Category Archives: Self-Sufficiency

Tiny House on the Fish Farm

April 6, 2017 Interior walls going up   April 5, 2017 Siding and House Wrap   April 4, 2017 Roof up     April 1, 2017 Insulated subfloor (video)       March 30, 2017 Ready for subfloor   March 24, 2017 Trusses up       March 17, 2017 Studs up     March 15, 2017 Steel frame      


A Teeny Tiny Barn

    John’s newest creation is a 6′ by 6′ barn. I call it the Fishing Shack as it overlooks a small pond. The large porch provides shade for those who want to fish and there is a narrow cubby to store fishing poles. The sheep have their own entrance off to the side.     This redwood star was made out of the cutouts from the braces.  The braces are the diagonal elements that stabilize the posts on the […]

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Building the “perfect” greenhouse using recycled materials

      I have been gathering data and resources for making the “perfect” greenhouse for California’s Central Valley. This has been a process that has taken longer than I would like to admit, but consider the constraints:   *       ¾ of the year it must not be warmer than ambient temperature (>100ºF) *       Much of that ¾ is unrelenting, dry solar radiation *       ¼  of the year it must collect as much heat as possible (<45ºF) […]

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Vertical Aquaponics

    The beauty of aquaponics is that you engineer it so it can fit into almost any space you have. If you have limited floor space, perhaps Vertical Aquaponics is for you. The advantage of Vertical Aquaponics is the unmatched number of plants per square foot of space, because the plants grow on vertical towers. You also cannot beat the visual appeal of Vertical Aquaponics. Where else can you check your whole crop from the comfort of your easy […]

Upcycled Dog House

  I love it when John creates something wonderful and useful out of stuff  lying around the farm.  His latest creation?  A 40″ x 40″ dog house constructed from upcycled materials. John tweaked a design he found on the web. A friend gave us the plywood, cedar fencing and louvered door.   The roof opens to reveal a secret compartment to store dog food. The project took two days to complete (and a couple of bandaged fingers!). Total cost = […]

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Building with reclaimed barn wood

One of the main philosophies on our farm is utilizing local resources. This is mostly out of economic necessity. The price of building materials is often prohibitive if you are trying to make a new venture pay for itself. Our foray into small livestock coincided with a fortuitous procurement of one hundred year old barn wood. Better yet, we were able to make a trade.  We received two loads of barn wood in exchange for fishing privileges. When we started […]

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What’s it like to grow up on a farm?

  Today’s guest blogger is our son, Jeremy. “What’s it like to grow up on a farm?” Only a few years ago, I might have answered that farm life was at best bearable and at worst downright misery. But if you were to ask me this question today? I would say – without hesitation or equivocation – that growing up on a farm was by far the best thing that could have ever happened to me, an upbringing I wouldn’t […]

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I buy local (Fishing in Zambia)

Today’s blog was written by our son, Matt Young, a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. When I was in college I went to farmer’s markets and shopped in grocery stores that sourced local organic kale and grass-fed beef. The Brussels sprouts grown in Salinas were more expensive than the ones shipped up from Chile, but I didn’t mind. I supplemented my academic curriculum with a steady diet of Michael Pollan, fought off hordes of foodies at Off The Grid Thursdays […]

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Chicken tractor from recycled materials

A chicken tractor is a great solution for mobile and secure housing.  It is called a chicken tractor because the birds are constantly pecking and scratching the soil. Soon, the area covered by the run is devoid of vegetation and bugs.   We resurrected an old abandoned farm trailer. We had to repack the bearings to get the trailer to even move.   We welded together a metal frame to which we secured reclaimed barn wood.   Corrugated roofing from […]

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Farm fresh and delicious!


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