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Opportunity oftens comes disguised as hard work.  RSS feed

 
Ellen Schwab
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Yes, this is real. No, it is not too good to be true. Yes, it is a lot of hard work. No, I am not that old, but I got the sucky genes.

Older woman with 171 hilly, organic acres and 40 head of 100% grass fed uncertified Angus cattles seeks young couple to take over chores, split profits, manage the household, and eventually inherit the farm. Many more projects could be added to the farm. I have all hay making equipment, the smallest combine Gleaner made, and every kitchen gadget imaginable, and some unimaginable.

I am looking to retire, sit on the porch a lot, pretend I am helping some, train my dogs and walk in the woods. I am going to do that one way or the other. I would hate to see the farm left fallow. I am offering room and board and an opportunity to make money as a full time organic farmer. Some knowledge of gardening and from scratch cooking would be helpful as well as some mechanical and husbandry skills. Everything can be learned, but you must be smart, hard working, observant and dedicated. I have some seed money and/or additional project funding.

The farm is currently grass based with cattle and sheep. There is plenty of room ~ and it would be good for the soil and bugs ~ to add poultry and fowl. The land is gently rolling with a few flat spots for gardens and crops. I have lovely high tensil fence. Joel Salatin/rotational grazing/organic/sustainable practices are non negotiable. No tabacco. No illegal drugs. No religious zealots. Almost everything else is negotiable.

Located in SE Ohio, we have a decent growing season, nice rain fall, good access to upscale markets, good schools, and no zoning. AuntEllenSFarm.com

If you are hard workers, can commit to getting things done and want to farm ~ this might be the lotto win. 740 _343_ 3255 AuntEllens @ Aol . com



 
Miles Flansburg
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Nice offer Ellen, I hope you find a good fit to help you out.

My family always jokes that we don't have a gene pool but a cesspool
 
Ellen Schwab
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Nice offer Ellen, I hope you find a good fit to help you out.

My family always jokes that we don't have a gene pool but a cesspool




Thanks, Miles. I think it can definitely be a win win situation ~ which it has to be to be sustainable.

And . . . even the cess pool has some good bugs in it. <wink>

I am very hopeful, but I also realize I am looking for a unique couple. They have to be smart and want to farm, sustainably and organically. I also want a small mix of homesteading along with farming for profit. My offer is not a sum total ride to easy street, but it is a great boost for someone who wants to get started living green as well as providing great food to others.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Pity your farm is not near here in France

David
 
Ellen Schwab
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David Livingston wrote:Pity your farm is not near here in France


Don't tease me, now! <G> SE Ohio is quite lovely in weather and scenery. The ground is mostly rolling with a few very steep sections.

Ellen
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Ellen Schwab wrote: SE Ohio is quite lovely in weather and scenery. The ground is mostly rolling with a few very steep sections.

Ellen


SE Ohio is indeed quite lovely. I am quite fond of those hills. Family brought me to the west coast & moving back east isn't an option, but the opportunity sounds like a good one.

Adult adoption is a common pattern in Japan when there are no heirs. The adopted children work the family business and eventually take over the business and household. My wife's aunt is such a case. She started working for the family when she came from Tokyo as a young adult, and maybe 35 years later took over the family business, and then cared for her adopted parents in their later years. She is now in her 70's and will likely adopt a young adult - if she can find anyone with the falling birth rate in Japan.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. Sounds like win-win for the right people.
 
Matu Collins
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Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Sounds like a beautiful farm and an amazing opportunity! How will you go about choosing the couple and handing the farm down to them? It seems like a big decision. What if someone changes their mind?

I have enough farm for now, but your kitchen full of implements sounds intriguing...
 
Ellen Schwab
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[quote=Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Adult adoption is a common pattern in Japan when there are no heirs. The adopted children work the family business and eventually take over the business and household. My wife's aunt is such a case. She started working for the family when she came from Tokyo as a young adult, and maybe 35 years later took over the family business, and then cared for her adopted parents in their later years. She is now in her 70's and will likely adopt a young adult - if she can find anyone with the falling birth rate in Japan.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. Sounds like win-win for the right people.


Thank you, Jonathan. It has to be a win win or it won't last . . . and yes, it is like an adoption. So many options on how it can work. The farm could give them quite a boost toward self sufficiency and income and thier youth and vitality could contribute to my quality of life.

Ellen
 
Ellen Schwab
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Matu,

It is very scenic and beautiful. You can see pictures at AuntEllenSFarm.com. We have just enough of every season to keep us thankful for the change and not enough to make us sick of it. Overall, pretty moderate weather with an occassional snow storm or week of 99+ degrees and 99% humidity just to remind us how easy we usually have it.

I am looking at resumes and doing phone interviews. There are not as many applicants as you would think ~ and there are not nearly as many qualified applicants as I would think. Farming is such an intense live style versus just a job. I am looking for people who are smart, obeservant and dedicated. If they have no clue who Joel Salatin is ~ mentioned in my first post ~ and didn't bother to look him up, I kinda think they would not bother to pay attention to the cows or the grass or the weather.

Less than 1% of the population currently farms ~ and the vast majority of those are not organic, so the pool of people who want to work 7 days a week, 365 days of the year is just not that large. Of course, spring and fall are the busy times, and there are a lot less chores in the winter, so we do get some 'breaks', but basically animals eat every day, and have to be checked even in that occassional snow storm. Smart, dedicated people can usually find a more lucrative, less demanding career. Small scale, organic farmers have to do thier best to be thier own mechanic, veterinarian, meteorologist, marketer, trucker, carpenter, electrician and manager. Any one of those careers probably pays better with less hours. Wait, I am suppose to be talking people into applying, not out . . . but that is a major issue, to be successful at small scale farming, you have to be at the least competent in a lot of areas. And, on top of that, you have to be willing to do a lot of hard physical mundane work ~ in the mud or the snow or the rain or the blistering heat.

It takes a real love for the process to do all that for less pay than you could get elsewhere.

The beautiful vibrant green days of spring and the glorious riot of colorful fall days are priceless. And, there is great beauty in seeing the pasture covered in a blanket of crisp white sparkling snow. Old farm equipment works with half the pieces missing. Seeing it work with all the pieces all tuned and aligned correctly is awesome. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the last bale of hay stuffed into a burgeoning barn, unless it a new born calf standing for the first time, or a group of lambs racing up and down the pasture, just because they can. Or the first robin in the spring. Or the new sprouts of grass popping out after a cold winter. Or finally seeing the correct number of black cows in fog so dense, you have to be 10 feet from them. Or hearing the baler kachunk kachunk in perfect rythme and seeing the bales slide out with 2 strings on the right places at the right tension. There are so many small victories every day ~ and so many chances to fail.

And, if the pool of the people who can and want to is not small enough . . . they have to like me ~ cuz I plan to stick around for a while ~ and everything I do will affect them ~ my sense of humor, my sense of priority, my method of communicating, my method of dealing with shit that happens . . . and I have to like them because all thier quirks and fobiles will have to mesh with my quirks and fobiles.

So while the chances of finding a perfect couple, who wants to farm and has room in thier hearts for bossy perfectionist is pretty slim, if I don't try . . . they probably won't fall from the sky.

There is some risk on both sides. There is a lot of room for negotiation. IMO, it is a tremendous opportunity, but, as I said, opportunity often comes disguised as hard work, so the first screening is for me to be convinced they can and want to be serious farmer/homesteaders. The flip side is they have to be convinced that a reasonable living is possible and that they can get along under along well under my thumb. <G>


 
Ellen Schwab
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I don't want to make farming seem 'all bad;', because it isn't. <G> There is plenty of opportunity to do chores as a family, or with children, and in the early spring and late fall, it absolutely glorious to be outside with the children fixing fence, tagging cattle, exploring the creeks and hillsides, just soaking in the beauty. And, in the winter, it is lovely to spend a week in the woods around the evaportor making maple syrup. In the summer, it's very satisfying to see the hay pile growing and growing. Hard work, but a real sense of accomplishment and satidfaction at knowing the animals will be very well fed. And, there are many many opportunities to teach children that hard work pays off, and set backs are not the end of the world.

If people are not scared off by the amount of work & weather, in the interview I weed them out on attitude and 'reactions' Smoking, pot and religion seem to be pretty major 'idealogy' deal breakers. I am spiritual and very grateful. I am honest, kind, moral, compassionate and ethical. I am not a supporter of organized religion. I am an omnivore and this is a meat farm. The sad fact is, I raise animals to eat thier babies. Killing them is not the best part of the job, but it is a part of the job. Even though I haul them to the slaughter house and someone else actually does the deed, I am still responsible.

I will not budge on organic. Not even a little 'seven' for the personal garden. Not even a little weed killer around the fences because it's sooooooo much easier. No. It's not negotiable. Not even a little somethign 'no one would ever know about'. No. Organic is not a sliding scale. It is more work. It's also a commitment to myself, to my land, to the planet ~ even if I am the only one doing it and no one else cares or notices. And, I do not plan to spend my life arguing with anyone over the nuances. If they are pushing easier chemicals in the interview . . . I suspect I should pass.

On the other side of the scale, a farm has to make a profit to be sustainable. There will always be a balance point between 'damage' and 'use' of the land and profit. I work hard to keep the damage repairable, to keep building soil, to keep making the farm 'better'. We all have different ideas about what is better. Trees have a life span. I try to harvest them just before they would die of 'natural causes' or when they are at the peak of thier value. I do not clear cut, but I do harvest trees. I like the portions of my woods that are 'park like' and open. I also have spaces for brush and wildlife, but the whole farm is not a refuge. I do not allow 4 wheelers. I have allowed bull dozers and back hoes, and I do use a mechanical tractor. I do drive the tractor and truck all over the farm, but I make an effort to stay on the lanes. I do use a tiller in my personal garden.

I do not yet have a manure collection system for winter feeding. I do not yet have buried water lines. I do not have a barn. I drink raw milk, and do not vaccinate my animals, but I do beleive in vacinating humans. That said, I do recognize parental rights to make those decisions. I beleive in critical thinking. There are never easy 100% right decisions. If they are uniformed on any of these issues, I suspect I should pass. If thier logic in any of these issues is flawed, I pass. Now, flawed does not mean disagree with me, it means consistent. So, someone serving me chicken dinner while spouting that they could never kill an animal . . has flawed logic because I seriously doubt this chicken died of natural causes before it was wrapped in cellophane for sale at the grocery store. Someone somewhere killed this chiken on purpose, and in fact was paid to do so . . by the person serving it.

As you can see, I talk a lot. Non stop. All day, every day. If you value quiet and contemplation, this is not the place for you. Contemplation, yes. Exploration of issues, yes. Actions that match your logic and decisions, yes. Clear cut, easy, one right way . . . not here.

Even though this would be a very small intentional community, intentional family, intentional partnership . . . whatever it can be called, I want it to be peaceful, even if noisy and loud. And, yes, I think there can be rambunctious peace. I am looking for a couple or small group, who will benefit from what is here and share those benefits with me. Someone who will build on what is already here.

Ellen


 
C. Measom
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Ellen,

Your place sounds great. My family and I would love the opportunity to learn more about you and your land. We are a young couple (I'm 29 my wife is 26) and we have two young kids. We have been fascinated with permaculture and aquaponics for a few years now. being a renter and living in a high cold climate has prevented us from getting much hands on experience. If you are at all interested in hearing more about us or if you have any questions please let us know.

Thanks
The Measoms
 
Ellen Schwab
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I am not interested in aquaponics, so it depends on how strong your interest and intent is for aquapoinics. I am interested in smart, dedicated, observant, hard working people. Farming skills can be learned. I like kids, but my house is not child friendly, YET. In my ideal scenario, you will be 20-25, and kids will come along in 5 years . . . but I am open to all situations that are win win for both of us. I do not have children ~ but I am very ready to be a grandma. The neighbor kids all love to come over and help. Becoming a grandma is not a requirement, but it would certainly be a plus. I do have 4 Australian Cattle Dogs. They are good with kids. 2 of my dogs were nationally ranked in herding and 4 have been ranked for obedience. I hope to have more time to work with my up and comer, as I think she is the best dog, yet. I am interested in talking to anyone who is intelligent, sane, mature, hard working, dedicated and able to commit to projects. Skills can be learned. Ellen
 
C. Measom
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Ellen,

Thank you for the feedback. It seems like we are just out of your ideal scenario but keep us in mind. I am a very dedicated worker and I take pride in anything I put my name on. I am willing to put in as much work as needed to get my family into a more sustainable situation. As I stated before we have little experience but a huge hunger to learn and better ourselves each day. We have came to the conclusion that working land and raising livestock is going to be the best way for us to give our kids a future. Again thank you for your time and If you would like to know anything about us please us me know. Good luck in your search.

The Measoms
 
Ellen Schwab
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I am not expecting to get the ideal . . . but I have to aim somewhere.

I am open to any scenario that would work and be sustainable. "Volunteers" are not sustainable, because everyone eventually needs a pay check and something of thier own. Ellen
 
Mike Cantrell
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Aunt Ellen,

It'll happen! What you've written is so persuasively charming and candid that SURELY what you're hoping for will happen for you.

I'm not your guy, but I'm doing my little part to spread the word and find you the right heirs. In fact, just as I type this, I had a new thought. I've spent a little time at Tillers International (www.tillersinternational.org), an outfit here in Michigan with which you'd have a lot of common ground (they keep a subscription to Stockman Grass Farmer, for example). Tillers trains a handful of interns each year, interns with various backgrounds and various plans, but SOME of whom might fit in with you. At least maybe. In any case, that's the best source of candidates I can think of- if they're sticking with their Tillers internship to the end, then they got the 7-days-a-week stamina you were talking about, not to mention real experience growing and selling food, fixing fences and machines, getting stung by nettles, bees, and constructive criticism (ok, that's mostly a joke, but only mostly), delivering foals/calves/lambs, etc, etc. Plus, if they're off doing an internship, it pretty well means they DON'T have a farm of their own yet, but want one.

I'm going to drop a line to the Coordinator over there with a link to this thread. Maybe she'll say "Ah! I know just the person!" (If you find yourself inclined to talk to them yourself, the phones and emails are on the webpage there.)

Best of luck!
Mike
 
Ellen Schwab
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Thank you, Mike! I contacted Tillers, and got a few more places to contact. I am going to tough it out until spring and then re-evaluate. I love my little farm and will be staying, but I am going to have to sell off livestock or cut back somehow. I hate to go 'backwards', but I am not enjoying it any more and need to make some changes. I hate to see the land be unproductive, but I guess there are worse things. Thanks for passing the word. Ellen
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