May 14, 2008


Remember Green Acres (1965 sitcom) … shambles of a house and ran down barn, the vintage tractor and farm equipment, Ebb the dolt of a farm hand?

Here, the house is not quite so desperately in need of repair. There is no large barn, but a few smaller pole barns. A similar vintage tractor is frequently in need of repairs before each use.

The land doesn’t lie out so far and wide; it is rather hilly and wooded.

In places the fence needs mending and tightened, but is high and tight enough to keep most of our animals in.

The farm hand is a growing neighbor boy of 16, a hard worker regardless of the similarities to Ebb.

Most of our farm projects are built with discards or recycled from others. Gates, cattle panels, portable corrals, hutches, chicken wire, rolls of insulation, pallets, many were either given to us or purchased second hand. It pays to have family members in large cities that work in construction or demolition. Their found treasures filter to the farm eventually; the orange netting used on constructions sites, unused pieces of plywood (union rules once a piece has been cut, unused portions are to be discarded), 50 gallon drums, stainless steel sinks from old buildings.

Things change frequently, at times there could be a temporary pen constructed out of T-posts and cattle panels, then a week later it will be moved or taken down. Cattle panels can be made into many workable items; covered tightly with a tarp as an awning or wind break, covered and bent in an upside down U to create shelters, pulled into a circle and secured to be a hay ring.

Nothing is painted to match. One day I hope to have all surfaces in need of paint to be Barn Red. The first year we tried to paint all white, the second year we realized that was a huge error. Everything looked extremely dirty.

The metal storage shed is rusted and in need of a coat of the Barn Red. Corral panels are a variety of colors from orange red, to black, to natural rust. Nice lawn ornaments, flower gardens or planters do not exist, the flat bed trailer and the livestock rack takes their place.

Our heavily wooded area is great during summer months, it is at least 5-10 degrees cooler here than most places. Now in fall, we are covered in leaves. Add the rains on top of fallen leaves and you have the equivalent to walking on ice.

I don't recall many animals on Green Acres, Arnold the pig over for his occasional visit, the milk cow, a couple of it is a tad bit different. A person is greeted by at least 2 barking dogs on arrival at the front gate. Walking to the house, joining the dogs will be 1 full size pet Boer goat, 1 small pet Boer goat (Annie) and a pet Pygmy wether (Monte).

If they happen to find you interesting they will stop directly in front of you, stand and wait to be petted. If you try to walk before acknowledging their presence you will find them tangled in your feet, pulling on your clothing or possibly jumping up on you to gain your attention.

Closer to the house a pig will come from out of no where to see what any activity is all about, then squeal and run away. A small flock of free-range chickens will run towards a person thinking they will possibly receive some grain.
If someone speaks before we are outside, a total of 8 dogs will go off on a barking spree that will seemingly never end. At the front porch there is not only the dogs, goats and chickens close at hand, a couple of cats usually are sun bathing, blocking the steps of the porch.

The favorite past time of the full size Boer goat (Buffy) is going up the steps to the house, stepping on cats and cats tails in the process. She will open the front door and let herself in. (That is another story, yes we have a goat that can open doors)

Looking down farther past the house are the pasture areas, about 20 something goats all laying by the gates hoping for food to be brought to them.

If it is quiet you can hear the neighbor across the ridges turkeys gobble, the opposite direction cows bellowing and the occasional clank of the pigs lifting and dropping the lid to their feeder.

There is no shortage of fertilizer; pig, goat, donkey and chicken…muck boots are a must here. Seems like dirt, mud and pooh have a way of magically appearing on ones clothing even if you do not lift a finger to work. Perfume or cologne is a big no-no, you will be eaten alive by every bug imaginable. Acorns will pelt you like BB’s from the trees.

A work in progress, not much to look at, no white picket fence, no rolling’s just home.

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