Last night was our first "Sustainable and Small-Acreage Farming" class. Held in probably the only conference room in town--at our only respectable motel.
About a dozen people showed up, which I thought was a pretty good turnout.
We have a huge (recycleable, non-toxic!) binder full of class materials and ACTUAL HOMEWORK. This is an actual class offered for credit through the UofI extension office, and normally costs, like, $300. Last night's class was basically just an overview, asking us to think about what we wanted to get out of the class and we're supposed to go back next week with some long-term and short-term goals.
Keith and I are thinking: Chickens!
Well, when they asked us initially to introduce ourselves and to tell what we were most interested in, Keith said he wants to learn how to grow enough food to feed our family (making it sound like we have 10 kids) and how to do that with nutritional balance and variety. I said I wanted to get the most out of our small area (less than 1.5 acres).
We were really jealous of the people who said they had 40 and 50 acres!
There's an older couple, really cute, who moved to the area about 3 years ago, and they want to find out what kind of farm they can have. Seriously, they're in their 60s.
We also got a bag to take a soil sample. You dig down 1' deep in several places where you're trying to grow things (a representative sample), mix it all up in a bucket, and fill this little bag to take back to class. For $35, they take it to the UofI and measure all of the nutrients, etc. in the soil and on the third week a guy with a Ph.D. in soils!! will tell us what the results mean. Very exciting!
There's also several guest speakers slated to come in and give presentations on various aspects. Basically, each week we cover a different topic for about 3 hours. It's definitely a crash course, but probably enough to get us started on some sort of plan.
Now we just have to decide what we want that plan to be.
The Tiny House is on hold for the time being. The next step is to put the roof on, but we need at least a solid 48 hours of no rain. And since the forecast says a high probability of rain for the next week, this is really bumming us out. Especially since the sun is out RIGHT NOW. Maybe I can go talk Keith into taking a chance (after our buckets of rain session last weekend, doubtful). But then that means I have to get out of my pajamas...