Category Archives: Farm

Posts for our working farm and energy efficient, sustainable home remodel project.

Late, Late Garden


Finally got the garden tilled. All the rain this year has really slowed things down.


Furrer Farms Open House Was A Hit!

The house is complete, the old barn is fully restored and has a new floor. It’s time to party!

Last Saturday night, we held the Furrer Farms open house. Heidi did all of the massive preparations and made all of the food, and she did an awesome job! All of the guests loved the food, beer, and music.

Other than a little snafu with a blue grass band that thought they were Fleetwood Mac and made a bunch of undeliverable demands, everything went off smoothly. Of course, if there is a stage and an audience, the Procrastinators have to play. We had a great time and people enjoyed our set.

Compared to the drudgery of packing boxes and moving, which is what I am doing as I write this, the memories of this event are sweet.

Here are some pictures of the event:

Open House InvitationOpen House Procrastinators
Open House BarnOpen House Bon Fire

Could Replacing One CFL Really Save $800MM ?

I have always thought the claim of replacing one bulb with a CFL in every home would save $800MM per year was overstated. So, I did a little research, and it is not overstated. There are over 112MM households according to, and each 60W bulb running 8 hours per day replaced with a 60% more efficient CFL will save over $800MM per year. Here is the spreadsheet:

Hmm. iframes do not work on due to security issue, but the sheet is available on the link. Looks like the savings really are there. It is amazing how big 112,000,000 households really is. We have over 130 bulbs in our house. Some are rarely used, so CFL’s would not make sense, but if 1/3 were replaced all across the US, the saving would amount to billions. Wow.


Coyotes killed a few sheep in one of our Furrer Farms fields. The remains attracted Eagles for a couple of days. Quite a treat.

Water Calculations For Furrer Farms

Our irrigation well produces 40-50 gallons per minute. It has too much arsenic to drink, but has been able to irrigate about 10 acres of pasture for cattle grazing throughout the summer. Here is a quick calculation of how much water this well actually produces:

So, how much water could be in a pond that would hold rainwater runoff, take in some seasonal creek runoff, and maybe be augmented by the well? Below is the calculation of how much water is in a certain size pond:

Length (ft.) x Width (ft.) x Average Depth (ft.) x 7.5 = volume of water. For example, a if your pond is 4 ft. Long x 8 ft. Wide x 2 ft. avg. depth x 7.5 = 480 gallons. I’ll put this in an Instacalc embed soon, but for now, I’ll see what a 200′ by 200′ pond that is 5′ average depth has for volume.

200 X 200 X 5 X 7.5 = 1,500,000 gallons. So, it would take about a month to fill with all of the output from the well.

Rainwater catchment from the barn would be about:

80 X 144 = 11,520 ft sq roof area.
.9 efficiency coefficient for metal roofing
3.7″ average monthly rainfall in Eugene, OR, USA area.
.6 conversion factor to get gallons
11,520 * .9 * 3.7 * .6 = 23,016 gallons per month.
23,016 * 12 = 276,192 gallons per year.

Wow, not much of a dent in filling the pond.

But, much, much more could be gotten from the seasonal creek. I will have to do some flow analysis to determine just how much water id flowing by the pond site from October to May of each year. I know it is a LOT.

Outdoor Living Space

It is extremely important to have easy access to outdoor living space. In the Summer, most of our meals are eaten under the cover of our beautiful faux timber framed porch. For the new house we want to repeat and improve upon this space that we have loved for over ten years now.

The dimensions are 20′ X 30′. Pavers set in sand have pluses and minuses. They are nice to look at with their earthy feel, but they are difficult to sweep and weeds grow in between the cracks. I like the idea of permeable surface under the grape arbor, but for the new version, going for some kind of polished concrete under the covered area may be better.

This time around we need to make sure to build in electrical outlets as well as a drip irrigation system. Our current version has no irrigation and the electrical was put in as an after-thought, requiring a LOT of work and expense to install.

We want an outdoor wood fired oven, and I have been researching plans for this (another post to follow).

Furrer Farms Begins

Colleen and I just closed on a 46 acre farm across from her parent’s house on Howe Lane in Creswell, OR, USA. We have already bought and remodeled the old family farm house that Patty and Don currently live in, and had no intentions of needing more property, but this home came up for sale, and we could not resist. The old “Bonnet place” as Colleen and her Dad refer to the property is bordered on two sides by Furrer land holdings, so it made a lot of sense to buy it.

We have always dreamed of living off-grid or at least as energy efficient as possible, and our intentions are to use this place to finally live the dream. We are now in planning stages, but envision solar panels, energy efficient appliances, window coverings, gray water recycling, rain water catchment, wind power, and possibly even harnessing the seasonal creek with micro-hydro. Homes do not need all of this to be environmentally friendly, but I am interested in experimenting with them to show other people how it can work.

The “Furrer Farms” part of the equation will be a fairly large organic farm, food processing, and a commercial kitchen to help people learn about eating great local food.

Lots of plans and dreams. We’ll see how reality plays out!