Low Gear Farmstead
Want to experience rural Texas and help two young farmers build a permaculture-based farm? I am Logan and my husband is Geer and we are starting a farmstead from scratch on 75 acres of land bordered by the San Saba River that has been in my family for five generations and is the traditional homeland of the Comanche, Tonkawa and Lipan Apache peoples. We moved here in September 2017, so we are still in the very early stages (experimental stages!), working at the slow pace required by financial restrictions. Our primary goals are food autonomy (feeding ourselves off the land), building the soil, and increasing biodiversity, both domesticated and wild. We are learning and implementing permaculture, indigenous and other restorative, multi-purpose agriculture methods. We started with a flock of heritage breed chickens for egg production and have three Nigerian Dwarf goat does to be bred in late spring/early summer, a Spanish goat wether to keep them company and recently we acquired a La Mancha doe and mini Nubian doe for dairy production, all of whom are kept on rotating pasture. One of our next projects is beekeeping and further down the road we would like to add ducks, guinea fowl and geese to our menagerie, as well as a small flock of multipurpose sheep. In addition to our animals, we are in the early stages of creating a food forest (although our property already has a natural pecan orchard, mesquite and prickly pear cactus, all of which provide food!), planting fruit trees and berries. We are currently working on building the soil for a future mandala kitchen garden next to the house and may start planting there this spring. Other small garden areas are serving as experimental beds. Planning is in the works for graywater irrigation of fruit trees and berries around the house using berms and swales and mulch basins. Mindful about our water and energy consumption (and consumption in general), we have made the switch to compost toilets and future projects include rainwater harvesting and making a passive solar water heater. Building outbuildings and guest housing using traditional, sustainable techniques is also on the long term to do list. Worldpackers are expected to be respectful and willing to learn, follow instructions and work 2-5 hours a day in exchange for room, board, experience and fun. Work changes from day to day and season to season (spring and fall are the most active times), but feeding and caring for the animals and rotating their pastures and food growing/preparation/preservation are constants. Currently (early spring), work options also include gathering, cutting and chopping firewood for next year and removing cross fencing. During hot summer, most work is done in the morning and evening and the heat of the day is spent trying to stay cool, reading, swimming or napping. Worldpackers may help with the regular daily chores and/or work on a project that is of particular interest to them. In their leisure time, Worldpackers may explore the property, fish, swim or paddle in the river, read, play music (I sing and my husband sings and plays guitar and other strings), join us in a card game, take a bike ride or run on the quiet country roads, or join us in doing some yoga or stretches. (Warning: we don't have WiFi!) Menard, population ~1200, is the nearest town (about 10 miles away) and has a small but nice library, a cool, historic cemetery, and the ruins of the Presidio de San Saba. Mason, the next closest town, has a few little shops, restaurants and a 1920's era movie theater that shows films on the weekends. The nearest towns of significant size are all a little over an hour away, but we usually make a trip to one of them for errands every couple of weeks or so. When the weather is cool, we try to go rock climbing at Enchanted Rock State Park once in a while. There's lots of other beautiful state parks not too far away. There is no public transportation around here. We have two bikes you are welcome to use. Vegetarians are also welcome, but accommodating a vegan diet would be more difficult. Anyone with serious wheat allergies may have trouble because we bake our own bread. Several tents (four person and two person) and ample bedding are available for Worldpackers. Using the common spaces of the house is fine. English is by and far our main language, but I speak decent German, a tiny bit of Italian and my husband speaks a little Japanese and we are always happy to learn a little of another language when the opportunity arises. We welcome diversity and enjoy meeting new people and learning new things! Our farm is a safe, welcoming place for POC and those who identify as queer in any way.
We don't have a "staff," it's just the two of us. Its going to be a very small farming operation, mostly just subsistence farming. We are starting our farm with very little capital and do not expect to earn much money. We just want to live off the land to the fullest extent that we are able to. This will be a gradual process to make it to that point. Volunteers are guaranteed a tent to live in and will have access to the house for kitchen and bathroom usage. We like to have meals together as a community and we and our guests can take turns cooking or if you like to cook, you can do that! We are very easy going and offer lots of options regarding the tasks you can do. We hope volunteers will enjoy helping us with various projects to start our farm and will be able to enjoy the surrounding area as well.