On the Farm
Historically: My grandfather had a dairy farm that I visited with my dad into the early '60s, especially during hay season when a lot of help was needed. I think about the last that I can recall, I was maybe 5 when my grandfather retired and gave up farming, might have been about 1964. Neither my dad, nor any of his brothers took over the place, but my dad did have a small hobby farm so-to-speak where I grew up. On this small farm, we hand milked a couple of cows, raised calves, pigs, chickens and a couple of horses. I had eight brothers and sisters, so it took all the money dad could make driving truck, and all the food we could raise on the small farm to keep everyone fed. Later, in 1976, when I was 19, I started working on a larger dairy farm (210 acres). I enjoyed this farm, and it caused me to desire to have at least a small farm sometime in life if I could find the opportunity. The farmer that I worked for was a smart farmer, he had great management techniques that I learned from and admired. He took excellent care of his equipment, and of his livestock; both values my father also stressed.
Current: In 2009, the opportunity arose for me and my wife (who incidentally grew up with some farm experience) to purchase a small farm, where we could put our experiences to use. I work a full-time job as a pilot, so the farm is supplemental to our normal income. We have automated our systems so that we don't have to be attentive on a daily basis; in fact, our goal is to have the farm self sustainable for 14-days if need be. This has been a challenge at times since no family or local farmers actually track information so no one actually knows the needs, so we have had to track, document, and modify our processes to accommodate the needs of each species. As a result, the farm has evolved significantly over the last twelve years. Now as experience has shown the needs, things are becoming more permanent. Fences, water systems, feeding systems and such are now no longer being modified and moved.