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florida_fotog
28 December 2012 @ 10:35 pm
Recent progress- We have cleared several acres for planting and goats. Mike is presently building a log cabin lean-to for the goats, made with pine from the property. Duke, our Great Pyr puppy, is growing up and is showing all the signs of being a future goat guardian. He is only 6 months old but he is very protective of all the humans and animals in his life. Getting him was a great decision. I love him and it is great that he is going to contribute to our little farm.

I have been buying organic and heirloom seeds for the last few months and I now have enough seeds to fill the acres we've cleared. We have found a source for manure and we are buying the stuff by the truckload to enrich the sandy soil. We have planted a variety of fruit trees and our orchard is well into its infancy.

We have made an offer to the neighbors to buy another five adjacent acres. They want to sell to us but have some personal issues to resolve first; we should know in a week or two.

We spent Christmas on the property. The boys kayaked and shot guns. We had bonfires every night. As much as I am looking forward to having a real home up here, these camping trips are great and I really enjoy spending this time with the kids.

One of Mike's next projects is to build a greenhouse. Once that's done, I'll be starting some of the seeds. More to follow....
 
 
florida_fotog
17 October 2012 @ 01:21 am
Baxter_&_Silver_Belle-1(1)
 
 
florida_fotog
23 April 2012 @ 10:55 pm
This is the location we are going to put our home. We have our site plan approved from the county, finally. Next steps are water/well, septic and electric. The chickens, minus our visiting rooster, have been relocated to the property. They are loving their new life. They are getting fat and happy eating giant grasshoppers. We thought the move would stress them and slow down their egg production but they are each still putting out an egg a day. No one in StPete wants to claim this rooster so we are going to try and capture him this weekend and bring him up with the girls. There is an abundance of hawks and owls on the property so I am hoping a big mean rooster will keep the birds of prey away from the hens.





 
 
florida_fotog
12 April 2012 @ 10:11 pm


Tomorrow we are getting two shipping containers delivered, they are about as secure as anything we can possibly use for storage. If we do not secure our tools and supplies, they will be stolen. We've been told this by a few of the locals. Once we have secured our belongings, Mike is free to come home and visit. One neighbor makes a fair amount of money reselling items he "finds" here locally. I'm not judging. This is an impoverished county. There are no jobs. There is no reason to believe things will improve any time soon. Obama's message of HOPE has not yet found its way to Dixie county, Florida.

Mike is coming home for a few days, maybe on Sunday, after he puts everything of value into the containers. He is a hard worker and he loves what he is doing, but at the end of a long day of hard work, he's alone, except for the dogs, and I can tell he misses me. I miss him and I'm glad he's coming home, but the novelty of traveling north every weekend has not yet worn off. I'll miss my stay in the woods this week, but I'll be happy to see Mike.

We had three dumptruck loads of limestone delivered this week. This is used to harden our roads and driveways. Even though we have four wheel drive vehicles, the dirt is sand based, and there are places you sink. Mike continued working on clearing and leveling space. Thank goodness for the tractor, For years,  we hauled up push mowers, weed trimmers and pruning shears, making minor progress on clearing a liveable space. We should have bought a tractor years ago. I am in awe of how much work he has gotten done in such a short amount of time. To his credit, he is a very hard worker, but modern and large scale equipment have made immediate and noticeable progress.

The county is taking it's time giving us an ok to relocate the placement of our well and septic. We have an approval for these items, but when we bought the additional five acres we decided to relocate them. We want the county to sign off on the modification of these plans. One man, buildingcodeenforcer or something, will make this decision. He will ultimately approve it, because there is no health or safety reason to deny the request but he is making us wait, three weeks now. Once we have a well, I'll start cultivating garden soil and mulch piles.

I was talking to Michael this evening, and there were owls, making a lot of noise, in the background. I can not wait till I am able to be there full time.
 
 
florida_fotog
11 April 2012 @ 06:31 am
Uninvited guest in Pinellas, not Dixie county. The girls are loving his attention.

 
 
 
florida_fotog
10 April 2012 @ 10:37 pm


Two weeks ago, today, Michael moved up to the Dixie county property. It is now his full time job making this beautiful place, habitable. Home, for now, is a 32 ft travel trailer. There is still no grid power or running water. We have some solar panels that give us enough wattage to run the trailer lights and the pump for the shower and sink. We import our water, generously donated by a neighbor, in five gallon containers. The trailer has a propane oven and stove. There is a non-working refrigerator that will operate with electricity or propane when we get it repaired.

Michael is working on getting the trees cleared for the site of the well and septic, which we hope to have put in within the next thirty days. We have ordered two 40 ft shipping containers that we will use for storage. These will be used to secure our tools and valuables and give us storage until we get barns, outbuildings and a home. We expect these containers to be delivered on Friday and Michael will be coming home to StPete for a few days visit.

I've traveled up to Dixie these last two weekends to visit him. I'll move up, eventually, but realistically, that will probably not happen for a year. Until then, I'll travel up every weekend or Mike will come down here. Sometime next summer, we hope to have a house on the land and reliable internet service, and with that, Maggie and I will move up in time for her to start high school. With reliable high speed internet, I can work from home.
 
 
florida_fotog
10 April 2012 @ 09:44 pm


Possible home site. We're clearing out some of the brush and leveling the land. If we don't put a home here, it will be good pasture or garden space.
 
 
florida_fotog
10 April 2012 @ 07:03 am
 
 
florida_fotog
05 November 2011 @ 11:16 pm


We met with an architect on Friday. We gave him a rough idea of the home we want to build. To get the county to give us electric, we need a site plan that includes a house plan, a well and septic. As much as we want to do this at our own pace, the county prescribes a strict order. He is going to give us a rendering we can take to a contractor to bid on the pieces of the project we need to hire out. We can not do all this ourselves; the county and state regulations require licensing for some of the steps.

We were hoping Brendan would be available to help with the build, but he has been in NY for a month now. He and his gf have taken up residence at Class War Camp @ OWS. We are not going to wait till he returns because he is loving his life in NY and I do not want to call him back from what is happening in lower Manhattan.

The house plans will be ready in about a week; next we shop for a qualified contractor that is hopefully within our budget.

 
 
florida_fotog
30 July 2011 @ 12:03 pm
This week we purchased five additional acres, the adjacent parcel to our north. There was another five acre parcel to our south we had also hoped to acquire but a couple from south Florida beat us to it. We have not met the new neighbors yet, but I researched them on fb and according to what I could tell, one of them is active with an equine rescue group. Maggie desperately wants a horse and I have been very reluctant to commit because neither Mike nor I know anything about horses. Maybe these neighbors will be the support resource we need to make us comfortable bringing a horse on the property.

This new parcel is mostly cleared and will make good pasture for goats and great space for gardens. It will enable us to avoid deforresting most of our original ten acres. I say my nightly prayers to the gods of technology. I have got to have reliable high speed internet access before I can work from home. The best service, in the area, is still sketchy; it's satellite based service. We will not be generating any income from the land for some time, so I can not think about quitting my job.

We have met some wonderful people that own a farm in Plant City, and another family that own a sheep farm in Dade City. The more time I spend with people that are living my dream, the more I realize I have a lot to learn and it is probably for the best that this move is taking longer than I would like.