2 acre farm: Efficiency, One Step at a Time

2 acre farm

The experiences, trials, and lives on a small farm in rural Illinois.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Efficiency, One Step at a Time

This picture is from on top of Fox Hill. The back
edge of the south garden is still another 100 feet
behind the photographer. The tiller is stored in
the garage which is the building with it's roof
peak turned opposite the house and barn.
Anyone else ever find themselves pondering things like how to create a water pumping wind turbine, how to create on farm compost without animals, or how much syrup can I make from the handful of maple trees on my property? The book "Making Your Small Farm Profitable"  has left me thinking, and for sometime now, "How much time do I waste walking". The author, Ron Macher, goes on to discuss the idea of how to make traveling on the farm more efficient. For instance, if you make the same 500 foot trip carrying water every day, that 500 feet amounts to traveling almost half a mile every week. Also consider that it takes at least ten minutes to walk a half mile, and with a bucket of water it probably takes much longer.  So I pose the question; if you could move the water source, or even move whatever needs the water, would it be worth moving in order to make the trip shorter?  The simple answer is yes.  It is and certainly would be worth it, if it was possible and practical.

Every time I need to till a garden I have to travel between 100 and 500 feet with a tiller that creeps along at two miles per hour, possibly slower. I have never timed one of my trips but I know each day their is plenty of wasted time. Recently I have begun to wonder if I should build a shed that is more centrally located or possibly get one of those kits/prefabbed sheds. If I had such a setup it would certainly make the trips shorter and would undoubtedly clear some much needed space in the garage. Now that I have realized my real need for such a wonderfully and conveniently located shed I do have to ask myself and decide which is more important, a new shed? or a tiller upgrade? Any suggestions? 

Although little changes such as walking around more efficiently may not make a farm's profitability go through the roof, it can certainly make things run smoother (I'm also sure my feet wouldn't mind) and make better use of my time, which is already spread thin. Of course with better efficiency there are also other things saved other than just time. It would be interesting to know just how much fuel I could save if I was able to reduce the tiller walking distance... 


Anonymous Ingersoll Watches said...


Nice post. I consider that walking is good for you and we should walk more and not less - then again I see your point, and I know it's more about efficiency and not walking, but I think a farm, can be efficient by focusing on other issues. For example installing water pipes. :D

June 7, 2011 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm all about efficiency. It's good to make time for the bigger and more important things. And it's not like your not getting exercise on the farm already!

June 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM  

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