My wife Niki and I used to live in Chicago and we both worked downtown. We had lived in the city our whole lives and wanted something more then dealing with long commutes, traffic jams, lots of crime, high taxes, and polluted air. We bought our farm in 2009 and finally moved to our farm in 2016. The first year we spent building our home ourselves and plan to have a pasture based farm and grow most of our own healthy food using organic and sustainable methods. We love the peace and quite of living in the country and seeing the stars at night and not having to lock our doors, and not having to pay a toll to drive down a road.
My wife and I didn’t have any farming experience and are learning as we go. This is the beginning of our journey to becoming farmers and we want to share this journey with others who are thinking of escaping the city and doing the same thing. We have left the sea of humanity for the tranquility of the country, this is our journal of that journey.
Hey this is the girl from the train. Your blog seems pretty sweet. You should do a post about making a custom table.
Hi Zena, glad you checked it out and approve. It’s a big compliment coming from someone like yourself who can build websites. See ya on the train.
Gordon, An event you might like – a southern iowa grazing confernce – details below
**Brand new** event being put on by some great folks, who also happen to be
PFI members. Get out and show your support while learning something new!
Southern Iowa Grazing Conference
Mutchler Community Center – 400 E North St, Bloomfield IA
Friday, Feb 15; 8:15am – 4pm
$40 (+$25 for each additional person from same farm) until Feb 2; goes up
to $55 and $35 after. Fee includes noon meal and refreshments.
Speakers will discuss forages and grazing practices for a variety of
different species. PFI has a few pamphlets for the event – email me if
you’d like to receive a copy, or if you would like more details about the
Mail registrations to Elmer Beechy, 11306 220th St, Bloomfield IA 52537
(If you don’t have a copy of the pamphlet, be sure to include a note with
attendees’ names, address, city/state/zip, and phone number)
Hi Mark, thanks for telling me about this. I don’t know if I can make it this year, but I would love to go if I could. It would be a good post for my blog. I have to think on it. I will contact you on your site today and we will talk.
Mark, my wife and I are planning on building a bran house in the next couple of years. I really like the design of this home. Can you send me any additional information on it? Thanks, Scott from Alabama.
Gordon, since you’ve looked into pole barn homes extensively, can you tell me if they are generally financeable with conventional, FHA, and VA mortgages?
Hi David, that’s a good question and my honest answer I don’t know ,but if I were to guess I would say no. The only way to find out call the VA and FHA up and ask them. Sorry I wasn’t much help on this.
Hi! I came across your mini greenhouse plans. We’re going to try this tomorrow, with cattle panels (we live in the high desert with brutal winds in the winter/spring). I’m very excited and really like your design. Thanks for posting and good luck in your future endeavors! 🙂
Thanks Wendy for stopping by, I am glad you liked our plans for the mini green house. I think your idea of using cattle panels work even better then what I used.
I would love to chat with you about your farm in Iowa. My husband & I grew up in Iowa, live in MN and plan to retire in South Central Iowa. I would like more information on where you are building and who your builders were.
I would love to chat with you Debbie about our farm and I will share with you the builders we use. Our farm is by the town of Lucas Iowa between the towns of Chariton and Osceola, just aways off of hwy 34. Where do you guys plan to retire in south central Iowa? I will email and give you my number and we can chat, I would love to hear about your plans.
Hi Gordon –
I’m the owner of a new small business that manufactures chicken waterers for backyard flock owners. Like you, I’m creating a photo gallery of various chicken breed and also a series of articles on these breeds for our blog.
I would like to show a photo of an Iowa Blue and I’m writing to ask your permission to use the photo of the Iowa Blue Hen on your blog site. I would provide a photo credit. Please let me know if that would be OK.
Hi Mark, thanks for stopping by. I have checked out your waterers and I think they are great and I have no problem you using any image that I have. With that being said I can’t give you permission to use the images of the Iowa
Blue Chickens, they are not mine. Those belong to the Iowa Blue Chicken Club. I used them to help promote the club and the Iowa Blue. The photos I used was of the Vise President of the club Kari Kay-Waddel. I am sure if you go and ask them they would let you use them. Hope that helps and you will hear from me in about two years to buy one of your waterers when I start my own flock. There is a link to the Iowa Blue Chicken on a post a did about them.
Thanks Gordon. I’ll reach out to them. I lived in the Chicago area for 12 years and remember how cold it can get. Stay warm and safe during this cold spell.
Hello, Gordon I am interested in talking with you about building a passive net zero pole building home. How did yours turn out? Curious about the best way to seal the structure, insulate and design the windows for optimum solar heat gain. I am looking at building in the next two years. Thanks!!!
Hi Shan, I have not yet built my pole barn home. I am on about the same schedule as you and will build in about two years when I get closer to retiring. I still have to work out a lot of those things you ask myself. I do think closed cell spray insulation is the way to go as far as sealing up the building.
Keep me posted on your build and good luck
I’ve been enjoying your site for some time now and wanted to offer a tip since you haven’t built the home yet. You may already know about this. If not, search postprotector, plastisleeve, and permacolumn websites. They address post in ground framing and wood rot concerns. I researched for a future build and these three are what I found so far. No need to panic if you didn’t use them on the barn. The barn is just a shell and repairing a rotten post in a shell structure like this is less involved than a home. I wouldn’t recommend building a post frame home without taking advantage of these products or something like them. Replacing a rotten post inside the interior finished walls of your home would be much more difficult.
Thanks Keith, I couldn’t agree with you more. I wouldn’t build a pole barn house with out the post protectors too. If your going to spend that amount of money you might as well protect your poles from rot and insect infestations so the home will last longer than 20 years. Thanks for stopping by and sorry it took so long for me to respond, for some reason your comment didn’t show until now.
Gordon: It’s Carol from the train. I thought you might be interested in this
Hi Carol, I tried the link you provided but it doesn’t work. Where can I go and look at this.
Can you email me? I have a question about your project.
You will love Iowa when you retire here. And it is what you say it is. Open skies, no locking of your doors, love your neighbors, etc. I live in Boone just north of Des Moines an hour away. I currently have a herd of Hampshire/Suffolk cross with 22 adults and 19 winter babies. I’ve just started looking at the Merinos and am interested in them too. Hoping to find someone in Iowa with them. Might have to check at the Iowa State Fair this year.
Thanks Mindy for your comments. We are so looking forward to that adventure in our life. Let me know if you find some Merinos, I am hoping to find someone close to buy from too.
Regarding your story about the Iowa Blue chicken, there are a few errors, and I hope you will not be offended if I point them out. The original breeder was named John Logsdon, and not Logston. His first wife’s name was Mae. His second was Nettie. He never had a wife named Dolly. I am certain about this as John and Mae Logsdon are my great grandparents, and I grew up and currently live in Decorah I really enjoyed your story, though. I’m glad to see my great grandfather get the credit he deserves.
Thank you so much Francesca, I am not offended that you pointed out my errors, and will be happy to correct them. There is so much I would like to talk to you about and I will be emailing you soon. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Francesca- John and Mae Logsdon- was Mae’s maiden name Moe- were her parents- Jens and Anna Moe- (Jens and Anna are my great grandparents- their son Ole would be my grandfather)
Hi Lori, thanks for replying, glad to know.
Hello I was happy to see your instructions on How to build a Bar. I was so inspired that I have convinced my husband to help me build one. I just have a few questions. Yousaid you didn’t take pictures of how you did the shelving on the inside of the bar, might you have some written instructions detailing the construction? And how wide is the bar before adding the Chicago rail?
I’m currently building my bar by using your guide and I wanted to send you some photos, how do I send the photos?
My wife and I have a 64 acre farm in Davis County Iowa. Our ground is about 12 miles SW of Bloomfield off Hwy 63. We have been watching and learning from posts on here. Our property has some cool elevation changes and a couple of really nice home sites. We have the headwaters of the North Fabius river that flows the length of our property. Davis county has a lot of Amish contractors and I am sure we will use some for certain trades/jobs. I am a superintendent for a general tractor here in Texas. I will be the contractor and supervise the work. We will probably do some of the work ourselves.
My wife is a native “Iowanian” and she is intent on us having a basement. I think we could build a full or partial basement. Then build the pole barn around the basement. Then use metal decking like we use on suspended floor slabs on schools here in Texas. The metal decking would be installed on steel floor joists that span the basement with some intermediate column supports. The concrete floor slab is then poured on the metal decking. The poles for the barn/house would go in outside of the basement excavation. This would be a considerable added expense, but would allow us to have a basement under our pole barn house.
Hi Mike, sounds like you really have a nice place there in Iowa, I know what its like to have to give the wife what she wants. Happy wife, happy life really is true and I think even more so if you are going to live in a rural setting. I think your idea of putting poles outside the basement walls would work and would like to see how its done when you are doing it. So please send pictures when you are doing it or better yet just let me know and I will come over, our farm is not that far away.
Will do Gordon !!
Hello came across your blog as my husband and I and our 3 children are looking to build a pole barn home, under 80,000 and if possible a garage!my husband is very handy and will do most work himself with uncles and friends however can it be done? Ideally we want 5 bedrooms 2 bathrooms a huge toy room/ weight room/ hang out room and then a nice size kitchen ( no cupboards) and a nice size family room….do we add a basement? Not sure if we should or not. Are you worried how the concrete will feel on your legs after long periods if standing? Please email or call 319-471-7994. Hope you still read these!!
Hi Chana, I still read these and I will call you tomorrow, it will be fun to chat. I see you have an Iowa number.
Wow, what a long, determined journey. You’re going to be great farmers 🙂 Happy holidays to you both, Jackie @Auburn Meadow Farm
Thanks Jackie, I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.
Hi. My wife and I really like the pole barn house you indicate will be similar to that which you plan to build. Could you please let us know where we might find more info about the floor plan, building plans for the house? I can get you our personal email if you like. Thanks, Patrick
ABP Pole barns can probably build anything you may want.
My husband just built our pole barn home in MN. Ours is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom with master suite. Congrats to you and we are very happy with ours. We have 12 acres and will not be hobby farming, just raising our family and growing produce1
Would you mind sharing how much your house costed to build? My husband and I have recently retired and getting ready to build on our land. We are looking at pole barns vs traditional.
Thanks Pam, we have spent 161,000 on our house the way it is now. Just remember we did most of the work ourselves. good luck on your own project
Hello, I am interested in Iowa Blue Chickens. Do you still have yours? Do you sell the eggs and or chickens to a person to get a flock started?
Sorry Mandi, I have never gotten any. I just thought I wanted to raise chickens someday and that day is not here yet.
Mandi I do not have any Iowa Blues as of yet. You can go back to my post about Iowa Blue Chickens and there is a link to the Iowa Blues where you can contact people who grow some. Good luck.
Greeting from the North.
I am a new Apple farmer in Ontario Canada. Planted 4 acres high density in 2017, planting another 4 in 2019 and 2020. We are focusing on being a community heritage orchard. Currently have planted 21 varities, by 2020 our goal is to have 51 varities avail for sale thru our retail store.
My work email is below please send me a message as I am interested in connecting with other new farmers that are seeking a return to healthy, medicinal quality fruit.
Since you are now an Iowan farmer, I assume you have switched your political alliance & are now a rabid right wing republican. So sorry about Trump’s loss. You’ll get em in 2024!
Hope you’re doing good buddy. Drop me a line sometime.
You know I would never vote for Trump, so no need to feel sorry. How are you? I hope things are still going good with you.
H Gordon! Great blog! I’m just looking into building a shed house in Australia and came across your blog. I’m just curious how your passive cooling plan worked with earth tubes? Are you happy with it? I’m looking to do a similar thing.
Sorry Alexander but I didn’t end up doing it. It was something we axed from the budget because fear if it would actually work.
Just came across your blog and it is very interesting. Did you ever find any Merino sheep?
No I haven’t found any Merino sheep and now we are not looking to get them. We have decided to go a different way on the farm now.
Are you still working with heirloom apple trees?
We are here in Davis county Iowa. We have 5 apple trees in our front yard that we planted in 2019.
Yes Mike we are still adding to,our heirloom apple orchard every year and have over 30 varieties now. Glad to hear you are growing some apples, there so much you can do with them.
Gordon are you selling a Lowe boat by chance.
Ted I did sell my Lowe boat this past spring. I don’t know why they still have it listed
Great to know thanks for replying.