Monthly Archives: January 2016


Well, here’s the official tally after the snowfall:


15″ of snow today.

15″ of snow is great for snowmen, snowball fights, sledding, and getting days off of teaching school.  It is not so nice for keeping animals fed and watered.  Just walking through 15″ of snow to check on the animals is a serious workout.  I’ve decided I need snowshoes.  Shoe size is 10.5, if anyone would like to make a snowshoe donation.

Here’s things you can’t do in 15″ of snow on top of 1/4″ of ice:

  • Haul more water to the back pasture.
  • Carry round bales with the tractor.
  • Run the tractor, period – 2-wheel drive is no good.
  • Find all of the eggs.

Still, you’ve got to get hay to the animals somehow.  So Lindsey, her brother, and I made hay sleds by bundling 60-150 lbs of hay (depending on the person) up in tarps and pulling them along behind us for the 1/2 mile back to the cattle.  2 trips for me and 1 for each of them did the trick.  Not going to lie, that is a workout.  Got to do it again tomorrow.

I vow to have the hay shed for the animals built before next winter.  That way the hay and the animals are both in the same spot.

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You can have lambs born in a blizzard.  We had twin rams yesterday.  They are fine.  After they were born we forced the sheep into their shelter and locked them in.  They had been riding the blizzard out under some trees.  Sillies.

The worst news is that I think Fitbit has it out for me.  According to mine I took 14,000 steps, walked 6.5 miles in 15″ of snow pulling heavy sleds of hay and/or herding animals for portions of it, climbed 11 flights of stairs, and had almost 2.5 hours of high activity and yet I still did not hit my calorie burn for the day.

I may drop the Fitbit in the snow.  Accidently.



Make Your Property a Paradise!

At Good Life Ranch we farm using ecological principles rather than chemicals.  We utilize nature’s time-tested methods to maintain healthy animals, create and maintain a healthy environment, generate energy, produce food, and recycle waste productively into other systems.  Every component on our farm has multiple outputs, provides inputs into other systems, and serves an ecological purpose.  A few years later I ran across the term permaculture, and that concept fits our farm pretty well.  Permaculture is shorthand for permanent agriculture and is based on the utilization of perennial plants and renewable energy sources.  You can read more about it below.  It’s way more involved than that brief definition I provided.


Our house and a portion of our gardens.  Perennial plants generate food and beauty year after year.

My training is in science.  I earned my B.S. in Biology and a minor Environmental Studies from Trinity University, studying as much as I could under David Ribble in ecology and conservation biology.  I have taught biology for almost 15 years in public schools in Texas and Kentucky.  Although we run our farm in a permaculture manner, I decided that I’d also like to use my knowledge of ecology and my skills as a teacher to help other people transform their properties as well.  To that end in 2015 I earned my Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoff Lawton in Australia.  More information about him and his farm can be found at the links below.

Geoff Lawton
Permaculture Research Institute
Zaytuna Farm

I would love to put my training and expertise to work for you!

Your property, no matter how large or how small, can produce food.  It can generate renewable energy, it can harvest water, it can recycle wastes, and it can create habitat for wildlife.  At larger sizes your property can produce timber, use livestock and plants to rehabilitate a landscape, clean the environment, and generate income for your family.

Here are some of the things I can do for you with a site design, no matter the size of your property:

  • generate renewable energy on your property
  • increase the energy efficiency of your house
  • lower your household’s output of waste
  • increase your property’s fertility
  • produce quality food on your property at almost any scale
  • create wildlife sanctuaries

Site designs I have created in the past include:

  • 1/4 acre suburban lots that produce enough food for families of 4-6 to achieve self-sufficiency
  • 2-10 acre sites that produce enough food for families plus generate all the energy needs of the owners as well as provide water retention and supply, hiking trails, wildlife corridors, food forests, and more.
  • 15 -200 acre properties that accomplish all of the things the above sizes do as well as provide commercial opportunities to live on your land and work there too.
  • “Bug out” locations that can be set up, left with minimal maintenance, and used as needed in emergency situations to support a family.  This is a surprisingly popular option.

I have not yet designed a small urban space, like a rooftop garden or balcony garden design, but I would love to do that.  Small spaces can be incredibly productive if well-designed and well-tended.

Here’s our brochure: Good Life Ranch Permaculture Site Design  All of the photos in that brochure are of our property, so you can see that functional designs are not just utilitarian; they can be beautiful as well.

Here’s a sample of a design I created for a 2-acre property: South Carolina property

Of course, all property designs are unique because they reflect the goals and desires of the property owners.  All designs I create are individual and made especially for you!

Please give me a call at (606) 787-4217 or shoot me an  and let us design your property to reliably and sustainably produce food, reduce your ecological footprint, generate energy, and create a better environment for your family.

It’s an investment in your property.  It’s one of the best decisions we have ever made.


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