Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

T Minus Three Days

 
master pollinator
Posts: 3966
912
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The plight with our homestead has been a long drawn out battle. I took over the family farm in 2008 and managed to go from having only 4 sheep, to hundreds. We increased the acreage by several hundred, survived a nasty divorce in 2011, went full-time farming in 2016, and battled cancer for the last three years.

A year ago we moved into this Tiny House and made it work for our family of six, and really improved the place, but our other house has been a real thorn in our side. We were asked by some friends to rent out our big house to their kids, and move into this little house, and we did so, but then they decided after we moved out that the house was too big for them...so it sat vacant all winter.

Then we decided to sell it, and in 94 days we got 35 couples to tour it, and 4 offers to buy it...but all the offers fell through for one reason or another, and now the selling season is over.

So we decided to rent the house again, and in 5 hours had 50 replies, and even found a nice couple to rent to own the place ...a young couple who loved the house and wanted to homestead, and then this week; that fell through.

I guess things only need to happen for so long before you realize patterns. We took a hard look at where we were and realized since moving into this Tiny Home we just struggled, and with everything, and it just seems like moving here was not to be. It was a sound plan, and no regrets, but for whatever reason our place to be is in our other house.

I had everything in place for the new potential homesteader: round bales of hay for winter feed and a flock of sheep, just so if someone bought the place and wanted animals right away, they would have things easy for the first year or so.  I mean they would not know where to buy hay, or get healthy animals, so we had it all in place for them, just to make the transition easy. But I went to see my Amish neighbors, and they are buying the hay, so I will deliver that to them on Friday. And we called the cattle dealer to buy our remaining sheep. He is coming over on Friday, so for us, it all ends on Friday; T-Minus Three Days to we stop farming. We will bring the dog in the house, and our Great Pyrenees will also retire...8 years later with 6 notches on her collar.

Katie is in schooling now to return to nursing, and I have a meeting with a person from the USDA to figure out what I am going to transition into. He says former-farmers are in high demand, but I am not so sure. All I have done is weld and take care of sheep these last 11 years. But until I get it figured out, I got another skidder here and will do some more logging. It has been two years since I last felled any tree, and I am looking forward to it. It sucks to be lost-in-life, but I always have my skidder and chainsaw to return too.

Johnson Farm: 1746 to 2019
 
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: East tn
56
hugelkultur foraging homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am impressed with your resilience and am glad you share your challenges as well as your successes.

I have no doubt you will transition impressively. Until then, maybe allow yourself a bit of reflection.

Look what you did man! You rock. Another adventure will be along soon enough and you'll rock that too!
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 3966
912
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wish I had as much confidence in me as you seem to have! (LOL)

I have a appointment today to see a man about a career transitioning program for "Displaced Farmers". Displaced is just a fancy term for meaning, through no fault of my own, I cannot farm, in my case physically being unable to farm. How that goes, I am not sure.

It could be that they simply match a job position with me and my skill-set. This could be me not thinking I was qualified for a job that the employer thinks I am able to do, or it could be, the employer never considered hiring a former farmer.

It could also mean that I am hired immediately by a employer, and as I get on the job training, the program pays the employer to train me.

It could mean that the program pays for me to be trained in a new way, college or trade school.

I am still extremely scared. I know sheep, and I know steel, and those two things I really cannot do any more because they require so much physical work. I just do not have it in me. My body is consuming 3 times the energy trying to kill off my cancer, and it just depletes my body of energy to do physical labor.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2280
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
178
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Travis Johnson wrote:
I know sheep, and I know steel



You also know how to communicate effectively, and inspirationally. Don't play down those skills; they are sought after in the workplace.
 
J Davis
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: East tn
56
hugelkultur foraging homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Your farm resume is a business resume.

Purchasing
Logistics
Operations
Safety
Project management

Tell your story with confidence. Its a good one.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3105
Location: Toronto, Ontario
380
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You know sheep and steel like I know print finishing. Perhaps I flatter myself more than a little, but you know what I mean.

J Davis is right. You've been running your own business. I think that you can't see the full extent of the value of that because all the hats you're wearing block the view.

I know you're already on a path to retraining and working, but it just occurred to me to wonder if you had considered seeing if there's money in working in consulting farm operations. I mean, your successful legal battle with the USDA (if I remember correctly) proves your familiarity with issues that crop up, and the analysis and planning you needed to do just to figure out the right answers for your property prove your familiarity with asking the hard questions, and taking large steps to answer them.

I think it may be possible for you to help a lot of farmers in your state and elsewhere, promote resilient and rehabilitative practices, if not permaculture by name, and get paid to do it.

But good luck. I hope you find a solution that you can get excited about.

-CK
 
Posts: 800
Location: Bendigo , Australia
32
dog homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis, would it be possible with your skill st to assist others who have the physical strength and you have the experience and brains.

I am aware not many want to pay for consultants, but if you could build a group of customers who can have you onboard for time to understand what they are doing, it may work.
There may be too long between stints, but if you could build it up, you may get lucky.
Look at Joe saladen, [ I think], he started small once.
 
Posts: 48
Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis,  
Don't rule out working for a company that furnishes third party inspectors.  The money is very good--the downside is that they are still putting in the long hours.  Several of the men I used to weld with went that route.  It might involve more travel than you'd want now though.  
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 3966
912
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I talked with that guy running that program yesterday, and it went very well. He wants to take some time and really explore what the best fit for me would be. One such avenue he would like to look into is, changing my farm from sheep farming, to something more profitable, and it being something I could do. He is going to see if there is a program for that. I know there are, Maine is an Agribility State so that program might be able to work, and the USDA has low interest loans for those sorts of things too. because of how the USDA works, it would require essentially a feasibility, or a profitability study, which kind of sucks to go through, but ensures what I envision would be profitable. I want through this once on a sheep expansion and the profit margins were just so low, that it did not make sense to do.

But there is another way to do the same thing, and that is work a real job, and then take some of the profit from that and make the farm change. That kind of sucks because then the farm goes back to Hobby Farm Status, but by starting new with a clean slate, I can add the parts in as it grows again raising new crops, in my case,, probably small grains.

As for what that "real job" would be, he wants to take some time and explore what the best fit would be, maybe spend some money on me, and get me in that ideal job. It is going to take some commitment on my part, mostly in the form of time, but I am not doing much. I cut wood for the first time in two years yesterday, and it went pretty well. I was not even shy. The first tree I cut was a 36 inch White Pine...no sense breaking myself in on cutting little trees first! (LOL)
 
Posts: 1975
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys are starting out on another new, exciting adventure. Very excited for you! I've been listening to Dr. Wayne Dyre a lot and he says that Peace comes in accepting the constant and change is the constant. Easier said than done but I'm confident ya'll will find peace in this change.
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 3966
912
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:You guys are starting out on another new, exciting adventure. Very excited for you! I've been listening to Dr. Wayne Dyre a lot and he says that Peace comes in accepting the constant and change is the constant. Easier said than done but I'm confident ya'll will find peace in this change.



There is no doubt that Katie and I embrace change. In this case it was rather forced upon us, but it is good I suppose.

The Career Coach I am working with is leaning towards me becoming a manager of some sort, and when asked what my income needs were, he was shocked that it is pretty much zero because Katie will be working soon, and because we are pretty much debt free. Since managers do pretty well fiscally, it would be interesting on where some of that money could go.

Obviously, a lot will go to charity, but I have thought about making our Rock the Flock event so much better. We rent or borrow a lot of stuff to make that happen, and it would be nice to be able to eliminate some of that, and have things permanently set up. Things like changing rooms, bathrooms, a permanent stage, vendor booths, and an outdoor kitchen. And that is hardly silly stuff for a one-time event because we could easily have weddings here, and have come really close to having some several times.
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
Posts: 3966
912
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
But I also thought about doing something else. On my off-days like vacations, holidays and weekends, taking some of my implement ideas, and making prototypes.

Like the other night, I could not sleep, so I got up and had a drink of apple cider. Within a half hour I had an idea for a farm implement that would pick the apples off the trees and then process it into cider. It would be like how a combine processes grain, instead of taking the apples to the cider mill, my envisioned machine processes the picked apples right there and then, and later it off loads the liquid cider for pasteurization and bottling.

Or maybe I could build that new combine I designed that has only two moving parts in order to thresh.

If these ideas work, and work well with a prototype, I could patent and sell them. In that way I would not so much be maiking money off producing machines, but just rather selling my implment concepts. i do think outside of the box a lot. It takes money to build these kind of things, so working in an off-farm job, that would allow me to exercise my brain for agriculture, without getting into the physical work (that I cannot do).
 
John C Daley
Posts: 800
Location: Bendigo , Australia
32
dog homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like a good idea.
 
See where your hand is? Not there. It's next to this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!