What Really Works

Tabasco, apparently, doesn’t. The horses decided that they didn’t mind some chile marinade and started in on the fencing again. We tried some commercial products and they didn’t fare much better. The Neighbor, then, had a brilliant idea of using deer repellent. Hey, an herbivore is an herbivore, right?

It worked perfectly. It has to be reapplied after it rains, but it sure keeps the horses away from the fencing. Lovely!

Today, I had a nice chat with a delightful representative at Frontier, which is the small company that bought all the rural telephone land lines from Verizon. Their idea has been to bring broadband into the areas that were underserved by Verizon. So far, they’ve added close to 200,000 new DSL customers just by updating the wiring. They are within a mile and a half and I have all my fingers crossed, hoping they get here soon.

I know that there are more rural geeks out there, those who believe in the benefits of high tech and yet love the country life. I’d like to hear from you. What are your rural aspirations? Do you believe online gaming and agriculture can exist together? (Farmville, anyone?) I’d really like to know what you think.

Country Living Expo

Short of researching all the different aspects of rural life, where can you go to learn all the things you need to know to be self-sufficient? Yesterday, I had a delightful time at the Country Living Expo & Cattlemen’s Winterschool, where they offered all manner of classes and chances to hang out with the community. I took 5 of the 160 classes offered and I learned a lot, everything from acceptable business plan debt-to-income ratios to how to get your dog interested in catching frisbees. 

Oh, Max just turned around and said, “Catch what? I think not.” Ah, thwarted before I’ve even started.

The Sister got some great advice on growing giant pumpkins and how to rid the garden of tomato blight. She found a gentleman who knew more about maintaining pastures than God and they talked about small tractor attachments. Then I found her stuck with all the horse people, loathe to leave. I chatted with members of Slow Food Port Susan, talked with a horse trainer, bought a book about Open Gate Farm, petted an alpaca, admired the latest Massey-Ferguson equipment, (all our tractors are M-Fs), found an exciting new magazine (Grow Northwest), and noshed on Prime Rib followed by cookies baked by FFA members.

In stark contrast to all the political haranguing I hear on the radio or read in the papers, this event combined groups that traditionally sit on both sides of the aisle. Everyone learned so much and had a great time celebrating the country life, whether vegan or carnivore, conventional or organic farmer. We all play well together.

Every year, this expo grows by a couple hundred people. The interest in self-sufficiency and small farming is becoming much more prevalent. Whether it’s from the economic times or an interest in healthier foods, it’s exciting to see.