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firewoodsavesWhen we began looking for a place to start our farm we quickly realized that we could either have roughly 40 acres of land or a house and about 20 acres of land for the money we were able to scratch together. If you’ve been listening to the show for awhile or reading the blog from the beginning you’ll know that we went the 40 acres route which meant we were going to be building a house … as inexpensively as possible! One way that we saved money in the construction (and during the cold months) was by forgoing ductwork and central heating. Now that I think about it though we do have central heating, it’s just in the form of a centrally located wood burning stove. Heating with firewood has been a learning curve for us over the years, but the further along this journey the more we learn and the more efficient we become.
Over much trial and error I have become much better at cutting, splitting, stacking, and of course burning firewood. I now have tools that I enjoy using and trust and I feel like I’m not only being more efficient, but also more safe! Check out the links below for great resources related to cutting/splitting/burning firewood and if your looking for some good equipment (safety or otherwise) follow the links below and you can help support The Beginning Farmer Show.
Wood Burning for the Farm:

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As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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grinding pig feedSometimes I say things that I forget about, sometimes I say things that should be forgotten, and then sometimes there are the things that I say that need a bit of clarification. The latter of those is the case this time in regards to me saying that the pigs are the most profitable enterprise on our farm (or at least I think I said something along those lines). On the surface it would seem that the cattle or sheep would be more profitable, and that may be the case on per animal basis, but when it comes to the whole enterprise the pigs take the cake for use. The simple answer for that is “scale”. Because of the limited size of our pasture the number of ruminants we can have is much lower than it would take to be “full-time” farm, or even a profitable part-time farm. There are even economies of scale that we have by raising a larger number of pigs, even though it is still at a very small scale.

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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October 4th, 2015 was the 9th Annual Farm Crawl, and the 5th that our farm has been a part of. This is an amazing event that was begun by some farmer friends of ours in the area and we have been blessed to be a part of it’s growing future! Each year after the Farm Crawl we try to decompress a little bit and then look back at the event to see what needs to change or what we can do better. One thing I know for sure though is that on-farm events are a great thing no matter how big or small they are. With that in mind I thought it would be beneficial to share my take-aways from the day and what we think is important for an event.

Farm Crawl 2015 Take-Aways:

  1. You need help: Don’t try to handle that on-farm event alone, even if it is a small one. It is important to have some help so that you can share the story of the farm and make as many connections as possible.
  2. Have plenty to do: I’m not talking about the farmers, of course they have plenty to do, but rather I’m talking about having something to engage the people visiting the farm so that they feel a connection to the farm.
  3. Make sales easy: If you have people on the farm you should be able to sell them something (and make it as quick and easy as possible). Not just because of the income, but rather because if they are making a connection to the farm then you probably want them to have a connection with your product!
  4. Have flyers and information for people to take home: This is pretty self-explanatory. Have something that quickly shares your story and how people can purchase products from your farm.
  5. Share as much as you can: One of the main reasons that we farm the way we do is because we think that it is important for people to have a connection with their farmer and the farm. So, share as much of the farm as possible when the people come visit.

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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greengrazingHave you ever had a moment when someone asks you the exact question that you have been spending a lot of time thinking about? Well that is what this episode is all about because a while back Dan asked me a question via Facebook that I had been considering for quite some time. The question: If you could add one enterprise to the farm what would it be, and if you needed to take one thing away what would it be? That is probably a question that you need to ask yourself yearly, but now that we are almost seven years into the farm it is a question that I need to probably be taking some serious action on … if that is what is needed.
I would love to hear your thoughts! After listening to me ramble about getting out of the cattle business and increasing the pig business what do you think? Is that too big of a move, just right, any other ideas? Let me know in the comments below!

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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If you spend any amount of time at all as a farmer (full-time, part-time,  or any amount of time) you are going to have crop failures. On our farm we’ve had failures with our livestock, garden, orchard, pastures, woodlots, and now I can add to that list … commodity crops! The 20+ acres of oats I planted with my uncle this have not gone exactly as planned thanks mostly to an abundance of rain at just the wrong moments. Too much rain right before harvest. Too much green grass going through the combine and plugging it up. Too much rain when we needed the straw to dry. Then there was even too much rain when there was already a lot of rain! If that wasn’t enough, the sales were slower than I was hoping. Despite the downsides to this first foray in to the world of “crops” I do think there are some things that I can take away, and hopefully will be a helpful reminder for others.
  1. There Will Be Crop Failures :: No matter how much planning you do or how great of a farmer you are, there will be crop failures.
  2. Be Severely Realistic :: Make sure you are grasping the full reality of what you are getting yourselves into and don’t sugarcoat it at all.
  3. Recognize the Emotional, Physical, and Financial Risks :: You maybe able to handle a complete loss financially, but that doesn’t mean you can handle it emotionally. Think about that as you make your decisions.
  4. The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow :: At the end of the day the truth is that there will be another day coming, so you must be able to shake it off and get on with the business farming.
  5. Ask Yourself, Was That Really a Failure? :: Sometimes a failure is just a lesson, so don’t forget that.

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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flippedchickenwagonThere have been a lot of “happenings” lately on the farm that I have been wanting to share on the podcast, but I just haven’t made the time. On this weeks episode I’m making the time to talk about the heritage meat chickens, my first foray into grain farming, buckets of rain, and grinding feed. The most exciting thing though is that instead of just telling you about my “Hard Lesson Learned” this week, I actually am able to show it to you because I had the forethought to hit record as I worked my way through another lesson here on the farm! You really do need to watch the video to see and hear the whole story, but let me just sum it up for you :: Put everything way when you are done using it!

 

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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:: Warning :: There were some equipment issues while recording this episode and there is a very annoying audio hum during the opening and closing sections. I will try to remedy this issue as soon as possible.

For the past six weeks we were able to have an extern (it’s sort of like an internship) on the farm working along side us. The extra set of hands, extra insight when problems pop up, and companionship was such a blessing. If you listened to TBF Show Episode 119 you heard from our extern Ryan as he shared some of his initial impressions and what he was hoping to accomplish through this experience. On this weeks episode I wanted to take the chance to do an “exit interview” with Ryan. As we talked about his time on the farm he shared some of the things he loved, what surprised him, the lessons that he would be taking back to the classroom, and even some great insight for beginning farmers!

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook! 

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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listener questionIf you’re a beginning farmer like I am a beginning farmer then you have lots of questions! Sometimes what you need isn’t always the “right” answer as much as it is an answer that helps get your mind wrapped around that issue, and then you can find a solution that fits best. Hopefully that is what I’ll be able to provide today, thoughts that help you find the right direction, as I do my best to answer questions about electric fencing, sheep, profitable enterprises, and so much more!

In this episode I mentioned a lot of different products, books, links, and other resources. I’ve tried to include them all below, but if you hear of one that I missed please comment below and I’ll update the list.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and rev

iew (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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There is a great line from one of my all time favorite movies (“Dances With Wolves”) that goes something like this, “Somebody back east is saying, ‘Now why don’t he write?'” If you’re a longtime reader of the blog or listener of the podcast maybe you have been wondering the same thing! And, to be completely honest with you it has just been a difficult year for me so far which has made it even more difficult for me to work up the courage and desire to sit down and talk about it. All of that is to say that if you are looking for an upbeat episode with lots of success and win stories then you may want to skip this episode. I do promise that it is genuine, carefully thought out, and even relevant to beginning farmers.

One more thing though. I don’t share this as a “sob story”, but rather for two main reasons that I care deeply about. Reason #1 is that I have always said that I will be as transparent as possible when it comes to sharing my beginning farmer journey, and that includes the not so good times. Reason #2 is that I do honestly feel like I need to apologize for not having much consistency this year and not quite yet pulling together all of the things for the Kickstarter Campaign. Thank you all so much for your continued support!

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and rev

iew (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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Two sets of hard working hands are better than one, and two quick thinking brains will always trump one! Those are just a couple of reasons that we are enjoying having our summer “extern” Ryan on the farm for a few more weeks. He brings lots of great help, great questions, and a wonderful desire to work and learn. On top of all that he also is doing great things teaching high school students about sustainable agriculture and now he will have some crazy stories to go with those lessons. Ryan is able to give you an “outsiders” view on The Beginning Farmer’s farm!

Check out The Beginning Farmer Show on Facebook!

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I’m thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don’t forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and rev

iew (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with “The Beginning Farmer” and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links …

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