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?



  1. Outstanding :-)

    After living out in the country for a year and a half, one of my questions would be if the soil had been tested by the local extension and if they had any records of it. Trying to grow things after having had no experience (born and raised in Chicago) is challenging to say the least.

    But I love it

  2. you still need a lawyer or a reasonable facsimile thereof. you can do it yourselves.
    nothing is writ in stone and can be changed, but it saves possible trouble.
    your extended family sounds lovely and trustworthy but the satan is ever busy and hurt feelings may arise from misunderstandings. clearing the air before it becomes hazy is smart.
    JOB first.

    Tornado Shelter of utmost importance!

    did i mention we used to live there?

    love you. God bless you all. it sounds exciting and just the sort of uplifting experience we would all like to have.
    deb harvey

  3. @Rusty Great question! I'll add it to the list. Thanks buddy!

  4. @Deb Thanks for signing off this time. I think your last comment was just left as Anonymous. If I'm correct, you mentioned that you used to live in Jones, OK.

    I understand about the shelter. My "city kids" don't know anything about dangerous weather. We've settled into a habit at laughing when the local weatherman warns of monsoons (which is really just a small dust storm) here in Arizona. But I spent my first 21 years in OK. Our high school football field was hit by a tornado when I lived in Edmond. I also remember crouching down in the hallways during tornado drills in grade school. Tornadoes are no joke.

  5. I wouldn't bother with the ag extension office. You can test the soil yourself unless you are planning on grain farming with heavy equipment.

    I'd ask about the well& pump if there's one.Does it ever go dry?
    Ditto the septic & lech field. When was the last time it was pumped?
    Same goes for the roof, foundation, chimney,electric service box and windows.
    Enjoy planning a new life :-)

  6. Hi! our family is a recent transplant to Oklahoma so I share your enthusiasm - we've been here all of 5 months. Ours was a job relocation but I think God did know what he was doing. I would ask:

    When was the septic serviced and by whom? if she knows who the company was you can check with their records.

    Was there any special equipment that worked well for them? Is it still on the property to be used? If it needs repair who can repair it? Are spare parts available?(you may have to do that research yourself)

    Wells are usually fitted with an electric pump. Is there a hand pump in case you lose electric power? (an addition to our own well that we are seriously considering). If the stove/oven are electric, what is available for an alternative? Should you invest in a generator?

    If there is a wood stove or fireplace, where did they obtain the wood and where was it stored? When were the chimney and stovepipe last swept? (creosote fires burn HOT and can be very dangerous, maintenance is important here)

    How did they dispose of non-compostable refuse?

    How did they treat their animals - was there a local vet or did they self-treat? Did any of their animals develop any specific illnesses?

    Not to be premature, but your situation sounds almost ideal - the land and a reliable source of invaluable information! Blessings on your family -


  7. @Pamela Great ideas! Are you in Claremore? Some of those questions I know: they treated their own animals, the wood stove has been taken apart and resides in the barn, and there is no farming equipment left to be used. We used to burn trash in a giant, metal round bin. Don't know how to describe it other than it looked kind of like a kiddie play pool in size only it was metal and only a few feet tall.

    I'll ask about the septic for sure and about the handpump on the well. I plan on getting a generator regardless. I'm eyeballing a 6000-ish watt that can run on propane but they sure are expensive. I would also either put the old log stove back together or get a new wood stove. Homesteading wouldn't be homesteading without a wood stove, right? :-)

    I haven't heard back yet on what the family thinks as a whole. I'm not in a huge hurry with 5 out of 8 (including me) in our family still in school. I need to find a job out there too.

    Wish I knew somebody in the local healthcare field near Kingfisher, Hennessey, Enid area.

    Thanks for stopping by Pam! Let me know how your place is doing.

  8. @Granny Thanks for stopping by. Your input is always worth its weight in gold! ;-)

  9. OJD,

    I live in Oklahoma, been here 4 years now.
    I would make sure you have some for of earthquake insurance depending on what part of Oklahoma the farms at. Because your homeowners insurance doesn't cover earthquake damage. Foundation damage is very common here.
    Also question if you have mineral right ownership on the property.

  10. Oklahoma will be glad to have you back. We need more righteous dudes in our community. In canadian co. Predators are coon coyote possum bobcat cougar hawks of all sizes. Snakes not so much. Decent grassland will raise 1 head per acre small cattle. If you have lots of weeds and brush switch to goats. Make sure you introduce yourself to neighbors to avoid misunderstandings about fence lines and privacy issues. If no one has lived there for some times neighbors can act funny about sudden occupancy. Cbishop 6th gen sooner. (illegal immigrant for those who don't speak okie)


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