Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Oklahoma Request (first response)

I hadn't been on a horse in 20+ years.
I recently blogged an idea I had to relocate and homestead on our family farm in Oklahoma. I decided to write to an uncle and ask what he thought of the whole idea. I really had no idea what to expect from my email. 

Here is his reponse:

"Hi Ron,    

  You're right, the world is headed in the wrong direction, the break down of family, children need a mother and father, not gay parents who adopt, men getting women pregnant and not accepting responsibility, women getting pregnant to receive more govenment hand outs, people not accepting responsibility for their lives and wanting the government to take care of them, and the worst of all is trying to remove God from our lives and our government.

  America is getting worse and it's hard to believe many other countries such as Holland are way worse and liberal.  People want laws that tell them it's ok to lead any life stlye they choose no matter how immoral it is. It's time for the good Christian men and women to quit turning the other cheek and stand up for what's right and turn this country back around to the priciple it was founded on.. Hopefully a strong leader will come forward and all the sheep will rise up and support him or her.

  Ok enough of my views on the country, I think mine are probably very similar to yours.  I will get with mom for you tomorrow when I take her to the doctor.  I think she will be fine with your idea as well as my brothers and sister. I was 21 when I lived there and worked for the county and really enjoyed it and enjoyed helping my dad farm the 4 or 5 years he was able to. I will get with everyone and let you know but I don't forsee any problem with you living there, after all someday a part of it would be yours anyway.

God Bless,  good to hear from you, and I'll get back with you soon

Uncle R."

Wow! Completely unexpected and made my heart SWELL with excitement!  Can you imagine being allowed to live on a land where an entire existing farm sits awaiting it's next caretaker? Completely fenced and cross-fenced. Water, sewer, electricity, small farm house, huge barn. I don't know the years it was farmed by my grandparents but I do remember several fields of wheat, numerous cattle and horses.

I think the most exciting thing about this possibility is that this old family farm could be brought back to life and provide not only for my immediate family but the ENTIRE family. How cool what that be if I could provide the beef for my extended family? One of the homesteading families I follow is the Lewis' at Rural Revolution. Patrice's blog post on the butchering of a steer estimated the exact breakdown of the beef price per pound. After hiring a professional butcher (Potlach Pack), her cost was $269.06 for 300 pounds of "home-grown, grass fed, organic beef." That's $0.90 per pound!

"We get a combination of steaks, roasts, and ground beef, with a few bits of things like stew meat and cube steak thrown in for good measure. The nice part about butchering a steer is you get the super-dooper expensive cuts like filet mignon and rib eye along with the common cuts, all for the same price," Patrice says. Of course, there's the cost of acquiring the animal if it wasn't born on your land (plus feed and medicine).

So, with all these thoughts rushing through my brain, I need to focus. What would my plan be IF this idea comes to fruition? I think first and foremost (besides the helpful comments made by Anonymous here) would be to ask Grandma to share her working knowledge of the farm. Some initial questions:

Operation Ask Grandma:

1) What grows best and where?
2) What was difficult to grow or didn't grow at all...and where?
3) What were the predators and how did you deal with them? (snakes and coyotes for sure)
4) What was the rotation schedule of gardening that worked for you?
5) Was the local/county government helpful? Sheriff? Assessor? Farm Assoc?
6) Do you have any heirloom seed saved (long shot, I know)?
7) When the pond was healthy, what fed it? Can it be brought back?
8) What did you do for tornado shelter?
9) What did you do for a root cellar?
10) Was the water ever tested? How is the well? How many wells?
11) Do you remember a problem with any particular area of fencing?
12) Any troubled area of timber?
13) What was the largest herd of cattle the farm maintained?
14) What was your favorite thing to do on the farm? Least favorite?
15) Did you notice a weather pattern? (annual freeze so cover plants, summer heat, etc)
16) How did you deal with pests? (mosquitos are horrid, if I remember right)
17) Where there any plans that you and Grandpa had that you didn't get to fullfil on the farm?

18) CrustyRusty adds: if the soil had been tested by the local extension and if they had any records of it?

If you were taking over a farm from family (or non-family) and could ask the previous owner questions, what would YOU ask?