Last year, we got this place for a song. Of course, it needed a lot of work. After selling our MPLS home in June 08, I moved out here to "finish" the house (i.e. make it livable). I had actually start working on it with my father in Feb or March. Here is the first shout out I've gotta give: DAD. We did a near complete rehab of the dwelling, bankrolled initially by Pops. (I suppose I also owe one to Uncle Tom for deciding to vacate said premise.) New wiring, windows, doors, kitchen, walls, bath, appliances, floors... It is a new house (on the inside). Thankfully,It only took a matter of weeks to make the first floor livable and a few more for floor 2. Many a day I was there with kids in tow keeping one room clean and clear for the kiddo's to hang in, setting up a movie or some such to gain 90 minutes of unimpeded work. Molly was a trooper, bringing home the bacon, tolerating my promises that it would be "done soon."
I planted our first garden still that year, In the first week of July! (I'm not stupid, but hopeful.) These poor plants were started in MPLS and kept alive yet root-bound untiltime could be made to stick 'em in the dirt. We harvested our first tomatoes in the first week of September. Gardening was not yet our priority.
I had hoped to get the future vegplot tilled that fall, but it was simply too low a priority. Late winter, I built a grow room in the house. A few lights and some cannabilized futon frames transformed our futre 2nd bathroom into a hopeful cubby. We started tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, brocco, brussels, and cauliflower. It went wonderfully. However, as the ground thawed and my thoughts turned increasingly out of doors, i was still no closer to getting that plot tilled.
I had been trying to culture some leads, but wanted to keep it as cheap (free) as possble. The most hopeful was a two-bottom plow my Pops had 'bought' sight-unseen from a guy a little ways north of us. After a few weeks of trying to get ahold of him, we took a drive to what we thought was his place. Actually, it was his sister's and she was tight lipped. I supposed we looked like trouble since he owed us something. We finally got it out of her that he might be in lock-up at county. She was gracious enoough to lend us a phonebook. Calling the Sheriff, we found him and were informed that he could only be reached in person during visiting hours. So that plow became a no-go.
Extra special thanks to our frien Ryan Batalden (you can find his family farm on the web and buy there grass-fed beef, its great). Ryan mentions to me, a few days later, 'I have an old four-bottom plow sitting in one of my pastures if you want it.' In fact he has one hell of an Oliver plow sitting there. So my dad and I show up with a trailer and this thing barely fits on, in fact it doesn't fit on. Luckily the tire on the plow (after any nuber of years left abandoned) still holds and has air in it! It supports the back of the plow, hang several feet off the back of the trailer. Our luck holds as the wheel stayts straight and we nurse this rig home, slow and steady.
A few days later, I attempt my first plowing. It went well. The main issue being that it is far too big of a plow for the space I was working in. We disked it down a few times, and finally were set to plant. By now its early May. My hopeful schedule was shot!
More of our story to come...