We farm 20 acres in northwestern Washington state, USA. We use and encourage sustainable farming methods throughout our operation. Our operation includes:
1) diversified livestock production, including pork, eggs, broilers and roasters, holiday turkey production (some years) wool production, rabbits for meat production and breeding stock, and dairy productsfor animal feed.
2) fodder production, primarily local grass hay, with limited and/or future commercial production of small grains and other fodder crops.
3) limited fresh produce and herbs for culinary uses.
4) Books, magazines, articles and reports on various aspects of small farms, farm business and sustainable farming practices.
This website exists for three reasons:
1) to give our customers a lot of information about what we produce, how we produce it, and how our farming philosophies have developed over time;
2) to give small-scale hobby gardeners and livestock owners access to the latest information on cost effective, environmentally responsible farm production methods, farm management practices and small farm business optimization.
3) to serve as a repository of information for new and existing small-scale farmers and ranchers, who are trying to improve their family farm or ranch operations, particularly in terms of making that operation more economically, environmentally, and/or ethically sustainable.
Given these goals, our website is a collection of topic pages and articles about a wide variety of farming and ranching topics: livestock, gardening, market crop and fodder crop production, hydroponics and aquaponics, forestry, equipment, regulations, and financial/economic information. We hope that by providing all this information, anyone trying to feed either themselves, their families or their communities, will find answers here to whatever questions they're asking or challenges they're facing.
We are referring to methods which protect and promote "The Three E's": Environmental, Economic and Ethical sustainability. A farm that chronically erodes the soil, consumes nonrewable resources, and/or takes advantage of the owners, the employees, the customers and/or the community, may survive for awhile. But not for very long. Long-term stability and profitability demand that farms be managed sustainably, so that they may be an asset to their families, their communities and their landscapes.
We make no claims to have perfected these methods. This is an ongoing process, not just for us but for anyone and everyone trying to farm sustainably. We aren't even particularly accomplished at it yet. Many of our web pages will talk about where we goofed up, what we did wrong, and what we're trying to fix. That's human, an that's natural. All our most respected teachers and mentors along the line have told us repeatedly that we'll never "arrive" at sustainability. At best, we'll only get better at it over time.
So with one part excitement, two parts humility, three parts humor and seven parts patience, we hereby wish to share what we've learned along the way. All our web pages, all our blog entries, all the books and articles and PDF downloads you'll find on this website will have that sustainable farming philosophy as a foundation. We hope that by collecting and presenting as much solid information as we can, your questions about sustainable farming will be answered. Tour around our website, and please feel free to send us any questions you may have. We hope you enjoy your visit!
We are very excited to announce that we have released our very first self-published book. The Chicken Coop Manual is a full color guide to conventional and alternative poultry housing options. The book lists 8 conventional stud construction plans, 12 alternative housing methods, and almost 20 different design features which any flock owner needs to consider for best performance. We currently offer this book in PDF and Kindle formats; a print format is almost ready for sale. Please visit The Chicken Coop Manual page for more information.
August seems to be the tipping point of the year. Hay production is well underway, the garden is in full production, and the weather is settled into summertime hot, dry conditions. Yet the days are growing shorter and there's a sense that summer is almost over.
Around this time of year we also start to think about next year's plans, and what we need to do this month to start getting ready for next year's production. This is also the time of year we start really feeling physically worn out, so we have to be careful of pushing too hard into illness or injury. It's a balancing act, amongst finite amounts of time, money and energy, to get the work done without pushing until something breaks. Saying no to new projects and new events can be a challenge. Yet knowing our limits helps ensure that we have enough resources to do our work, without running ourselves ragged.
Happily, this time of year is also the start of fair season. We're big fair fans, and we thoroughly enjoy walking through the various displays and seeing what other folks have been working on during the year. We always come away from fair with a renewed sense that we're where we belong, doing what we need to be doing, but with a few new ideas. Just in time to start working on next year's plans.
* To provide a wide variety of fresh and wholesome produce, meat and dairy products, craft items and forestry products to our customers.
* To grow, raise or otherwise manufacture all our products via materials and methods which are environmentally sustainable, economically profitable and ethically responsible.
* To deliver excellent product quality and outstanding customer service to our farm's patrons.
* To demonstrate that the small diversified family farm can be a vibrant, rewarding lifestyle, a responsible citizen of the community and landscape, and a viable economic enterprise.
* To share what we've learned about what works, what doesn't, and why, so that others may improve their own environmental, economic and ethical sustainability.