It’s time to start thinking “garden” already!

Discussions will begin here.

Farm Truck

As most of you know by now we did acquire a farm truck this year, which has been very helpful in hauling needed supplies etc.

The truck is in my name, since we don’t have any other entity to put it under; that means it’s also on my insurance, which means that I am the principal driver, and anyone else who uses it must be very, very careful. Also we have established a rule that if you use it, you clean it, and if it breaks while you’re using it, you fix it at your own expense.


Much of our composting is now being done right in the garden with our lasagna methods. The biggest issue we’re facing right now is lack of “raw materials”

I plan to rent or borrow a chipper/shredder this year and shred the Pampas grass instead of burning it. We have a fairly steady source of horse manure, and I now have a source of fine wood chips that works for animal bedding. What we don’t have yet is a good supply of coarse wood chips for the bottom layer of our garden plots. We got several truckloads this year from a neighbor and it still wasn’t enough to quite finish the first garden.


Hopefully coming this spring

2009 Gardens

It’s already time to start planning for next year’s garden(s). Here’s the discussion that needs to happen:
1. Some people live here and end up doing the majority of the work
2. Some people can get here easily and help with some of the work
3. Some people can’t get here easily and don’t do any of the work but would like to have healthy food.

We’re going to need to decide who participates, how they participate, and what it costs to participate.

My thoughts:
We probably need to assign a value to the produce
We probably need to assign a value to people’s labor
We need to decide how fees will be paid (I was thinking maybe a monthly “co-op fee” or something) and how credit for work will be allotted
We need to know how many people/families we think we can realistically produce/provide for.

A related note:
We need to know if we’re going to have any gardening co-op partners; these would be people who are willing to have a garden on their own property and participate with us in a co-op/pricing/distribution scheme of some sort.

We also need to know what we’re going to plant. We’re going for as many open pollinated varieties this year as possible, and we’re going to try to get enough seed for two years.

The house is quiet…the roosters aren’t…

Erika and Matt just left…it was a great holiday all the way around.

The roosters started crowing yesterday…looks like it’s time to butcher. They are 4 months old. We’ll probably try to do a few on Saturday.

2009.01.11 Seed Saving, Garden Planning

Preparing the garden: seeds and seed saving. Randy will lead discussion.

This information will be valuable to anyone who is interested in starting or continuing to garden using open pollinated seeds – a method that allows you to collect and store your own seeds from year to year instead of purchasing seed every year.

During this meeting we will be deciding what we are planting this year at Big Oak Ridge, what seeds we are buying etc. We can also help anyone else who is going to be making similar decisions. By the end of this meeting anyone who is doing the garden thing this year should have all the information they need to purchase their seeds.

Recommended resource: “Saving Seeds” by Marc Rogers (readily available through bookstores or online, about $10.00)

Saving Seeds

Meeting Topics

I’m going to start a list here of topics we’re likely to be discussing/exploring at our meetings. They are NOT presented here in any particular order, and we’ll be adding to this as time goes on.

2008.12.10: I’m going to start trying to organize some of these topics in preparation for getting them on the calendar. Feel free to offer any feedback that seems appropriate.

2008.12.25 NOTE: Ryan has added a Google Calendar link, and the Google calendar shows our events, as well as the schedule for “life on the farm”, in calendar layout if that would help you.

2009.12.03 NOTE: Well, we’ve been at this a year now. Some of the topics below could stand to be reviewed, some new ones added, and some on here we haven’t covered yet. We’ll be working on this list in the near future.

December 2008:
The Bethlehem Star (video) with discussion time? UPDATE: This is happening at the Oil City Branch

01.04: Open House. Ryan’s Birthday. First meeting of the New Year.
01.11: Seed buying/saving (Randy) – also discuss co-op possibilities
01.18: Regular Meeting. Project: Home made granola. – further discuss co-op options
01.25: Nutrition 101 Part 1(Paula) – menu prep, grocery shopping, easy basic meals, basic nutrition, cooking ahead, stretching what you have

02.01: Relationship between body/soul/spirit (Randy)
02.08: How to hear from God (Kent/Randy)
02.15: The case for Intelligent Design: Animals that defy evolution (video/discussion) – creation history and science
02.22: Discussion of prophecy in the body of Christ; Review of words from God regarding preparation etc. (Randy/Kent)

03.01: Vermiculture with Nancy Mansfield
03.08: Subject to be Announced (Randy)
03.15: Starting seedlings (Kent/Paula) Hopefully this will include a demonstration…
03.22: Communion (Kent)


04.18-19: (Tentative) Field trip to Growing Power, Milwaukee, WI. There will be no meeting this weekend.
04.26: Building garden beds, planning the garden, etc. (Kent/Paula/Randy)

Unsorted topics:
Chain saw maintenance (Randy)
Raising kids for God (Paula)

Raising chickens (Kent/Paula)
Butchering chickens (Kent/Paula)
Raising Goats (Kent/Paula)
Butchering goats (Kent/Paula)

Tools: use and care (Randy)
Organic pest control (Paula)
Canning/Freezing/Drying/Dehydrating foods (Paula)
Fruits: Strawberries, bush berries, grapes (??)

Personal testimonies (as the Holy Spirit leads)
Sewing basics – choosing a pattern, reading a pattern, picking fabric, using machines (Paula)
Gun use and care
The power of words, Blessings and cursings (may be two teachings or one, or part one and part two, not sure)
Water baptism
Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Practice Run

This is our “practice run” for feeding the multitudes. The tables are set up for 14 adults in this picture. I think we’re going to need a bigger dining area.

Cleaned out the chicken coop

*Chicken coop under snow*

*View towards the pond from my back door*

*The cow shed surrounded by hay*

Today I had some help from Matt and we cleaned out the chicken coop and put in new sawdust. I learned that its good to have a tarp to cover sawdust while driving or you lose half of it. We need a 4×4 4wheeler. Trying to move the old chicken crap with 2wd in the snow was just rough.

I am actually impressed with how well the old farm truck does with such lousy tires. I am praying and watching for some nice mud terrains for it, that would actually make it really usuable.

Tonight should be fun. My sisters are in town for thanksgiving and we are having a spaghetti dinner together tonight. Then tomorrow will be the big T-day. Always nice to hang with family.