Spending and Savings
This blog is not only about the recent flood of progress on The Twenty, but also about decision-making and self-doubt. Let’s look at the progress so far, the things to come, and the thought process behind all of these current and future projects. Please, after reading this blog do not write me to tell me how we could have changed things or done things better, or how we could continue to do things in another manner. We have sought out several experts throughout this process, and have filtered the feedback and other advice as we see fit. After all, this is our project and we must learn from our own mistakes. We’ve got to do life our way.
The slab for our Studio Shed has been poured and we are patiently awaiting the arrival of our prized sustainably-sourced Studio Shed kit purchased from a company out of Louisville, Colorado. Beau and I had been looking at a shed to store some of our books, furniture and other belongings that we couldn’t part with so that we could be rid of the monthly storage unit bill. After a lot of looking (and finding subpar quality around every corner) we opted to buy a more sturdy, better built shed that could also function as a studio/guest house. The price was about 3 times more than many of the sheds we looked at, but the possibilities for this building were far more diverse. And the building is durable enough that we feel comfortable mounting our solar array to the sloped roof.
We have also seeded the cleared area (about 1.75 acres) with organic seed oats from High Mowing Organic. We could have purchased oat seeds locally, but we were unable to find a vendor that sold organic seeds. I found out that the commercially grown oat seeds that I could buy locally came from Nebraska and had been treated with pesticides. I spent about double the price for this cover crop by having to source elsewhere and ship the seeds. Did we do the right thing? Absolutely! We want to grow an organic farm, so the idea of putting down our first planting with pesticide treated seeds just didn’t set right with me. Even if we won’t be harvesting and selling the crop, the oats will become part of the organic matter in the soil. We have to stick by the principles that we have established, or all of our efforts will be in vain.
Every time we go out to The Twenty to work we have to haul our tools with us, which really cuts into our efficiency. We’ve been trying to find a way to remedy this problem, but don’t feel safe keeping anything out on the property until we are living on the site permanently (we are shooting for April and I hope I didn’t jinx this by stating it in this blog). Originally we were thinking about building a small lean-to tool shed against the Studio Shed in order to store any gas powered equipment and other farm tools. This would create separation between the fumes and dirt of the farm equipment and the nice extension of our living quarters. Buildings are expensive, so I started thinking about creative ways to cut cost and still have a shelter for these tools. This mindset combined with the thought of possibly repurposing a small grain silo on the property as shelter for a brick oven/bar area in a few years led us to purchase a 14’ diameter grain silo we found just 8 miles north of our property. I’ve scoured the area looking for a farmer willing to part ways with a small grain silo and after a few weeks of asking people I found one!!! Now we just have to figure out how to get it to the property.
Now to the savings part of the blog…Wow! Money has been flying out of our wallets faster than we ever imagined. Airstream, Land Clearing, Farm Truck, Road Building, Giant Hugelkultur, Solar Array, Studio Shed, Slab Building, Seeds, Grain Silo. These are only the beginnings of establishing our farm and we have thought tirelessly about every decision we have made. We have tried to save money where we can, and we constantly have to remind ourselves that we still have a house to build! We have spent some serious money, but as our friend Ron says, if you don’t have a healthy and sustainable infrastructure for your home, you don’t have a home.
We are new at the process and are constantly evaluating decisions that we have made and those yet to be made. We will make mistakes, but we will also have successes! I personally believe in the process and the vision of one day running a small organic farm complete with vegetables, fruits, pollinator gardens, permaculture food forest and so much more. After all, this is my life’s passion.