Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TBF 073 :: You Can't Farm, The Heat Wave, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**



haybales
If you're like me you read the latest books, find the best websites, and listen to the greatest podcast about your topic and then think you can go from 0 to 60 in no time flat. Sure, maybe you understand there will be a learning curve or some bumps along the road, but all in all you think it is totally doable and totally doable in your own prescribed amount of time. In some ways that is how I was when I started my farming journey. I read about the people that were doing it. I talked to beginning farmers that were making it work. I thought I had looked at every possible angle! But, what I didn't do (and what I still don't do from time to time) is do a quick reality check and compare apples to apples. If I had done that I don't think I would have actually changed anything other than my thoughts on how long it would take to get from "Point A" to "B" and so on.


On today's episode I want to talk about just those sort of reality checks. Today you can find all sorts of great books, videos, and blogs talking about a great way to make a living on the farm. In fact you'll find links to some of my favorites below. But, at the same time it is important that you understand that just because "Farmer A" is making $50,000 per year on 1/2 an acre doesn't mean that you can go out and do it tomorrow. You probably can do it, and for some of you it may happen tomorrow, but more realistically it will take some time and learning to get to that point. That's why my show has plenty of "Hard Lessons Learned" and most weeks I have multiple lessons to choose from!

 :: Great Resources for Those That Know They Can Farm ::
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 ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TBF 072 :: The County Fair, Farming for Kids, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**


It's Marion County Fair week for us at Crooked Gap Farm. That means that we are extremely busy and that our children are the centerpiece of the farm this week (actually they always are, but you get what I'm trying to say). With that in mind I thought it fit perfectly to take some time on today's episode to a question from Lisa on Facebook. The questions was about getting kids involved on the farm and specifically mentioned age appropriate chores, and while we didn't dig into that completely I do believe we have a great episode because I decided just to go straight to the horses mouth. On today's show my son and I sit down in the show ring stands to talk about the fair, his projects on the farm, and what gets him most excited. Of course I have plenty of "proud father" moments throughout my interview with Caleb, but above all I'm excited because of how excited he is when it comes to the farm.

If you do have any questions for Caleb about his life on the farm feel free to send an e-mail or leave them in the show notes and I think I can convince him to come on again!


:: Some Books Caleb Has Read ::

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 ...

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

TBF 071 :: Guardian Dogs, Rotational Grazing, Agricultural Degrees, Updates, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

10462941_898984883462803_4552403669173984344_nHow do you know it's time to rotate the cows? Can an agriculture business degree be helpful to the independent farmer? Are Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs good with kids and family? Those great questions (and more details) came in from listeners (all The Beginning Farmer Show listeners are awesome blossom) over the past week. Below you'll find some links related to each of the topics that I touch on in today's episode. Plus, if you listen to the show you'll get to hear me ramble (because I'm a bit stressed) about the county fair. More on that next week ... 

:: Livestock Guardian Dogs ::
:: Rotational Grazing ::
  • Geared Reel for Polywire - In my mind a must have for rotational grazing.
  • Polywire for Rotational Grazing - Holds up in the weather fairly well and is easy to set-up and take-down. I don't have any connection with Powerflex other than I like their poly wire.
  • Grass-Fed Cattle by Julius Ruechel - One of many books that helped shape my rotational grazing ideals.
  • All Flesh is Grass by Gene Logsdon - My favorite farming author and small-scale implementation.
  • Quality Pasture by Allan Nation - If you want to get serious then get this book!
  • Comeback Farms by Greg Judy - In my mind this is the best plan out there if you want to follow a plan.
:: Agriculture Economics ::
  • I wish I had some great links on this topic, but I don't ... What are our thoughts? How can having a degree in Agriculture Economics degree benefit the independent small farmer?
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 ...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

TBF 070 :: Live from the Farm and a Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

registerblog
Sometimes things get a little wild and crazy on the farm even when you think you have everything planned out. That has been the case on the farm for the past week or so (or actually the last six years if I'm completely honest with myself). We've had lots of rain and even some wind storms to go along with it. The storms caused some large branches and smaller trees to fall on the electric fence in the woods shorting everything out. The pigs that just joined the party in the woods last week found a small hole in the fencing that was exploited while the fence was shorted out. We have had some great publicity on the farm thanks to an article in the Des Moines Register. And, all sorts of other stuff has been popping up from 4-H projects to hard lessons learned.


I say all of that to say that this weeks episode is very unique for a couple of reasons. First of all it was recorded in the comfy (slightly breezy and cool) confines of the hoop building, and secondly I sat down to record with out any plan at all. You may notice both of those things come out in today's show, but hopefully there are also some diamonds in the rough.

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 ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TBF 069 :: The Fancy Farm Dinner, Inside the Hoop House, and Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

hoopcollageHosting any event on your farm is always stressful ... hosting a farm cookout can be even more stressful ... and hosting a full on seven course feast on your farm with five chefs, a crew of kitchen help, professional servers, and more might even cause enough stress to drive you a little batty! That is exactly what happened on our farm this past weekend, and although it was stressful at times (and caused me to be a little nervous) it was probably one of the most satisfying and humbling moments I've had as a farmer. The crew that came out to the farm was beyond professional and passionate about what they were doing. All of that made for a wonderful event that often left me speechless. If you're looking for a way to say thank you to your farm friends, connect with new customers, or build a relationship with the chefs and food movements in your area I cannot recommend a dinner such as this one highly enough. Just be prepared for a little stress ...

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 ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TBF 068 :: Believe in Your Farm, A Hoop Update, and Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

trappertractorThe importance of believing in what you are doing on your farm, why you are doing it, and the value of what you are producing is central to your farming journey. At least that is the case with my farm! I've always been a person that want's other people to like me, and when it comes to the farm sometimes I can doubt my farming plan or my products when people are turned off by the price, the way we raise our livestock, or any other sort of craziness. Over time though I have come to realize how valuable the customers (farm friends) we have are, and also to realize that we won't have everyone as a customer ... just the best ones ;)

Today's show is a little bit on the disorganized side I'm sure as I was working with back-up recording equipment for the first time. Although ... if the sound quality wasn't too awful let me know because there are a lot of other things I could do with this set-up in the future.

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 ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TBF 067 :: Adapt Your Farm to Your Farm, Farm News, and Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

Hog Hoop HouseThere is a delicate balance when it comes to the relationship between water and farmers. If you're in the midst of a drought with no rain in site you are praying for rain, but if all it does is rain when you are trying to put up dry hay you are cursing the rain! There is one thing for sure though, you can't control when it will or will not rain so you'd better be prepared for both options. All of this is to say that this week I'm going to spend some time responding to a listener e-mail about water ... or the lack there of. I don't know if there is a silver bullet type of answer for the question, but I do know that I've learned a few things from the past two years of dry spells and there is one major thing I will do different if we are dry again for an extended time.

If you've been around the show for a while you know that I'm passionate about farming in general, but starting a farm and beginning farmers more specifically! A little while ago I received a great e-mail from a blog reader who shared what his plan for dipping his toes into the world of farming is. I thought he had some great plans so I wanted to share them ... plus, that e-mail in conduction with the e-mail about water got me to thinking. Thinking about starting farms, trying to be like other farms, the importance to collecting ideas and adapting them to your farm, and even having a farm that is an educational hub! If you have any ideas about farm classes you would enjoy I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

  Here are some helpful links from today's show ...
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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