This transcript is for episode 318 of Grounded by the Farm titled Farm Co-op: Two Decades of Food Self-Sufficiency & Community. In this episode I talk with my brother Ray Person about the farm co-op his family and friends have built in northwest Ohio.
farm, coop, people, shares, plant, year, garden, friends, barn, elizabeth, crops, lambs, eat, chickens, sheep, pigs, buy, pretty, food, run
Ray Person, Grounded by the Farm
Grounded by the Farm 00:03
Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on grounded by the farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. Everybody, this week, I’m in northwestern Ohio. And this is the first time I’ve ever had the nerve to interview a family member, which seems so real. And it just sort of striking me now. My brother and his wife, Elizabeth and a bunch of friends in this area, run a co op, and they’ve been doing it for decades now. Right, right.
Ray Person 00:38
We’re starting our 20th year. Oh, wow,
Grounded by the Farm 00:41
it really is like, right at 20 years, okay. And so I wanted to talk to my brother, because I think when I look at Facebook and my brother post, what they’re doing on the farm this week, or that they’re gonna have bacon from their pig or something. All these friends seem to think like this is the greatest place in the world. And yet very few of us do this kind of work to make this stuff happen. And my brother and his wife and all their friends have worked on it steadily for decades now. So it didn’t come all overnight. It grew from a garden in their backyard, into this really almost self sufficient in most areas of your food. Is that right?
Ray Person 01:22
Yeah. So in terms of groceries, we buy grain products, bread, pasta, rice, that kind of thing. And paper products, toilet paper, and dairy products, milk cheese, such so but we coffee. And we rarely rarely buy meat, or eggs or even vegetables. Sometimes we’ll buy things that we don’t have in season like lettuce but but we live off of the farm for the most part. Most of our meals are everything that’s from the farm unless it’s got dairy or grain in it.
Grounded by the Farm 01:56
Yeah. And it really is amazing. We had pork for dinner last night that was from the farm. You guys, I know some years you have great crops of some things. And I remember one year there was a bad potato year. And so when we were at mom’s house, and we made potatoes, you were just so excited to have potatoes because you hadn’t even really thought about the fact you don’t have them. So when friends look at what you’re doing on Facebook, this is where they all think they were going to come when something catastrophic, like The Walking Dead and stuff, like everybody says when the zombies Apocalypse happens, they’re all coming to raise. And I want to make sure first I’m on the list for the zombie apocalypse a
Ray Person 02:37
short list, a short list. But when the zombies come, we’ll figure it out.
Grounded by the Farm 02:46
Okay, so let’s talk about what you’re doing right now. So we’re at planting time, sort of bad weather. But how do you look at the seasonality of the farm.
Ray Person 02:58
So we usually start planting even in mid March, we we have an agreement with a greenhouse where we get our plants earlier than they’re willing to sell to most people because we know we’re taking a lot of risk. And a lot of people don’t really understand that. So we often will try to plant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, maybe kale from seedlings, mid to late March, this year that that didn’t happen. It’s been too wet and cold. But we have already gotten in the ground onion plants, leeks in some cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. It’s not doing real well. But we have some carrots coming up. We have potatoes that are just now breaking the surface. And we’ve planted parsnips and rutabagas and kohlrabi and beets and turnips and lettuces, and yeah, so that’s our spring garden. But it’s well over a month behind where we normally are.
Grounded by the Farm 04:02
Yeah, it’s just been cool and damp in Yeah. Okay. And a lot of those were brassica plants. We’ve talked about brassicas a few times. But part of the reason you plant some of that early is because the bugs can really be hard on them and they grow well in cooler weather compared to like a tomato. You would never want to plant a tomato early.
Ray Person 04:20
Yeah. So and for us too often our broccoli bowls when it gets too hot. So So yes, you want to you want to make sure you get it in early enough. Did you get a good crop? I’m doubtful that that’s going to happen this year. But you know, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes. Sometimes you have great crops in the spring, sometimes not so great. Every year something fails every year something there’s like a bumper crop.
Grounded by the Farm 04:45
So yeah. So you have asparagus this year after year. Do you have other crops that are going to be perennial?
Ray Person 04:51
Yes. So we’ve got I think it’s about 300 strawberry plants and the biggest burgers plot, and we have some rhubarb. Yeah, everything else we plant annually,
Grounded by the Farm 05:04
how many acres it’s a garden,
Ray Person 05:07
the gardens just a little over a half acre that’s actually cultivated. And we do succession planning. So we we get to crops on most of it.
Grounded by the Farm 05:18
Okay. That’s a lot of land. I mean, you think about two crops, it would be about the size of the football field, you’re farming over the season. It’s just all of his half of a football field. And you’re planting it at least twice.
Ray Person 05:31
Yep. Yep. Now, that’s four, we have 12 shares in the garden. And that’s really more like 16 families. And so it’s it’s a lot of work. But there’s also a lot of people to share in the work. So that’s, that’s the idea. And there’s no way Elizabeth and I can eat all that food. So even we ended up giving away food sometimes to family and friends, when we have too much of stuff anyway.
Grounded by the Farm 05:58
Yeah. So how do you determine what a share is? And what do people put in as a share owner in the coop, because it’s like, most of us haven’t participated in coops other than like REI, or something where if I, you know, if I’m a member, I paid a certain amount at some point, and I get a discount. This is really different. Like,
Ray Person 06:20
this is very different from a CSA or a co op where your membership you just pay in, and then you get so much of this or that, because in our Co Op, everyone has to provide labor. In fact, we divide the cost of the plants and the seeds and everything for the garden evenly between 11 shares, which means Elizabeth, and I don’t pay into that. But obviously, we provide the land and the equipment and so forth. So in one sense, we get our vegetables for free,
Grounded by the Farm 06:54
because you have the land and the infrastructure,
Ray Person 06:57
I do a lot of the work more than a lot. But I mean, there are other members who do a lot of work too, because this is also something that we’re doing. It’s a lifestyle choice. So it’s it’s not, we could probably buy our food at a big box store a lot cheaper, with less time involved in what we do. But the reason we’re doing this is not necessarily about income. But it’s a lifestyle choice, based on issues around care of the environment. How migrant workers are often treated when it comes to vegetables, all of that. So we’re doing the work that a lot of other people pay other people to do. And we’re not always sure how those other people are treated. So there’s a lot of stuff behind it. And of course, we get good exercise, and we actually enjoy working together, we get to talk a lot while we’re making potatoes or whatever. Yeah,
Grounded by the Farm 07:56
it’s a great community of people. So you said it’s like 15 shares on the book somewhere, something that you divide the food into, and that’s mostly families, or couples? Well, there,
Ray Person 08:09
there, there are some people who are single, sometimes you might have a family of five or six, I mean, so it’s we range in age from, you know, toddlers to 80. So I mean, it’s it’s hard to generalize about who we are, and so forth. And we don’t keep a real close accounting of how many hours everybody is putting in. For the most part that works itself out well, because we’re all committed to the project. And we all become good friends. And we care for each other. And we watch out for each other. So if someone gets is hospitalized for a long period of time, or something we’ll just cover for them.
Grounded by the Farm 08:52
It’s funny you mention that, because while you were out getting one of your dogs that had gone missing, Elizabeth and I were talking about a family that had a baby really prematurely, yes. And and knew they couldn’t do the work. Like they,
Ray Person 09:09
they knew they couldn’t do the work. And they said that they wanted to withdraw from the coop because they didn’t think they could pull their share. And the rest of us said, well, it doesn’t matter. Because they had been planning on making their own baby food from organic produce from the farm and all of this stuff. And we just said, that’s okay, you do what you can when you can and we’re going to keep you in the group and take care of you that way. So yeah, the group the group can do that kind of thing. So like I said, we don’t really account for the hours because we’re not too hung up on that as long as the work is getting done and some people work more than than other people. And you know, sometimes things just don’t get done. And if it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done. So it’s that’s okay too.
Grounded by the Farm 10:00
And part of it seems to me having been out here and you guys were planting onions one time I was here and you’re like running the tiller for some other parts. And everybody is down on their hands and knees and y’all don’t have like the big transplanters. Although I have I have a dream one for you. But you guys do most of it by hand or small, small gas driven tillers.
Ray Person 10:27
Yeah, my biggest piece of equipment is the pickup truck. The second biggest is a BCS tiller. Yeah. And that’s, that’s it. So we do a lot of work by hand. But there’s a lot of hands to do the work. And so it’s not that bad. I mean, we even clean the manure out of the barn. And we do that by hand one pitchfork at a time. And people kind of think we’re crazy that we don’t have a skid loader to come in and do all this. But we would actually have to redesign the whole barn to get it’s an old barn, there’s no way we could do that. So we’d have to redesign the barn so that we can do that. And, you know, we get exercise this way. Most of us have kind of desk jobs. And so this is part of our way of getting some exercise therapeutic
Grounded by the Farm 11:13
for some people. I remember some people pulling weeds and like going, No, I really just need to be out there pulling weeds today. So I don’t have to think about all those other. Yep, things that are hitting Adam and stuff, right? Yep. So okay, we talked a little bit about the cool season varieties that you guys plant and stuff, then you start moving into warm season. What I’ll do you plant and then what I want you to talk about is how you guys make this function for the year, because you put up a lot of stuff. And you’ve had to give thought to how you’re going to preserve food in various ways, right, in order for it to really pay off for you year round. Like it’s not just being functional as a garden.
Ray Person 11:58
So right, right, we plant well over 50 different crops in the garden. So I’m not gonna go through the entire list. But obviously, we plant a lot, we’ll plant 14 Doesn’t Roma, tomato plants, that’s a lot of tomatoes. Well, if you plant that many, you have to be prepared to freeze or can a lot, and most of them get canned. But we do that we plant to visa here is pretty good, those sauces pretty good. We’ll plant two different plots. Each of our plots are 25 by 40 feet. So we’ll plant two different plots of sweet corn. And again, we get a lot of sweet corn at one time. So you, you’re not likely to eat it all you’re going to be freezing or canning, some of it so. So we plant a lot of different things. And I will say this, we plant crops that virtually none of us had eaten before we started planting them. So we have had to learn how to eat different crops. And what’s interesting is when we have something new or someone comes in you, what we would end up doing is Google recipes. And when someone would find a really good recipe, we’d share it with everybody else. So we’ve been doing that long enough that we pretty much know what to do with some of these odd things that we’d never really eaten before.
Grounded by the Farm 13:21
I’m gonna say honestly, one year when I came for Easter, y’all found more ways to use butternut squash than I thought was possible. I mean, like there was butternut squash everywhere. Because it was Easter by then right like so you guys have like I don’t know is it root storage? What? Okay, so I’m about to write
Ray Person 13:39
our farm is a historic Swiss Mennonite homestead. It was it was homestead in the 1850s. The house the room that we’re sitting in was built in either the late 1850s or early 1960s. It was added to in the 1890s. And the barn was built in 1868. So the original house. Yes, the basement is a root cellar it was built for that. And it’s not finished. You know you don’t put furniture down there and a TV or anything. This is not that kind of basement. There’s no man cave here. There’s there’s a root cellar and we store our we have two freezers in the basement. That’s where we put our canned goods. And then just bins of things like potatoes and carrots and winter squash and so forth. So
Grounded by the Farm 14:33
yeah, keep them good as long as you can. Yep. Storage.
Ray Person 14:36
Yep, in fact, we I just ate the last of our onions and some of the winter squash started going bad but if it starts going bad that the pigs eat it in that’s okay too because they have to eat.
Grounded by the Farm 14:49
It’s all comes full circle around this place. So we haven’t talked about the animals and I don’t I’m not sure I even know how you’re doing the animals now. So the eggs were dead. print at least in the past, then the pigs. So people bought shares in pigs, do they all have shares in pigs now? Okay, so
Ray Person 15:07
we have we have, since we have different private projects, and some of the people in the garden are actually vegan, I thought so. So I mean, which is great. In fact, the chef of a local restaurant, the green horn, is a member of our coops. And it’s a vegan race restaurant, we all like to eat there. So we have pork and we have lamb and we have chicken and eggs. Now with the the chicken and eggs, the way that coop works, is there a sick shares, we divide the call six ways everyone gets a night of the week, we get a free night. So we pay for one night and we get a free night. So I only do chicken duty on Fridays, and Saturdays and other people have other days and we come and we we feed them and water them and collect eggs. And whatever we collect, we take home and our assumption is that over the course of the year, it comes out pretty even. And that’s close enough. And then of course, if if someone’s gone on vacation, that’s fine. We just swapped stuff around or someone just gives it up. And that that works well. With the pigs we were doing. We were buying feeder pigs at one time. And we knew we’d get how many pigs and how many sides we had and all of that work. That was a little bit neater and tidier. We’re breeding our own now, it’s a heritage breed American Guinea hog with a little Cooney Cooney in it. And so we don’t always know how many pigs we’re going to have year to year. And so I pretty much configure out how much cost per head I have. And then we make sure that the coop is covering the feed cost, and then we’re butchering in our own these days, or you can pay a local butcher to put your own. If you would prefer to do that. The same for the lambs, I pretty much figured out how much cost I have in terms of hay to feed the entire herd. And that’s kind of divided up and I figure out what the cost is per head of lamb. And we go that route. So those coops work a little differently. And as you can imagine, I’ve gotten pretty good with the spreadsheet, keeping a budget and all of that. So I have some idea of how all of this work so so yeah, we we make we make a little money on the farm. And we have a lot of people who are providing labor because they’re part of the coop, and this is part of their farm. And they come and go and especially in the barn and the garden, and it works pretty well, most days.
Grounded by the Farm 17:45
So one of the things that’s probably more unique about the way you guys run things than the way most people have seen things done is that most people are used to seeing produce boxes or something like that. In your farm people actually come and collect their own like as they’re so
Ray Person 18:02
it’s a combination of things. So right now we’re doing asparagus and that needs to be picked every day. And so we have a schedule that was sent out and you’re assigned a day and you come out and you all those asparagus you pick that’s yours and you take it home and do with it whatever. Strawberries will pick every other day there will be a schedule, we’ll have four shares picking every other day and a rotation. So that works well. Some things we can do where we just harvest twice a week. So half of us work Monday nights, half of this work Thursday nights, we plant we weed we harvest, I mean whatever needs to be done during those nights. If we harvest, we actually do have bins that we will divide the harvest up and deliver the shares to those who are not there. So we get fresh vegetables twice a week when when it’s producing. Yeah. So in that sense, it’s a little bit like a CSA, except you’re doing a lot more labor.
Grounded by the Farm 19:06
A lot more labor. We didn’t mention how many sheep you have, or how many chickens you have. And that’s those are both a lot compared like, you know, people talk about backyard chickens. And they have a dozen. How many chickens do you have now and you have both layers and broilers.
Ray Person 19:26
Okay, so every year I buy a straight run of 100 chicks. So theoretically, I would have 50 broilers and 50 hens from that straight run. So I probably have right now about 80 hens. That’d be my guess I don’t I don’t keep an accurate count. I’ve got a number of roosters that run around with them because they’re on lookout they’re all free range chickens. So So I would guess somewhere around 8080 hens, the 100 Chicks swill arrived later this month. And we usually end up butchering, you know, you lose some chicks, we usually end up butchering about 40 cockerels every fall, and usually somewhere around 20 or 30 hens in the fall the old hens. And so every year, we’re replacing the old hands with new hands. And we ended up with some soup meat, and then we ended up with some other meat. And so that, and that’s just divided equally among those among those shares.
Grounded by the Farm 20:30
And I can’t remember do you do different breeds for one year versus the next? Yes.
Ray Person 20:35
So we always make sure that the breeds are different enough that I can just look at them and know which ones are the old year they are this fall. So that’s the way we handle that.
Grounded by the Farm 20:46
Yeah. And so you actually butcher here, you’ve built a summer kitchen or you you’ve worked on a summer kitchen, I can’t remember with
Ray Person 20:54
the with the chickens, we actually take them somewhere else. Because when you have the professional plucking equipment, all this, it just makes it go so much faster. So we’re still paying someone to do that. But we have been butchering the last two years. The pork and lamb ourselves.
Grounded by the Farm 21:11
Yeah. So how many sheep? Would you be butchering, then? Because there’s a lot of sheep out there. There’s a lot of lambs out there.
Ray Person 21:19
Okay, so we have a 11. US and around. And right now, I think there’s about 22 lambs running around. And I will actually sell some of the lambs to a friend who also has a similar kind of farm, although they do a CSA, and it is, it’s a little more income producing. But I will at weaning, I will sell him some lambs. And then what is left over is what we will use within our co op because I don’t, I don’t, I don’t market stuff directly to the public, because that’s just one more project. So the meat stays pretty much in the coop unless I sell lambs at weaning to this friend or something like that. So
Grounded by the Farm 22:01
yeah. And you give plenty of eggs to our niece, and stuff like that. You take care of family,
Ray Person 22:08
and times of the year, we’ve got abundant eggs, and we’re trying to use every every dish we can imagine. Yeah.
Grounded by the Farm 22:19
So one of the pieces that I think how do you decide what kind of animals you wanted to have on the farm? Like I mean, and did it grow over time?
Ray Person 22:30
Well, the first year, we just had chickens, and none of us knew much about them. So then soon after that I did some goats. I wasn’t real happy with that I did a different breed of sheep, we bought feeder pigs. There’s been some discussion along the way about this, my assumption was that that the goats and sheep were kind of my own project. And I started it that way. And in some ways, it’s still kind of that way, because I figure out how much I have in each head. And I make sure that when I sell lambs at weaning, I can cover that cost. And then when I sell the meat to people within the coop, which is not really selling, since they’re doing a lot of the work, that I make sure I cover those costs. So I make I make I make a little money on the sheep. I make a little money on cars, I sell a lot of eggs. I make a little money on the port, sometimes we’ll have some pork leftover, and I might sell it to someone. But you know, most of the time stuff stays in the coop, but it is set up in such a way that it at least covers the costs. Yeah.
Grounded by the Farm 23:39
And you guys didn’t set this up as a commercial entity. It is more community based. And it is a more you knowing what you’ve produced and how it was produced and all of those kinds of things. Right.
Ray Person 23:50
I mean, what I’m what we’ve done. It’s not generating income that would support us, because we’re not selling beyond the coop members, and the Co Op members are getting it for pretty close to costs because they’re providing so much labor. Yeah, I mean, I’ve got a full time job. I don’t in that sense, I don’t need the income. And there’s no way I could do what I’m doing without all the labor that the coop provides. Right. So
Grounded by the Farm 24:26
well. And, and just getting into I mean, I think a lot of people think that this would be an incredible way to live. But you have to figure out how to get into it. And you guys didn’t do this when you were 25 Like you didn’t start immediately doing this. You slowly worked up and you were in this community for a while talking about these kinds of topics with friends, and deciding this may be something you would be interested in trying before you actually figured out. Okay, we have the capital here for the land and the farm. We can do This,
Ray Person 25:00
we actually had friends who were committed to the idea before we bought the farm. Exactly. So in our first year, we were one of five families. And the garden was a lot smaller. Yeah. And we started with chickens. And it expanded from there. The goals that we had, from the beginning included providing quality food for ourselves. Yep. And for us that included organic methods to improve wildlife habitat, and to build community.
Grounded by the Farm 25:34
So that’s a good set of three goals.
Ray Person 25:37
Yeah. And we’ve done pretty well on that. The, the one thing that I would say that has surprised me the most, is that we envision that we would do certain things in terms of improving wildlife habitat that we never got around to doing. But we also learned that to a large degree, we didn’t have to do that, because we created various micro environments, brought back a lot of wildlife. That was kind of surprising to us in certain ways. Yeah. So So we met that goal by just having a variety of projects, pasture hay field, you know, the stuff outside that the pasture that didn’t get mowed all year, and so that we had a lot more ground nesting birds and the barn swallows moved back in the barn for the first time. And I mean, there was a bunch of things like that that happened that we just did not expect, because we didn’t have that kind of experience.
Grounded by the Farm 26:41
Well, I had asked you about the size of the garden, but we really didn’t talk about the fact that you have pasture land, and you have an area hay field. So and some of it is it up against a creek or it’s part of a watershed.
Ray Person 26:56
It’s a 20 acre farm, There’s a ditch, this was swamp and the ditch was dug to drain the swamp. So there’s a ditch that runs along the edge of the farm. And yeah, so we have about 13 acres of hay about three acres of pasture and then the buildings and the garden sit on the rest.
Grounded by the Farm 27:21
Yeah. And it, it really is sort of beautifully picturesque, unless the weeds get out of control.
Ray Person 27:29
Well, what is a weed? I mean, that’s. So when we the thistles are definitely a weird, that’s a hard one. But if we pick them, and we throw them over the fence, the sheep and goats would they’ll just love them. They’ll eat them up. So you don’t find this. In the in the pasture. You don’t. They’re just not there. Yeah. So yeah, it Yeah, I mean, what is what I mean, weeds are plants that are in the you wish they were in a different place, you know, so
Grounded by the Farm 28:02
I’ve seen some, some thistles that have bright, beautiful purple flowers, and they look kind of like goth flowers sort of well,
Ray Person 28:10
and some of those actually bloom and between the pasture fence and the road, and the goldfinches love them. Yeah. So I I’m happy to let some of them go out on the ditch along. Sure. So I mean, they have their place, you know.
Grounded by the Farm 28:28
And you guys have some wildflowers here. And there. I’ve seen some black eyed Susans and different kinds of flowers here and there. And, and I should have told people you have a purple barn.
Ray Person 28:41
Well, it’s technically Swiss red, but it faded from Swiss red into kind of purple. But yes, it is kind of purple. Right?
Grounded by the Farm 28:51
And okay, so. So the big pieces were to provide food for yourselves and your families, the original partners, yes. And then to have this positive impact on wildlife. And we’ve already discussed how much food you get off of it, and the wildlife, and then the community peace. This is very different. And in today’s world of the pandemic, I think a lot of people want to create that sense of community and maybe you don’t always know how, but creating a sense of community. Everybody doesn’t go to the same church,
Ray Person 29:22
or do you know, know,
Grounded by the Farm 29:26
me from various places, and some come for a year or two and find maybe it doesn’t fit for them?
Ray Person 29:32
Yep. Yep. And then some, you know, John and Sally have been here all 20 years with us. So people come and go, some people stay for really long times. I one thing that I will say in relationship to the pandemic, is when everything was locked down, agricultural workers were essential workers, so people were still coming out to work. And we felt very confident that We can safely social distance because we were working outside. And the farm was one of the few places, some of us were having any kind of social interaction outside of our families. Outside of, you know, the family whose we live in the same house, well, yeah, this was the only place we were getting that kind of interaction. And that was really meaningful. So that was that was important for us as a group. So when it comes to building community, these last two years, that’s kind of been emphasized in some interesting ways, because it became so important for so many of us for to get over the social isolation that the pandemic brought to so many of us.
Grounded by the Farm 30:45
Yeah, but I, I would say you been creating this amazing community for all these years, because somebody graduates College, usually see photos of them. And, you know, because they used to be picking strawberries or whatever, so but you are, you did have an edge on a lot of people in terms of community because you had been working at this for a long time. And, and we trusted each time and effort and knowing medicine, the way Elizabeth works in the medical realm, you guys had a great opportunity to be able to have friends around comfortably where everybody could be comfortable with it, right? Because labor is an issue because you also don’t like to just be at home all the time. I mean, you and Elizabeth both like to be able to travel out and see family and conferences and stuff. So
Ray Person 31:36
and that’s one of the beauties of this. So in fact, one summer, and farmers would understand this one summer, we were gone mid July to mid August, for a month. I had I had conferences, one in Belfast, Ireland and one in Berlin. And they were almost a month apart. And I said, Well, I’m just going to stay in Europe the full month, but it’s like, I live on a farm. How can I possibly do that? Because that’s there, you know, there would be a lot of stuff that you would have to pick and they’re all this well, it didn’t I just kind of gave it up and the coop took care of it. Because when we’re gone on vacation, they cover it now. We don’t leave for a month every summer. That’s a little too much. But that that summer, we were able to do that. And it was fine. People took care of everything. That is not something that most farmers can do. That’s just too unusual. I get that. But that’s one of the beauties of the way we’ve got it set up.
Grounded by the Farm 32:35
Yeah. And how often when you travel, the something horrible happened at the farm when Elizabeth is in charge?
Ray Person 32:43
Well, she would say every time maybe but it’s it’s it’s not? It’s yeah, it does. It does seem that I leave and something something goes a little haywire.
Grounded by the Farm 32:55
But you’re not setting her up?
Ray Person 32:59
I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
Grounded by the Farm 33:04
Do you Do you know like, what will happen? Like in your retirement, you said maybe not be so big. But you got some young families in the group? Or do you have a waiting list.
Ray Person 33:15
We do continue to get young families in the group. And some of us aged out and stop working on the farm. One of the one of the friends John, when he retired, he started working on the farm a lot more because he had more time. So that’s great. I’m pretty certain that when I retire whenever that is, I’m not going to work more on the farm. I work enough now. And I just don’t think that’s realistic. I’ve probably reached my limit of how much I can do myself physically on the farm. That’s a good question. What’s the future of the farm as we age? Well, that’s a conversation we have to have as a community and kind of figure all that out. And there’s a balance between that at some point. It becomes harder for me to do some of the labor. But I also know that if I stopped doing the kinds of stuff I’m doing now in terms of exercise, I’m likely to lose even more. Yeah, so how do you how do you manage that? And you know, I’ve got bad knees so at some point I’m gonna have to
Grounded by the Farm 34:21
deal with Yeah, yeah, time to figure it out. I’m not trying.
Ray Person 34:24
I’m not trying to push you out. Yeah, I might be your older brother, but I’m not that old.
Grounded by the Farm 34:29
But it doesn’t take much to be old when you’re throwing hay bales of hay when you’re, you know, there’s some of the jobs that are pretty, it’s twisting with weight and, and stuff like that. So
Ray Person 34:41
yeah, the throwing the hay is the time that I’m the most likely to exhaust myself, but I have I’ve been willing to pay for younger labor on those kinds of projects. So that was one of my ways to cope.
Grounded by the Farm 34:56
Yeah, that’s alright. I’m gonna shoot some videos. stuff outside so folks can see a little bit of the animals and stuff like that. So they can see what it looks like. Some of our friends have already seen it, but some have it. We have white sheep, brown sheep, one little bitty black sheep. And maybe the others need to be bottle fed. Okay, thanks so much for goodness. Okay. I can admit now, it was a little intimidating to interview my brother. I’ve seen the farm and been able to go out and visit and different things. But you know, like you do with most family, you don’t ever actually interviewed family members, you have conversations with them, you get bits and pieces. But it was so cool to just sit down and have this 30 minutes where we just straight talked about what was happening in the farm now and how they started it, all that kind of stuff. So I really appreciate the excuse to have this conversation with my brother. We did for the video, we went out and got to meet some of the animals see some of the animals and now he’s dealing with a lot of little piggies since I’ve been there. This was recorded in late May and it was still kind of damp and cool. Even his sweatshirt kind of matches the barn I call purple. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it if you did share it with somebody else and make sure you catch the videos because you’re gonna see those little baby lambs and be like me like oh my goodness, they’re adorable. I need sheep. Alright, we’ll talk to you guys again in two weeks. Thank you