I don’t want to focus solely on resources or guides, but my camera is in New Mexico with my daughter who just moved there and I’m not able to get it back just yet. I’m itching to share progression of getting the chicken house and yard ready, but maybe it will be a welcome relief to some people if I can’t!
Tazz has to know where I am at all times- to make sure I don't leave without him.
So I'll focus instead on a few topics that pique my interest, and I'll include a few irrelevant pictures just for eye candy. 

OK, still with me?
I love to take an idea –even someone else’s idea, and expand it, shrink it to fit or do some tweaking of it, then run with it to see where it goes.

What am I talking about?
People that have made innovative leaps by doing just that.

Lets take SPIN farming – a growing trend, a method of growing high yield, high profit crops in small places, for profit (versus a kitchen garden). What makes SPIN different from other commercial vegetable farming methods, and uniquely suited to the everyday person without specially designated farmland. (Of course with applicable soil amendments and a watering system, right?).

SPIN stands for Small Plot INtensive, and it is giving rise to a new class of farmers who are showing that agriculture can be incorporated into our built-up urban and even suburban environments.  It is a great choice for urban and suburban gardeners.

For the latest buzz on SPIN farming (further descriptions and explanations), see:

SPIN Farming Check out the right-hand bar to “Watch a 3 minute video of how SPIN-Farming was used to create a model urban farm in Philadelphia, PA.”, and take a look at their calculator to see how much $$ can be earned from different square feet of farming. It’s pretty impressive.

Just remember that growing things is not the same as getting them to market and selling them... farming takes commitment of time and heart, and is a multi-step process before you ever even get plants in the ground.

Still, it seems pretty worthwhile farming system to consider for some possibly substantial side-income.

IF you plan for adversity such as diversity built into the plan -and have a back-up plan.

Wrens at the deck feeder - when I take the time to provide seed (unlike this year- I'm such a slacker!).
Recently on the news we saw how a late freeze in February and the drought in New Mexico has affected nut trees. One pecan farmer with 1700 acres of pecan trees was featured. Instead of getting the usual 4 million pounds of pecans, he’ll probably end up with around 1 million. Lately his crop has been going to China more than anywhere else ... unfortunately their demand has made the price go up for all of the rest of us.

One pound of pecans goes to market for $2.50 or more per lb., that’s well over an $8 million income in a normal year for this farmer. Sure, some of that would go for equipment to harvest the nuts and some workers and the water... the farmer said that you plan by managing that income to cover a poor crop like this year’s. We also got to watch an apple orchard get slammed with flood waters after this summer’s large fires. It was devastating- took the orchard owners’ home and ruined an old community icon.

What I’m getting to is that it seems the bigger farmers seem to focus on one crop. If you don’t diversify your crop then you are really depending on nature to be the same all the time. It doesn’t seem to be a good bet in  your favor. A home-based farmer is more likely to grow multiple kinds of crops.
(Of course a flood, tornado, ice storm or grasshopper plague could wipe everything out, but a farmer can also insure their crops).
Here is something that blew my mind yesterday! 
stag wandering through....
No, not the stag- 
“Your Backyard Harvest”, which I saw featured in a local magazine, is an edible landscaping business in Durango, CO, inspired by SPIN Farming that focuses on organic vegetable gardens.
From what I understand, people volunteer pieces of their land and Backyard Harvest brings volunteers and supplies and sets up farming. The land owner gets a share of the product, the rest goes to the community thru the Farmers’ Market and CSA shares.

Love it!  *I'll be calling them today, just to see where it goes....

Another edible landscaping business, called Avant Gardens Edible Landscaping, in Gunnison, CO, focuses on design and installation of anything from a small vegetable garden to a full fledged food forest. It also expanded into an organization called Mountain Roots Food Project that is bringing community gardens and urban agriculture to the Gunnison Valley.

Apparently there are more of these popping up all over the country.

Artisans and Farmers alike are also being featured in a growing # of magazines.

 "Edible Front Range"is a quarterly magazine that celebrates the abundance of local, seasonal food in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and towns in between, covering a multitude of timely subjects.
Edible Communities, a network of local food publications.  Their website reflects this diversity, bringing together over 30 prestigious members of our community to post daily blogs on subjects ranging from reality tv chefs, CSA soldiers and gardening, to cooking up the best of the season, community activism, beer making, herbs, health and so much more. I love the stories featuring both local and small farms/farmers. 

the GIANT paw prints of a mountain lion 

So, how have YOU used the ideas of others to expand your own ideas? 

I HOPE that "Your Backyard Harvest" will be able to work with us on some of it- but our water quality and distance of water taps (or our distance from town), and keeping deer out may be an obstacle. 

I think my favorite idea from someone else aside from building from pallets, would be the egg-gathering aprons. One woman sewed egg pocket dividers INSIDE her egg-gathering apron.That may be a little too intense for my ability, but I still imagine sewing one up, out of a dusty plum color...

Here are a couple of instructional pages:
gathering apron tutorial #1  (from "On Just A Couple Acres")
gathering apron tutorial #2(at The Cottage At Frog Creek)

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