Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Last Wednesday my youngest son and myself went to the farmers auction. He is 32 and remembers when his grandpa used to take him, his brother, and a pack of cousins and friends in his big old van. One time they all came back home with 5 sheep, two goats, six kids, and grandpa! None of the animals were potty trained. The kids had a ball and still bring it up twenty years later.

It is the same auction house, it has been there for 75 years! Starts at 9:00am, on the "hill" . People bring their trash and treasures and unload in rows outside. We picked a good day to go, the weather was iffy and we were bidder #82. We found some real bargains. I bought professional wallpaper table for $3. It is complete with the cutter, brass 8' straight edge, square and hold downs. Nice unit folds into its self neatly. Also bought 4 house jacks for $4 apiece, that is like giving them away! Also bought a painters pick for $3, it is a 13 footer and hardly used, thing costs 200 bucks new! Bid on an old grape squeezer, but someone wanted it more then I did. Jon bought 10 balls for $8, including 2 footballs, soccer balls basketballs, all new.

Along with the auction there is a flea market running. Lots of veggie stands. We bought cabbage for $1 a head, some weighed over 10 pounds! Brown eggs, cauliflower,Brussels sprouts, egg plant, and cheese curds. We did not stick around for the animals.

It was a great day overall and I got to enjoy my son's company.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Retirement update!

It has been a little over 6 months since I retired. Funny but I don't feel retired. Since that time I have decided that the first year will be mine to do some of the things that never seemed to get done while I was working. When I was employed I also ran my small business, farmed, and never seemed to have an extra moment to myself.

Now I am busier then ever and liking it. Just busy in different ways. I have this vision for my hill farm and I am striving toward making it happen. It is an evolutionary plan that gets modified daily as I learn more about my goals and my desire to be off the grid, of the map, and slowly lapse into a lifestyle of non consumer. In the last 6 months I have not made any major purchases and have worked hard at a simplified existence. It is working. I am happier and do not feel as much pressure.

Does anyone know where this country is going? Can we land on our feet as a nation or are we in for a long journey into the darkness? Greed is what I see as the cause and I think it has to get worse before it gets better. The Dow is going to continue to drop and in some ways I think that is a good thing. People will have to learn to live with less, focus on family, and get back to the things we do just to survive.

Since retirement my income has dropped approximately $1500 a month. Some of that drop is due to the fact that I am not running my business. My expenditures have dropped even more then my income. I have money left at the end of the month and I have not gone into any of my savings.

Let me update my activities:
The flat farm is clean! When I got the place it was covered with all sorts of stuff, from straight garbage to scrap cars. I have made 75 runs to the scrap yard. My dump truck pulling my equipment trailer, loaded each time, with as much as I could cram on without leaving a trail. The money was good, my timing was right, as scrap was at its highest level in years. This money I have not spent except for expenses, fuel etc.

The lumber for the hill farm housing project is cut and sticker stacked in in my newly completed barn at the flat farm. I will leave most of it to cure until spring. Drainage plan on the hill is coming along. I followed most of the old ditches, some were put in a century ago and silted in causing swampy spot. This has taken a lot more work then I thought it would, but the end result will be worth it!

Here at home I have finished trimming several windows that I replaced. The drywall is in, the taping and seaming needs done. Also need to do the fine finish work. i.e.set, nails, fill the holes, fine sand, and put the finish on. The plumbing rough is almost complete for the new master bath that I have planned. All the fixtures are recycle including a wonderful old Whores tub that my nephew has refinished. The kid does it for a living. The bathroom is going to be a black and white checkered pattern and the tub will free stand in the corner. Room to walk around it. All the plumbing that show will be brass, including a sunflower shower head that is about 12 inches across, and the rod to hold the curtain. We have a hard time even talking about selling this house. It is a love affair, we raised our boys here, lived life here, and have so many memories.

My wife is close to her family and her parents are getting old. Mom is 86, dad is 87. We are 20 minutes away living here and would be 2 hours away on the hill. So for now we live here. The hill will have a guest cottage that has an eye towards easy access. This is a necessary thing as we have a very large extended family on both sides and many of them have come to love the hill. The one thing I do not want to deal with is house guests. They are like fish, after three days you should throw them out!

I have been looking for a small boat, a very small boat. I have found a few, but everyone wants more then I will spend. The boat is for my beaver pond, I want to fish and not donate fishing tackle to the bushes and roots in the pond. So I am building one. It will be 12 feet long, with two seats, oar locks, and no will be muscle powered.

It is deer season and all bets on me doing any work until it is over are off! I have seen 16 deer so far but no shots. I am bow hunting and will not take a shot unless I am sure of a kill. My mouth is watering just thinking about fresh venison. Tonight I leave for the hill and I have to get my grocery list together.

Do you see her?

Friday, October 03, 2008

It's been a while!

What a shitty blogger I have become! Since I retired my farms and living has sure taken up my time. The hill farm is coming along I have 40 acres ready to plant. It involved removing the brush that has taken over in the last several years and getting the golden rod under control. Some drainage problems that I have rectified with my back-hoe. Plus I have been sawing lumber and a break neck pace! I want to have it all sawed at my flat farm so I can move the saw to the hill.40 or so logs to go! Also made progress on my solar out house. I have the concrete box done. But for now we use the old one. I still do not have indoor plumbing so we live very Amish when we are on the hill.
This is not the time to be selling houses unless you have a piece of property that is unique. That I have and I am entertaining an offer for my home stead. It seems the downturn is not hurting the market around here too much yet, as property is undervalued in this area. Western New York is a bargain for the upscale shopper.
I am here to tell you retirement is highly underrated. I am enjoying myself. Now it is the cusp of winter and I am thinking deer hunting. I had a dream about venison steaks! Now that is sad. If the bed was wet it was from drool.
We are picking apples today. My youngest want to make a big batch of cider to try out his invention,an apple smasher.Going to fill my dump truck.