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Achenback Farm


John SalesOn a solemn morning, a young lawyer looked out over a bay and witnessed something quite unexpected. The year was 1814 and the young man had just been a spectator to 25 hours of bombardment. The emotions he felt that morning lead him to pen a poem that would no doubt solidify not only what he felt, but also the feelings of a newly birthed nation. It was circled in a handout under the title of "Defence of Fort McHenry."

Later, after the addition of music, it was renamed and we know it today as the Star-Spangled Banner. The young lawyer's name was Francis Scott Key.

Now, I don't give mention to all of that for a history lesson. But it's weight as such is worthwhile. No, instead I use it to bring to light how we currently feel. No doubt our own feelings echo those felt by the people who were swiftly locked in battle on that fateful night and morning.

Put simply, we're still here. Still fighting. We haven't surrendered nor do we intend too.

Farming is a constant battle. Market farming is downright combat! You combat the weather. Soil. Prices of seed and materials. Animals and varmints. Gosh, the list could go on. Then the frontline is firmly established once you reach market. But survive we did.

Our market season is now completed. Successes were embraced and recorded. Failures will be learned from. Hopefully, I can now once again devote more time to my writing and share the blessings we live. But even then, things don't show any sign of slowing down much. At least not in the short term.

Even as I write these words my mind is on the tasks that need to be done. Over the past growing season we peaked out at just under 4 acres of produce. Our herd of pigs has grown from two to now four. Our egg layer operation has doubled to close to 200 birds. Combine that with the fact that I also work off-farm and you can imagine how hectic things can get. But, we are a family farm - by that I mean we all have a role to do and pitch in accordingly. And even a greater blessing was granted when we took on a extern this season, which I will discuss more later. So in conclusion, keep on doing exactly what you dream. Don't surrender, hoist that flag of independence high. After all, we're still here and I bet if you are reading this, you are too. Be blessed, John

A barn with the American flag painted on the side with the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the background |   


Conservation Begins At Home

John SalesIt seems like it's the small blessings that give the greatest rewards. We went to pay our electric bill yesterday and guess what? First, I must say that I was just a bit worried we would fall short in the ole checkbook tally before we even went. But no, after some quick math and a short prayer, I confirmed that we did indeed have enough.

So as we went to check on a very, very sick friend, whom we think the world of, we stopped in to pay our electric bill balance due. To our happy surprise? Guess what our balance was? Zero. In fact, better than zero, we even had a small credit towards the next month! Needless to say, it totally made my day.

See friends we are on what they call a "budget billing" program. Where our billing is sort of like an escrow. Personally I love it. For it is an awesome budgeting tool knowing what your bill will be months from now. Using a bit of math and averages, they bill us the same amount every month. And in the four years we have used that program, each year our monthly due goes down. In part because we become better at being more frugal with usage and also because every time we replace something we try and do it with something more efficient. And our yearly cycle rolled over this month. So in order for us to have that kind of credit that means that once more, our monthly balance due will decrease.

Let me also state that it couldn't have come at a better time. Money is short. It's been almost a year now since my wife walked away from her full-time job in order for us to pursue our dreams, and, friends, let me just say, it's now become real. This is a textbook case of how every single facet of our chosen lifestyle all plays a part and takes on a role.

Money saved on electricity can be used to pay for seed. Which can save money on your grocery bill. Which the income you would have spent on that can go toward paying down debt or that mortgage that so often keeps you up at night. Friends, I'd be foolish if I didn't say it's hard. But we knew that when we started down this path. Can we see what's up ahead? No. Of course not. It's a journey just like any other. We are constantly seeking to improve ourselves and our farm. And that means guarding the checkbook with the same vigor we do the livestock. It's all connected. Just as we are.

Personally, I believe the key to conservation is reduction. So don't just upgrade those light bulbs and call it done. Turn them suckers off. Raise a window and let that morning breeze wake you up as it drifts into the room. For we can never save our environment if we cannot save ourselves first. And that's worth a whole lot more than the balance not due on a light bill.

Be blessed, John

enjoying nature


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