Friday, July 15, 2011

So You Wanna Live on a Farm?

So uh...yeah...it's been awhile, huh?

Okay okay, but in my defense, I've been overwhelmingly busy. It's been so hot (and it's no joke, it was 109 the other day with a heat index of 130) I've had to start working in the overnight hours. I've also been traveling back and forth across the state monthly to prep our home in Gatlinburg to rent it to family and close friends. I've also been driving with the hubby back and forth to Washington DC in order to find him some real medical care for his chronic Lyme Disease at Jemsek Specialty Clinic. Top that off with some naughty masked bandits (aka raccoons) munching down on 5 of our chickens and yet another heaping healthy helping of human sick-minded bandit variety and our happy little flock of 80 is now....20.

Sigh.
...and...and...THE DOG ATE MY LAPTOP!

Okay, maybe not that last part. But the other stuff is 100% true. At first, I considered just packing it in and moving to Baltimore. Or maybe to some other big city featured in critically acclaimed yet popularly unnoticed television shows based on the premise of the slow death and decay of American culture due to poverty, selfishness and greed. Then I took a nap, and what do you know? I felt a little better. Rather than rent that U-Haul I sent out a mass email to our clients, friends and family explaining what had happened to our flock and soliciting their promise to help support us in whatever way they could, either by paying a little more for eggs or finding me enough clients to add in the fall that would make an attempt at raising another clutch affordable for us. They came through in spades. 

...oh, whoops! Speaking of being incredibly busy, I just got a call from the post office that our shipment of 25 chicks has arrived. Should they all survive and all be pullets like I ordered (it's never 100% accurate, though Ideal Poultry has an excellent track record for me so far) we'll be up to 50. That's our original number when we first started the business. I wish it were more, but for the time being we have to be sure our new security is working and/or school is back in session so the "little darlings" who had oh so much fun letting loose our birds to be scarfed up by dogs (most likely theirs) will have less time on their hands. So, I've gotta boogie to get the babies! That always brightens my day. Perhaps I'll continue this post while in the brooder. As I said before, I live just like Laura Ingalls Wilder, only with high speed internets and a generally bitchy attitude. 

Before I go, let me put a bug in your cyber-ear. While Michael is gone (about 8 months), I'll be looking for a roommate who can help with farm work, house work or both in exchange for lodging. But for now, it's baby time!

Okay, I've returned from helping the new babes settle in and work on imprinting. So...on to my finding a roommate/farmmate while Michael is gone. Or at the very least a part-time employee and farm sitter. I've placed an ad on a website called Caretaker-jobs.com and so far have had some interest. So, if you're interested in gettin' your farm on, you've come to the right place!  Below are the details of the note I put on our Facebook Page:


Small pay-as-you-can egg farm needs farmsitter/roommate/housekeeper to assist one owner while the other undergoes medical treatment out-of-state. We operate under permaculture ethics to maximize sustainable and compassionate living.


Details:
  • Couples or singles welcome, but please no children.
  • Located 1 & ½ hours from Memphis.
  • Farm and/or housework experience a plus, but not required. Training provided.
  • No dogs. A dog would upset the balance of our pack of four. Extreme weather conditions, on-site donkeys and wild coyotes present extreme danger to “outdoor only”dogs.
  • No pet birds (due to possible disease transmission).
  • Absolutely no drugs of any kind.
  • Alcohol is permitted off-duty.
  •  Dates flexible. Stay a week, a month, or the duration.
 Perks:
  • Room/board
  • Gas for farm errands run.
  • Share in profits (after farm expenses) of egg deliveries made on behalf of owner.
  •  For every week of satisfactory work, receive complementary 3-day stay at our creek-side mountain cabin just outside of Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Time may be banked for up to a full week stay at a time, a $1400   value.
General Requirements for Applicants:
  • Tetanus up-to-date and be able to provide that documentation
  • General good health
  • MUST be in good physical condition
  • Able to lift and carry 50-60 pounds easily
  • No animal allergies
  • Prepared to work in all weather conditions
  • Must understand compassionate farming sometimes means making emotionally difficult decisions such as sending stray dogs to the local  kill shelter, killing a bird who is injured, culling roos, etc.
  • Must be willing/able (after training) to successfully and satisfactorily complete daily farm chores alone 2x per week
  • Must be flexible in work schedules and how to prioritize what is to be done. Farm work is completely unpredictable at times, and there are no time cards or guaranteed "off" times. They do happen, but one must be flexible and be ready to get back to work in an emergency.
Specific Daily Tasks for the Farm:
  • Assist owner in animal routine for 40 chickens, 2 donkeys and 4 dogs. This involves feeding, collecting eggs, cleaning nest boxes, providing fresh water daily, changing water frequently during hot days to ensure cold water, etc.
  • Assist owner in maintaining/repairing fence lines
  • Learning our business model well enough to answer questions should you make any deliveries
  • Grounds maintenance: Using weed eaters, riding mowers. Being present while owner uses tractor for bush-hogging (a safety issue)
  • Running general farm errands, possibly making egg deliveries on occasion to established clients
  • General maintenance/repair where needed (carpentry experience a real plus)
  • Occasional house/farmsitting for up to a week
Specific Projects for the Farm:
  • Clearing fence lines section by section for installation of cattle panels and field wire (as materials can be afforded)
  • Putting together guinea house for next year
  • Cleanup/Maintenance of garden around farmhouse (weeding, mulching etc)
Living Arrangements (General):
  • I have no objection to differing religious affiliation (if any), color, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. I expect the same understanding of a roommate. Well okay, maybe I do object to one personality type. Absolutely no racist homophobes will set foot in this door. Other than that, it's all good.
Specifics on Living Arrangements (in a nutshell, life as a roomie):
  • Share in household duties (cooking, cleaning etc)
  • Share in errand running (groceries, etc)
  • ABSOLUTELY NO DRUGS. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NO DRUGS NEVER EVER EVER...just in case I'm too subtle here, let me reiterate. NO DRUGS.
  • Alcohol is permitted so long as you aren't a "knee walkin' drunk."
  • Men are welcome but if you dip and drop a spit cup on the carpet,  I. Will. End. You.
  • Vegans are welcome, but if you can't handle flesh in the fridge this is a deal-breaker.



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