in Blog, Farming, Farmlife

Why I’ve quit farming…sort of

I have been struggling the past few years to have a farm and I and my family recently came to the conclusion that we don’t want a farm.  We want a homestead. What’s wrong with farming? A farm is centered around production.  You are trying to build an agricultural empire (of whatever size) where you are selling. Push push push.  You have a product and it needs to go out, whether that product is beef, cheese, jelly or asparagus.  Because it’s a business, you focus on what is the most profitable and you slash what isn’t.  You try to get…

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in Blog, DIY, Farmlife, Farmstay

The farmstay guesthouse flooded!

  I haven’t posted much about this even though we’ve been struggling with it since january. I was walking past the farmstay guest house and noticed water leaking out the walls. I ran inside and there was just inches of water covering the entire first floor. Disaster! I was so upset. The hot water heater’s heating element had shorted out and water was just pumping out. We’ve had to tear out and replace the carpet and the dry wall. The kitchen cabinets had to go and we are replacing them-well at least the bottom ones. The top ones of course…

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in Blog, Farming, Farmlife

Farming and Contentment

The current (and hopefully long lasting) trend towards farming is part of the movement towards contentment searching in our society.  Despite our material wealth, or perhaps because of it, Americans are a very discontent society.  We are searching for a sense of purpose and happiness.  Many of us have looked at the last few generation’s pursuit of material wealth and seen that it didn’t bring happiness.  We have instead given up on wealth as a goal and have begun to look at the quality of our life and simplification as a way to bring this contentment.  A very efficient way…

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in Blog, Farmlife

Why should I learn to farm?

Why should you learn to farm?  First let’s define farming.  When most people think of a farm, they envision thousands of acres of corn or wheat.  Even a small farmer with 50 acres is big in the typical people’s minds.  But there are also micro farmers which basically means tiny farmer. We believe that anyone who raises their own food is a farmer.  If you are growing a Basil on your kitchen counter or if you have a couple hens in your backyard, you are micro farming.  You are becoming self-sufficient.  Our definition of a farmer also includes a homesteader….

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in Farmlife

The bad side of Farming

People tend to romanticize farming. But there is as much romance as there is pain in farming. You are a slave to the land and its needs. Most of the time you’re happy about this, but the days when you want to go to the beach or catch a movie or sleep in you suddenly realize that you are not self-employed. The self-employed can make their own schedule. Your schedule is dictated by the farm. There is also no pretending when you’re farming. You have to deal with the realities in life that other people can pretend aren’t there. You…

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in Farming with horses, Horse riding, Livestock

Horse farming at Prophetstown

I have decided that the farmers who switched from horses to tractors, who sold their animals for dog food in exchange for loud, smelly, irritating and expensive machinery were idiots.  Well meaning idiots, but still idiots.  Farming with horses was the most enjoyable experience I’ve had in a long time and I never want to go back to using mechanical farm equipment. Ok, granted there are some limitations to farming with horses.  You have to do a bit of training, you can’t just jump on and turn the key, they have a mind of their own and sometimes don’t do…

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in Blog, Farmlife, Natural Health

Funny Farm

Tonight we went to the movies with a good friend of the family.  We also took Joachim, our newest intern who is from France.  Poor Joachim.  He hadn’t even gotten to the ranch before he got a full dose of Flip Flop humor and hospitality.  We picked him up from the bus stop and took him straight to movies and dinner and got home at one in the morning lol.  Ah but life is so much better with laughter.  Laughter and friends. Read this great article about the health benefits of laughter

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in Blog, Farmlife, Farmstay

A Dutch Wwoofer in Lucerne Valley

This is a guest post by our recent Wwoofer (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms-an organization that connects volunteers to farms throughout the world).  Herma is from Holland and we really loved having her here. A few days ago I posted a picture on my Facebook of a beautiful orange-pink sunset with the caption: “I don’t think anyone can appreciate a good country-song until they’ve visited Lucerne Valley”. That’s how I would describe my experience here on the Flip Flop Ranch; living the life that Johnny, Willie, and Hank sang about. On a searing hot Friday morning I got off the…

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in Blog, Farmlife, Livestock

Who turned the thermostat to hell?

Yes, the past week has been hellish temperatures.  Sunday hit a high of 115 degrees of drenching, sweaty humidity and it has only slightly come down since then.  Fortunately this misery is very uncommon.  Last summer we only had a handful of days above 100 degrees and only slightly above 100.  While we retreat inside to the inefficient coolness of the swamp cooler, it’s the poor animals that really have to deal with the heat. Heat is really hard on animals and it shows in weight loss, lower milk production, problems breeding and even death.  We happily didn’t lose any…

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in Blog, Farmlife

Choose your lifestyle

Like many farmers, I sit on the fence between the farm lifestyle and the modern one.  More than half of America’s farmers work a job off the farm to make ends meet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1929, 6% of farmers worked off the farm.  By 1947, it rose to 16.5%.  In 1997, it was 33%.  In 2002, it was 55% and grew to 65% by 2007.  Today, it’s much harder to support yourself just with a farm.  Regulations make farming expensive and the use of modern technology that is supposed to make farming so much more…

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