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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Oregon Trail... or This Pilgrim is Going Home. A Landmark?
beverly
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I know I don't post much on Hatrack anymore, but I felt I ought to go ahead and post this here.

The Oregon countryside is teeming with Blanchards and Blanchard relatives. I have always favored my Blanchard side and adored numerous family vacations that brought me to my Grandparents farm. I grew up feeling gyped that I didn't get to grow up on a farm myself. Currently the only people in my family not in the Pacific Northwest are me and my youngest brother--who will probably end up there eventually.

Well, Porter and I had recently started talking about a possible move to Oregon. Both of us were reasonably happy with Utah, so we weren't in a hurry. We put the distance at a very safe 4 years.

In the meantime, the wheels of my mind were turning. I began researching livestock and pasture-farming. I was enchanted with the idea of year-round grazing--animals living off the land with little or no feed suppliment. Dairy goats, chickens, dairy and meat cows, pigs--I am even thinking of running some free-range guinea pigs on the land. Perhaps a greenhouse for year-round produce. More and more my soul hungered. This felt so right. I began researching real estate to see what it would cost to get some acreage. It seemed a bit out of our financial grasp, but I felt confident that in a few years we would've saved up enough.

Then a certain property popped up. It offered far more than any other I'd seen at far better a price. It wasn't in the middle of nowhere, ithe house was sufficiently-sized, and it was on 6 acres! There was a heated shop in the backyard as big as the house! I knew Porter would just love that. Both of us would have space to follow our passions and hobbies. And, it was three miles from my dear sister's house! I had been thinking that since Porter does not want to deal with farming and livestock, living near my brother-in-law who is gung-ho about these things, would be crucial. This seems to be the deal of a lifetime, for us.

But the day we started to get serious, the house went under contract. I was crestfallen! But the potential buyer had a contigency on selling their own house in California, and we realized there might be a way we could still get this house.

My Dad got arranged to get a home equity loan and offered to loan it to us so that we could pay for this house in cash. We would pay him back when we sold our house here. My family checked this place out taking pictures and notes for our benefit. We decided to make an offer. They countered the offer (we expected this) and we accepted the counter. At this point, the other buyer had 24 hours to either drop their contingency or back out of "first position."

They backed out today. That means we are officially under contract to buy this house in "first position." O_o

We are headed up to Oregon this Saturday to see the place for the first time. I am so relieved that all my dreaming can be "for real." The only thing stopping us from getting this place is us deciding not to get it after seeing/inspecting it.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so frickin' excited! I feel like I am coming home. Really coming home.

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ElJay
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That is wonderful, beverly! Parts of the idea of running a small-scale farm and producing most of my own food really appeal to me, but enough other parts don't that I could never actually do it. I'm so excited for you that it's something you want and may be able to make a serious try at. Good luck!
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Tante Shvester
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Mazel Tov! You can milk your own dairy animals and make your own kefir. You can shear your own sheep and then knit them sweaters.

Enjoy!

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Bob_Scopatz
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Congratulations! I hope it turns out to be everything you are wishing for.

[Big Grin]

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Dr Strangelove
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That is so cool bev! I'm excited for you! Although if you move, we won't be able to hang out next time I come up to Park City [Frown] . Sacrifices must be made in the name of progress though [Razz] . Seriously, I really hope it works out.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Tante Shvester:
Mazel Tov! You can milk your own dairy animals and make your own kefir. You can shear your own sheep and then knit them sweaters.

Enjoy!

Exactly.

Yay, beverly! Yay, yay, yay! And yay for mph, too!

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Noemon
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[Smile] This is great, bev! Porter had told me that you guys were likely going to be going up to check the place out (although at that point it wasn't certain), but at that point I didn't have the context to understand why that place was so ideal for you. I hope that it passes your inspection with flying colors, and that you guys are soon living this life. Good luck!
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breyerchic04
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You do realize you now have to buy four ponies right? [Wink]


This is a lifestyle at times I've wanted, since it's pretty close to the way I grew up, though we never actually had the animals, neighbors and friends always did, and as a kid we had (still do) 9 acres I could explore with my dog. Congrats to Porter, Bev, and all four kids.

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beverly
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Thank you all! The only thing that makes me sad is Porter's mixed feelings. I wish he were as excited as I am.

Tante makes me laugh. [Smile]

Yeah Dr. We also will no longer be the central meeting place for the Utah clump. That is sad. But we will be closer to other awesome Jatraqueros!

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beverly
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Oh, I totally want a horse, maybe two. Porter has always known that I want that. But he has always looked at horses as "rich man's toys" and really is anti-excited about me doing that. I think it would take some convincing. [Smile]
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beverly
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Porter needs to see the place before he will actually begin to consider this. (That is the way Porter is.) But the fact that he has agreed to go "this far" says that he is serious in that consideration.
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Frisco
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quote:
You can shear your own sheep and then knit them sweaters.
Why not save yourself the work and not take their wool in the first place?

Or are you entering them in livestock fashion shows?

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mr_porteiro_head
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But yes, we are going out there this next week to check it out.

From what we can tell so far, it's a wonderful place.

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mr_porteiro_head
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One thing I really like about this place is that it has a gigantic workshop/shed/barn that is as big as the entire house. I've always joked that I wanted to live in a warehouse with a nice home built in the corner. This is about the closest thing to that.
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mr_porteiro_head
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My biggest hang-up is that I don't know if I want to move at all right now, and I don't know if I want to move to Oregon.

The fact that I can live anywhere and still keep my job is actually pretty annoying right now. Too much choice == more stress.

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ketchupqueen
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Wow, I think that is a great opportunity.

And, you know, Hatrack could come visit you and camp out in your backyard. [Laugh]

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mr_porteiro_head
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This has been an extremely emotional week for me. A lot of me doesn't want to move just because I don't want to deal with change.

I don't want to have to deal with this decision. I was hoping we'd get out-bid for the property. That didn't happen.

But, we're going there this weekend, and I have to deal with it.

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beverly
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That would be a sight to see! Watch out for cow pies. [Angst]
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
A lot of me doesn't want to move just because I don't want to deal with change.

I've moved 10 times since I've been old enough to remember it, and every single time I've felt that way, even when I was moving from a crappy place to a better place, or a place I didn't really want to be to a place I did.
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erosomniac
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That's incredibly exciting for both of you!!

Porter, be well! [Smile]

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beverly
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quote:
Porter, be well! [Smile]
I dunno why, but this sounds like something Telperion would say.

I miss Telp. [Frown]

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Dagonee
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Congratulations! I hope it works out.

Is this why you had to be able to tell if broadband was available at a specific address? I almost posted "thinking of moving" in that thread but decided you would have said something if you wanted to discuss it.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Is this why you had to be able to tell if broadband was available at a specific address?
Exactly.

If it turns out we can't get reliable internet, then the deal's off. My job absolutely depends on it.

Unfortunately, it looks like my options are satellite or DSL. Neither option is great, but both are doable.

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imogen
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How exciting!

I am flirting with the idea of semi-rural for when we move next year. Your (potential) place sounds terrific.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
quote:
A lot of me doesn't want to move just because I don't want to deal with change.

I've moved 10 times since I've been old enough to remember it, and every single time I've felt that way, even when I was moving from a crappy place to a better place, or a place I didn't really want to be to a place I did.
Agreed. I loathe, detest, and really, really HATE moving.
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TomDavidson
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Can you really graze a sufficient number of livestock on six acres while maintaining a decent amount of farmland and at least two sizable buildings? We've got nearly an acre of land here, and six times our property doesn't seem like it'd feed many cows.
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Mr.Funny
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Maybe I missed it, but to what part of Oregon are you (potentially) moving?

It'd be cool to have more Jatraqueros in the Pac NW. Even though I'll be gone at college next year.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Can you really graze a sufficient number of livestock on six acres while maintaining a decent amount of farmland and at least two sizable buildings? We've got nearly an acre of land here, and six times our property doesn't seem like it'd feed many cows.
It wouldn't. Three at the most, but I doubt even that many.
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Nell Gwyn
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Can you really graze a sufficient number of livestock on six acres while maintaining a decent amount of farmland and at least two sizable buildings? We've got nearly an acre of land here, and six times our property doesn't seem like it'd feed many cows.

I don't know if cattle work the same way, but I believe the general rule for horses is one horse per acre of pasture is ideal. (It might be two per acre, but I'm pretty sure it's one.) More than that, and the grass will go away, and they'll have to depend a lot more on hay.

I think this sounds like a wonderful opportunity and a lot of fun! In my idealistic dreams, I'd love to do something like that someday, but I'd definitely need a willing partner-in-crime - I wouldn't have the motivation to follow through with something like that on my own.

I hope everything works out so that everyone's happy. [Smile]

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breyerchic04
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Our neighbors do more than one cow per acre, they do hay quite a bit though, I'm not sure how many bales a what time frame.
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beverly
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Tom, I don't plan to have a large number of any one animal, and I don't intend to do much beyond a family-sized vegetable garden (maybe a greenhouse, but that would come later.)

Also, there are a lot of innovative methods being developed that allow for more animals to be able to graze the same acreage. You see, if you let all the animals on all the land all the time, they will eat down their favorite plants and neglect the rest. They bite their favorites down too often, weakening them beyond their ability to recover, while the less-favored plants thrive, over-grow and go to seed. Plants that have gone to seed are generally unpalatable.

If you separate the land into small paddocks and move the animals frequently, they will graze the area in such a way that the favored and the unfavored get bitten, and none get so bitten that they can't recover quickly. In a lush climate it is easier to pull off, and this area of Oregon is about as lush and mild as it gets. During the season of fastest growth, you'd probably hire a tractor to cut hay off of some of the paddocks because you don't want them to get overgrown and go to seed.

In Oregon, it stays green all winter, so winter grazing is no problem at all. The summer, though, gets really dry. That is the time I might need to suppliment feed or do something else to get water to the land. There are trees all around to serve as wind-breaks, so minimal shelter, if any, would be needed for these animals.

Also, you can fit more animals on if you have small numbers of different species since different animals favor different plants. Goats love to eat bushes and tree branches. Sheep prefer "forbs" (bushy weedy things) and bovines and horses prefer grass. Pigs will eat just about anything, as will chickens. A lamb didn't make it through it's first delicate night of life? You feed it to the pigs and chickens. You can even work things so that the chickens eat the maggots out of the manure, lessening the fly problem as well as helping spread the manure where it is better used by the plants. You have your own little ecosystem when you work small and diversified. Small enough to give everything personal attention, diversified enough that the animals fill niches in the farm and complement each other.

Part of this land is overgrown by bushiness, and so I intend to lose some goats on it to clear it up a bit.

It is great when you can work in harmony with nature, God has provided all the necessary tools within the animals and plants without needing lots of big, heavy, expensive machines. Animals raised on grass are leaner, have a higher percentage of nourishing, life-giving fats and other nutrients, and are happier and healthier. Plus, people are clammoring to get milk, eggs, and meat from such a wholesome source. What you need is some good fencing, water supply, and perhaps a bit of seeding now and then to help things along. The impact of the animals on the land enhances the plant life so long as everything is well managed. You can actually get quite a bit out of the land this way for less work and expense.

Well, it's easy for me to talk big now when I haven't actually tried this all out. I intend to start small and build from there. Chickens and dairy goats first. (All this assuming Porter ends up being OK with it. He knows I want to do this, but he hasn't decided he wants to let me.)

[ October 05, 2006, 12:37 AM: Message edited by: beverly ]

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beverly
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Mr. Funny, the place is in Dallas, Oregon. This is a link to the property, and it has a link on that page to a virtual tour. Also, for fun, try looking up the address on Google Earth. It is the one with all the cars on the lot. (The current owners fixed VW Bugs for a living.) The "X" that it shows is most likely the south eastern corner of the property, as best as I can tell. The property is shaped mostly squarish with a pointy "finger" that juts up along the road northward. I am not sure what to do with that outstretch of land at this point. :/ It appears that all the buildings are clustered into the north western corner of the squarish section.

The treeish strip along the road has a small seasonal creek and a small seasonal pond that is so overgrown you can hardly see it at all. That is a place I intend to send my attack goats. [Smile] I want my kids to be able to catch frogs like I did growing up! Ooo, and check out the pond our next door neighbors have.

All the land to the north and west is tree farm owned by Californians that come up a few times a year to check on their land. Current home-owners say they are great neighbors. I wonder if they'd let me go horseback riding through there? Certainly the kids would have a great time exploring the Big World. :sigh:

Nell: I've heard it recommended 1 horse per two acres, but I don't think that takes rotational grazing into account.

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quidscribis
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This sounds so exciting! It's something that I would have loved to do had I stayed in Canada. Here, not so much.
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CaySedai
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Beverly: when I was in my early teens, we had a horse. We lived in a rented farmhouse and the landlord let us keep our horse in the barnyard.

Every morning (spring through fall) I took the horse down the road and staked her in the ditch. We had a rope attached to the fence and a rope with a metal link that the horse was attached to. She had the range of the fence rope plus the length of her rope. Each morning I would move the end of the fence rope farther away, so she got a different area to graze. Every evening I went and brought her home.

Of course, this was in the early to mid-70s, and I wouldn't recommend leaving a horse unattended for people to steal or even just release. But, it did allow for rotating her area for grazing.

Oh, and best wishes that this works out for the best for your family.

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beverly
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Oooo! CaySedai, I have been thinking about that! You see, while eventually I want a nice, big, strong fence around the entire 6 acres (and perhaps to try and buy or lease the square to fill out the area by the north-pointing finger of land) that will cost money and time that we may not have at first. This move will clean out most of our non-retirement savings as well as possibly making it more challanging to amass more savings. A fence may have to wait.

So I have been thinking of doing a similar thing with various livestock--staking them to an area to graze and moving them around that way. It would get impractical pretty quickly with too many animals, but it might be a way to start out. Maybe the animals will help me make enough money to fund a fence! One can dream. [Smile]

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Uprooted
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Well, whatever you both decide is best for you and your family, have a great time this weekend and have fun dreaming!! I hope you'll have time for posting reports on your progress should you end up buying it . . . I really enjoyed your butter and kefir thread!
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beverly
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Thanks! I intend (once I get enough milk flowing through goats, cows or both) to make large amounts of kefir to feed to my livestock. From everything I hear, animals love kefir, and it gives them great benefits of health and vitality as well as strengthening their immune system.

One of the big reasons I want at least one cow is that I'd miss making butter if I only had goats. [Frown] Goat milk is naturally homogenized--at least it takes a very long time for the cream to separate out.

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Telperion the Silver
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Holy crap Mary!!
*big hugs*

This is amazing news! While I was reading it I as thinking "Porter likes to farm??", knowing he's a computer guy (among many other things). But that's a good idea, having your family so close and who are already into farming can come help out on the land.

[Group Hug]
I have a family farm in Ohio, 45 acers. No animals, just corn and soybeans on rotation. No one has lived there though since the 50's, but we do go down twice a year to visit and we have a local farmer tend the land while we are away.

But it feels like a second home to me... my ancestral land going back to the Civil War.

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Lyrhawn
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Creepy, the agent's name is Bob Taylor. One of my best friend's dad's name is Bob Taylor.


Spooky.

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rivka
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One of the most common American first names combined with a fairly common last name.

Yeah, I can see why you'd be spooked.

Please! It's not like you had a doctor named Rivka or something.

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ketchupqueen
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Bev, that looks like just a wonderful place for kids to grow up. [Smile]
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quidscribis
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quote:
I intend (once I get enough milk flowing through goats, cows or both) to make large amounts of kefir to feed to my livestock. From everything I hear, animals love kefir, and it gives them great benefits of health and vitality as well as strengthening their immune system.
I feed my cat Oberon kefir. He has a problem with skin infections that's clearing right up. I could take him to the vet, but this is as effective as quickly, so I don't see the point. Oh, and his mange (it barely started on his lower lip) is also cleared up. I've been having problems getting it cultured consistently the way we like it (mild, not very sour, and not separated) in this heat, so I haven't been giving it to him consistently. I'm curious to see what it'll do to him when it's consistent.

On another kefir note, I've finally figured out a good system (I think) for this weather... Less than a teaspoon of kefir grains (mine are soooo small and not growing [Frown] ) in 4 to 6 cups of milk, and I have the start of separation in less than 24 hours. So, still tweaking it, but I'm getting closer.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
This is amazing news! While I was reading it I as thinking "Porter likes to farm??", knowing he's a computer guy (among many other things). But that's a good idea, having your family so close and who are already into farming can come help out on the land.
I joked last night that if we do this, we'll split up the household responsibilities. I'll take care of the 20th and 21st century, and she'll take care of the 19th and earlier.
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rivka
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Seems fair.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Unfortunately, that puts trebuchets in her domain. [Frown]
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TomDavidson
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Yeah, but you get orbital lasers.
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rivka
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Not if it's computerized.

Anyway, I'm sure she'd let you do it. Just make sure she gets the credit.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I have a family farm in Ohio, 45 acers. No animals, just corn and soybeans on rotation. No one has lived there though since the 50's, but we do go down twice a year to visit and we have a local farmer tend the land while we are away.
I just saw this. And, dude, I think of you so differently now that I know you're landed gentry.
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Samarkand
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How cool! I went to college at Willamette University, so I know right where you'll be. Porter, has it occured to you that you will be in the same state as Powell's? And their technical books store with Fup, the store cat? Mmm, Powell's . . .

(And if you need to butter him up, just take him to the Joel Palmer House. Assuming you like mushrooms. Mmm, mushroom soup . . .)

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Porter, has it occured to you that you will be in the same state as Powell's?
Since I've never heard of Powell's, I've got to say no.

quote:
Porter, has it occured to you that you will be in the same state as Powell's?
Oh, that's too rich. Beverly is irrationally afraid of mushrooms.
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