• Darrell Kendall

From Fraud to Farm Indeed: A Soluna Farm and Ranch Retrospective of 2018

The theme for 2018 was "From Fraud to Farm," a reminder to myself that just because I call it a farm, doesn't mean that its a farm--kinda like when that jerk at work declares "I'm a nice person". This place was an overgrown dump (literally) when I bought it, and though we called it a farm from day 1, it was still just squalor. By January 2018, progress was made, but a farm 'twas not.

I laid out some pretty lofty goals for 2018, I made some of them happen, I missed some of them, but one thing is for sure-- In December of the year 2018, Soluna Farm and Ranch is a real farm.

Lets recap some of the things that happened:

1) The Barn- Thanks to a few chats with some folks at the home and flower show, the plan to build a glorified shed, became the dream of having a real barn. Built on 120 tons of recycled concrete and asphalt gridings, the 40'x56' monster with two weathervanes and giant sliding doors is and will be the centerpiece of this farm for years to come.

2) Goats- Our fromage friends, Gouda, Juju, and Zola have made the barn home, and have their nice big pasture to run and jump and chase chickens in. They aren't the quietest residents of the farm, but man are they fun.

3) Turkeys- As promised, Thanksgiving was a little more personal this year. There were many families that enjoy Soluna Turkey as their Thanksgiving main course. Ranging from 12 pounds to a whopping 28 pounds, the great turkey experiment was a "success."

4) Expansion- Soluna Farm is built on 13 acres. Soluna Farm and Ranch as a whole now encompasses nearly 40 acres. Thanks to some fortuitous Craigslisting, and just enough insanity on my part, the farm leased a pasture in Novelty, and we were ready for the next big thing.

5) Cows- Not one, not two, 27 cows have made Soluna Farm and Ranch home in 2018. Moderation continues to be the theme of everything we do.

6) Farm Fest- I am adding this to the list, not because it is new, but because this year Farm Fest was farmy. There were hay rides, and goats, and it was really just a ton of fun. It felt like a party on a farm....we should do that again. I think we will......

7) Legitimacy- With the cows came the realization that there is a lot to manage, a lot to know, and a lot of assets moving back and forth (literally and figuratively). So one of the last moves of Soluna Farm and Ranch in 2018 was to become a business. We are now recognized by the great State of Ohio, we are members of the Ohio Farm Bureau, the American Highland Cattle Association, the Ohio Cattleman's Association, and the National Cattleman's Beef Association. And....we're goin' to CattleCon.

As 2018 comes to a close, I remain grateful for the opportunity to do this crazy stuff. For my friends and family that have been a part of it, bought eggs, laughed at my absurdity, or just been there to bounce ideas off of. I have a few days to think about the farm's 2019 goals, and while every year will have its landmark changes, 2018 will probably go down as the one that forever changed the narrative of the Half-Assed Homestead.

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring, and thanks for supporting local food!

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17848 Munn Rd. 

Chagrin Falls, OH 44023