The Farm Report

      59 Comments on The Farm Report

Chareva has been spending her days overseeing the renovations at the farm while I’ve been spending mine working as a contract programmer to pay for them.  Yesterday we took a trip out there so I could see the progress.

Much of the inside of the house is still in the demolition phase, so it looks like this:

When we bought the house, the basement (which was moldy) had a garage door leading out to the driveway, and that garage door was covered with huge burglar bars.

Pretty much everything in the basement has since been ripped out and is being rebuilt.

We replaced the garage door with a wall, a door and a window.

The bad news is that a county inspector declared that the septic system had to be replaced.  From what we were told, this particular inspector never met a septic system he didn’t think required replacing.  The consensus opinion (excluding the inspector’s) is that the existing system could have merely been cleared out.  But since the inspector could hold up the renovation permits (another reason I just looooove government), we had to hire a crew to tear up what was once a beautiful front yard.

Not that the girls minded …

So I’ll be spending part of this year re-seeding our new dirt field.

The last time I visited the farm, the pastures looked like this.

A few days ago, Chareva hired this guy to drive his bush-hog around the property.

So now the pastures look like pastures.

We were surprised to learn that the back pasture has a pretty serious slope to it.  When it was covered with tall weeds, it looked relatively flat.  Nope.

My plans for paleo-type exercise after we move to the farm include sprinting around the land.  Sprinting up those slopes will no doubt get the ol’ muscles working.

At the lowest point on the land there’s a creek bed, which is currently dry.  (That will probably change this week, when the rains from tropical storm Lee reach Tennessee.)

The girls love walking around the creek and exploring.  I followed them for a while yesterday, until Sara yelled, “Look, Daddy!  There’s a skunk up ahead!”  At that point, I encouraged them to conclude the expedition.

There’s still plenty of work to be done on the land.  There are barbed-wire fences all over the place, which I’m going to have torn down.

There are also some dead trees we need to have removed, such as this one, which fell over at some point and put the hurt on one of the hurricane fences.  I plan to replace the hurricane fences with wood fences anyway, so no big deal.

Sara has a risk-taker’s personality, which can be both good and bad.  Two of her favorite phrases, in order, are “Watch this!”…  followed by “I’m okay.”  Yesterday, she decided it would be fun to swing from one of the branches on the dead tree.  I warned her that the dead branch could snap and she could end up landing on her butt.

Just about the time she was finished disputing my analysis of the situation …

She then punctuated her usual declaration of “I’m okay” with a little victory pose.

As usual, the girls protested when we told them it was time to leave, which I take as a good sign.  They’re going to love living out there with their own little wilderness to explore.

Since it was after 5:00 p.m. when we left, we stopped at our local Chipotle grill for dinner.  For those who believe low-carb diets work by boring people into eating less because the food is tasteless, I invite you to take a look at my dinner.  That’s a big ol’ portion of lettuce, shredded beef, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, onions, peppers, hot sauce and shredded cheese, with a small scoop of pinto beans tossed in.

It was delicious.  It was also quite satiating.  I didn’t go to bed until nearly 2:00 a.m., and even though there was plenty of palatable food in the refrigerator, I had no desire to go looking for a late-night snack – because eight hours later, I wasn’t the least bit hungry.


59 thoughts on “The Farm Report

  1. FatHeadFan

    Farm is looking good. Loved the movie (as you can see in my name).

    BTW, I’m a programmer too! I’m curious as to what kind of software do you write and what your language of choice is? (I’m mostly a Java web guy these days)

    C#.NET, VB.NET, SQL Server, and lately some DB2, since BMI is still running their operation on ancient mainframes.

  2. nonegiven

    DH trapped 8 skunks from under our house (we live in town.) I could have strangled him for taking them out in the country and turning them loose, I thought he should have drowned them in the pond. When he sees one while hunting or plowing or whatever, he always shoots it.

    My DS is a programmer. He said during his interviews with various companies they almost all seemed to be quite interested in his Python experience.

  3. emi11n

    I’m a little disturbed at the number of comments conveying a ‘shoot all the varmints’ attitude. At the risk of being labeled a tree-hugger, may I suggest a less militant stance? Bear in mind that this is their land as much as it is ours, they are native and they belong here, and killing every potential pest or threat is cruel and wasteful. Bear in mind, I am not suggesting that you allow copperheads to live in your woodpile or skunks under the house. If an animal presents a real threat, you should certainly protect yourself and your family. I absolutely agree with destroying skunks that are active during the day. This also goes for raccoons, which are prone to distemper as well as rabies. If you need to kill a snake that is near your house, go ahead– your girls’ safety is obviously the most important thing. But if you come upon a snake in the woods, leave it alone (that’s where they’re SUPPOSED to be) likewise, there’s no need to kill a non-diseased animal. And for gosh sakes, please kill them HUMANELY whever possible. Cut off/crush the snake’s head with an axe, shoot the skunk, etc. Go for the method that kills quickly(how would YOU like to be drowned?) After all, it’s really not THEIR fault we don’t like them, they are what nature has made them to be. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we should have respect for the land and the animals in it, and when they come in conflict with us, we should attempt nonlethal solutions first when possible. They’re just trying to survive and get by same as we are. You all should study up on snake identification so you know which ones aren’t dangerous– if they’re not venomous you should never kill them(we don’t have any dangerous nonvenomous snakes). You might want to get yourself a long snake hook or snake tongs for wrangling any snakes that wind up where you don’t want them. Even if it’s a copperhead, these could be useful if you need to keep it from getting away before you can kill it. Oh, and in case no one has mentioned it Tom, NEVER attempt to pick up a severed snake head by hand. They are capable of biting and envenomating for at least an hour after death, and I wouldn’t take any chances.

    I appreciate the warning on snake heads. There’s a big forest behind us, and I have no intention of going in there to kill snakes or anything else. But if I see a copperhead hanging around the house, it’s a goner. Same if a coyote goes after the chickens when we get them. I also kill wasps whenever I get the chance because I have a theory (based on experience) that my picture was passed around in the wasp community after the wasp spiritual leader issued a fatwa on me.

    My wife found a baby snake in one of the bathtubs this week. I’m hoping that’s just because parts of the house are currently torn up, making for easy entry. If I find myself taking a bath with snake, it will spark another “scream like a girl” incident — like the one that began when a wasp went after me in the shower.

  4. nonegiven

    Skunks are hard to shoot, they look big but it’s mostly fur and they’ll spray. Drowning in the trap, at least it can’t spray, as long as the trap is small enough it can’t raise its tail. It’s a miracle DH was able to let them all out of the trap without getting sprayed. The people I feel sorry for are the folks living in the country near where he turned them loose, they will probably have skunks move in under their house, since most of them were born under one. This is a rural community and he just passed our problem along to other people, not much different than people dumping their unwanted pets near a farm house. I know I’d be pissed if someone let 8 skunks loose near my property.

  5. Peter Hill

    That creek bed shot looks like a Renoir painting! Tom you might eventually refer to yourself as a “Gentleman Farmer”. Or “Country Squire”, perhaps.

    Since part of the plan is to have chickens, I’ll refer to myself as The Egg Man, koo-koo-ka-choo.

  6. emi11n


    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your perspective. I do understand it can be extremely difficult to shoot a ball of black fur that shoots nasty chemical weapons at you. I sure couldn’t do it, I have terrible aim no matter the weapon. Skunks are kind of a special case since they can shoot back! I know sometimes It’s just not possible to be humane, I just wanted to introduce that thought into the discussion, because we should treat animals humanely whenever possible. Of course they can’t always be released. I agree 100% it does no good to deposit nuisance wildlife in someone else’s neighborhood. There has to be an appropriate location.

    Tom, I have no argument with you killing copperheads near your house or coyotes attacking your stock. As I said before, the highest priority is to protect yourself and your animals. And I’m with you on killing wasps. I myself kill brown recluse spiders whenever I find them(it’s always inside a building so it is just self-defense ^__^) Seriously, get snake tongs, they will be great for removing snakes from the tub…even if you plan to kill the snake. (Much better to take it outside to kill.) There may be ways to protect your animals without killing many predators, though… check out the Idiots guide to raising chickens, it talks about a farm that got tired of losing hens. They got rid of their coop and bred a chicken that lives free on their farm. These Black Walnut chickens roost in the trees. They’re black so the predators can’t see them well at night. And spread out as they are, nothing can swoop in and kill them all. Something to consider. I bet your girls would have fun finding the hens’ nests. And if you get the goats or sheep you’ve mentioned before, you might think about getting a llama to guard them. A llama will stomp to death any coyote that shows its face, and it can live with the flock and eat the same food. Look up guard lllamas online, it’s a neat idea.

    Someone else also told me donkeys are good protection. Never would’ve expected that.

  7. emi11n

    Yes, donkeys hate canines. I’ve heard stories from a co-worker that her donkey even goes nuts if deer come in the pasture. He’ll bray and chase them. You have to get a large donkey though, not a mini.

    I read last night that donkeys can be problem if you have a dog, which we will.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Our IP provider had to move the site a month ago. I guess not all the images made it over. I’ll give them a shout.


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