Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gettin' on the gray and pinin' away for a real farm

Here's an Earthbag update:  

We decided to go with the base coat of stucco (gray coat) to cover our bags and protect them from the UV rays. Since we will eventually stucco the outside to match our house color , we decided that rather than mix up local mud, which might or might not stick, we'd just do it the lazy store bought way. Actually stucco gray coat is really cheap.

Today, the weather was warm and sunny, and hopefully the coat we put on will dry before we reach the overnight predicted low of 28 F.
This time I got to help a little, painting on the thin coat, but Richard finished up the outside while I managed the children, laundry and phone calls from farm hunting.

I still ended up with stucco in my hair, covering my cowboy boots and splattered across my face. For a minute there, I felt like I was back in the creative mode, painting (anything will do) and getting dirty was part of the joy. Can't wait to play with the thicker stucco...just like getting my hands in clay again. 

One of the neighbors stopped by to ask about llama poop for his garden, and he and Richard chatted over the fence for a while. I'm guessing he's not one of the complainers, and in fact he's building a mulch/compost pile and building garden beds to plant in. Good for him! We are bringing down the neighborhood. Power to the backyard farmers!!

And the news on relocating the farm: our bank won't give us a loan. I guess in this day and age you can't own one house and buy another. No more contingencies. I've had several suggestions about selling our house and renting for a few months. Really? Do you think someone would rent to a family with two llamas, five goats, two guineas, 30 chickens, two dogs, four cats, two parakeets and a parrot? What would the pet deposit look like on that?

But, I called another guy...who just might be one of the nicest men I've talked to on the phone, and he's given me hope. If we could wipe out some erroneous info on our credit report we might have room to wiggle. So that's the next plan, otherwise we are looking at owner carry situations and they usually want too much down, although I'm not ruling that out. I've posted ads on Craigslist, looking for a farm. Hey, if you're a fan and have a farm in Penrose you want to sell and would carry the loan for a year or two, (until we sell this house and get another mortgage), please call me up!

In any case, life goes on here on the farm. The chicken class is still on for Sunday and we still have space open. We are about to order a mess of day old chicks...layers and broilers, and maybe even a turkey or two.
(Oh man, that's going to raise that rental deposit.)

Yesterday we went and picked up a load of manure and some sapling fruit trees from different farms in Penrose and I had more great conversations with a local farmer. They raise goats, have a couple of llama/alpaca cross girls, a great old orchard, and bees for honey that they bottle and sell.  Wonderful. The things that are possible.

I noticed in Penrose, most people have animals and the resulting manure pile, composting away somewhere, and in some cases, in their front yards, which is part of the working farm, and not some sprinkler system feeding sod surrounded by decorative rocks and gravel. I have to say I prefer the farm look, where real things are happening, and think we'd definitely fit better in a farming community that understands the projects being worked on and the value of that animal poop in the gardens.

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