Small steps in life lead to big changes…I became a vegetarian at age 22, and was very happy to see punx adopting this as well…for many reasons, health, animal cruelty, waste of resources to raise meat, etc. I worked as a dental technician for many years before being laid off in 05, I searched intensely for new work but couldn’t find any, and after taking numerous low paying jobs around Madison, I said fukk it…fed up with suburban life, neighbors, noise, obsessive lawn mowing….decided to take the small pension coming to me, and move. I sold the little house I owned in Kenosha, Wisconsin (no small feat considering the economy) this allowed my partner Erin and myself to move near Minneapolis, and start life anew.
We moved to a small neglected farm near the aptly called Prairie Farm, Wisconsin….a really beautiful area…we have whats left of a much bigger farm after it had been divided up and sold off. We have a house, a barn, and a large shed. We went from suburban boredom to rural DIY hardcore, country-punk ingenuity, and now the projects are endless. The barn, not in such good shape needed a lot of repair. To finish it off will take years, and the shed needed new doors and a lot of roof metal, which I managed to find here on site and re-use…the house is good, but we added a woodstove in the living room and that heats the whole place; even with the cold winters we have here in the great northern expanses, we used no gas, or electricity to keep the house warm for the last two years. Take that Excel Energy!
Having the barn has been great, it’s allowed us to shelter some animals, Erin really wanted to try raising goats. At first we had some pygmies, pygmies are a bit cranky, but now we have three milking nannies, called nubian mixes and we’re getting more milk than we can use.
We really dont drink milk, just for use in coffee and cooking, but Erin’s learned how to make cheese and so we’ve been making a lot of cheese which is awesome good!
I repaired all the broken windows in the lower barn and rocked and cemented in all the holes in the foundation, so the lower barn is tight to the weather, so we have our chickens in the barn now.
All the critters are happy and warm, and we are doing this with no electricity in the barn. But this means carring numerous five gallon buckets of water every morning winter and summer, but its worth it. I mean after all the goats and chickens need fresh water every morning, so it’s totally worth it. Erin sells our chicken’s eggs at the local food coop where she works and trades away some of the goat milk as well. It’s a good feeling having your own eggs and milk and it’s been a good start towards us being totally self sufficient one day.
Since moving here, I’ve done a lot of things I have never done before. I felled a dead 100 ft tall oak tree, I learned to drive a tractor, I tilled a field, and assisted the nannies (the goats) giving birth. I unload hay wagons with 125 bales of hay cut from ourfront pasture by our neighbor down the road, and we have the opportunity and space to have a large garden that we use to try and feed ourselves and some others as well. I understand now why this area is known for farming, the soil is sandy but with a little improvement can grow anything here…and folks have amazing gardens! There is also the Hay River transition Initiative, A project that started in England, basically a back to local lifestyle movement… local food, local jobs, farmers markets, reskilling to survive the coming economic collapse…its been so great to meet all the folks living here who are really involved with this movement and doing so much more than I do.
I am totally inspired by them and I’m challenged to do and learn more every day. I helped plant garlic, shoveled lama poop, pitched hay, and helped pick organic pumpkins down the road. This is an amazing area, so active and vibrant, a far cry from the suburban wasteland that kills so many people’s souls. We really had no idea that all this was going on here before we moved, we just wanted out of there but here, folks teach you anything you might wanna learn about, like how to raise chickens, keep goats, cattle, horses, how to plant a field. I am from the suburbs, this is all new to me, but I embrace it! And being so close to Minneapolis has allowed me to continue playing music with a great old friend and new young friend, record, put our records and tour! I have Erin here to hold down the fort while I am away, and with some help from her family, who incidently have been great help to us. Especially Erin’s dad, he loaned us his 1952 Case 14 horse tractor! (seriously this is RAD!) yeehaw and hellyeah! up the farmer punx! ( oh yeah and thanx to jeremy for kicking me arse to write this)