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 products for 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 non-renewable 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.
June is a strange month in western WA state. Our temps have definitely come up, the raw storms of spring are gone for another year, and the farm is positively bursting with new life. Yet the clear, settled weather of summer is one more month away. Instead, we often get damp, cool, misty or even foggy days when the sun is hidden by low clouds. Locals call it the June Gloom. We also still have waves of rain moving through, sometimes for a few days at a time, such that outdoor activities are rather wet around the edges.
The good news is, June also seems to be a time when we can maybe catch up. The burst of activity which always surrounds kidding and lambing season has finally eased up, with all the new arrivals well along in their growth and development. The lush pasture growth has all the livestock happy and contented. The garden is coming along but the new plantings have typically taken off by now with strong new growth. We still have another month or so before the truly hot, dry weather arrives. June almost seems like a bit of a break before hot, dry summer.
June also seems to be the time to get a lot of fencing, mechanical and building work done. It's nice to work outside and do some of that more physically intensive work while the temps are still comfortable, and we won't have time when mid-summer comes along with haying, baling, garden harvesting and irrigation tasks. Always nice to get the infrastructure tuned up before haying season arrives.
There is also something to be said for the L-O-N-G days of June, when we get nearly 17 hours of daylight. Yes, sometimes it feels like we need every last scrap of daylight we can get this time of year. But it's also nice to have all that daylight to simply enjoy a pleasant time of year.
* 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.