Long ago, we promised to explain more about our plans for the farm. We have been so busy moving, getting settled, clearing bush, cutting firewood and overseeing a house being built, that we haven’t kept that promise yet. But that is about to change with this post and others to follow over the next number of days and weeks as we try to outline some of our plans.
First, we are planning three types of farming. Each will be explained in more depth in further posts but here is a summary.
Andrew’s main occupation, livelihood (and a great passion) is beekeeping. He took courses in that in Norway and Sweden and has kept bees, or helped keep bees, in Nepal, Norway, New York State and the Fraser Valley. Currently he has over 200 hives in the Abbotsford and Chilliwack area that he plans to sell before moving here next Spring where he will start again.
When we first visited this property he said, “It is the best bee land that I have ever seen.” Not only is it on a point, quite far away (over 3 kms) from commercial farms with their sprays that harm bees, there seems to be a good demand in the area the for good honey raised as naturally as possible and for bees raised locally and adapted to the conditions. Even more importantly, our pastures and forests are filled with flowering plants that bees love. From Spring through Fall, there are good things in bloom for the bees. More on those trees and flowers in a different post but here is a sampling of just a few of them:
2. Fruit and Nut orchard.
Jonathan has a passion to grow trees that bear fruit and nuts and, as noted in other posts (“Orchard at Sunset” and(“Beyond the Pretty Pictures“) has already begun developing an orchard in one of the pastures. Since we purchased the property nearly two years ago, he has been buying and sprouting a large variety of different seeds. His interest is more experimental rather than commercial; he wants to see what will grow well here and also he has been collecting seeds of more rare trees such as American Chesnut, which was nearly wiped out by a blight early in the twentieth century. The rest of us help where we can and hope that the fruit and nuts will not only serve the interests of science but help sustain people and livestock!
Included in the orchard are various kinds of apple, pear, oak and chesnut trees and a variety of berry bushes. Here are a few of them:
We have about 40 acres of pasture. It has been abandoned for many years and is covered with weeds, shrubs and small trees. Yet there is still good grass, clover, alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil in the pastures. Andrew, Colleen and Sheila and I are all interested in raising various kinds of livestock: chickens, ducks, goats, pigs and perhaps sheep. Some members of the family would like to see horses but that is quite a while from now.
We have been reading and talking to people about using pigs, goats and perhaps sheep, in carefully managed rotational grazing to help restore pastures. As I wrote yesterday in Beating back the jungle, I am very interested in using goats, and perhaps pigs, to help clear brush and wild grape vines where needed.
Once we are in the house we will begin to develop livestock accommodation in that part of the property and gradually expand operations from there.
If you are interested please watch for more on each of these areas, and some of the sustainable principles that we plan to use, in upcoming posts.