WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Going off the grid, our family story.

Sandlord

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I don't want you guys getting the impression that this life is all work and no play. Yeah, we put some hours in but we try to balance it out with enough fun to keep from burning out. Labor Day weekend we had everyone bring RV's up to stay a few days. Great food, company, fun and drinks. The "check liver" light comes on quite a bit faster these days so it was nice to get back to healthy living but still love weekends like this.

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What a fun weekend. I Can't wait for the next one.
 

Taboma

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Funny, Sunday evening after Joel's update, I called my wife into the room to share the garden pictures. I knew she'd find this thread interesting since for the past 13 years, we've owned 40 acres of similar property, not all that far from Joel and Amy's.
Keep in mind, my wife hasn't spent over 5 minutes on RDP in the past 9 years ;)
So I share a couple of pics, next thing I know she's taken my chair, confiscated my computer and heads straight to page one of this amazing thread.
Losing my computer for the evening was one thing, but NOW she's come away with all these grandiose plans --- "OH, look what we can do !!" --- WE ???? :eek:
Give me a break for shit's sake, my kids are only a couple of years younger than Joel and Amy !! Their accomplishments are nothing short of amazing and we should have started 25 years ago, ha ha ha :rolleyes:
I know, I'll somehow forward this thread to my kids -- Hmmmm, just maybe they'll get the urge to work the place and I can sit in my rocker, watching with a cold beer :D
 

wzuber

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simply incredible, real american dream story, thank you for sharing it. So captivating I couldn't stop reading till I reached the end, now I'm late for work haha but I'm sure my customer will understand when I explain why as he's a old school, original citrus rancher from Upland (ranch now in Ivanho Ca.) I really appreciate how this new life style has improved your health too. To me it really speaks to the value of a all natural food supply.
I can think of several people I need to share this thread with that would really appreciate your whole experience. Inspiring beyond words.
 

DrunkenSailor

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This thread is my favorite thing on the internet. I get genuinely excited when I see it pop up. Thanks for posting the updates. I think it would make a great coffee table book with all of the pictures.
 

wash11

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The amount of time we have invested in growing those pasture grasses is hard to calculate but it was at least 1/2 the labor we did this year. Based on our high clay content we were skeptical regarding results, even the seed company wasn't sure our composting efforts would overcome the hurdles we faced. That being said, we were hesitant to spend money on tools and implements that might only get used once so we decided to do that 1/4 acre test bed by hand. 200 yards of compost spreading using shovels and the backhoe bucket. I gave my lower back a workout several times by using a battery powered hedge trimmer to cut back the grasses, stimulating new growth.

I searched locally for tools and equipment but not many people are doing any kind of grass farming around here. What I did find was expensive or junk. Knowing we had to make a trip to see Amys mom in Montana this October I started checking craigslist in her area for stuff. They practically give the stuff away up there that we needed to up our pasture management game for 2018. I filled a 20' trailer with old but still very usable farm implements for $450 total. These families are working 100 acres on up to 100,000 acres of grass or grain so upgrading to the latest, largest tools makes sense for them which leaves fields of retired tools laying around and plenty of friendly old timers to talk a guy like me through finding what I need.

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One thing I've learned about old farm implements- they were made when things were built right using good quality metal. This manure spreader is a mid 50's and all original, right down to the wood. Everything works correctly and is actually fairly tight. Attach to the old Ford 8N and evenly throw 2 yards of compost down at a time. I dig old stuff and the patina on this thing is just bitchin.

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One thing I was really happy to find was a mid 70's International Harvester sickle mower. The CASE/International dealer in Great Falls stocked all the service and wear items for me to rebuild this to tip top shape for under $100. No more hedge trimmer for me. The 5' sickle bar is odd as most or 7' to 9' but actually works better for me to work in some tight spaces.

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wash11

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The next big undertaking will be a 8+ acre pasture that will likely take 2 years to complete. Lots of trees to clear, dirt work and compost to make. Once finished, we can scale up production while seeing a savings on feed costs (one of the biggest hurdles faced when trying to be profitable). We are adding another 40% to the poultry grass inside the large fence and redesigning the garden for spring to make better use of the space now that we know how strong the demand is for good veggies. We have run through our savings getting to this point and are now funding projects and improvements from the farm business revenues. I guess you could say we are truly, "Living off the Land" now.

Here is the outline for the large pasture project coming up.
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TRAVISD

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Great reading your story! It sounds like you guys are very self sufficient up there. When is the house starting?
 

Sandlord

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cool stuff. I love old farm implements, and its great to see them being used.
 

wash11

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Great reading your story! It sounds like you guys are very self sufficient up there. When is the house starting?
Man, I wish I had an answer on starting the house.

As stated before, we had saved enough money to pay cash for our little house OR start a farm business but not both. The farm business won and in less than two years is successful enough to pay our bills and grow a little with a few bucks left over each month. Not the kind of extra money that it takes to build a house without a mortgage though. That's my big struggle.

Being debt free has allowed us to accomplish what we have so far. Do I stay the course and try and pick away at the house for the next few years (or longer)? Or do I strap on a small mortgage to build the house. Land is paid for, plans complete with a building permit good for another year, water and septic already done so its just building the house and solar system to power it.

Our 5th wheel has given us zero problems and is plenty comfortable except for cooking/canning/preserving food. Amy really could use a kitchen but that doesn't stop her.

It's been up for discussion a few times now but we're both so financially conservative anymore that its hard to imagine any kind of payments. I also wouldn't know where to start looking for a construction loan for our situation or if it's even possible. Last time we bought a house we simply wrote a check for $60,000 for a down, signed some papers and the realtor handed us keys. I don't think the mortgage end of it took more than 2 hours total. From what I hear, things aren't that way anymore.

Trust me, if we start the house you guys will be the first to know as we post pics!
 

rivrrts429

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Man, I wish I had an answer on starting the house.

As stated before, we had saved enough money to pay cash for our little house OR start a farm business but not both. The farm business won and in less than two years is successful enough to pay our bills and grow a little with a few bucks left over each month. Not the kind of extra money that it takes to build a house without a mortgage though. That's my big struggle.

Being debt free has allowed us to accomplish what we have so far. Do I stay the course and try and pick away at the house for the next few years (or longer)? Or do I strap on a small mortgage to build the house. Land is paid for, plans complete with a building permit good for another year, water and septic already done so its just building the house and solar system to power it.

Our 5th wheel has given us zero problems and is plenty comfortable except for cooking/canning/preserving food. Amy really could use a kitchen but that doesn't stop her.

It's been up for discussion a few times now but we're both so financially conservative anymore that its hard to imagine any kind of payments. I also wouldn't know where to start looking for a construction loan for our situation or if it's even possible. Last time we bought a house we simply wrote a check for $60,000 for a down, signed some papers and the realtor handed us keys. I don't think the mortgage end of it took more than 2 hours total. From what I hear, things aren't that way anymore.

Trust me, if we start the house you guys will be the first to know as we post pics!

Stay in the 5th wheel and just build a kitchen that can double as an outside entertainment area once the house is built, Win/Win.
 

Deja_Vu

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Awesome thread, just catching up.
It is mind boggling to me how you have engineered this land to provide for your family and more. Nice work!

We are transitioning to a new property also. We have a pasture out back for golfers lol... j/k it backs to Lake Havasu Golf course.

Mohave State bank has a pretty good construction loan, although they do get a couple points for it.
My wife and I have lived in our 5th wheel for about 15 months during construction and we are really looking forward to living in a house again.

Build thread here http://www.riverdavesplace.com/forums/threads/deja_vus-retirement-oasis.155100/
 

Spudsbud

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Hey Joel,
Free photo hosting. Gigs & gigs of free storage.
www.flickr.com No "E" in flickr !
Look 'em up. Globally Huge site.
I just heard from my Niece in Mt. They got their Well in.
Please!! Keep the updates coming

& thanks

Jim
 

Done-it-again

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Getting a loan might be little harder without an income of xxx amount.......You might be able to use the land as collateral, but I think that defeats what your trying to do.....
I would do what rivrrts429 said and build and small closed in kitchen for all canning. Those out door camping stoves with 2 burners are cheap and can heat water in minutes.....I do little canning and not sure how you get the water hot enough on the trailer stove.

Great thread BTW and been following it since the beginning....Always look forward to updates and pictures.... Keep up the good work!
 

Andy01

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Like we talked about last week, I will bring the kids up next summer/spring time for sure. We are already looking forward to it.

I would also add that if you decided to build a kitchen, small building, or outdoor kitchen/entertaining area look for volunteers. I'd look to this board for a weekend or two of volunteers. You could get a lot done in two back to back weekends. Maybe hire out the slab work, then first weekend have people come in and frame it, you could work on the electrical that week a bit and then have people come back and wrap it, roof it, plumbing and such another weekend. You could build a decent sized deal for very little, very fast. Heck, build a small cottage. Live it, now. One room/bath/kitchen, small. Then rent out the "farming experience" on air bnb or something for weekends. I bet a lot of people would love to come see it first hand. $200 a weekend.
A lot of people are very talented on this forum and would love a working vacation in a place like this. I know I'd tap into my construction background and be happy to donate some time. Might do me some good lol!!
 

Sleek-Jet

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Stay in the 5th wheel and just build a kitchen that can double as an outside entertainment area once the house is built, Win/Win.
I'd build a pole barn/leantoo over the 5th wheel and then buy another short storage container and convert it into a kitchen along side the 5th wheel. big Patio in between under the cover for entertaining.
 

wzuber

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maybe start with a single/double wide mobile that could be picked up for a more reasonable fee and then could later become housing for ranch hands or dude ranch/vacation type rental delio? How reasonable/easy is it to find good used one and transport to your property? Even a shipping container or 2 if necessary could give you enough space and most importantly a clean work space with sufficient storage room included. It's a "temporary" deal so no permits necessary. Run some temporary power, spider box etc. and then it could later be re-purposed. Heck even another rv. trailer could suffice if altered and built out for the specific purpose and would already have a useful utilities foundation in place and then could later be re-purposed as desired. Pretty much all required components could be re-purposed at a latter date if planned and purchased accordingly. Clearly, your a smart dude and have likely thought of these and many more possibilities already I'm sure. So many options, so little time and money with every thing else you have going on. You are some amazing peeps for sure.
 
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wzuber

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BTW....Those vegis. look incredible. I can only imagine how awesome their flavor and texture is. We've been buying more organic vegis. lately and the difference is immeasurable. Yams, sweet potatoes, red rose potatoes, cucumbers, squash, carrots, broccoli, califlower etc. have a cleaner, sweeter natural flavor (not bitter) and the potatoes have a smooth and creamy texture and not bland and stringy like the typical grocery store crap. How often are you in Havasu for deliveries? I would be very interested in meeting up and buying some vegis, chix, eggs, beef, pork etc. over the next couple weeks, months as I will be out there working on my dirtville project in big river and making trips to Havi. for materials etc. some real quality food would be nice. Parker has very limited and lo-quality products IMO.
 

DrunkenSailor

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Amish barn raising RDP style. Dig a cellar, cut some trees, fire up the still and lets get going.
 

Sandlord

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Like we talked about last week, I will bring the kids up next summer/spring time for sure. We are already looking forward to it.

I would also add that if you decided to build a kitchen, small building, or outdoor kitchen/entertaining area look for volunteers. I'd look to this board for a weekend or two of volunteers. You could get a lot done in two back to back weekends. Maybe hire out the slab work, then first weekend have people come in and frame it, you could work on the electrical that week a bit and then have people come back and wrap it, roof it, plumbing and such another weekend. You could build a decent sized deal for very little, very fast. Heck, build a small cottage. Live it, now. One room/bath/kitchen, small. Then rent out the "farming experience" on air bnb or something for weekends. I bet a lot of people would love to come see it first hand. $200 a weekend.
A lot of people are very talented on this forum and would love a working vacation in a place like this. I know I'd tap into my construction background and be happy to donate some time. Might do me some good lol!!
Good idea. Lets start with a safety meeting.
 

wash11

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BTW....Those vegis. look incredible. I can only imagine how awesome their flavor and texture is. We've been buying more organic vegis. lately and the difference is immeasurable. Yams, sweet potatoes, red rose potatoes, cucumbers, squash, carrots, broccoli, califlower etc. have a cleaner, sweeter natural flavor (not bitter) and the potatoes have a smooth and creamy texture and not bland and stringy like the typical grocery store crap. How often are you in Havasu for deliveries? I would be very interested in meeting up and buying some vegis, chix, eggs, beef, pork etc. over the next couple weeks, months as I will be out there working on my dirtville project in big river and making trips to Havi. for materials etc. some real quality food would be nice. Parker has very limited and lo-quality products IMO.
We do deliveries to Havasu every Tuesday. We have eggs and honey available next week. We are sold out of beef, pork and chicken currently. We butcher again late December and might have a couple 1/4's of beef available. Will have another 400ish lbs of grass fed ground beef available for individual purchase (2 lb packages) late January. Pigs should be ready by March. Chickens should be ready around May. Gardens are all wrapped up for the year but will be in full swing May or early June depending on weather. Message me here or call/text 928-486-4043 so we can get you set up.
 

5oclocksomewhere

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We do deliveries to Havasu every Tuesday. We have eggs and honey available next week. We are sold out of beef, pork and chicken currently. We butcher again late December and might have a couple 1/4's of beef available. Will have another 400ish lbs of grass fed ground beef available for individual purchase (2 lb packages) late January. Pigs should be ready by March. Chickens should be ready around May. Gardens are all wrapped up for the year but will be in full swing May or early June depending on weather. Message me here or call/text 928-486-4043 so we can get you set up.
Joel
I don't have fagbook but my wife does. Join jayco rv owners or something like that. Full timers are allways building popouts or AZ rooms perfect for Amy's kitchen. FYI we wanna come up soon. Also hit me up when your in chino or Prescott.

Mark
 

wash11

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Thank you for all the responses yesterday. ALL great ideas and we appreciate you guys weighing in on it.

We have designed 3 different outdoor kitchens, all very usable with one having a framework that could be re-purposed later as a hay shed or equipment storage. We learned a few things this summer about outdoor food prep and having large gardens and 13 bee hives. Bees and bugs are content with gardens and pasture grasses/blooms and generally leave us alone. UNTIL you start cutting/cleaning/cooking. They had to check everything out from start to finish. To be sanitary and efficient we decided a enclosed kitchen would be needed.

It's no surprise that limited time and money now play a part in our decisions. We were and still are very comfortable with that reality, we simply spend more time thinking things through and try to make solid decisions. I'll explain a bit more.

Most things you've seen us accomplish happened before running a farm business. The daily chores just to sustain that are easily half a day or more. When firewood delivery season hits we go from dark to dark and then some. Ever stack 2.5 cords of wood onto a trailer using headlights and flashlights? The money is too good to ignore since we have plenty of projects yet to fund. When it slows down we'll play catch up on other stuff for several weeks.
Monday is a full day getting orders ready for delivery. Eggs, honey, ground beef, veggies (in season), bone broth packages, "Amy's Extras" like her homemade pickles and applesauses/apple butters- scheduling etc. Tuesday is Havasu delivery with an average of 40 stops. Again, dark to dark.
This was all by design, it's exactly where we wanted to be.
We also make time for us. Trip to Chino Valley to drop off or pick up from our butcher? Find a deal on Air BNB and make it a overnight and hit Whiskey Row in Prescott for a few hours of fun and trouble. Big beef and pork delivery? Find a mid-week deal at a nice hotel with a big tub and bitchin pool/spa and recharge a bit.
One thing I've learned through the years is that you need at least 1 day per week to work "ON" the business instead of "IN" the business. So we'll take a day to catch up on paperwork, read articles/blogs, plan or research something we've talked about.
The long winded point I'm getting at is time is now at a premium. I have a good idea what it takes time wise when considering a big project up here. (1 full day just to load up and drive to town for materials btw) I'm not so quick to jump in head first anymore. After redesigning and re-doing enough temporary things I can see the value in making a plan and sticking with it as finding the time to re-do it the way we really want later is getting harder and harder.

Back to the struggle we spoke of yesterday.

Do we focus on getting the house started and finished sooner than later or start it and pick away at it for a few years as time and money allows? Obviously, we lean toward the latter as having a mortgage payment doesn't excite us. Do we build something temporary to make life a little easier short term (i.e. kitchen area) knowing we are taking time and money away from the end goal of finishing the house?

For the immediate future we will keep on keepin' on just like this. I'm sure you've figured out by now that we are planners so we'll keep chipping away at this until something makes sense.

The best plan we've come up with yet:
If you remember back, our house plans include a matching 14'x14' building on its own pad just about the house. This was designed to house all solar components and batteries along with booster pump and water softener etc. Basically utility/mechanicals building. Per code there needs to be a wall separating batteries from all electronics so we were just splitting in half with a wall down the center.

Revised plan:
Build the 14'x14' building, leave the wall out as its easy enough to add later and trim out as kitchen and storage. Piece together a reasonable solar system for lighting and ignition for stove and on demand hot water heater and build battery storage outside the building to stay in code. This gets us a portion of the house project done without having to re-do too much later. Not nearly as inexpensive as a lean-to or temporary outdoor kitchen but wastes the least amount of resources.

We really do appreciate the ideas you guys threw around yesterday. Always great to hear outside perspectives.
 

wash11

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Joel
I don't have fagbook but my wife does. Join jayco rv owners or something like that. Full timers are allways building popouts or AZ rooms perfect for Amy's kitchen. FYI we wanna come up soon. Also hit me up when your in chino or Prescott.

Mark
Will do Mark.
 

USMC2010

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My grandparents sod home built in 1901 is still standing and in use. You have plenty of material for that and it would make one hell of a unique farm experience.
 

wash11

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We’re 4 months away from the 2 year mark of living off grid full time. The updates are further and further apart as we’ve switched gears from huge projects to simply maintaining what we’ve built, living the life we set out to live and expanding the farm business when possible.


This winter was bitter cold with a wind that never seemed to stop blowing. We had very little snow to deal with early on followed by months and months without measurable rainfall that extended into June. These are not ideal conditions for working soil, planting grass seed or many of the outdoor projects we typically do. Most of my life this would have sent me to the nuthouse. I had to have 10 projects going. Finishing some, researching others, planning new ones- I didn’t sit and relax well so we decided to sell firewood. I built sides for the trailer we use to haul the freezer and we’d deliver 2.5 cords per trip to Havasu which worked out to be decent money and a way to stay in shape. It started out slow and comfy until the first big cold snap then it was game on. We quickly found ourselves making two runs per week and in just over 2 months we had sold and delivered the 40 cords that we had been stockpiling. I enjoyed the firewood more than expected but will take this winter off from it as we have some other stuff lined up. All that hard work left us with a few bucks for a decent winter cushion and a desire to relax for the first time in years.

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Temps in the 20’s, wind howling- I’d start the coffee before heading out to break up frozen waters and make sure critters had feed then double time it back to Amy and our warm bed with no immediate plans for the day. A bright sun shining through our bedroom window was our new alarm clock. I’d spend time on the phone with customers, feed suppliers or our butchers lining up the winters few large beef deliveries but purposely kept my list short. Daily chores were light, plenty of time for reading or watching a good movie and even more time to sit, talk and dream up our next moves and ideas for the coming season.

Amy did a lot of cooking as usual, trying out new recipes our customers are always passing along. She also pulled the sewing stuff out of storage and starting working on quilts again (because the best naps are wrapped in a homemade quilt).


Over time, plans came together but not at the speed or intensity we had been used to. We were finally slowing down and it felt great.


Something called “Hipcamp” came across my Facebook feed that looked interesting. Basically, it’s a site that manages and connects travelers with unique places to stop for the night giving landowners a $1,000,000 insurance policy and community vetting of campers. You set your schedule and pricing, they collect the dough and deposit it in your PayPal for a 10% cut. Based on some of the other popular listings, we felt like we had a lot to offer so put a little campsite on our project list. We used boulders for a retaining wall and fill from our place to build the pad then capped with river sand. Fire pit, picnic table and potable water (that was already there) along with killer views make for a good destination or overnight spot for people doing the Route 66 tour or Vegas to Grand Canyon run. The service has been flawless and our guests have been great. Some choose to keep to themselves while others invite you over for cocktails and a meal. Its been a great way to meet interesting folks and add a few bucks to our diverse income stream through site rental and having campers walk over and buy eggs, ground beef or veggies while they are there.

Here's a link to the listing:
https://www.hipcamp.com/arizona/fort-rock-farms/fort-rock-farms

My neighbor and old friend Dan brought his new skid steer and attachments. These things are super handy. What you won't see is 5 days of hauling fill with the dump truck and about 40 large boulders with a grapple bucket.

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The finished site.

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HitIt

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The hipcamp deal looks awesome. I could see myself using it in the future. Thanks for this thread. So cool!
 

wash11

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Pasture raised poultry is something we’ve had an interest in for several years. Last year was our first full season raising Cornish Cross meat birds. The high demand, great finished product and 8 week turn around is a great fit for us so we wanted to take it to the next level. One of our big hurdles was the time and expense of taking the birds we raised to an approved process center to butcher. Add the stress of travel to 200 birds you just babied for 8 weeks and we’d just get a stomach ache. Two years ago we approached Arizona Department of Agriculture about “on farm processing” and they said sure, here’s the list of things you need to qualify. All I could do was shake my head at the absurdity and the initial guesstimate of $60,000 to comply. Fast forward more than a year and I attended a local foods workshop put on by the USDA and had a chance to meet the new AZ Dept of AG director who encouraged me (with help from his staff) to think out of the box regarding the structure required and costs involved with a promise of flexibility to help see our project through.


After submitting a comprehensive plan we got the preliminary thumbs up on the design. By modifying a new shipping container we were able to cut the finished price in half. Still expensive but a return on investment was starting to shape up nicely. Factor in being the ONLY state inspected process center in Mohave County kind of wraps up the market for us if we want to expand to restaurants, health food stores and farmers markets. For now, our existing customers buy up every chicken we produce at the retail level. By making it semi portable and self-contained we have a way to unwind this if we decide to go a different direction. Having a turn key, fully operational and state inspected processing center that any flatbed tow truck can move has value beyond the sum of the parts. We worked with Farm Service Agency to be sure any potential buyers could get low interest financing on it through USDA. Being a brand new box with a serial number makes a UCC filing a breeze.

Opposing windows framed in for airflow. Uni-strut welded to the ceiling so we could hang things without drilling through the top.
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Windows installed and everything coated.
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Moved in place and tied to septic along with an outdoor wash station.
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We found a used awning on Craigslist so we poured some footers to get it up and keep our expensive equipment out of the sun. More importantly, keep us out of the sun on butcher day.
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True to their word, they allowed us to change the design to kill, scald and pluck outdoors once we addressed sanitation concerns. Once the chicken is opened up, it must be indoors. The inspector was impressed with our design and gave us the thumbs up to start processing our own birds!

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Butcher day is a lot of work. Luckily we have a great group that works well together.
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wash11

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I’m going to be very brief here as I tend to geek out about the ins and outs of raising good poultry.

There are proven formulas regarding how many birds your pasture grass can support. For us, those numbers are a bit over 200 per batch with a week of rest in between each run. This meant a capable brooder (day old chicks to 4 weeks) and more movable enclosures aka “Chicken Tractors”.


The brooder is a place that controls temperature, humidity and predators while they are young and fragile. Lots of head scratching and trial/error to automate as much as possible. A pulley system was the most effective way to raise and refill waters and feeders without stepping on 200 hungry chicks. Constant fresh bedding and manure control are required since we raise the birds without the pharmaceuticals that make them more resilient to unsanitary conditions so lifting everything with the pull of a couple ropes really helps.

Brooder first:
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We wanted to try some different chicken tractor designs to see if we could get build costs in check as we prepared to grow out. One design would minimize lumber which has an expiration date in wet grass, improve airflow and give the ability to walk around inside when it was time to catch birds for butchering. A wood base with 3 cattle panels wired together make it strong yet flexible. It has proven its worth through several monsoon storms now. With a canvas painters tarp and wheels we are able to make these for a few hundred dollars in material.


In all, we run 3 10’x12’ tractors at a time with @60 birds each and our original small tractor side by side as a nursery for birds that need attention or less feed competition for a few days till they can join their pals.

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This picture shows how much grass they eat each day. The last week before butchering we'll move them twice per day.
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CJ_Donahue

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I am so amazed by you guys. You wanted to do something and you did it. Now keep us updated more oftern. A lot of us are vicariously living through you. Congrats.
 

DrunkenSailor

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Cool updates. Please keep them coming. I have shared this thread with a few people and all of them are amazed by your level of dedication and your abilities. Great job guys.
 

wash11

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As I said before, we are coming up on 2 years of full time off grid living. My health has been changing for the better for several years now but 6 months ago I made an actual effort to eat clean. Basically, if we don’t grow or raise it ourselves or can’t trade a neighbor for it- I had little interest. Yeah, I even cut way back on beer too. I still indulge from time to time. Too many beers with friends and too many servings of chips and salsa is something I’m just not willing to give up.

Since we started this journey, I have slowly lost 75lbs total. Here is me with a 50lb difference in 3 years.
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I've been holding at 185 for quite some time now. This is me harvesting veggies Tuesday morning for Havasu deliveries to customers. It's been quite a ride getting here but we have zero regrets. I looked for an acceptable picture of Amy to post but came up short. Sometime last year she embraced our privacy and simply stopped putting clothes on. Ball cap and sneakers make up most of her summertime wardrobe. Please just trust me when I say she looks great. :D
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yard dog

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What hatchery do you buy your chicks from ? I hauled baby chicks for 15 yrs the semi and trailer in my picture held 100,000 chicks. I delivered to egg ranches in Cailf , Az. Ut, New Mexico , Oregon , Washington , Texas . Our hatchery would sell browns to growers that would raise the brown chicks to 8 weeks then butcher them and sell them to Asian market , for some reason they preferred to eat only brown chickens, but also they were used in egg production for brown eggs .
 

evantwheeler

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This is so awesome. What a great adventure for us to follow along on. You also look about 15 years younger with that extra 75lbs off the body. Good work! I bet you feel great.
 

TITTIES AND BEER

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The amount of time we have invested in growing those pasture grasses is hard to calculate but it was at least 1/2 the labor we did this year. Based on our high clay content we were skeptical regarding results, even the seed company wasn't sure our composting efforts would overcome the hurdles we faced. That being said, we were hesitant to spend money on tools and implements that might only get used once so we decided to do that 1/4 acre test bed by hand. 200 yards of compost spreading using shovels and the backhoe bucket. I gave my lower back a workout several times by using a battery powered hedge trimmer to cut back the grasses, stimulating new growth.

I searched locally for tools and equipment but not many people are doing any kind of grass farming around here. What I did find was expensive or junk. Knowing we had to make a trip to see Amys mom in Montana this October I started checking craigslist in her area for stuff. They practically give the stuff away up there that we needed to up our pasture management game for 2018. I filled a 20' trailer with old but still very usable farm implements for $450 total. These families are working 100 acres on up to 100,000 acres of grass or grain so upgrading to the latest, largest tools makes sense for them which leaves fields of retired tools laying around and plenty of friendly old timers to talk a guy like me through finding what I need.

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One thing I've learned about old farm implements- they were made when things were built right using good quality metal. This manure spreader is a mid 50's and all original, right down to the wood. Everything works correctly and is actually fairly tight. Attach to the old Ford 8N and evenly throw 2 yards of compost down at a time. I dig old stuff and the patina on this thing is just bitchin.

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One thing I was really happy to find was a mid 70's International Harvester sickle mower. The CASE/International dealer in Great Falls stocked all the service and wear items for me to rebuild this to tip top shape for under $100. No more hedge trimmer for me. The 5' sickle bar is odd as most or 7' to 9' but actually works better for me to work in some tight spaces.

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Watch it remember when you lift the blade to go through a gate the blade drops and WILL take off a finger or 5 ( ask my brother he lost 1)
 

wash11

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What hatchery do you buy your chicks from ? I hauled baby chicks for 15 yrs the semi and trailer in my picture held 100,000 chicks. I delivered to egg ranches in Cailf , Az. Ut, New Mexico , Oregon , Washington , Texas . Our hatchery would sell browns to growers that would raise the brown chicks to 8 weeks then butcher them and sell them to Asian market , for some reason they preferred to eat only brown chickens, but also they were used in egg production for brown eggs .
McMurray Hatchery or Purely Poultry, whichever has a hatch schedule that matches our runs. Kind of crazy that they come in the mail. Our local post office must hate us.
 

bldrinker

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Dam Joel I’m so happy for you. We only met briefly in the parking lot at SSSS for a few beers.
But I show everyone your posts and tell them my “buddy” Joel is living the life.
 

Willie B

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...I get it about Mama saying forget the clothing...I lived with a Playboy Bunny for ten years...(the love of my life)...For 4 years of the ten...we lived in Big Tujunga Cyn...In a maze of pepper and fruit trees...a stream running through it and our own 6 ft deep swimming hole...
...Fruit picking time was topless time for Jan...Nice guy that I am...I never complained once...:rolleyes:
 

Mandelon

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Love it! I tried to talk my wife into moving up to the hills and open a farm offering the pygmy baby goat experience to people. LOL, it was a no.
 
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