Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Before I go too much further in this blog, I thought it would be useful to give my philosophy of farming some expression. In this, I have been greatly influenced by Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma as well as my life experiences growing up on a small farm. When I was a boy, I had a flock of sheep and we also raised chickens, turkeys, and geese. We had a great garden with all the manure and my eyes were opened to the empowerment of growing one's own food. While I am now on 2.4 acres, I am discovering just how much food I can grow for our growing family. Many of our meals are completely homegrown and I find enormous satisfaction in that.

It is this empowerment: physical, political, environmental, and social that I wish to promote to my children and community through leadership by example. Physically I want to promote my family's health and build up the soil so that it is better when I leave it than when I found it. Politically, I want to break down the superficial barriers to growing one's own food such as zoning ordinances which promote sterile fields of "perfect lawn" and prevent people from raising small livestock, bees, and expansive gardens. Environmentally, I want to research ways to reduce my dependence on oil-driven food chains that stretch 1500 miles or more and is wholly dependent on synthetic inputs. Socially, I want to be part of a revolution that lifts the heads of my fellow citizens and empowers them to think as independent people again and not cogs in a machine, smoldering with anger and ripe for political exploitation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

High Hoop House

About a month ago we put up a 20 x 30 foot high hoop or high tunnel house up in the garden. We used chain link top rail bent to a curve on a cool device I bought from It was the C-20 which bends either 16 or 20 foot wide hoops. We used the 20 foot width. I discovered that it is really important to have a very level place in which to put it. Currently we are in Ukraine on a adoption journey but really looking forward to returning and working in the garden again.