If you are interested in Sustainable Farming and/or Sustainable Building, you have found a terrific resource! Even if I do say it myself, you will find lots and LOTS of great information here about both topics ... and more!
For those of you visiting for the first time, some basic information that you may find helpful or just ignore it and start poking around... It should be very easy to navigate the website. The text links at the top of the page are quick links to primary pages:
- "Status Report : Month&Date" is where you find out if anything has been added since your last visit -- the Month and Date will change to reflect the most current updates. It has links to the pages that have been updated so you don't have go searching to find them.
- "Project List" is the listing with links to where you find the details and photos of each project, whether they be part of the Farm, the Green Building Project, or Living a Sustainable Lifestyle.
- Please visit the "Sponsors" page to connect with the businesses who
so graciously work with us; and to learn how to become a part
of the project. Monetary Donations are also accepted here.
- "Resources / Contact Us" is another list with links to outside resources you may find helpful; plus it is the page with the contact information for the Farm and Green Building Project.
- "Events" is a calender of what's happening at the Farm and Green Building Project.
- And lastly, "Bobbi's Blog". Here you'll find entries that don't quite fit or don't deserve their own page on the website.
The photos at the top of the page are links to what they present:
You can always click on the PlayHaven Farm LLC & Green Building Project (and Logo) image to get back to the Home page.
For those of you who do better with a text links rather than images, you can always scroll to the bottom of any page to find the text links to the pages listed above. By the by, I've also made the list of what the photos represent into links just for you! No thanks needed, I'm happy to do it. :)
Let me introduce myself... I am Bobbi Walker. I believe that each of us should find a way to do what we love in this life and if we can't do what we love, we can (at least) find a way to have fun doing what we do. Thus the name of the business: PlayHaven. I am the author of everything you'll find on this website (unless I tell you differently). I tend to write the way I talk and I enjoy incorporating humor (one of those playful aspects of me) into my writing. If you don't get some of my little jokes, not to worry, you are in good company.
The Sustainable Farmer
As the Owner of PlayHaven Farm LLC; I am what they call "a beginning farmer", which means I just started the business of farming in 2012 even though I've spent the last 20 years getting ready to do so by attending various Workshops and Classes offered in the Kansas City MO area by a variety of organizations among which being Extension and the Growing Growers Program. So if you have questions about Sustainable Farming that I can't answer, I know who to contact that CAN answer them!
The Sustainable Building Advocate
As the Project Manager of the PlayHaven Green Building Project AND the co-author of a green
building tool: DYO® Kits: Green Building Decision Kit (offered by Hathmore Technologies, LLC); I
have spent the last 30+ years dreaming of the day when I would be able
to build an earth-friendly home. Since 30+ years ago, the very idea was pretty radical, I had to teach myself how to go about building that home. Over the years, I have met and learned from a tremendous group of individuals. So if you have questions about Sustainable Building that I can't answer, once again I know who to contact that CAN answer them!
As the Artist; I have entered a new career. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up (have I grown up yet??), so I didn't go to college right out of high school. It was 15 years later that I decided I needed to be artistically creative and went to college to get a degree in Commercial Art. I worked as an in-house Graphic Designer for a business before I started up my own business (Intuitive Design). Unfortunately, I decided to close the business the end of 2012 due to economic issues. -- BUT! I knew I still needed that creative outlet and started taking classes in Fine Art. (I am ever the student!) Come to find out, I have a talent for portraiture in addition to other photo-realistic subjects and I work in graphite! I have quality prints of my better pieces available for purchase in limited editions (from the General Store). I am also available for commissioned projects.
Now that you know about me, I would love to get to know you! Whether you are interested in learning hands-on about Sustainable Farming or just want to spend a few hours communing with nature, visitors are welcome (by appointment only, please). Contact information is located here.
Get On the List for the Farm Products Order Form and Annual Newsletter
You will need to contact me so I can put you on the books to get the Order Form and Newsletter, etc. Do this by emailing me and include your name, phone number, and city in the email. Use this address: bobbi (put the "at" sign here) playhavengreen (and then the "dot" sign) com. (Don't you just hate that spammers have made providing an easy link for email nie unto impossible without one of those robotic, fill-in forms?)
Deposits are required with your Cowpooling order/share. I accept cash or checks (sorry, no credit cards this year). I know it can be intimidating to have to pay for a years worth of meat in two (2) payments (the deposit and the balance when your meat is picked up). Check out my idea for a "Meat Account".
The New Customer Packet is available in PDF here.
I am happy to be YOUR farmer so long as you are willing to come out to the farm to pick up your food (and to the processor's location for beef). I do not ship/deliver food or live animals.
Remember, farming is primarily SEASONAL. Everything has to "grow up", so while you are reading about or putting in an order now, you will have to wait until everything is ready to be harvested to actually take it home.
House Renovation, the Green Way = Greenovation!
We were able to do a project in 2017 and two (2) projects in 2018! Join me in believing 2018 will provide abundant money and time to do more on the renovation, won't you?
The north porch was finally replaced and you can see images and read all about it here.
Check back on the Project List page for the other projects (coming soon, I hope).
Details about becoming a Sponsor are found here. If you find value in the website and just want to help out, your Monetary Donation is much appreciated!
August 26, 2018
It has been a long 5 months since the last Status Report. There are several reasons for the delay... one of which is that I'm using the Farm's Facebook page more often to post stories and such. But primarily, it boils down to that I just haven't had the heart to try to be upbeat about much of anything. Daily, my hope for humanity wanes. I am watching the country of my birth become what generations have fought against; while knowing that the same generations have been through much the same kind of atrocities. It all makes me wonder if humanity will ever become and stay the enlightened beings I know we can be and it makes me sad to my core. On good days, I pledge to do my best to BE love and compassion and tend my piece of the earth and interact with others sowing love and compassion. Other days are not so good and I just want to retreat from reality.
Also, the farm is going through tough times. While other areas of the USA fight fires and floods, we are dealing with drought. Because we farm sustainably, our little piece of the earth can withstand a year of drought pretty well. The yard is made up of whatever grows during each season without added water (including bushes and trees). The pastures are the same BUT they are being irrigated and fertilized by each cow as it eats the plant matter, drinks the water from the trough and then urinates/defecates as it moves through the management intensive grazing system. Add to this that we have more acreage per animal that is required (translation: we are slightly understocked) and we end up with pastures that improve with each rotation. The result of this is that, this year, we will have plenty of grass/forbs/foliage for our cattle to eat until winter in spite of the drought conditions. Other cattle producers, who aren't doing what we do, have had to start feeding hay in August when they normally don't need to feed hay until November. The hay season was bad this Spring and there was already less hay to be harvested. Combine the low supply of Spring hay to the early feeding and you get prices for existing hay that is up to 5 times the normal price... if you can find hay at all.
My hay guy has no hay for me for the winter. I won't need any until November and so I am in good shape for now... but come November if I have not found hay for my cattle, things are going to be difficult. Hindsight is 20/20 and I wish I had baled the areas of grass that during the Spring I was mowing for neatness since the livestock can't access them (outside a permanent fence and/or over the septic system). I AM looking into alternative protein sources to supplement whatever plant matter is left in the pastures this winter. Usually our cattle come out of winter as fat and sassy as they went into it, but this year they are likely to lose some weight (as is usual with other cattle). I am working hard at not having to sell off any livestock to get through the drought.
If you pray or put out intentions or the equivalent of those things, please specifically ask for rain in drought stricken areas (so the places that are flooded don't get even more flooded). Thanks.
GREEN BUILDING PROJECTS IN 2017 AND 2018
There is/will be a separate page for each of them as they are finished. Check out the Project List page for easy navigation. Hopefully, I will be able to focus on getting them all done soon.
SUMMER ON THE FARM, CATTLE
The cattle are happy at the moment. While this has been a REALLY HOT AND DRY summer, they always have access to shade and plenty of water (we don't rely on our stock ponds for water, we always provide them a trough with rural water*). Domino was the first to calve this year -- on the Summer Solstice (June 21) -- and so her heifer calf (black with a full belt) is named "Summer". Being "Firefly" fans, we decided to stick with female actress or character names for any other heifer calves born this year. Therefore, when Nike gave birth to a heifer calf that is RED** with a full white belt a few weeks later, we named her "Saffron". (Don't worry if you don't get the joke, LOL.) Button has not calved as of today, but is showing all the signs of doing so in the next couple of weeks. At this point, we have experienced an unusual trend regarding the gender of the calves... in that the gender has alternated each year for each cow. SO, we are very curious to see if Button will have the male that would follow the trend or a girl which would break the trend.
We've been saying that if the cows have all girls in a single year, we will have to say good-bye to Fernie so we can keep them for breeding purposes (we don't want to breed them back to their father). I'm not sure we will do that this year (if it happens)... time and the drought will tell.
*This is unusual, most of the cattle people we know rely solely on water they don't have to pump or pay for. So having to pay for water is an additional expense of the drought for them.
**Red is an accepted color in Belted Galloways. It is considered a recessive gene color (like blue eyes), so we were thrilled to find out that both Nike and Fernie carry that recessive gene.
THE FENCE SAGA
Remember that unpleasant experience with our neighbor to the east regarding the fenceline and our lovely trees? Well, it took him seven (7) months, but his crew finally finished getting his portion of the fence between our properties back in place. Click here to read all about it.
In spite of the weird Spring we had, the rhubarb and strawberries did great! Then the Japanese Beetles arrived, as did the heat/drought and that was the end of the Spring season. The blackberry plants are doing just fine and the birds really enjoyed all the blackberries that were left over... quick season due to the drought. The aroniaberries were affected by the heat/drought as well and only produced a third of what I've come to expect. I AM watering all the fruit saplings and bushes to help them survive the year (it takes about five 5 hours using the hose to make sure they get the equivalent of an inch of rain per week). Irrigation system, you ask? Sure, it's 300 feet of hose with a nozzle, me, my chair and a good book.
The hubby invested in our own extractor this year! Plus he installed a double sink in the basement and now has everything he needs to do the extracting here at the farm. We won't have to beg our mentor and friends to use their equipment (knocking on wood, of course). He expects to be harvesting honey any day now. Cross your fingers and toes that there is enough for all of us and the honebees as well. Drought affects everything!
As of today, I still have a few jars of the 2017 honey for sale. All the info about pricing etc. is on the page devoted to honey and honey-products, click here to go there.
I also have raw propolis for sale! I had no idea how expensive it is. I've priced mine below the market pricing I found on the internet and you know where it comes from.
GRASS-FED AND FINISHED BEEF IN 2018 AND 2019
NOTICE! There IS retail beef available from the 2018 processing! Whether you just want to buy some tasty, local, grass-fed AND finished beef or you want to see what it tastes like before you commit to a Cowpooling Share, I have cryo-vac sealed beef for sale! I have put a list of what is available and for what price on the Grass-fed and Finished Beef For Sale page. Contact me to place an order and schedule your appointment to pick it up at the farm.
I am accepting deposits for the 2019 Cowpool Shares - there are three (3) steers for 2019. Contact me to reserve your cowpooling share.
Everything you ever wanted to know about getting a share is found here.
BY THE WAY, if you know anyone who works leather and/or tans hides, please have them contact me! The steer named Pizza has a black heart shaped spot in his white belt and that hide would be worth keeping!
I am working on another commissioned artwork. You can see examples here. Please contact me to schedule a commission or get a limited edition print for yourself or as a gift for someone else.