season as well as stored in the winter months.
Fresh peppers stuffed with shredded zucchini and topped with homemade Ricotta cheese and cherry tomatoes

Green beans from the garden 2013

We both enjoy gardening, hiking, and reading. Elaine loves any type of craft including knitting and spinning as well as writing.  She has been a hospice volunteer for Signature Hospice in Eugene since 2010.
Shetland fleece from the Black Sheep Gathering 2013
Knitted and felted slippers made for David 2013

Here is some of what we had to offer (before selling):
• Fifty 4 x 26' raised beds.
• No till for the last seven years.
• Utilizing cover cropping, composting, companion planting, and crop    rotation.
• Maintained using hand tools.
• Well-established medicinal and culinary herbs.
• Young orchard, 40+ fruit and nut trees, 25 blueberry plants, 150' of cane fruits.
• 20 HP diesel tractor with front-end loader.
• Breeding pair of Ancona ducks.
• Chicken house capable of housing 25 chickens with fenced in run (90' x 45').
• 10' x 14' well insulated greenhouse.
• Framework installed for a 20' x 65' greenhouse with cover crop growing in it.
• Approximately two acres ploughed, tilled and deer fenced.
• Beehives.
• No Chemicals or sprays for the past 10 year

Eight beds of drying beans in front garden May 2013
Drying Beans in front garden July 2013
Taking down one of the bean trellises August 2013

What we’re looking for:
  • To possibly join others who would like to share resources and/or living expenses while helping with a business operation.
  • Help work/manage a small farm operation where our combined hours a week would be in exchange of food that we can process/store for ourselves.
  • Possibly opening a small business with the help of others where food can be processed and sold.  Perhaps incorporating a commercial kitchen onsite where we can all benefit from the profit as well as the food shared.
What we have to offer:
  • Financial Resources
  • Familiarity of using hand tools
  • Knowledge of processing fruits and  vegetables by using methods of drying, freezing, canning, fermenting and long term storage
  • Experience with doing starts in a greenhouse, seed saving, composting and vermiculture
  • Skilled in using herbs for cooking as well as making lotion, salves and tinctures
  • Some plumbing, electrical and carpenter skills
Along with some of our better attributes such as:
  • Organized
  • Physically in good shape
  • Dependable
  • Trustworthy
  • Ability to think “outside of the box”
  • Adapting and dealing