Monthly Archives: September 2010

our first official farm work party!

 

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This past weekend we hosted our first official farm work party and it was a great success!  After a week of rain, the sun came out and gave us perfect weather and a great group of friends came out and gave us the manpower we needed to get this farm up and running.

A huge thank you to everyone who joined our work party!  Your support was a really big encouragement to us and made us realize how achievable our dreams for this place might be.  It was awesome to get the big kick start we needed with all of your help. 

Although we didn’t get everyone in the group photo above, we did capture everyone on film at some point in the day, so check out all the photos for a visual record of the work we did.  Thank you Cary & Tommi, Mike & Brie, Shirlea & Keith (mom & dad), Dan & Jeannette and their three lovely daughters, Zach, Melody, Matt C, Bob, and of course the farm crew members Jordan, Melanie, Matt & Chantalle and Chris & Julie.  We definitely couldn’t have done it without you!

And now for our list of work party accomplishments:

  • built a gate into the fence that separates the backyard and raspberry patch from the field where we plan on building our deep bed gardens;
  • insulated and installed the interior walls of the chicken coop;
  • put a new door on the chicken coop;
  • mowed down all the long grasses in the field where we plan to build the deep bed gardens;
  • mowed down all the long grasses in the smaller plot area between the barn and the chicken coop;
  • dug up and rototilled the plot between the barn and the chicken coop, prepping it for the garlic and other fall veggies we’ll plant there;
  • cut down excess blackberry brambles in the field where we’ll put the deep beds;
  • pruned trees alongside the ditch;
  • cleaned and dug out the drainage ditches;
  • weeded, thinned and transplanted the raspberries;
  • completed the roof on the composting toilet building;
  • sealed up the leaky windows on the motorhome;
  • began burning wood from our big pile of ‘wood to be burned’ that’s been building up for the last few months;
  • painted the house address numbers (that are nailed to our fence post at the start of the driveway) a fresh coat of bright white;

There was probably more that I’m forgetting at the moment, but all in all, a VERY successful work party at the farm.  I think the coolest thing about the whole day was the vibe.  It was really relaxed and fun and very productive at the same time.  For those of you who came out, we hope you had fun and we hope you’ll come out again!

 

A visit from the masters of Six Masters’ Farm

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Last weekend we had a really special visit from Tony and Marlene of Six Masters’ Farm.  Tony and Marlene make up half of the combined venture that is Six Masters’ Farm.  They’re also our friend Cary’s uncle and aunt.  As soon as Cary heard about our farming plans, she insisted that we connect with Tony and Marlene.  Tony and Marlene are both academics and last year Tony and his farming partner Walter left their previous careers and embarked on a farming adventure of their own.


Six Masters’ Farm is located in Chilliwack, BC, and specializes in beef, duck, chicken and rabbit.  They take great care of their animals, giving them lots of space to move around in and feeding them only natural, chemical free, hormone free and pesticide free food.  They use only pigeon manure which their website states, “…is reputedly the best and most balanced of all natural fertilizers. According to ancient Egyptian texts, the Pharaohs kept this poop under lock and key because it was reputed to have magical properties when applied to the land…”

Obviously, all of this information made us pretty eager to meet Tony and Marlene so last sunday night, we had them over to our farm-in-the-making for a farm tour and communal dinner – and most importantly a chance to glean some insight, tips and lessons learned from their own farming experiences.

It was an EXCELLENT visit and we all enjoyed Tony and Marlene’s company.  Both colourful characters (in a good way!) in their own right, Tony and Marlene shared their story with us and all the farming adventures they’ve had so far.  They also shared two ducks from their property and we had an amazing feast of duck (stuffed with rhubarb!), roasted potatoes and salad, lots of wine and a chocolate mousse & raspberry dessert.  Delicious!

I took a lot of notes of what was discussed that night, but I’m pretty sure that notebook is sitting on my office desk at my day job right now, so I won’t be sharing those tidbits just yet, but I wanted to get this blog post up and give a big shout out and thank you to Tony and Marlene!  THANK YOU and please come back again soon!

We haven’t been out to their farm yet, but we’ll definitely make the trip and if you’re looking for some local, healthy, delicious, farm-raised meat, check out their contact info and farm details on their website!

farm = community

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Something I knew about myself before I moved to the farm – but that has become so much clearer since being here – is how much I thrive in an environment where I am part of a community.  Although I value personal alone time to read, write and think, being an active member of a community that I love truly plays into my happiness, sense of self, belonging and value.  The biggest challenge to getting work done here at the farm is the fact that the group of people who live here spend so much (mostly spontaneous) time together visiting, talking, drinking, eating, laughing, planning…and it’s awesome!  Although it may mean we aren’t doing as much developing on the land as we plan to, what’s better than developing strong, healthy, supportive relationships within a community?


The fact that it was my birthday this past weekend probably didn’t make much difference in how much of the weekend we all spent together. I’m pretty sure that we would have ended up spending that much time together regardless of the birthday festivities.  The photo above is of our sunday morning brunch.  Group brunches are a (very) regular occurance at the farm and definitely not confined to weekends!  In addition to members of the farm crew, we had Matt over all weekend (Julie’s brother) and the unexpected (but always welcome!) addition of farm family friend Bob who popped by just in time for pancakes. 

Another really cool ‘community’ moment that I loved this weekend was the saturday night birthday gathering in my trailer.  We didn’t end up taking any photos while we were there, but the images from that evening will definitely linger in my memory.  The best image was looking around the table at the people I love and then beyond the table towards the softly lit front end of the trailer where the cats, Fergus and Lola, were curled up on the bed, and the farm dog, Jackson, and visiting dogs, Camden and Bentley, lay dozing on the floor.  People and animals together within the warm walls of a laughter-filled tin can on wheels.  Pretty special :)

I could go on and on about community here at the farm – and I’m sure there will be future blog posts on the topic – but for now I need to sign off and get ready for our weekly farm family dinner (because daily spontaneous communal gatherings aren’t enough :).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I really love it here.

PS – speaking of farm family members, I’m trying to convince them all to contribute to this blog so that you’re reading more than just my thoughts and perspectives on farm life.  Stay tuned for new bloggers!