Welcome! We want to make successful farming and ranching possible for anyone and everyone. Towards that end, this website provides small-scale farmers, ranchers, gardeners, livestock owners and homesteaders access to the latest information on cost effective, environmentally responsible, and practical production, processing, marketing and business management methods. Whether folks are producing for their own use or for sale, we want to give them access to the information and tools they need to succeed in those efforts.
Additionally, we know that many of our customers are very curious about our methods, our philosophies and our goals. This website is the perfect vehicle for sharing these various methods, techniques and equipment. We also want our customers to have an easily-accessible list of our products at any given time.
Given these goals, we have organized our website into several sections:
If you have any topics which you think would be relevant to these topics, please Contact Us and let us know.
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 want every farm and ranch to be successful!
Successful farming and ranching means different things to different people. Homesteaders might simply want control over their own food supply. Small scale farmers and ranchers may want to preserve an inherited operation, boost a failing or stagnant business, or expand an existing agri-business into new directions. Profits may or may not be a goal for any of these operations, but cost effective, practical and proven methods and equipment are almost always helpful.
Similarly, "sustainability" means different things to different people. On this website, we are specifically referring to methods which protect and promote "The Three E's": Environmental, Economic and Ethical sustainability.
How are these two concepts related? A farm or ranch can be profitable, yet not sustainable. Likewise, a farm or ranch can be meeting one or two of the three E's of sustainability, yet without solid economic footing it will not survive very long, let alone thrive over the years. We have become convinced that farms and ranches must be both successful and sustainable in order to survive and thrive. So we have made successful farming and ranching our priority. The more successful farms and ranches both at home and abroad, the stronger our various cultures will be.
Agriculture is a marvelously diverse, ever-changing profession. The methods, equipment, practices and philosophies we discuss here are based on long-standing principles, but they continue to evolve with the industry they serve. We will try to keep all the various pages updated as those methods and best practices change.
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 or ranch successfully. 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, and that's natural. All our most respected teachers and mentors along the line have told us repeatedly that we'll never "arrive" at success or sustainability. At best, we'll only get better at these two goals 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 successful farming and ranching 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 started with rabbits in 2002. Very quickly we decided that we wanted to switch from individual cages, to a colony system. At that time there wasn't much online information available about this method. We found this odd, since rabbit colonies had been the de facto method for raising rabbits for generations in many parts of the world. So we made it up as we went. And wow, did we make a bunch of mistakes. Happily, we figured out what worked for us, and kept refining our methods.
In 2005 we were invited to write about raising and maintaining rabbits in colonies for Permaculture Today, a progressive sustainable agriculture publication. We wrote that article according to the best information we had at the time. However, we were still learning a lot, and experimenting a lot, and we knew that methods we were very pleased with at that time would inevitably evolve with additional experience over time.
Fast forward to today, and wow it's been 15 years! Our hunch that we would continue to learn and refine and experiment and tweak, was right on the money. We continue to experiment to this very day. Whenever I looked back at that article we wrote "way back when", I found myself wishing I could include everything we've learned since then. Until <duh!> one day I realized that I could do exactly that. By writing another article.
As I started to compile information for that article, I kept thinking of more and more tidbits and hints and how-to's that we'd picked up along the way. I went from being a little worried that I wouldn't have enough new information, to being concerned that I had too much! Fear not: we've included every scrap of know-how that we've picked up along the lines. Maybe you'll already know some of it, but we're willing to bet that we've made some mistakes, and learned from them, that you haven't made yet. Our goal is to give you the information so that you don't have to learn things the hard way.
We're thrilled to announce that new PDF is now available right here from our website for $9.99, with instant download. We are currently working on a print and Kindle version, both of which will be available on Amazon.com in June or July 2017. The print version will be quite a bit more expensive due to associated printing costs, at $26.99, while the Kindle price has yet to be determined. We'll announce here, and on the Rabbit Colonies: Lessons Learned home page, when the print and Kindle versions are available.
We released our very first self-published book. The Chicken Coop Manual in 2014, and it is now available at Amazon.com. It 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.
The Pastured Pig Handbook
We are currently working on our second self-published book: The Pastured Pig Handbook. This particular book addresses a profitable, popular and successful hog management approach which sadly is not yet well documented. In our handbook, we'll be going over all the various issues involved with pastured hog management, and we'll provide case studies of numerous current pastured pig operations. Our tentative publication date is late 2016. If you have any questions about this book, please Contact Us.
We are a husband/wife team, farming 20 acres in northwestern Washington state, USA. We have a mixed operation including livestock, crops, pasture and forestry. We produce and sell meat and eggs, vegetables and herbs, wool, hay and forestry products. We use and encourage sustainable, holistic and organic farming methods throughout our operation. If you are interested in any of the above, please visit our Farm Store, our Book Store, and/or Contact Us for more information.