Starting a Mini-Farm

Bringing aged horse manure to the new mini-farm site.Bringing aged horse manure to the new mini-farm site.

When people in Namibia talk about farms, they mean livestock – goats, sheep, cows, etc. (What we call ranching in California.) We’re talking vegetables now, which is uncommon around here. CCF is working towards sustainability every day. Chris and I are planning to grow vegetables and fruits here at the center to be used at the Cheetah Cafe (which feeds visitors) and at the Hot Spot (which feeds staff and volunteers). I’m not sure yet whether to call it a big garden or a small farm. We are starting at garden scale with the hope that there will be enough of both success and water (have I mentioned that this is extreme desert?) to make it a small vegetable farm. So far we have chosen a site, made a garden design, and moved a huge pile of aged manure to cover half the ground we’ll be cultivating. The garden site is right next to the home of a group of four very friendly cheetahs who have been keeping me company while I’m trenching for a water line and spreading manure.

While working on our own projects, Chris and I still participate in animal husbandry – feeding cheetahs, feeding livestock guard dogs, and cleaning goat pens. Some of our most incredible wildlife sightings happen when we make the rounds to feed all of CCF’s 46 cheetahs. This takes several hours as they all have very large enclosures; there is a lot of ground to cover.

We’ve also been enjoying ‘sundowners.’ We head out on a drive with our CCF community to the big field to watch the sunset, see loads of wildlife, and have drinks. I’m thinking sundowners is a good tradition to bring back to the U.S.  Lots of the photos below come from these good times.

– Jenna

cheetahface2

cheetahmouthopen

Some of the captive cheetahs are exercised by chasing a rag in a large enclosure. This cheetah is about to catch the rag.

Some of the captive cheetahs are exercised by chasing a rag in a large enclosure. This cheetah is about to catch the rag.

Me and Chris with my hero Laurie Marker, CCF's director.

Me and Chris with my hero Laurie Marker, CCF’s director.

Standing on a termite mound at sundowners.

Standing on a termite mound at sundowners.

Giraffe with a heart-shaped nose.

Giraffe with a heart-shaped nose.

Red hartebeest at sunset in front of the Waterberg Plateau

Red hartebeest at sunset in front of the Waterberg Plateau

Yellow-billed Hornbill at sunrise

Yellow-billed Hornbill at sunrise

Moonrise over the Waterberg Plateau

Moonrise over the Waterberg Plateau

We moved into a new house yesterday. We are thinking about changing the landscaping to be an edible food forest :)

We moved into a new house yesterday. We are thinking of changing the landscaping to be an edible food forest 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Starting a Mini-Farm

  1. Bonnie

    Your photos are amAZING! Loving seeing it all – the moonrise and wildlife and manure spreading and your home… Thanks so much for sharing, it looks like the perfect place and projects for you guys right now. Thinking of you and sending love to Africa!

    Reply
  2. lonna

    how exciting, beautiful, wonderful, challenging, awesome. that hornbill! that moonrise! jenna, you look like your hero’s daughter and i love your new home. you both look so happy. xxoo lonna

    Reply
  3. adella

    amazing!!!!! i love your stories and photos. what a wondrous experience. thank you for sharing it with all of us. wishing you lots of fertility for your garden / farm. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Reply
  4. daddy-o

    wowwowowowowowow!!!!!!!!!!! LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN TO ME……
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAY BEE,,,,,I LOVE YOU…..
    AND I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU….33 A PAIR OF 3’S THAT’S GOTTA BE LUCKY!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. Mike and Krissa

    Happy Birthday cool cat!

    HOLY CRAP seems like you are already settling in. Seems like you have an opportunity to do some really productive work! The plateau looks stunning. So happy for ya!

    Reply
  6. Lauren

    Thanks for sharing these incredible photos and thoughts. You two aren’t wasting any time are you? Love to see you both living out your passions. Sending you so much love!

    Reply
  7. dee and steve

    happy birthday to you, happy birthday to me, everyday we are born, every day we are free.
    hey…happy birthday, jenna…we’re all thinking of you with soooooo much love, chris, too.
    do you need anything? clothes? sunscreen? let us know and send the address.
    love,
    dee and steve

    Reply
  8. gregory kulbacki

    hi, jenna and chris…
    not sure if this is how i do it…to get a message to you both.
    denise sent me the weblog for your trip…and i’ve been reading
    and enjoying the journal entries and the photos…especially the ones
    that have you two in them…my other favorite is the moonrise…that is
    absolutely beautiful.
    btw, happy birthday, jenna….i’ve been wondering how to reach you with
    the best wishes, but maybe this will find you…
    over here, donna and i are doing great…
    and chris, donna had an idea she wants to talk with you about…
    something unique…
    i have a bee colony again!!! i rescued another hive, this time
    with the hive box…it was upside down, but the bees have figured
    it out, and when the weather warms, i’ll add a deep box on top,
    and encourage the queen to migrate up…
    i should send you photos…
    much love to you both…and congratulations on all the adventures!!!
    greg

    Reply
  9. Ben

    These photos are blowing my mind! I am so happy for you both, it really sounds like this experience is beyond anything you could have expected. Love you both!
    Ben

    Reply
  10. gregory kulbacki

    jenna, and chris…thank you for sending the photos and descriptions!
    i have only one cubic yard of (soon to be ) manure in my compost bin!!
    keep up the good work!! and happy birthday, jenna!!
    love,
    uncle greg

    Reply
  11. Caitlin Slutzky

    these photos and words bring tears to my eyes…
    the moonrise is profound.
    i love you both.
    i am inspired by you both.
    xoxo…endlessly.

    Reply

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