Read all of it if you wish. I have a case of verbal diarrhea, if it doesn’t make sense, just roll with it, I know you can do it.
Some of you check, then get back to me and say “I checked it and you haven’t written a thing in a while”. That’s when I say “I know”, and proceed to make up excuses, the main one being I had the semester from HELL. But, you don’t need to know about that. I figure I’ll update you all from the beginning of my tour here on the Brown farm, way back in October of 2009.
We moved here somewhat suddenly and our house wasn’t finished yet, so we packed into a 30 ft. + RV. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed living in a hallway. The key is organization, which the good Lord didn’t bestow upon me, so I had to learn a thing or two. We lived in the RV for five weeks. It was a training mission. After being in such cramped quarters, 545 sq. ft. would seem like a palace.
We moved into the newest homestead in November 2009. Like I said it is 545 sq. ft. Despite its small size, it is very livable. My children have their own room, with bunk beds and all of their other kid stuff. My “living room” also doubles as our bedroom, we sleep on our futon/couch. The kitchen is the main entertaining space, with a solid wall of windows for everyone to stare out at what makes Arkansas so cool. There is also a “bathroom”, where we have a potty seat for #1 business, and we bring in a bucket for #2 business. Gross? Absolutely not. Google composting toilets, and not the self-contained kind but the bucket system etc. If you are of an environmental mind, you would notice the logic there, I don’t need to bore you with the details (even though the composting of hu-manure is quite exciting indeed). We have no traditional electricity, our house is powered by solar panels. I have one light bulb and a lamp…sounds like a little and it is, but it works out just fine. We have gutters to install for rain catch. At the moment I/We fill 5-gallon jugs with water and have a pump to pump it out of the jug and onto your hands, dishes etc. Think glorified camping. My cooking needs are met with a full size stove hooked up to a propane tank.
A little background:
The “Farm” as it is affectionately known as by locals has been around upwards of 60+ years. First as a family plot, then moving into a multi-house community, to the present. There are twenty other dwellings besides my own. There are more properties still, just uninhabited. Some are long-timers, some are repeats, some are newbies, some are second generation etc. The Farm has a rich history and there is no question why those who live here choose to live here. And that’s that.
Paul has been the main trencher-inner between the two of us. He is out in the field every day digging and digging and mowing and digging and mowing and planting and mowing and digging. Me, I’m inside doing my studies, or attending to my kids’ studies. I dig a little, with emphasis on the little. I weed more.
This farm is 25 acres, houses included on that acreage. There is a large farm-able piece in the middle, that Paul is responsible for and in the front. In front of our house Paul installed six rows for victory purposes, and the greater mass in the back for market purposes. We have no machinery to help dig or install, Paul is doing it all by hand. There is an old Farmall tractor in a shed in the back that we are trying to get running with the help of Roy White, the Farm mechanic. The tractor is just to keep the rest of the grass down.
This year Paul hooked it up with a local plant star named Herb Culver, who is the proprietor of Bean Mountain Farms. Herb and his wife Karen have supplied us with tomato and bell pepper starts, because we are growing for seed for them. Have you ever thought about that before? Growing for seed? Seed saving? You should. Herb supplies us with plants, we supply him with seed to grow his crop for the next year. We are really excited about this venture and its promise for a secure seed stock, a local seed stock.
PERMACULTURE… know it, google it right now. Live it.
When I lived in Manteca, California (where I grew up), I didn’t notice much about my surroundings, except the obvious. I never noticed weather patterns, I never noticed bird patterns, insect patterns etc. When I moved to Arcata, California, I noticed a little bit more. I was able to identify things and point them out. However, Arcata is no match to what Arkansas can do to a body. Or maybe what the Farm can do to a body. I feel like Heny David Thoreau. I feel so connected in a way that not a lot of people are able to experience. And that’s how a lot of people like to operate and yeah for them, fine. I feel like the Earth is letting me in on something when I notice these patterns. After the big thaw of 2009-10 the starlings in habited the bare trees. Big clouds of black would get spooked and en masse move from tree to tree. The sound was beautiful. Next, robins returned, hundreds searching for worms in my yard and everyone else’s. I can’t forget the Canadian geese flying south through the fall and winter, just lovely. Now the bluebirds are back looking for nesting grounds along with blue jays and some that sing “Kate Brown, Kate Brown, Kate Brown”. Spring is the finest season that Arkansas can throw at a player. The weather is unpredictable and a lot of fun to try to figure out.
I feel like I’m doing a terrible job of trying to give you a visual of what’s up, but you’re welcome none the less. TTFN.