Life is a Journey, with chapters

Well, except we all end up, no matter how long it takes, at the final destination.

In our day & age, along the way, much of our lives have been reduced to entertainment. How do we have value personally?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On our life journey, there are many chapters along the way and generally, we learn something in each of the chapters as we grow and develop. We move past just survival.

We work so we can kick back and be entertained. How much of a difference have you made in today’s world? Don’t look at the whole world and cry the blues!

You can not fix all the world’s problems but you can take a step. And every. single. step. Counts.

Find one small area you can have an impact on.

Chapter Closed…moving on

We ended our chapter on the School Street Farm at the end of 2013. Our lease expired and we could not extend it despite loving that little rural area in Sonoma County. If you know anything about real estate in the SF Bay Area you know finding a small piece of land large enough to grow on is pretty near impossible… unless you have inherited land or have made a “killing” in some other field that you can now transfer funds from.

It took us 7 years to find the right piece of land and a way to buy it. We are now farming on 4+ acres but it was a long haul to get here. We are not ‘gentleman farmers’ wealthy enough to just own the land but are having to utilize the land to help pay for itself.

Because we always had an interest in farming/gardening/vineyards/construction Jim had, through the years. acquired a significant number of tools, implements, tractors, trailers, that are needed in a real-world setup. In addition, we used vacation time as education time. Yep, we are nerdy people. We went to different short-term classes (week-long) to learn about different aspects (raising cows, raising shrimp, driving horses to pull wagons), you know, your everyday adventure!

Expand your Horizons

People ask me if I did not grow up learning all these things, how did I do it? How does one learn to milk a cow, to make butter, to start seedlings, to propagate plants, etc.

I’d tell them there are these rather new inventions in the modern world. Unlike in times of the past. Priceless things… .called books, libraries, and colleges that are quite useful in learning something!

And of course, google & youtube have become awesome educational tools. The wealth of information at your fingertips today is incredible. The wealth of newly released research information is phenomenal. You don’t have to wait for a book to be published. All at your fingertips, if you want to venture into a new arena. Zoom & PodCasts have virtually eliminated time & costs that were barriers to go to conferences, taking classes, listen to new info. Let’s see, can I find any more superlatives to tell you how lucky we are?

It starts with one step. Every journey starts with one step.

It has taken us about 5 years to create the basis of our farm. We spent 4 years living in our 5th-wheel RV on the land and spent our time developing the infrastructure. It was pretty intense as there was a lot that needed to be done. And Jim was working full-time off-farm.

We bought raw land so none of the basics were in place. I take that back; we had a 100 yr old barn almost ready to fall down and an ol’ chicken shed. 5 ft high weeds and junk strewn about the acreage. I think we spent $10,000 just collecting and hauling off junk. But at least it had never been used for chemical farming. We also had 3 huge old oak trees, 200-300 years old, that graced the property.

Research

(Shhh, don’t tell everyone.) Research I did said the most profitable crop for small acreages (under 5 ac) would be flowers. At least while people were still getting married or celebrating events. Flowers that could not be shipped in from overseas. A blossom shipped in from overseas out of season.. $25/peony. Grown here $5. I was shocked at the cost of imported flowers (85% are imported), appalled at the carbon cost, and the toxic chemicals used overseas (that we are exposed to while handling the flowers). Dropping the import tariffs for overseas growers decimated the huge California floral industry in the 1960s wiping out local providers.

One of the early garden beds; was replaced with our house when the county told us that was the only location we could use for a home as it had already been disturbed by the paddock off the barn.

We went to work… Building soil, garden beds, high-tunnels for season extension as well as putting in a well, bringing in electricity, developing a septic system, fencing, etc. We opted to go with a manufactured home instead of building from scratch, so we could focus on the land. Creating orchards, building out a flower farm, working toward building something we consider sustainable for us and the life around us.

Setting a Vision/ a Goal

We are in the middle of the “6th Great Extinction”. Being aware of that we have settled on healing the land and working toward something that gives back more than it takes. Regenerative farming is all about rebuilding the life in the soil and our micro-habitat. Regenerate

It helps to work out your long-range goals or your vision of how to make a difference. It gives you an anchor point to fall back on to make sure you are headed in the direction you want. It’s not fixed or static but can adjust as we move through life. The picture often becomes clearer on where you need to head in the middle of your journey. Sometimes you didn’t even know the questions to ask when you started out.

We call our farm “The Heritage Farm” because we want it to be an example of returning to the heritages that mother nature has distilled through the millennium. Instead of breaking her processes, thus creating problems for ourselves, we want to integrate into those systems she has evolved. We share the world with all the life within it, otherwise, we dominate it into extinction. That is where we would end up as well. Extinct.

We added miniature jersey milk cows to our farm to preserve the genetics of the breed. And because they fit into a healthy ecological balance for small farms.

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