I was born and raised on the border of Iowa and Minnesota, the oldest of what would eventually be four children. I grew up under what would be considered less than humble circumstances, but lived on over 100 acres of homesteaded property comprised of pasture and row crop lands of which I roamed freely and relatively unsupervised as a child. I was surrounded by nature with grassland as well as a small grove and several nearby small creeks. Being unsupervised for the most part, I was able to explore my surroundings freely at a very young age. I believe this is where my curiosity for the natural world first took hold. I was marveled by the development of amphibians in the creek, the multitude of insects and spiders and also by the various homestead animals that were around. There were always chickens; often other fowl such as ducks, geese, turkeys; two horses; one heifer and a few other oddities. We also had a large (poorly managed) vegetable garden that comprised between two and four acres. Though the large garden was managed quite poorly, I was able to pick up on a great deal of knowledge about various plant characteristics, soil conditions and miscellaneous attributes about fruit and vegetable preservation.
My father was a hapless entrepreneur and my mother was a blue collar worker. Though both my parents’ background is sketchy, it is reported that both parents may have had Associate degrees. We seldom had any disposable income, and the limited income my mother brought home was usually spent on the next doomed-to-fail business scheme of my father. Needless to say I grew up quite impoverished. Lucky for my siblings and myself we lived within two miles of our grandparents and almost always went there for our evening meal. If it wasn't for my grandfather we would likely have went hungry more often then we did.
Seeking better opportunities I attended the University of Northern Iowa after graduating from high school, with the ultimate goal of applying for Veterinary School. I realized that hard work and education were keys to success. I held summer jobs at a packing plant, often working double shifts, and during the school year I worked in food service, retail and janitorial service. I worked my way through my Bachelor of Arts degree and after several months of working for the USDA on a pilot project for swine disease surveillance and also enlisting in the US Army Reserves, I was admitted to Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon being awarded with the degree Doctor of Veterinary Medicine I accepted a commission in the US Army Veterinary Corps.Since that time I have traveled the world while wearing the uniform, remained in the good graces of my wife (married while in undergrad), adopted 2 children from Haiti, and am pursuing a post-doctoral master’s degree. I have also self-studied in preparation for my second career, where I hope to eke out a living as an organic farmer and craftsman. Much of our blog is dedicated to this type of preparatory work for our future endeavors in regards to gardening, foraging, and craft making. We hope you enjoy.