Author: Brian and Nissa

Signed, sealed, and delivered

We officially closed on our farm in Barre last Monday afternoon!  Now the work of restoration begins.

Hooray!

The contractor will be getting started the week of 23rd May.  In the meantime, we will be pulling down the lath and plaster walls and doing general clean-up.

We need help with renovations – pulling down walls, cataloging original millwork, cleaning and restoring fixtures, refinishing and laying floors.  We also need help with outdoor clean-up including tree and brush cutting,  barn clean-up (to prepare for the larger animals), and fence-building.  We are taking cuttings of lilacs and hydrangeas and potting them up, which is a big job.

We will begin harvesting some of the wild bounty available on the farm as well.

Chickens, turkeys and geese will begin arriving in two or three weeks.  The first round of Oberhasli goats and Hereford hogs will arrive at around the same time.  We are waiting to hear about the sheep, too.  

Please come to the farm for a hike!  We’d love to show you around.

Happy News!

We heard this morning the wonderful news that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has approved our purchase of a beautiful farm in Barre, MA.  We should be closing some time in April and are looking forward to welcoming you all out to the farm this summer!

There is much to do to prepare, many projects to plan for on the farm.  We’ll post details of those soon.

In the meantime, we would appreciate your prayers for the sellers as they move on to what we hope will be a wonderful new chapter.  We are so grateful to them for hanging in there with us through this long, long process.

NOFA Mass Winter Conference

Brian and I had a great time at the NOFA Mass Winter Conference.  We met some great people, did some shopping (not nearly enough, I assure you), and took some very interesting workshops.  Chief among those were the workshops on Soil Fertility and Beekeeping.

The science behind soil health has completely absorbed Brian’s engineer mind for the past 24 hours.  One of his purchases was a book entitled Teaming with Microbes. He’s been reading me excerpts all day long while I do some web research on holistic management. Our studies have been intersecting all day, providing for some very animated exchanges. We are excited about applying what we know and what we have learned to our new farm.

Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary gave a superb workshop on beekeeping. I think we could spend a week with him without exhausting our interest. He gets right down to practicalities with a good dose of humour. We’re talking about getting some nucs from him for our new place.

While visiting the various exhibitors at the conference, we stopped to speak with a pair of brothers from Vermont who are raising 100% pastured belted Galloway cattle. We chatted for some time between workshops. And picked up a handful of their literature. They have got some of the *prettiest* pastures I have ever seen on a cattle farm. We’re making plans to go up and visit Rich and Paul with our little tribe, to take a look at their animals and operation. We’re hoping to be able to offer our CSA folks and farm customers some of their beautiful grass-fed beef.

The keynote address was given by Michael Phillips of Heart Song Farm. I was really looking forward to hearing what he had to say, since I’d seen a video he produced on holistic management. I regret not having signed up for his day-long seminar. But maybe I can get us to another one of his events. I did pick up a copy of his book The Apple Grower, which I am really enjoying. I’d also like the chance to study herbalism with his wife Nancy – who was taught by Rosemary Gladstar. Nancy also gave a day-long seminar on herbals for the family. I’ve put her book on my wishlist, too – The Herbalist’s Way.

Can’t wait for the Summer Conference!

Almost Home…

One of our ewe lambs - she needs a name.

I just got off the phone with Mike Kelly from Dancing Lamb Farm in New York.  Our sheep are going to be scheduled for their vet check next Wednesday sometime, then we can arrange to pick them up and bring them home.  But they won’t be coming to our house – they’ll be staying at another farm until we find a place of our own (hopefully soon).  They’ll need a good shearing in a couple of weeks’ time – once the weather is warm enough for them to wander around in their birthday suits.  We’ll have them bred this fall so that next spring we’ll have a lovely crop of 10-20 lambs.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we keep looking for a farm where we can live all together with our critters and serve the nearly 350 families on our waiting list.