Happy to Be Here

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This is my first blog for the Capper Farmer family and, boy, oh howdy, I can tell you I am happy to be here. It’s an honor to be among you, and I can’t wait to join the discussion about all-things-small in farming and homesteading. I even have a discussion point for this introductory blog.

First, though, let me tell you a bit about Marty and me. We’re both “retired.” We became partners late in life, and we’re aligned on most issues and certainly aligned about living the country life and making a go of it from a back country road. Marty has been or done almost anything you can think of. He cowboyed as a young man and worked feedlots horseback. He welded, bulldozed, cleared land and more on his way to building his own home in the mountains above Lake Isabella in southern California. He worked as a police officer for many years and homesteaded on the outskirts of Bakersfield. This is where he learned to weld like a son-of-a-gun. Those throw-away oil field pipes make great horse and animal fencing. He’s not much for farming but can build the heck out of any woodworking or water project. That’s where I come in. I was born in Illinois and raised in Iowa. I think I might have corn coming out of my ears so if I tell a bad joke or two, please forgive me. While I’m not thinking of a corny joke, the Iowa in me is thinking about growing something or cooking what I grow. Next I’m thinking about animal husbandry or riding our horses. Of course, I love to write about our adventures and sometimes I go as far as to create a drawing or two to illustrate said adventures.

Marty and me by the snake fence.

We weren’t always where we are now. It’s been a year and a half since we’re getting back into it. But now that we’re here it feels as comfy and familiar as a pair of old boots. We’re a self-sufficient duo on a 1,000-acre cattle ranch in Northern California, and we caretake the place for the absentee owners. In the bargain we get 5 acres to do what we please with or what Ma Nature will allow us. She’s throwing us a learning curve and it’s fascinating from dawn to dusk and sometimes even at 3 a.m. as I lay awake trying to figure out some problem.

Many of my future blogs will be about our water issues. Others will be about our vegetable-growing issues, which are intertwined with the water issues. Then there are literally hundreds of other subjects that arise on a daily basis. There’s no writer’s block out here. As long as we stick to non-fiction!

So here’s to a long and fruitful association! I look forward to hearing all your stories and I hope I can add a thing or two.

First question for the family: How have you overcome very, very poor soil conditions? (backstory: we have here what I would call “pulverized rock.” Not soil. Literally ground conditions that hold water for days and doesn’t let it seep in.)