Saturday, March 19, 2011

Answering Some Questions

We have had some people ask some questions about things here on the farm so I will try and remember them, answer them, and show some of our projects progress.

Costs...we live just outside of an unincorporated village and the entire county is zoned agricultural so we dont have much in the way of taxes and fees..nor do we get any services beyond a presumption that a Deputy Sheriff will come a running in an hour or so if we call. We have a gas station with a few convenience items and a small mom and pop grocery for emergency items but a new small grocery just opened about 16 miles from here that makes getting groceries a little easier.

Food costs are rising rapidly but here are a few costs so you can compare with your area: pork chops - $2.29 lb, chuck roast - $2.99 lb, loaf of sandwich bread is between$.85 and a buck depending on the day, brand name bologna (Oscar Meyer) is $3.99 a package but we can get local brands much cheaper, orange juice is about $3.00 for a 59oz container, soup and canned veggies can be had from anywhere from $.45 - $1.10 per can, Charmin TP is $10.00 for 18 rolls (we buy the cheap stuff for the septic at about $8.00), oranges are $.25 ea, a small package of 3 or 4 vine ripe tomatoes will set you back about $2.50, bell peppers are $1.00 ea, onions $.68 lb etc.

Regular unleaded gasoline can be had right now for $3.29 gal which has actually come down the last couple days, booze and tobacco is still very cheap (a 750ml bottle of Kentucky straight bourbon is about $6-7.00), a can of name brand snuff is $3.25 and some of the cheap stuff is down to $1.80 a can.

Our highest electric bill at the house so far has been $111.00 for one month (though we are not nearly as frugal with our electrical useage as we want to eventually get to), the water bill runs about $17.00 in the winter and tripple that in the summer, our TV is free thanks to rabbit ears, and our property taxes for the entire year on the farm is about 20 days worth of the taxes on our house in Alaska.

Security - lets just say we are well armed...all of us, we shoot often, we have concealed carry permits, and all of our neighbors are the same.

Tornados - yes we do get them and in fact an F5 mostly wiped out our small town in 1959. We are not in tornado alley per se and we are in a bit of a bubble weather wise as most storms pass to the north and south of us historically and consistently but it would be foolish to ignore that threat. A Picture of our storm shelter is in a photo below.

Do we have fish in the pond - well we do now, pictures below.

Employment - not interested thanks.

Snakes - they are all over and we like most of them because they eat what we dont want around and chase away the bad snakes (Copperheads). We found our first snake of the season yesterday sunning himself on the back patio and rescued him from BooBoo as he was a Prairie King Snake (good!).

Someone asked about trains..we are 16 miles from the nearest track and only occassionally hear them. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe and they haul a lot of coal through here for the coal fired power plants up north. We train on different scenarios at the FD in case there is ever a derailment.

Nearest commercial airport - about 65 miles from here and we rarely hear any planes though we can see contrails way up high. A black UH-60 helicopter with no visible markings hovered out by the back of the pasture last fall and made a slow run over the hundreds of acres of pasture and woods beyind that we suspect was drug enforcement but thats about it.

Meth - we have a significant meth problem in rural Missouri like other places and we have to deal with it and be aware of it on the Fire Department but I have not personally seen it other than the after math on affected addicts. This area is so rural most activity goes on back in the hollows and extremely isolated areas.

So hopefully I hit all the questions and here are some pictures on various happenings around the place:

We have shut down the old wood boiler for the season and these two pictures are what we have left of about 9 cords of wood, I am guessing about a cord and a half.

The Blue Birds have occupied all of the house and we are putting up more Blue Bird and Wren houses along with a Purple Martin house.

We finished this fence and are working on the fence in back.

Digging in Ozark soil is good exercise but I think after this segment we are getting an auger as our backs are screaming.

Sooo why is a wheel barrow here? When Holly and I were first living together the kids (under her guidance) got me this wheel barrow for fathers day. It was rusted out, the handles were broken and the tire was shot. So I spent a great couple days replacing all the hardware, handles, wheel and tire, wire brushing it, painting etc.

I even stained and varnished the handles so I now have a restored wheel barrow and had fun doing it. It would have been cheaper to just buy a new one but this one is special.

We went to a farm down the road at their invite and caught a few hybrid blue gills to populate our newly cleaned up pond. 

We will also be getting some smaller ones from the "fish guy" who makes a circuit through here from Arkansas once a month stocking farm ponds.

We have been feeding them and can see them coming up to feed so we know they survived.

That dark thing in the water is a bull frog looking at us...wish I had a better camera.

Here is our storm shelter, its a separate room in the basement under a stone house...we feel fairly secure down there.

We have been adding 4x6 beams supported by steel floor jacks to level the floor and make it so it doent jiggle when you walk across the floor. Its working well.

The latest fence project getting ready for the calfs. The two posts on the left will be done like the two on the right and an 8 foot steel ghate will be between them.

Got this free and will get it running easy.

This one gets mined for parts and was also free.

And this one I got free mainly because I wanted the fuel tank but its a commercial 2 stroke Lawn Boy...I may take a stab at getting it to run just for the heck of it.

And finally, this is where our 300 foot well is plumbed to the house. We now have county water and I want to get this back outside for irrigation...just another project.

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