We Bought The Farm

      293 Comments on We Bought The Farm

First off, I’d like to thank The Older Brother for once again taking over the sandbox while I was tied up with moving.  It’s fun to read the Fat Head blog and laugh out loud for a change.  (I don’t laugh while writing, or while reading what I’ve written.)

I’d also like to thank him for creating a new word that I hope will become part of the paleo-blogger vernacular:  vegetrollian.  Perfect.

Now for the big news, starting with the short version:

As of 10:00 a.m. this morning, when the closing documents were filed, we officially became the proud owners of a 5.7-acre mini-farm here in Franklin, TN.

Yeee-haaah!

I’ve been dying to tell y’all about it for weeks, but heard enough horror stories about real-estate deals falling apart the last minute that I decided to wait until the deal was all signed, sealed and delivered.  We visited the property with Amy Dungan and her family while they were here a few weeks back, but I swore her to secrecy.

I said in my last post that we were moving this week and then moving again in about three months.  That’s because the house on the property needs some significant renovations, so we had to move into an apartment while they’re underway.  If all goes well, we’ll become small-time farmers – or least people living on a small farm – around the end of October.

Now for the long version.  (Seriously, it’s long.  You may want to get a cup of coffee or a cold drink before continuing.)

———————————————————————

Not long after we moved here two years ago, Chareva began dreaming of owning enough land to raise chickens and perhaps some goats or sheep.  One of the many reasons I love Franklin is that owning a few acres isn’t an impossible dream here … in fact, it’s quite possible.  Drive away from downtown Franklin or one of the subdivisions, and within a minute or two you’re looking at small farms and ranches, many of which are situated between residential areas.  Multi-acre properties that would require movie-star money anywhere near Los Angeles are fairly common around here.

Owning land wasn’t an impossible dream, but nonetheless felt like a distant one until recently.  Back in May, I told the owner of the house we were renting that we’d sign for another year when our lease expires on August 1st.  My plan was to save up a decent down-payment and go looking for a property next spring.

Part of the reason I set my sights on next year is that when we bought our house in Burbank 10 years ago, I learned that if you’re self-employed, mortgage bankers calculate your income based largely on the average of  your previous two tax returns.  We incurred some big fat production expenses for Fat Head in 2009, which pushed my adjusted income close to the official poverty level.  Business in 2010 was pretty good, but averaged together with 2009, the resulting income figure wouldn’t exactly make a mortgage banker stand up and uncork the champagne.  So I figured next year would be our soonest opportunity to buy some land.

In early June, our landlord changed all my figuring by telling us a friend of a friend was interested in buying the house and wanted to come by for a look.  Suddenly we were facing the possibility of having to move in August whether or not it fit our plans.  Chareva had been regularly checking for multi-acre properties online for some time (mostly just to indulge her dream) and told me a 5.7-acre mini-farm that seemed ridiculously under-priced had just been listed the day before.  She called our next-door-neighbor, who happens to a realtor, and said we wanted to see the property.

As we walked around the land and through the house the next day, I understood why it was under-priced:  the elderly widow living there hadn’t maintained much of anything for a long time.  The land was overgrown with waist-high weeds – even some of the fences were obscured.  Every room in the house needed painting, every floor needed refinishing, many of the fixtures needed replacing, and the whole place smelled like dirt, dog hair, and mold.

So you can imagine my surprise when we got in the van to leave and Chareva said, “I love it.  I want it.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I’m serious.  It’s a fixer-upper.  You have to picture what it can be, not what it is.”

“Yeah, well, maybe.  Sherry has a couple of other places on her list we should probably look at before—“

“No, this is the one.”

“You feel that strongly about it?”

“Yes.  It’s worth way more than she’s asking, and if we don’t put in an offer right away, someone else will snap it up.”

I was reminded of something Dave Ramsey said in his financial seminar:  Guys, when your wife gets one of “those feelings,” you’d better listen, because she’s probably right.

It occurred to me then that while the girls and I were walking around the property with our realtor, Chareva had disappeared for awhile.  Turns out she’d been talking to Barbara – the owner – and they’d bonded immediately.  Chareva explained why she wanted a small farm, how it had been her dream since moving to Tennessee.  Barbara shared her own stories of raising chickens and goats.  Before we left, Barbara told Chareva she felt like they could be long-lost relatives.

The next day we went to see a mortgage banker at Wells Fargo who, much to my surprise, didn’t laugh out loud when he examined the 2009 tax return along with our other financial records.  In fact, he looked at my software sales for the year so far, plus the license fees from Netflix, the PayPal DVD sales, etc., and said, “You know, your income sources are kind of unusual, but I think maybe I can make this work for you.”  He wrote a letter stating that in his opinion, we were qualified to buy the property.  That’s not the same as getting a loan approved – just an initial opinion allowing us to make a good-faith offer.

That afternoon, our realtor called.  Someone else had already made an offer on the property, just as Chareva predicted.  So Chareva violated the usual etiquette of real-estate transactions by calling Barbara directly.  Please put in your own offer, Barbara said.  I want you to have this farm.  I feel like it’s supposed to be yours.  I won’t accept the other offer until I hear from you.

So we called our realtor and she came over to draw up the offer, even though we didn’t yet have loan approval from Wells Fargo.

For the next few days, I worried that Chareva would be crushed if the bank turned us down.  She’s emotionally resilient, but definitely had her heart set on the mini-farm – and I mean this one in particular, not just any ol’ mini-farm.  It wasn’t so much the house as the property that grabbed her.  Other five-acre properties she’d seen online were either all flat pasture or nearly all forested.  But this one consisted of three distinct pastures, a small creek, some hills, and some forested area with huge trees.  The surrounding area is mostly forest and hills.  It’ll be gorgeous when the leaves turn in the autumn.  Best of all, the property is only 10 minutes from downtown Franklin and three minutes from the Gentry Farm, which raises and sells grass-fed beef.

We finally got the call from our realtor on a Friday night, just after Amy Dungan and her family arrived for a weekend visit.  Yes, Barbara had accepted our offer, and yes, Wells Fargo had approved the loan – in fact, they also approved a renovation loan to go with it so we could begin fixing up the house immediately after closing.  I was delighted to get the news while we had good friends in town for a visit.  I opened some wine for a toast.

The next Monday, our landlord emailed to say his potential buyer wasn’t interested in the house, so he’d draw up another year-long lease. I replied that we’d just gone under contract to buy another house, but we’d like to continue renting for a few extra months while the new house was being renovated.  He didn’t reply, so the next day I called him and made the same offer.  He said he was heading into a meeting, and but we’d work out the details later.

The next couple of weeks were a blur of inspections, meetings with contractors, meetings with the bank, calls to my accountant to pull files the bank needed, etc.  The first two contractors wanted more for the renovations than the bank had approved.  No go.  Then we learned that another neighbor’s brother is a contractor.  He came out for an inspection and showed us exactly what needs doing immediately, what can wait, and where we could save money by hiring his usual sub-contractors directly.  Then he turned in a bid the bank approved.

The big surprise came less than three weeks ago, when the landlord apparently forgot our conversation about extending the lease and announced that his new renters would be moving in on August 1st, so we should start making arrangements to leave.  My suspicious side says he didn’t want to turn me down on a month-to-month lease until he found another year-long renter, but he’s also a bit of a scatter-brain, so it’s possible he forgot.  Whatever.

So we spent the next couple of days looking around the area for an extended-stay hotel that wouldn’t cost a fortune and trying to figure out what the @#$% to do with our furniture and belongings for three months.  A hotel, hmmm … I love my girls, but I wasn’t looking forward to sharing what would amount to a studio apartment with them for three months.

Our realtor suggested we look at a nearby apartment complex that rents a few units on a short-term basis.  We dropped by the next day, and it turned out they had exactly one unit available that they could rent on a three-month lease.  The girls were thrilled to discover that the large complex includes two big pools and a playground.

We were relieved to find the apartment, but now instead of facing one move three months down the road, we were facing four moves:  some of the furniture and belongings to an apartment, most of it to some kind of storage facility, then from the apartment to the new house and from the storage facility to the new house after the renovations are finished.  It was a bit overwhelming, thinking about making all this happen with just over two weeks to go.

Now … (I warned you this was a long story) … back up two years.  When we left California, we got three quotes from moving companies.  The local Allied Van Lines quote came in significantly lower than the others, so we took that one.  The day of our move, the independent owner-operator they’d contracted with was clearly unhappy.  After two hours of picking up bad vibes, I asked him if something was bothering him.

It turned out the local Allied rep had under-estimated the contents of our house and therefore the cost, probably to ensure we’d go through them.  They get a commission, contract the work to a trucker, and they’re done.  Unfortunately, the bad estimate on how much truck space we’d require meant that Doug (the guy actually doing the move) and his crew would have to skip what was supposed to be their third pickup in California before heading east.

I asked Doug who ends up eating the loss in a situation like this.

“I do.”

“How much will you lose by skipping that third pickup?”

“Gross or profit?”

“Profit.  What’s this going to take out of your pocket?”

“Around five hundred bucks.”

“Okay, listen, Doug .. I’m not going to let you eat the cost of Allied’s mistake, so let’s not make this an issue between you and me.  You didn’t cause the problem, and I didn’t cause the problem.  Allied caused the problem, but I’ll make it up to you when we arrive in Tennessee.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m still getting a good deal on the move.”  His disposition changed immediately.

When I handed him the cash after the move, he told me he’d been screwed by moving-company estimators several times, but I was only the second customer ever who offered to make up the difference.  We parted on excellent terms.

So … faced with a sudden moving emergency, it occurred to me to call Doug, who lives maybe an hour from here.  Yes, he said, of course he remembered us.  Sure, he knew exactly what to do.  We’d put most of our belongings into PODS storage containers for the next three months.  He’d make arrangements with his own crews to conduct all four moves, and he’d give us a better deal than any of the moving companies.

And he did.  Two of the moves are already out the way.

We’ve been in the apartment since Monday.  It’s quite an adjustment, going from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment.  In the house, one of the bedrooms was my office.  In the apartment, my office is now one small desk in a corner of my bedroom.  I don’t even have my printer or business phone line hooked up yet.

But it’s all worth it.  The mini-farm will be fabulous someday … but getting from here to someday will require more work and more funds than we’re getting in the form of a renovation loan.  I’ll also be paying a mortgage, apartment rent, and storage-facility rent for the next three months.

Faced with these facts, I conducted a quick observational study that showed a fairly strong correlation between A) working and B) money.  Being a skeptic, I asked myself the usual questions:  could it be that B causes A?  That is, does having money cause work to appear?  No, I didn’t think so.  Okay, could it be that A and B are both caused by C?  Perhaps something in the environment produces more money and also causes us to work more.  Nope, that didn’t seem likely either.

Reluctantly, I concluded that 1) the house and land will require money to fix up, and 2) working more leads to extra money.  So after two years of blogging and working part-time from home, I decided to go back to full-time contract work as a programmer, at least for awhile.  I have, in fact, been working weekdays at BMI in Nashville for two weeks now.  I’m just now starting to get used to waking up at 7:00 a.m. again.

Since I wrote two songs for Fat Head, I happen to be member of BMI.  (Pretty much everyone who writes music that’s heard on radio, film or TV joins BMI or ASCAP.)  First day on the job as a database programmer, I looked up my records to make sure I actually exist.  I do.  I didn’t worry about entering payment records, since as the producer of Fat Head I’d have to pay myself as a songwriter.  I’ll probably just skip all that.

Anyway … (whew!)  … that’s the big news I’ve been keeping secret for the past several days.  It’s been a crazy, stressful month, but Chareva’s dream is coming true.  She’s reading up on how to be a mini-farmer, with the goal of raising or growing much more of what we eat.  Back to the land and all that.  For my part, I’m starting to plan the layout of my Frisbee golf course around the property.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ll continue blogging as well.  When two people from Chicago take up mini-farming in Tennessee, there are bound to be some good stories to share.


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293 thoughts on “We Bought The Farm

  1. Kenny M

    Us vegans will always be smarter than you meat eating idiots, Tom. And don’t hate on me for pointing out how bad your butt smells after eating meat and cheese…..are you denying it? Also, the reason you have bad smelly farts is because, on a low carb diet you don’t get fiber. If you don’t get fiber then you don’t go to the bathroom that often. Having 3-4 days of meat and cheese poo lining your colon is going to produce some pretty stinky results.

    Oh yea, and vegans are smarter than meat eaters: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23378331-vegetarians-are-more-intelligent-says-study.do

    The truth hurts 🙂

    Yes, Kenny, I can tell how much more intelligent you are than I am by your many references to smelly butts. I heard Einstein was fond of making similar comments.

    I also couldn’t help but notice that for someone who claims superior intelligence, you weren’t able to actually grasp what the article you linked had to say. Here, I’ll help you out: the study showed that vegetarian children had an average IQ five points higher than normal. That’s no surprise, since vegetarianism largely appeals to an upper-class elite who are statistically more likely to produce intelligent children, no matter what kind of diet they consume. It of course proves nothing about vegetarianism raising IQ in and of itself. But here’s the bit from the article that you failed to notice:

    “There was no difference in IQ between strict vegetarians and those who classed themselves as veggie but still ate fish or chicken. However, vegans – vegetarians who also avoid dairy products – scored significantly lower, averaging an IQ score of 95 at the age of 10.”

    So according to the study you quoted to prove that vegans have higher IQs, vegans actually have lower IQs. The fact that you misunderstood plain English says rather a lot about your IQ. The truth hurts indeed.

    By the way, you vegan genius, your first sentence should read “We vegans will always be smarter ….” We is the subject of a sentence. Us is the object of a sentence. If you had a higher IQ, you’d already know that.

  2. Angela

    one more thing. Plant fruit and nut trees. When we got our overgrown-under priced-fixer upper, it already had matured fruit & nut trees and grape vines.
    We watched a documentary on Netflix (we love docs. as I’m sure you can appreciate) and the guy rotated his few livestock and had a wonderful self sustaining pasture. He’d put cows (which you could get a couple jerseys), the followed by sheep, then ducks. It was a little ecosystem.
    You guys are going to love this.

    That’s the type of system we have in mind. There are peach, apple and pear trees on the land already.

  3. Susan

    Tom,

    Your lovely wife, Chareva, might enjoy reading “Backyard Poultry Raising” by John Festus Adams, published in 1930. I am in the middle of reading my copy at the moment. Not only is it filled with very good advise on raising chickens (even quietly in your garage, if need be!), but it is also a fun read.

    Congratulations on “buying the farm”!

    I’ve got her taking notes from the comments. Thank you all for the suggestions for sources to educate ourselves about farm life.

  4. GuineaPig

    Congratulations on the farm Tom.Fathead was a blessing that helped so many of us improve our health by “going against the grain” so if anyone deserves to get their wish it’s you and your family.

    Thank you.

  5. Kimji

    Congratulations Tom & Chavera-what a beautiful place and way to raise your daughters…many blessings to you as you begin this adventure.
    I watched “FatHead” 4 months ago and have been LC ever since-and it’s been EASY-no more food struggles, no more dieting, no more binge eating- goodbye 20 lbs (so far) and GOODBYE 40+ years of weight obsession and bulimia! Hello second chance at life!

    Congrats on the weight loss and the renewed health.

    I was worried at first about taking the girls out of a subdivision full of kids and moving them to a farm, but then at my wife’ suggestion I paid closer attention to what they do with their time. Mostly they prefer playing with each other, and usually outside. If we couldn’t find Sara anywhere in the house we were renting, the odds were pretty good she’d climbed one of the three trees in the yard. Now she’ll have trees everywhere (which of course means it’ll be even more of a challenge to find her).

  6. Dave Wilson

    Tom,

    Are you planning on working towards something close to Polyface farms? I know that you don’t have the acreage that Joel has to play with, but you might still be able to work out a rotation between grazers, chickens and pigs that allows them to all strive together to build up the topsoil and nourish each other.

    I am SO excited for you and your family.

    Chareva is reading up on Salatin’s methods while we’re in the apartment. The farm is more her project; mine is to pay it off.

  7. cece

    Hi Tom… First time on your blog… came thru Jimmy’s link… but very excited about your family’s purchase! I live on an acre in NM and wish I could do some farming/planting, but on my own, just don’t think I can do it… maybe on a small scale just for me.

    I am a sculptor, so my big back 1/3 acre field will be a sculpture garden…

    But I might get chickens for the chicken coop…

    Anyway, I bought your DVDs a few weeks ago… I’m glad my small purchase contributed to you getting your loan in a very small way! I will spread the word…. 😉

    ps… time to dis that Kenny guy … spewing that hatred is bad for his health!

    Believe me, I appreciate all of you who bought DVDs and helped make this possible.

  8. GaryS

    I don’t know about smarter but they are less fertile!

    I like to think Kenny is a perfect example of the average vegan’s intelligence. The guy just declared that vegans have higher IQs — and to prove it, he linked to a study that stated specifically that vegan children had lower IQs. I couldn’t have asked for a clearer demonstration that Kenny is an idiot … and he did it to himself.

  9. LXV

    Miniature farm? Oh! You could have miniature horses and bantam chickens and pygmy goats and twee litttle ducks and pot bellied pigs and babydoll sheep minature cattle herded by miniature schnauzers and…… well now I’m just being silly. Schnauzers make awful herding dogs.

    And if you get babydoll sheep and miniature cattle you won’t need one of those fuel-guzzling lawnmowers.

    If all that would produce a miniature mortgage, I’d go for it.

  10. Reel Alaskan

    Wake up, Kenny M – life’s harder when you’re stupid. Vegans have poor health and look older than they should, wasted and pot bellied. THAT is a fact, regardless of what you retort, you have to deal with it, not us. I’ve never heard of a vegetable being brain food, but had heard protein (fish, in fact!) IS ‘brain food’ – eat meat, get smarter, get stronger.

    Actually, dealing with you is a bit like a lion telling an gazelle to smarten up. Go eat your veggies and extra fruit. Have some sugar. Take my share! And grains – eat up, make up for what we won’t eat and therefore we won’t die of cancer, heart disease or stroke. Look what being grain fed is doing to YOU!

    Thanks to guys like Tom, I’ve dropped 6″ from my waist in a month and never went hungry a day! BTW – we love animals! Especially the tasty ones! Go hug a bunny. My daddy let me eat mine! (thanks, Dad!!)

    Kenny is perfect example of the known fact that it’s difficult to convince stupid people that they’re stupid. Why? Because they’re too stupid to recognize their own stupidity. It’s like trying to convince a tone-deaf person that he can’t sing. Tone-deaf people don’t have enough musical ability to recognize when they’re off-key.

    But when a guy sends me a link to study showing that vegan children have lower IQs and declares that it proved vegans are smarter than meat-eaters, you know you’re dealing with a major moron.

  11. Cameron Baum

    Kenny M, in Britain, we have this game show, and those who have failed to perform at the end of each round are told something simple by the presenter:

    “You are the weakest link, goodbye.”

    You have produced endless rants, and its getting less and less coherent with each post. You’ve not supported your claims with any evidence, and continually make comments about Toms’ backside, which I’m sure Freud would have a field day over.

    Organic farming is all about the avoidance of fertilisers created in large factories. In the end, the plants will not care what gives them nutrition. However, intensive farming, as has come about in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, has resulted in excessive amounts of fertiliser saturating the lands, thus causing run-offs into rivers. An interesting side effect of this is that river plants then start to grow mentally, because that extra fertiliser is yummy food to them. This exacerbates the situation, because fish can’t thrive on fertiliser, and too much water plants isn’t going to help them much, either.

    If farming cannot produce enough food to feed the current human population, then I submit to you that the human population is too big. We have extended life-spans, saved people from countless diseases. In my experience, nature cannot be defied forever, and abhors a vacuum. Thus, expect diseases to emerge that we have no ability to defeat, and for our populations to start massively declining. Basic ecology will win out, no matter the species.

    As for meat farming being the most destructive activity humans perform, I believe that it is in fact mining that is the winner, along with out nuclear obsession/infatuation. We level mountaintops in a day, just to get at a few seams of coal. Gold mining is very, very destructive environmentally. Thus, a few cows eating and farting in a field over entire landscapes being eradicated in a day by a few humans… have I made my point there yet?

    In my experience, the times when I consume lots of cereal, specifically wheat, and less meat, causes me no end of suffering. When you end up with feeling bloated, and you have toilet sessions where you have the contents looking sickly, have lots of fluid in it, and mucus, you take close interest. Lots of fluid indicates that your body is in a rush to kick out the offending item, and mucus suggests to me irritation of the system. When I eat meat in higher levels, and drastically reduce cereal consumption, I find my system works much more normally. And I eat less when I eat meat.

    It isn’t the farming of animals that’s bad, it’s our mass-production methods of foods that are bad. And given you are obsessed with eating grains, which in the US more than likely means Monsanto created GM crops that ties the farmer to their companies for all the pesticides and farm chemicals, which means that plants and animals are killed en masse because of these poisons, and entire agricultural deserts are created, oh… lets not forget that these Frankenstein food-crops will cross pollinate with neighbouring crops, and thus contaminate them… Yep, you are certainly living the dream there. Now shut up and eat that glow in the dark veggie burger. You know you want to… with its genetically questionable nutrition value… go on, take another bite. It might shut you up long enough for the adults to talk rationally to one another.

    So… Kenny M… you ARE the weakest link, goodbye…

    And Tom… If you hire Monsanto to poison your farm, I’ll have to cling hard to an airplane landing gear, go over to America, and beat you to death with an organically reared salmon, for providing Kenny with more glow in the dark veggieburgers… And if the police arrest me, I’ll just tell them the salmon told me to do it, because it was an eco-warrior in life. Then I can be locked up in a nice, special padded room, and drugged up to my eyeballs, and can’t hear Kenny pathetically whining for another tofuburger to enter his belly, because the 50,000 veggieburgers didn’t quite cut it. (lets face it, they never do…) So, you’ve been warned. ;@)

    Seriously, Congratulations on the news, I really hope it all works out for you. Once you become a net producer, things should start getting easier financially. And if you ever do crops, cabbage is useful to grow as a natural fertiliser. And if you use horse dung, best to have a large pile of it for a few months, then start using it. It works better that way, though will stink like mad. Oh, and will produce steam and heat.

    That was a very logical and coherent reply … which means it will no effect on Kenny at all. Illogical people aren’t swayed by logic.

  12. barb

    Hope you and your family enjoy the mini-farm. Keep in mind, goats are great for kudzu (aka: the curse of the South) eradication…you can even lease them out to municipalities as an extra source of income…just in case that whole programming gig doesn’t work out. You have an adventure awaiting you. Can’t wait to read all about it.

    We’ve heard people actually borrow or rent goats around here to clear their land.

  13. Reel Alaskan

    Tom – you are correct, as usual! And while I personally may not be the smartest guy on the river, I AM smart enough to listen to smart guys like you, Dr Eades (can I call him Dr Bacon?), Dr Atkins, Gary Taubes, my good buddy Jimmy da man Moore and countless others that eating low carb won’t only get rid of unwanted fat but make me healthier, too!

    Thought you might want to call the new place ‘the Funny Farm’, but Kenny M texted me and said he already lives there. Sorry, seemed like a good idea.

    Ah, well. I’ll just have to come up with another name.

  14. Dave Vacilek

    Awesome! You and our family deserve it, Tom. You helped change my life and I wish you all the success you can handle. The amount of misinformed folks you rile up is staggering. The fact that they spend time on your blog spreading the hate is ludicrous.

    This whole thing does feel a bit like a gift from the universe. I wasn’t even going to look for a property until next year, and then our landlord scares us into looking at just exactly the right time. Literally one day later, that farm would’ve already been gone.

  15. Reel Alaskan

    Tom! I found Kenny M! We all thought he had his head up his _____ , but with his obvious fascination, it seems he’s trying to stick his nose in YOUR business. Gross, Kenny M. what exactly ARE you eating? Eat a cheeseburger – it’ll make you HAPPY!

    Tom – I eat vegetarian burgers. I think you call it beef, but all the cows I’ve seen were strict vegetarians. They’re delicious! Even better with bacon!

    I’m like you. I’m not a vegetarians, but I do eat them.

  16. Kenny M

    Lol……vegetarians line the pockets of middle eastern dictators now? Can I quote you on that? God you really are dumb.

    I hope you have really really bad gas tonight and you fart under the covers in bed.

    -vegans forever

    Keep sharing your sparkling intelligence with the world, Kenny. Your fellow vegan zealots must be proud to have such a fine representative out there changing hearts and minds.

    By the way, Kenny, when I accused you of supporting Middle Eastern dictators and killing fish, I was engaging in the kind of over-heated rhetoric you vegetrollians regularly employ — you know, like “animal murderers! — as a form of sarcasm. I didn’t expect you to grasp the sarcasm, because that would require more intelligence than you’ve demonstrated in any of your comments.

  17. Underground

    “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – An apt description of Kenny and ilk if there ever were. Poor guy probably can’t think straight due to malnutrition.

    Big mature trees means you can probably get back in the woods there and collect a bunch of acorns, hickory nuts and maybe walnuts this fall too. It’s getting a bit late for them now, but you’ve probably got plenty of blackberries in amongst the grown up areas as well.

    I want to explore that forested area, but not until the weeds and undergrowth have receded in the autumn. As it is now, I’d have no idea what I was stepping on, and Barbara already told us there are copperhead snakes in the area.

  18. Jeanie

    I’m looking forward to the story of Chareva and her first chicken, um, kill. That should really be entertaining, considering the fish story a while back!
    Congratulations!

  19. Georgene Harkness

    How exciting for you and your family, Tom! I knew something good was up when I saw the hints….I am so thrilled for you all. Yes, always listen to Chareva. I knew the minute I met her, she’s got a GREAT head on her shoulders.

    I am a teensy bit jealous…can Howard and I come live next door and enjoy your farm by proxy? I had chickens once, but only for a short time. The neighbors took exception to the rooster’s crowing at 4 am….sheesh!

    I can’t wait to hear all about your experiences!

    We’d welcome you and Howard any ol’ time.

  20. Lori

    Congratulations, Tom! I’m a city woman through and through, but we city people need good meat and produce, too–preferably raised in the way you describe.

    It would be nice if nothing had to die for someone or something to be fed, but that’s not the cycle of life. Even if you want to eat plants, those plants like to eat bone and blood, besides dung. That’s what happens to animal carcasses eventually: they feed the plants and the soil. Otherwise, plants have to be fed chemical fertilizers. Not many crops can live on dust and water.

    Speaking of soil, you may know this already, but hard soil can be softened with soapy water–useful for digging post holes or setting out plants. As far as I know, regular dish soap or Murphy’s Oil doesn’t harm the soil.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll probably learn more about digging post holes than I ever wanted to know.

  21. Reel Alaskan

    I spent my early years (3 – 13) on a 40 acre farm in rural Oregon. Every kid should be so lucky to grow up like that! We had a few holsteins purchased from the large dairy farm that occupied the center of the valley, where my brothers and I would ‘run FROM the bulls’ to go fish the river for trout…
    We had horses, ducks, pheasants, chickens & rabbits. And in the hills above we had elk, deer, grouse, quail and mourning doves as well as wild pheasant. In the fall, I’d get up at first light to hunt pheasant, doves, grouse & quail.
    Dad took a few deer on the property as well. We also had a pair of beautiful red tailed hawks nesting just across the creek from the main house.
    The small farm IS a great management of both domesticated and wildlife. Even with years of occasional hunting, we still had a great abundance of wildlife. Deer and elk would graze right behind the house.
    Your kids will love you for this – GREAT move! Wish we could do the same, but it’s not so bad living in Alaska, eating a subsistence lifestyle on hundreds of fresh salmon, halibut & crustaceans! And the occasional slow moose or caribou… and we have flocks of ptarmigan in the thousands and grouse coveys in the dozens. Paleo… forget it – I’m eating TRIBAL! Back to my red blooded roots!

    I expect it to be a wonderful childhood for the girls, growing up on a small farm. It made the decision easier when we visited the property during inspections and they were all over the land, exploring and obviously enjoying it.

  22. Kenny M

    Us vegans will always be smarter than you meat eating idiots, Tom. And don’t hate on me for pointing out how bad your butt smells after eating meat and cheese…..are you denying it? Also, the reason you have bad smelly farts is because, on a low carb diet you don’t get fiber. If you don’t get fiber then you don’t go to the bathroom that often. Having 3-4 days of meat and cheese poo lining your colon is going to produce some pretty stinky results.

    Oh yea, and vegans are smarter than meat eaters: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23378331-vegetarians-are-more-intelligent-says-study.do

    The truth hurts 🙂

    Yes, Kenny, I can tell how much more intelligent you are than I am by your many references to smelly butts. I heard Einstein was fond of making similar comments.

    I also couldn’t help but notice that for someone who claims superior intelligence, you weren’t able to actually grasp what the article you linked had to say. Here, I’ll help you out: the study showed that vegetarian children had an average IQ five points higher than normal. That’s no surprise, since vegetarianism largely appeals to an upper-class elite who are statistically more likely to produce intelligent children, no matter what kind of diet they consume. It of course proves nothing about vegetarianism raising IQ in and of itself. But here’s the bit from the article that you failed to notice:

    “There was no difference in IQ between strict vegetarians and those who classed themselves as veggie but still ate fish or chicken. However, vegans – vegetarians who also avoid dairy products – scored significantly lower, averaging an IQ score of 95 at the age of 10.”

    So according to the study you quoted to prove that vegans have higher IQs, vegans actually have lower IQs. The fact that you misunderstood plain English says rather a lot about your IQ. The truth hurts indeed.

    By the way, you vegan genius, your first sentence should read “We vegans will always be smarter ….” We is the subject of a sentence. Us is the object of a sentence. If you had a higher IQ, you’d already know that.

  23. Susan

    Tom,

    Your lovely wife, Chareva, might enjoy reading “Backyard Poultry Raising” by John Festus Adams, published in 1930. I am in the middle of reading my copy at the moment. Not only is it filled with very good advise on raising chickens (even quietly in your garage, if need be!), but it is also a fun read.

    Congratulations on “buying the farm”!

    I’ve got her taking notes from the comments. Thank you all for the suggestions for sources to educate ourselves about farm life.

  24. GuineaPig

    Congratulations on the farm Tom.Fathead was a blessing that helped so many of us improve our health by “going against the grain” so if anyone deserves to get their wish it’s you and your family.

    Thank you.

  25. mike

    a fine film.

    best of luck; i hope to retire soon to a small farm myself.
    i have only started looking at specifics.
    you may have gone far beyond the little i’ve found , but perhaps you may get something from this:
    “Michael Pollan TED Talk”
    http://permaculture.tv/michael-pollan-ted-talk/
    (i have known those who buy young steer from breaders and graze them for their freezer)
    well, looking at the (relevant) comments and replies, i see you are far past me in those specifics.
    at 88 responses, i was not going to read them all… but i see i will have to return.

    thank you,

  26. GaryS

    I don’t know about smarter but they are less fertile!

    I like to think Kenny is a perfect example of the average vegan’s intelligence. The guy just declared that vegans have higher IQs — and to prove it, he linked to a study that stated specifically that vegan children had lower IQs. I couldn’t have asked for a clearer demonstration that Kenny is an idiot … and he did it to himself.

  27. Reel Alaskan

    Wake up, Kenny M – life’s harder when you’re stupid. Vegans have poor health and look older than they should, wasted and pot bellied. THAT is a fact, regardless of what you retort, you have to deal with it, not us. I’ve never heard of a vegetable being brain food, but had heard protein (fish, in fact!) IS ‘brain food’ – eat meat, get smarter, get stronger.

    Actually, dealing with you is a bit like a lion telling an gazelle to smarten up. Go eat your veggies and extra fruit. Have some sugar. Take my share! And grains – eat up, make up for what we won’t eat and therefore we won’t die of cancer, heart disease or stroke. Look what being grain fed is doing to YOU!

    Thanks to guys like Tom, I’ve dropped 6″ from my waist in a month and never went hungry a day! BTW – we love animals! Especially the tasty ones! Go hug a bunny. My daddy let me eat mine! (thanks, Dad!!)

    Kenny is perfect example of the known fact that it’s difficult to convince stupid people that they’re stupid. Why? Because they’re too stupid to recognize their own stupidity. It’s like trying to convince a tone-deaf person that he can’t sing. Tone-deaf people don’t have enough musical ability to recognize when they’re off-key.

    But when a guy sends me a link to study showing that vegan children have lower IQs and declares that it proved vegans are smarter than meat-eaters, you know you’re dealing with a major moron.

  28. Per Wikholm

    Here is a n=1 experiement anyone can preform to test out Kenny M:s Smelly Butt Hypothesis. I´m sure that most low carbers have, just like me experienced a dramatic decline in (greenhouse) gas production after turning low carb. But you can acctually test this hypothesis out without totally derailing your low carb diet.

    Just eat some highly fibrous Jerusalem artichokes one day and note what happens to your gas produktion. Jerusalem artichokes contains only about 8-9 grams of digestible carbs/100 gram. Much of the rest of carbs in them are a polyfructose fiber called inulin (nowadays a popular additive i processed foods) that bacteria in your colon will start to ferment. Depending on how effective your colon gut flora is you can acctually get som saturated, short chain, fatty acids out of it.

    PS: I have nothing agianst vegans. They can eat whatever they want. Only problem is when they like Kenny M is trying to shov théir diet down anyone elses throat. Sorry, it won’t work because humans are not a species adopted to veganism. My reflexions on this can be rad in this posting on the difference between gorillas and humans regarding the colon.

    http://www.lchf.com/?p=171

    I don’t have anything against vegans or vegetarians either, despite what some people think. It’s the zealots and trolls I don’t like.

  29. barb

    Hope you and your family enjoy the mini-farm. Keep in mind, goats are great for kudzu (aka: the curse of the South) eradication…you can even lease them out to municipalities as an extra source of income…just in case that whole programming gig doesn’t work out. You have an adventure awaiting you. Can’t wait to read all about it.

    We’ve heard people actually borrow or rent goats around here to clear their land.

  30. Reel Alaskan

    Tom – you are correct, as usual! And while I personally may not be the smartest guy on the river, I AM smart enough to listen to smart guys like you, Dr Eades (can I call him Dr Bacon?), Dr Atkins, Gary Taubes, my good buddy Jimmy da man Moore and countless others that eating low carb won’t only get rid of unwanted fat but make me healthier, too!

    Thought you might want to call the new place ‘the Funny Farm’, but Kenny M texted me and said he already lives there. Sorry, seemed like a good idea.

    Ah, well. I’ll just have to come up with another name.

  31. Dave Vacilek

    Awesome! You and our family deserve it, Tom. You helped change my life and I wish you all the success you can handle. The amount of misinformed folks you rile up is staggering. The fact that they spend time on your blog spreading the hate is ludicrous.

    This whole thing does feel a bit like a gift from the universe. I wasn’t even going to look for a property until next year, and then our landlord scares us into looking at just exactly the right time. Literally one day later, that farm would’ve already been gone.

  32. Underground

    “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – An apt description of Kenny and ilk if there ever were. Poor guy probably can’t think straight due to malnutrition.

    Big mature trees means you can probably get back in the woods there and collect a bunch of acorns, hickory nuts and maybe walnuts this fall too. It’s getting a bit late for them now, but you’ve probably got plenty of blackberries in amongst the grown up areas as well.

    I want to explore that forested area, but not until the weeds and undergrowth have receded in the autumn. As it is now, I’d have no idea what I was stepping on, and Barbara already told us there are copperhead snakes in the area.

  33. mezzo

    Kenny M: There is one thing I learned from your posts: when it comes to being insulting and rude vegans appear to come out the winner every time. Your language is violent, abusive and offending. Your own mouth testifies against you.

    That’s why I haven’t blocked him. He’s his own worst enemy.

  34. mike

    a fine film.

    best of luck; i hope to retire soon to a small farm myself.
    i have only started looking at specifics.
    you may have gone far beyond the little i’ve found , but perhaps you may get something from this:
    “Michael Pollan TED Talk”
    http://permaculture.tv/michael-pollan-ted-talk/
    (i have known those who buy young steer from breaders and graze them for their freezer)
    well, looking at the (relevant) comments and replies, i see you are far past me in those specifics.
    at 88 responses, i was not going to read them all… but i see i will have to return.

    thank you,

  35. Per Wikholm

    Here is a n=1 experiement anyone can preform to test out Kenny M:s Smelly Butt Hypothesis. I´m sure that most low carbers have, just like me experienced a dramatic decline in (greenhouse) gas production after turning low carb. But you can acctually test this hypothesis out without totally derailing your low carb diet.

    Just eat some highly fibrous Jerusalem artichokes one day and note what happens to your gas produktion. Jerusalem artichokes contains only about 8-9 grams of digestible carbs/100 gram. Much of the rest of carbs in them are a polyfructose fiber called inulin (nowadays a popular additive i processed foods) that bacteria in your colon will start to ferment. Depending on how effective your colon gut flora is you can acctually get som saturated, short chain, fatty acids out of it.

    PS: I have nothing agianst vegans. They can eat whatever they want. Only problem is when they like Kenny M is trying to shov théir diet down anyone elses throat. Sorry, it won’t work because humans are not a species adopted to veganism. My reflexions on this can be rad in this posting on the difference between gorillas and humans regarding the colon.

    http://www.lchf.com/?p=171

    I don’t have anything against vegans or vegetarians either, despite what some people think. It’s the zealots and trolls I don’t like.

  36. Sonia M

    First, I’d like to say my “congrats” on the farm! I’d also like to argue that Kenny M is probably not a troll, or as you put it “vegetrollian.” If Kenny M was actually a troll I doubt he would let himself sound so stupid. Nobody would say such juvenile things and post links disproving their point unless they’re just trying do their own critique of (in this case) real vegans. So I say, “way to go, Kenny M! Keep making fun of those silly vegans!”

    As for your farm, I’m super jealous! The closest I’ll get to that is probably having a bunch of fruit trees in my back yard. I have a list of all the ones I want to plant, and the way it’s going I’m going to need to buy the next door neighbor’s house, knock it down, and THEN I’ll have barely enough room 🙂 I love the idea of a farm, but it’s not too feasible in Burbank, CA

    When we lived in Burbank, just owning a house with a decent-sized yard seemed like a dream.

    I’d like to believe Kenny is a secret meat-eater making fun of vegans, but unfortunately his irrational outbursts aren’t exactly what I’d call atypical among the vegetrollians who show up here now and then.

  37. Auntie M

    It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect, you know. Stupid people don’t realize they’re stupid, poor things. 🙂 Still, really? Butt insults?

    I third the recommendation for the Encyclopedia of Country Living. I own it, and it’s chock full of good information. I also have Four-Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman, and The Backyard Homestead, which might be worth a look, though it focuses on how to produce food in a small area. I wish our neighborhood allowed chickens. I would have them in a heartbeat!

    Congratulations on the great news! I would love to have something like that. I have a friend with about 5 acres who raises chickens and has a great garden, and luckily she shares her eggs and produce with us. The eggs are amazing! The produce is great, too, but my husband is more of a veggie eater, so I let him have the bulk of them. Keep us posted on your progress. You’re going to be so happy you went this direction!

  38. Sabine

    Congratulations on your exciting news. I’m looking forward to the great posts.
    Just a warning, though: Spinning is the gateway drug to weaving!

  39. mezzo

    Kenny M: There is one thing I learned from your posts: when it comes to being insulting and rude vegans appear to come out the winner every time. Your language is violent, abusive and offending. Your own mouth testifies against you.

    That’s why I haven’t blocked him. He’s his own worst enemy.

Comments are closed.