Managing a Non-Farm Business on the Farm

Our original vision for Longleaf Breeze was that both of us would be full-time subsistence farmers. That was before. That was before the brutal shakeout in market performance depleted the value of our investments, leaving us at once both poorer and more humble. So now we know that, at least for the time being, I will need to continue working with people going through divorce, even as Amanda focuses exclusively on the farm. Continue reading “Managing a Non-Farm Business on the Farm”

Staying Warm; Firewood

Amanda and I read a haunting piece on AlterNet recently entitled 5 Pieces of Advice for the New Paupers. The whole piece is worth reading, but the part that informs today’s post is about the necessity of finding a reliable way to keep warm: “You won’t even want food much after a while. You’ll want heat itself, not the chemical middleman. You are going to realize that cold is the most frightening thing in the world. In older English dialects, ‘to starve’ meant ‘to freeze.’ You will see why.” Ooh. Gets your attention, doesn’t it? It got ours, and consequently, we have been unusually attentive to finding ways to stay warm. Continue reading “Staying Warm; Firewood”

Clearing and Burning

We own 88 acres of land. Positioned at the junction of Tallapoosa River bottomland and the resumption of the craggy coastal plain, it’s gorgeous to us. The place where we are building the barn and plan one day to build our house is elevated enough to have a panoramic view of the valley to the south, particularly in the winter when the leaves are off the trees. It has a 1-acre +/- pond and a creek that runs diagonally across it that continued to flow even at the height of the drought in 2007. That’s the good news. Now let’s talk about the challenges. Continue reading “Clearing and Burning”

From Birmingham to Los Angeles in Seven Hours

Today Amanda and I fly to Los Angeles from Birmingham to see our brand new (and first) grandchild. If you do not yet have a grandchild of your very own, I apologize for oohing and cooing incessantly. If you do, you understand. We are, to put it mildly, fired up. Continue reading “From Birmingham to Los Angeles in Seven Hours”

Saving Every Drop of Water We Can

This is that curious and exhausting stage of our lives during which Amanda and I effectively live in two worlds. Most of the week we work at our desk jobs, she teaching students at Samford University and I helping people survive divorce. Most Friday and Saturdays, though, we work at Longleaf Breeze. This weekend we will be visiting our brand new grandson in California, so we’re sneaking down for a one-day trip to work on our rainwater harvesting system. Continue reading “Saving Every Drop of Water We Can”

Why We Are Doing This

When our friends find out that we, a PhD in interpersonal communications and a divorce lawyer who have never successfully grown so much as a tomato, are preparing to become subsistence farmers, their reactions vary from incredulity through denial to (occasionally) fascinated approval. The most frequent response by far, though, is “Why?” Continue reading “Why We Are Doing This”