The One Acre Farm is Back

Reader Contribution by Jim Baker
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The one acre farm is back — sort of —

Well, readers that wondered if I was ever coming back — here I am. This thing from this time forward will be a journal about my life trying to do all the things I talked about in my previous posts, with one major addition. November 24, 2015 I was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly since I never do things the ‘right’ way and although I did indeed smoke most of my life, the one I have is generally found in non-smoking patients. Go figure. The cancer I have is treatable and I am in chemo.

So from here out all my notes, rants, vents, chuckles and observations will revolve around, to a degree, dealing with the cancer while still maintaining a work ethic that gets things done. Much of what I deal with is just a lack of energy, yet even then, I can still get up and get things done for a few hours every day. I will even be getting back into more wood splitting, stacking said wood and building Hugelkultur beds. I am using pine logs for the perimeters of those beds and have a ready supply of free horse manure to add to it all as well.  And of course I have my seed catalogs coming in and like most I want to grow everything.

An interesting aside, when I had my last chemo my nurse has just come back from Kenya where she has been for a few years off and on as a missionary nurse. And we got to talking about lack of power, no running water, limited Wi-Fi, limited cable, etc. as well as no indoor plumbing. Yet we also talked about what crops were raised. Lots of tomatoes apparently (those not eaten fresh were dried), all sorts of squash and melons and she said every kind of bean you can imagine, as well as the staple worldwide, corn. Follow that list and you see most of those things can be dried for long term storage without any refrigeration. As long as they are kept dry, away from pests, and not let out in the weather, they store for a very long time indeed. And they also provide the seed crop for the following year.

I am also a fan of a couple of the survivor shows that are on regular TV that I no longer get, in particular was ‘Dual Survivor.’ And no, I am no doomsday, build a bunker and stockpile a mini arsenal type of thinker. Yet at the same time, and YouTube has become my friend on Roku (which I now have), I have been watching some things from Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin and they both maintain basically the same philosophy regarding being self sufficient. And with both, the basics apply. Know how to grow your own food, know how to hunt, fish, trap and clean those animals you use as a food source. KISS applies across the board. Keep It Simple Stupid. All of that leads to one thing we all have to work through. And I am as guilty or more guilty possibly that others and that involves a freezer, in my case two. I have a huge upright freezer as well as a chest freezer. There will be a separate blog regarding those appliances as well.

Canning, drying, curing or smoking meat, vegetables, fruit or whatever makes a lot more sense. Initial costs will be higher just to get set up to do all of that. Yet even that can be made more acceptable with the use of solar dehydrators and ovens, smoke houses, learning to salt cure meats and just consider: sun dried tomatoes have that name for a reason.

Am I in full bore, live off the grid totally and cook my food in a tin can mode? No, although there will be a solar clothes dryer going up in warmer weather (known as a clothes line back in the day!), there will be (hopefully) a brick oven being built outside and there will be a greater diversity of storable crops grown this coming year. And that will be defined first if they can be dried (easier to do and takes less space), canned (of course) or smoked or cured in some way. And without saying, a workable root cellar as well.

Now, about me, my cancer and all that. I have it; I am fighting it as best I and my oncology team can manage. And I am very positive about this outcome, so no pity party, no ‘everything will be all right’ type stuff and no ‘who is he kidding’ type thinking. I am sharing this about my battle here with support and encouragement from some friends of mine. Those know who they are and they suggested I let everyone know what I am dealing with simply because there may be others dealing with the same thing or worse. It will slow me down, make no mistake. It will not stop me from planning, working and moving forward with all my projects. I hope you come along for the ride!

Write if you want. All will be answered.


Photo by Fotolia/franzdell

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