Ron Cook

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since Feb 11, 2020
Certified organic farmer, beekeeper, Cotton Patch Goose breeder, Heavy Hitter Okra Seed Developer. 5 acre homesteader, making the most of what little we have.
Tahlequah, Oklahoma
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Recent posts by Ron Cook

There is a good reason blueberries are so expensive.  they are hard as heck to grow and to keep alive.
5 months ago
(My Thoughts on Outdoor Kitchens.)

I used to work up near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, back in the mid- 1980s.  The Amish and Mennonites around there, cooked inside Summer Kitchens, built separately from their homes, so their houses would not get over-heated in the summer months. Some were more Spartan than others, but all were separate from the main house.

There and then, I said to myself, "I'm gonna build a Summer Kitchen someday."

It took me until 2012 to get it done.  I started construction back in 2009.  It took me three-years to complete, as I didn't want to borrow money, so I just set aside $200.00 each month to buy building materials.  Some things, like the concrete slab, cost almost $1,000 so things like that took several months to save for.

It took a long time to accomplish, but it was money well spent.  I built it 14' feet by 26' feet, so we could host Thanksgiving dinners and Birthday celebrations out there.  My only regret is that I didn't build it 16' feet wide (that extra 2' feet of space would make all the difference, once I got cabinets on the walls.  We use it way more than I ever expected we would.  I put a commercial stove, a commercial refrigerator, and a commercial freezer out there.  It makes great storage for items that we've caught on sale over the years.  and when we need two ovens for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it sure frees up a lot of kitchen space, so my wife and I can cook and not be stepping on one another's toes all day long.

5 months ago
Rabbit fur is high in nitrogen, so it is good to mix with compost.
7 months ago

I used to have the same dream.  I worked construction and lived in 16 different States; following the big jobs from powerhouses, to papermills, to Chemical Plants, to oil Refineries, to Car Plants, to State Prisons, to 'you name it.'  At about 42-years of age, I discovered I wasn't as young as I used to be and I made the decision to sell everything and move away from the big cities I had hated for the past 22-years.  I bought a small, 3 bedroom, brick Indian house, in Oklahoma, that had been foreclosed on and I lease 4 additional acres adjacent to it. (total of 5 acres).  I took up teaching school as a substitute teacher and went back to college to earn my Teaching Degree.  I quit working construction and taught a country school of about 200 kids from pre-K to 12th grade.  (That gave me summers off, to garden and to sell produce).

I grew up on a 210-acre farm, so 5 acres felt like a postage stamp at first, but as I get older (59-years) I start to realize that 5-acres is all a person really needs.  I have a drilled well with excellent water.  I have an outhouse in case we ever need it for power outages (which happens occasionally). I have a hog pen, a hen house full f laying hens, and a flock of Cotton Patch Geese.  I have an orchard, I have a hand planted berry patch, and a quarter-acre Certified Organic Garden.  We used to heat with wood only, but as we cleared more and more timber, we resorted to using mostly propane, because we wanted to keep plenty of shade trees.  

We grow enough produce in our organic garden to sell surplus at the Tahlequah Farmers' Market twice per week in the summertime.  We also supply 9 local restaurants with slicing tomatoes.  We used to supply Tahlequah City Hospital with all of their organic produce for cancer patients, but they changed owners and stopped buying from small farms.  Over the years, I have made enough money doing this to pay for two zero-turn John Deere riding mowers, a 2004 GMC farm truck, and a 2011 Massey Ferguson tractor, plus a Plasticulture Mulch Layer, a Bush hog 3 point tiller, and a brush hog for my tractor.  I have also built an on-site Farm Processing Kitchen, where we do all our canning and butchering. Plus, I've developed my own variety of okra, called, "Heavy Hitter Okra."  I sell seeds each winter through our at-home-farm-store.

Sure, it's a lot of hard work, but what else are you going to do in life?  Life is hard all around, no matter where you live.  You've just gotta choose your own conditions.  Living in the country is a dream come true!  We live 12 miles from the nearest town and have a wonderful local country Church were only about a dozen people attend, but there is such peace here that we will never leave.  I say, "Follow your dream ..."
8 months ago