It looks like this blog is long overdue for an update. So much has happened the past few months- we purchased three more Icelandic ewes to add to the flock- two lambs and a yearling, in early August when my friend, Angela, was visiting from Minnesota. Our wonderful ram, Tyr, who Jared hand selected for our flock, died on September 30th, after a short illness. The summer garden is done and the winter planting is close at hand. Chicks have grown into beautiful adult birds and older hens have passed on.
We are so happy to have Jack, the Border Collie, who joined the farm in late August. Once he gets some training, he'll be a herding master. I didn't know that dogs could be as wonderful as Jack is. A few weeks following Jack's arrival we had to put Max Weiner down because of a debilitating spinal injury. The cycle of life (and death) is always present on the farm.
The biggest news is that we're taking our farm big time. We've signed a lease on a 13 acre property in the Snohomish River Valley and will be relocating ourselves and the whole farm in the next few months. It's been over a year since I started seriously looking for a "real" farm for which to set down roots, if you will. It has become my obsession to fulfill what has become my dream, to farm. We've been from Naselle to Whibey Island- Elma to Easton, looking at potential farms. I've scoured Craigslist, morning, noon, and night, not wanting to miss that "perfect farm". It turns out the one I almost overlooked is "the one".
While urban farming has been a great way to get our feet wet, I'm ready to grow our operation to a size where it can not only be self sustaining but provide a stable income for our family. As wonderful as it has been to keep sheep and chickens in the city, it's not always efficient. Driving to the pasture, hauling feed and supplies around, not having an area to keep sick or injured animals, not knowing when the land your using could no longer be available, can feel pretty challenging at times. I'm excited to have all the animals in one place, to be able to look out across the pasture and see the sheep grazing, the chickens scratching and dust bathing, with enough room for all.
|Pasture, Cascades in the background.|
The arrangement between ourselves and the landowner is also unique. We will work together to make this farm into what we know it can be. We'll grow produce, maintain the orchard, plant grains, collect eggs, and tend to bees together as we are all new to this venture. Jared and I will live onsite full time and the landowner will spend time at the farm more during the Spring and Summer months. He will provide a tractor, Jared will provide the maintenance. I will order chicks and raise them up, we will work together to perform the butchering. We will share in the fruits of our labor, from milk and cheese to apples, berries, and leafy greens. We'll also work hard- planting, weeding, harvesting. Finally, when people ask me what I do for a living, I'm able to proudly proclaim that "I'm a Farmer".
I'm trying to find a moment to soak in all the wondrous, scary things we're about to embark on. However, there is much to do so a moment may be all I've got right now.
So, Quarter Acre Farm comes to an end and Shepherd's Moon Farm begins. To follow our new farm, check out http://shepherdsmoonfarm.blogspot.com/ where all the joys and sorrows of farming will be documented.
Thanks to all of you for supporting our farming venture. We couldn't do this without you!
Lydia and Jared