Slowly but surely, the land is transforming from an overgrown tangle of honeysuckle and thistles to a usable piece of property. I’m keeping as many trees as I can for the shade and the CO2 factor, but the honeysuckle I will try to get under control over the next couple of years.
I have a lot of plans for the property, and so far, my dad is on board with the things I want to do. For starters, the building where my parents had their ceramic business will be gutted, cleaned up, and converted into an indoor, hydroponic growing facility for organic vegetables. The building has sat dormant for probably twelve years because when my mom’s health gave out on her, they had to shut down the ceramic shop, so cleaning it up and getting it usable will take some time. I would like to try to get far enough along to buy one unit and do a test crop of tomatoes over the winter. If that goes well, then we’ll expand as we can until the building is to capacity. We’ve also talked about a few other crops on different parts of the land, but we haven’t decided on those yet.
Another aspect of my plan involves installing solar panels on the roof of the building to produce energy. Eventually, I would like to make the farm self-sufficient, but that will take time. For now, I just want to capitalize on the southern facing rooftop that gets about four to five hours of direct sunlight every day. Thinking long-term, the investment now could really pay dividends down the road as energy costs continue to climb. One cool thing I learned is that Sharp has a facility here in Tennessee that produces solar panels, so we’ll more than likely go with them.
I’m sure some of you are shocked to learn that I’m starting up a farm because all you’ve known of me is the English teacher and the writer, but I’ve always had a yearning to do this. Growing things is stamped on my DNA. My mom could grow rice in the desert, and up until my dad, who grew up in that period when America was transforming from an agricultural to an industrial nation, my family has farmed for generations. I fully expect to continue teaching and writing for several years, but I need to supplement my income with something that is long-term and sustainable. I’ve been mulling this over for several years, and I’ve finally decided that it is the most feasible course I can take.
That’s all for now. Time to get back outside.