Monday, November 22, 2010

The Farm

It might be wise to explain our farm. This is, and always will be an experiment. We have 63 acres (about 25 hectares) stretched along Delk Branch, a tiny creek that dries up in the summer droughts that we have here in Kentucky. We have a small house tucked in a clearing, a barn and a number of outbuildings. We have the farm because we work horses and oxen and need a place to keep them. A large chunk of our income is from the team of four oxen. They do our farm work here and I hire them out for various purposes, logs, events, wagon rides, reenactments, etc. I try to keep the boys working.

We also have a fine pair of grey horses that will do everything, ride drive and pack. They get less use than the oxen, but they are well trained and give us another transportation option. We also take in animals for training. We have three horses here now learning to drive and ride.

I love large animals. They treat me well and we get a lot of work out of them. I do have an ax to grind. I believe animals are sentient beings. Respecting them, being considerate of their welfare and feelings gives me a better working animal. We gain their willing cooperation. I want people to see what can be done with draft animals (oxen are my real passion) humanely.

Maria’s two passions are textiles and green living. She processes fibers (wool and flax), spins and weaves. She just had a recreated textile, an Assumption sash bought by the Dousman Museum in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.

We are trying to convert to subsistence farming, raising most of what we need here. We are careful with energy use, electricity and gasoline (diesel). We minimize trips into town and have engineered the house to be as efficient as possible. I read an article last summer about passive solar. We were already doing everything on their list. Coming changes are a solar oven and if possible a magnetic generator.

The other thing that goes on here is writing. I have just finished a two-part article and am working on the illustrations that will probably end up in the Journal of the Early Americas. There should be a piece on tracking in the coming issue (Jan-Feb, 2011) of Muzzleloader. My little book, Some Thoughts on Scouts and Spies is being published by Greenleaf Press.  My goal is to have twelve articles and short stories in print next year.

We do not make much money, but we are free to live in the style we want.

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