Hop farming and other sketchy activities


Let your guard down for a minute — one minute — and they’re up to no good.

I’m not talking about the kids.

I’m referring to Martin and Mike.

Seriously, I tune them out for a few days (okay, a few weeks) and the next thing I know: A cottage industry has sprouted in the sheep field.



“Mike and I have an idea….”


That’s how Martin & Mike roll. They’re constantly scheming, plotting, conjuring up business concepts to launch. They come up with a ton of ideas; some leave the starting gate, but they don’t always cross the finish line.

Like what?

Let’s see, they started a pest control business to knock out stinkbugs… which lasted about 15 minutes. For a couple weeks, they hosted a podcast from the farm on Sunday nights. (“It’s on hiatus,” Mike claims, but all the broadcasting equipment mysteriously disappeared.) They announced plans to start a parenting magazine for fathers. And for quite some time, they planned to sell Hell Insurance, or more specifically, an insurance policy to use if you land in Hell. (Don’t ask.)

No matter what the plan (“We’re going to buy a cargo ship and cruise around the world…”) I’ve learned to say, “Ok, sounds good.”

And that was my stock answer when Martin announced, “Mike wants to grow hops here. You cool with that?”

“Sure, sounds good.”

I paid no mind to the bulk plant bags in the fridge, and I didn’t ask when Mike and Martin tilled long rows in the old orchard. But last weekend I noticed the industrial-sized auger they rented, and the pallet of tall poles and bags of concrete. Lots of activity. Early Sunday morning I found Martin finishing out the deep holes along the rows.



I surveyed the entire scene before sputtering, “What the hell is going on here?”

“What? We’re planting hops,” Martin replied.

“How many hops are you planting?”

“I think we have 400.”

Four hundred hop plants?”

“Yea and I read that each plant yields two to three pounds.”

I did a quick calculation. “You’re growing a thousand pounds of hops? What in God’s name are you gonna do with a 1,000 lbs of hops?”

“I don’t know. Ask Mike.”

I did. “Sell it,” Mike said. “And make beer!”

Apparently hop farming is very labor intensive, so we’ll see if this scheme succeeds.

Or goes the way of hell’s insurance policy.


Tired and muddy on Sunday night


Maisie, just plain muddy…