August Ramblings From This Deliberate Agrarian

Observation :
“The older I get, the more time it takes me to get less done.”

My “Farm”
When someone writes a magazine article about you, or you write a magazine article about something, people who read the article will sometimes call you.

Years ago, I wrote magazine articles and some how-to books about home remodeling. A few readers got the idea that I had some kind of dream workshop; perhaps like Norm Abrham has on his PBS television show. I actually got calls from people who said they were going to be in the area and really wanted to stop by and see my workshop. I had to tell them there wasn’t really anything to see. It is the size of a two-car garage and full of clutter. My stationary power tools amounted to a table saw, a radial arm saw, and a benchtop drill press, all made by Craftsman. I am a minimalist when it comes to tools. I make do with basic stuff.

Same goes for my “farm.” After the recent “Farmshow” article was published. I got a call from a fellow who wanted to travel to visit me and see my farm. I had to tell him that I don’t have a farm. I have one and a half acres, most of which is woods. I raise chickens on my front lawn. He replied with a disappointed, “Oh.” I told him he was still welcome to stop by sometime, but this is no showplace, at all. I’m a common rural dweller.

Whizbang Chicken Grinder?
The recent “Farmshow” article also brought a call from a man in California who wondered if I might know where he could get a large capacity “chicken grinder.” He needs something that will grind 30,000 to 40,000 old chickens so they can be composted.

Wow. Imagine that.

Upon hearing this plan to grind old chickens up for compost, Marlene thought about it a few seconds and said, “You could make a lot of broth out of them.”

(Marlene makes chicken broth out of chicken necks and backs after processing day. She cans it in quart jars. And it’s good.)

Beetles In A Cup
You know how they say that if you hold a seashell up to your ear, you can hear the ocean? Well, ho hum, that’s nothing. Try this if you want an real auditory thrill… Fill a Styrofoam cup partially full of squirming Japanese beetles and hold your ear up to the open end.

Lots of Bread
Marlene continues to bake for the farmer’s market every Thursday afternoon in Skaneateles, NY. Last week, when I came home from work on Wednesday, she informed me that she had made 46 loaves in six hours. Then, on Thursday morning, before the market, she and James (my 12-year-old) make quick breads (e.g., zucchini), cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

They are having another good year at the market. Once you establish yourself and gain a following with a good product at a busy market, the whole experience is very satisfying.

This Year’s Garage Sale Safari
Last weekend was the annual Rt 90 Garage sale. 50 miles of sales. I’ve written before of it here: Our Annual Garage Sale Safari. As always, I was on the lookout for another good garden hoe to add to my collection. I didn’t find any. I didn’t find much. I bought a couple old biographies about George Washington, a sledge hammer, and a blender. I spent $15.

But we did discover a new idea… At the rural crossroads town of Summerhill, two elderly ladies were making and selling milkshakes. They had on old electric milkshake blender from the 1950’s, a small freezer with ice cream, and an ice chest with gallon jugs of milk. Two bucks for a milkshake. We bought three.

The Big Disappointment Around Here
My neighbor is moving to Seattle. This is the neighbor who has allowed my family to use part of his land as if it was our own. The kids have driven their field car on his land, I have planted garlic and potatoes and other garden goods on the land, and we are pasturing turkeys there now. He even said we could raise pigs on his land. But now he is moving and will sell his land.

We have expressed an interest in buying some property from the man in the past. We will do so again. But he has not been willing to do so because he only owns around ten acres total and the loss of a few acres would decrease the overall value of his home.

Around 18 years ago the man who owned that land at the time surveyed off two building lots of a couple acres and put them up for sale for $5,000 each. I offered him $2,500 for the lot that adjoins my property (the land I now have garden & turkeys on). It was all I could afford at the time. He told me the offer was an insult. The lots never sold. He went bankrupt and moved to another state. I should have borrowed the money for both lots. Hindsight is sometimes a painful thing.

32.5 Acres For $32,900
My thanks to Hannah (aka, “Country Goalie”) for sending me information about a piece of property she saw that might be good for me. Here’s the description:


32.5 acres total. Nice pond w/5 acres of woods. Great spot to build or place a double-wide (no single wides allowed). Land is rented to farmer at this time. Owner financing available.
Address: 66 Road, hannibal, NY 13074.
Directions: Take NYS Route 104 west of Hannibal. Turn right onto 66 Road, go north 3/4 miles. Land on right.


Hannibal is about a hour north of where I now live. I’m not familiar with the area. But I think they get a significant amount of “lake effect” snowfall. Hannah says she drove by and it looks nice. I may check it out. The price is reasonable compared to other lots than size in central New York State. And owner financing makes it possible since I don’t have that much available to spend, and will not mortgage my house with a bank.

Oh, the things we could do with 32 acres of good earth! I only wish I could find the same thing closer to where we now live. We need to stay in this area as long as my stepfather and Marlene’s mother are still alive. That is important.

Thanks for the tip Hannah!

The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Thanks also to Dave Taylor who sent me a copy of the movie, The Real Dirt on Farmer John. It is an agrarian documentary. It is not Christian agrarian. It is kooky in places. But it is an engaging story with many endearing qualities.

(I’ll be sending it back to you soon Dave)

1 comment:

CountryGoalie said...

Herrick,

Just out of curiosity, where were those directions from? Making a right of of Rt. 104, the property should be on the left. At least, that is the side the for sale sign is on. Hmm... either way, that entire stretch is very "farm-y" with just a couple of houses, but...

Anyway, I am glad that you might check it out. You never know!