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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Porter's Portage Through Oregon. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Porter's Portage Through Oregon.
BlackBlade
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I personally find (and MPH may disagree) Porter's decision to leave Utah and to go live on a farm fascinating. I expect thread drift but at least initially I am hoping that Mr. Portierohead (intentional misspelling) could explain what went into the decision, what the goals are, how long they intend to do it, and how it's panning out.

*Bounce passes ball to Porter*

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kmbboots
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Good heavens! Porter has been carrying a boat this whole time?!
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Good heavens! Porter has been carrying a boat this whole time?!

Surely you aren't suggesting that he would move to Oregon without at least floating down a river and avoiding rocks at least once!?

And yes, perhaps he did carry a canoe or similar sized craft with him to his permanent dwelling place.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
*Bounce passes ball to Porter*
Um... no. [Razz]

First of all, here's Mary Cate's original thread about it.

Second of all, ask me a question.

*retuns ball*

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
*Bounce passes ball to Porter*
Um... no. [Razz]

First of all, here's Mary Cate's original thread about it.

Second of all, ask me a question.

*retuns ball*

*dodges ball so that it goes out of bounds.*

Now look what you've done! Thanks for the link though, I'll read it.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Actually, I just talked to Mary Cate, and she's planning on coming in here and participating in this discussion, as she's much more able to answer a lot of these questions.

We were just talking last night about how long we want to live here (we're re-negotiating our mortgage right now). Mary Cate feels like she wants to live here for decades. I don't. Now, that's not to say that I want to move away -- I just don't have the desire to stay here like she does.

This whole farm thing is like that for the most part -- it's Mary Cate's baby. She's the one with the dream, she's the one with the drive, and she's the one with the sweat equity. I help out, but it's definitely me helping out.

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BlackBlade
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Porter: Just finished reading your linked thread, it only made me wonder even more how things have been working out. [Smile]
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Hobbes
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I want to know why "Mary Cate" has the user name "beverly". I guess I was gone when the reveal was made, or didn't notice when it happened, but she's always been Beverly to me. Now let's get to the bottom of that.

Hobbes [Smile]

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beverly
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quote:
it only made me wonder even more how things have been working out. [Smile]
Fantastically, thanks for asking! [Smile]

I am where I wanted to be at this point and have learned so much. It has been a roller coaster of elation and despair and has dominated a large portion of my time and attention. My husband and kids have had to deal with a lot because of it, but I like to think they have gotten a lot out of it as well.

It has taken a lot of money (and time, of course!) It is good that I have been able to generate some income with the farm. I don't know if the farm will ever pay for all the money that went into it, but I hope it will get to the point where it pays for its current expenditures. I am not including in this estimate the money we don't have to spend on groceries, which is *really* nice.

The farm helps keeps me active, strong, healthy, and happy. It provides a sense of purpose for our children, not to mention plenty of educational opportunities and enriching experience.

I really enjoy feeling, as a consumer, that I also produce. It might not completely cover my consumption, but it is something. I enjoy feeling that if the world went completely to pot, we might not just survive, but maybe, possibly, even thrive.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Here you go, Hobbes.
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Jon Boy
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I believe it's simply because she's a big fan of Beverly Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, so she took her name for her user name.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Not so much that she's a huge fan, but yeah, that's where the she picked her pseudonym from.
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beverly
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Hobbes! :tackle hug:

Story about my username: About the time I fell in love with Hatrack, I had long used "fillycate" for just about everything on the internet. But as I was about to join this community, (and didn't feel comfortable using my own name) I wanted a something that was an actual name, and definitely feminine. My first effort was to snag "Penny" or "Penelope," having just read Alvin Maker. When it was taken, the name "beverly" just came and felt right.

It did bring to my mind Beverly Crusher, with whom I have always felt a bit of kinship. She is an intelligent, logical woman who was also classically feminine: gentle, empathetic, and motherly.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
This whole farm thing is like that for the most part -- it's Mary Cate's baby. She's the one with the dream, she's the one with the drive, and she's the one with the sweat equity. I help out, but it's definitely me helping out.

I got the impression that you, at least, enjoyed the opportunity to make stuff to improve the day to day workings of the farm. Like the chicken plucker.
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Hobbes
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Well I guess we got to the bottom of that.

[EDIT: I posted this about 134 posts previous but apparently not quite quick enough...

Hi Beverly! [Wave] Or whatever you name is ... [Wink] Glad to hear your doing well, if you looking for a structural engineer intern up there, let me know!]

Hobbes [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I got the impression that you, at least, enjoyed the opportunity to make stuff to improve the day to day workings of the farm. Like the chicken plucker.
I do enjoy it. I'm about to head out right now do work on some fencing. These last few weeks Mary Cate and I have been building a beehive. I'm planning on building a cider press or two this summer. It's fun stuff.

But for the most part, I help the little red hen eat the break. It's Mary Cate that milks the goats and takes care of the animals day in and day out.

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beverly
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Porter will tell me how wonderful and cute the animals are, but he has never shown one iota of interest in caring for them. I've never made it an issue because I *do* enjoy caring for the animals. I just require his support in other ways. [Wink]

He has, however, shown interest in keeping rabbits. I have told him in no uncertain terms that if he does I will freely tell him how wonderful and cute they are, but I will do nothing whatsoever to care for them. [Smile]

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beverly
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Black Blade, here is a link to my LJ Farm Blog if you are interested:

http://fillycate.livejournal.com/

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
Black Blade, here is a link to my LJ Farm Blog if you are interested:

http://fillycate.livejournal.com/

Seeing a space between Black and Blade was actually kinda weird for me. [Smile] Thanks for the link, now I can stop creeping people out by keeping my fascination secret.
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SenojRetep
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beverly-

Thanks for the link to your live journal. I've been interested in your experiment for awhile (and a bit jealous), so I've really enjoyed reading through some of your posts. I tend to idealize the farm-family lifestyle, and a nice dose of reality about how hard it is does a lot to reground me. Still, someday...

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mr_porteiro_head
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So, now that you have that background, BB, do you still have any questions?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
So, now that you have that background, BB, do you still have any questions?

Let me make it through Bev's blog and I'll see what's left.
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beverly
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SenojRetep, I figure it's like idealizing a lifelong relationship with your chosen beloved. Limitless bliss come to mind. In practice, yes, there is bliss, but there is lots of other stuff too.

Definitely still worth doing what you are passionate about. [Smile]

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SenojRetep
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So, what's a typical weekly menu? How much do you need to supplement farm produce with purchased food?

When you mentioned the costs in a post above, you indicated the farm isn't quite covering its expenses yet but you hope it will someday. What's the fundamental limitation? Is it the product you produce or the scale of the farm or simply that you'd need to invest more in physical capital than you're currently able to?

Sorry if any of that is nosy. I haven't fully explored the live journal entries, so if you want to say "I've answered that elsewhere," I'll go looking.

Also, I love the analogy of choosing a farm-life to choosing a spouse. You get them, warts and all, but somehow even the warts can seem beautiful (sometimes).

As for passion, my desire for a farm is still in the very much platonic stage, and I don't know if it'll ever progress past that.

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mr_porteiro_head
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We produce all of our own meat, milk, and eggs. We have a garden, and in the right season, it supplements our food, but it isn't really big enough (or productive enough) to make a serious dent in our year-round grocery bill.
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Tatiana
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My parents and I had this dream of living like that. We called it our Smith & Hawken life, because we loved the catalog then, the photography, and the wonderful tools. For me, at least, it was always only a dream. Actual manual labor in the garden turned out to be really hard work and not at all idyllic like the pictures. [Smile]

This is what this reminds me of. I'm glad you're living the dream, and I love hearing about what it's like. It has a lasting appeal for me, though I know I can't do it, though we even went so far as to start looking for land to buy, once.

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beverly
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quote:
When you mentioned the costs in a post above, you indicated the farm isn't quite covering its expenses yet but you hope it will someday. What's the fundamental limitation?
First, there is the initial start-up costs, which for us are still happening. There is the fact that in order to generate large amounts of income, you have to operate on an industrial scale--which we have no intention of doing.

Maintenance in the form of feed and care for the animals and repair of existing equipment can really add up. What we can make can cover that and then some, maybe. That's if we have a good year and we really are done making new fenced in paddocks, new beehives, new hoophouses, barns, watering equipment etc.

Could we cut those costs completely and do it "Little House on the Prairie" style with all our own sweat? Yes, but we'd have to have workhorses, help from neighbors, and literally work from sunup to sundown. If it were about survival only, that's what we'd do. But it's not, not at this point anyway. Plus, we don't know enough about the "old ways".

Keep in mind that while I *might* be hardcore enough to do things this way, Porter would have to be invested %100 to make it happen. I could *not* do it alone.

This leads into your second question (the first you asked):

quote:
So, what's a typical weekly menu? How much do you need to supplement farm produce with purchased food?
We could eat a lot more from just the farm, but my family is already revolting against me. When Porter sneaks off to burger king because he just can't take it any more, I joke that he is being unfaithful to me.

Porter is picky about food, and for him it must be savory and well cooked. Alas, he is not willing to cook himself, to spend the time it takes doing it or to learn to do it, so this provides a problem. Yet, I am unable to keep from feeling guilty about not fulfilling his food desires. It is a quandary to be sure.

Part of the problem is that I work so hard on the farm, I don't have *time* do to much cooking. This isn't a problem if we eat the same thing every day, either crockpotted chicken or goat with a side dish of potatoes or rice and some veggie or fruit. Followed up by soup made from the bones. But again, the guilt about fulfilling food desires and the unwillingness to cook.

I like the analogy too. Of course with my actual beloved, there is the fact that Porter was willing to let this happen at all. I say I dragged him out here kicking and screaming, but the truth is, he loved me enough to let this happen to the extent it has. You know what they say when one spouse wants a child or pet and the other doesn't that you go with the one who doesn't. I got my farm, and I am willing to put up with a lot to keep it.

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aspectre
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" When Porter sneaks off to burger king because he just can't take it any more..."

...time to get some minicows for your minifarm.

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Belle
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Wow! I want a minicow! I wonder if the rancher we buy our meat from would consider switching...the steaks we get from him now are ridiculously big. I'd like some more reasonably sized t-bones and ribeyes.
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Miro
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I don't remember the name of the breed, but my friends have had small cattle for a few years. They don't have a proper farm, more like large gardens and a few cattle. Some cute pics.
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Achilles
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quote:
Originally posted by beverly:

But as I was about to join this community, (and didn't feel comfortable using my own name) I wanted a something that was an actual name, and definitely feminine.

Ironically, I had been wanting something that wasn't... [Grumble]
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rivka
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But, why, Elaine?
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Achilles
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Rivka, please help me out here. I'm looking for an emoticon that has squinty, narrowed eyes, and expresses irritation.
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rivka
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We can't use foreign emoticons here.
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Achilles
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Rats!
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Uprooted
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So, mph, this is a really really outdated question, but I remember reading some time ago about you lying on your back with a laptop to work because your back (I think it was your back?) was in such bad shape. Sounds like you are healed if you're making stuff to make the farm work. Did you have surgery, therapy, just get better -- y'know, nosy questions like that.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I chose to not have surgery, and it healed on its own. If I were to do it all over again, I would get the surgery and hopefully heal faster.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I chose to not have surgery, and it healed on its own. If I were to do it all over again, I would get the surgery and hopefully heal faster.

Would you like to do it all over again? *picks up hammer*
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Uprooted
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Well, I'm glad to hear that it healed, even if it was a long process.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I chose to not have surgery, and it healed on its own. If I were to do it all over again, I would get the surgery and hopefully heal faster.

Maybe. But everyone I know who has had the kind of back injury you had and had surgery has had the problem come back worse a few years later, due to the scar tissue.
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mr_porteiro_head
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How recent did they have the surgery? Was it one of the ones with the micro-incision?
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rivka
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Hmm. 5-10 years ago, and I don't know.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I would guess not. The neurosurgeon I went to had only recently finished her education, and she was the only person in the area (the state?) doing the new ones, which are supposed to have much less scar tissue.
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rivka
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Good to know.
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Tatiana
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My sister in law has had multiple back surgeries and they didn't help. It seems like everyone I know who has back surgery says it didn't help. My mom had back surgery a couple of years ago and she wasn't better. I asked her if she felt better or worse since the surgery about 3 months after and she said worse. Then the doctor ordered physical therapy for her and she got much better. I totally think the physical therapy should have come first, and if it did she likely would never have needed the surgery.

So because of all these experiences, I'm quite skeptical of back surgery. I think you did the right thing.

The farm is really interesting. I have this urge to try to grow vegetables again, even though the last time I tried it, it didn't work. I just don't think I have enough sun. But the idea of farm life really appeals to me. The actuality of it sounds like more hard backbreaking work than I could manage.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Here's what the neurosurgeon said to me:

Barring complications, in two years there will be no difference whether you had the surgery or not. It will heal on its own. In one year, it will be better with the surgery.

And while this type of surgery has low odds for complication, there's always that chance.

quote:
But the idea of farm life really appeals to me. The actuality of it sounds like more hard backbreaking work than I could manage.
What you need is a farm to visit. Or patronize. [Wink]
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rivka
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I believe that. However, the key words are:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Barring complications

It makes sense to me that surgery would be far more likely to have complications that non-surgery in this case. Scar tissue build-up is an all-too-common complication with back surgeries.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It makes sense to me that surgery would be far more likely to have complications that non-surgery in this case.
Yup. Which is why I decided against surgery.
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rivka
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And why I think that was a very smart choice, although I am sorry such a painful one.
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Dogbreath
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Maybe this has been covered in your LJ, but have you guys considered building greenhouses? They're actually pretty simple and cheap to build, and they could generate some vegetables for your personal consumption in the winter months, and maybe even help you grow some exotic plants in the summer.

I was in Iceland last summer (a few days after the solstice) and I saw a lot of areas out in the countryside that had "greenhouses" (though they were more like pvc pipes, plastic curtains, and some sort of heat trapping plastic/glass cover) - because it's too cold to grow vegetables otherwise, even in the summer. It occurred to me that greenhouses might be a good way to utilize all the extremely northern land in Canada and Europe, once you can pay back the construction costs.

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