The Journey: Moving Towards a Sustainable Family Farm

Our first tiny house

Our first tiny house

Once again moving day rolled around.  This time with three children in tow we packed up everything we owned and headed back to our little farm at Crooked Creek.  By now the mobile home had been sold so we needed to find a house to live in.  To our delight we were able to purchase the hundred acres adjoining our little farm.  There was a tiny house on the new property that we did a bit of renovating then moved into.  Within the next year one more child made his way into our family.  So now with four children we embarked on seriously building our farm into a viable income producing enterprise.  Larry still worked off farm to bring in the seed money needed to build the farm.  This left the daily farm work to myself and the children.  

It was during this time that we were introduced to organic farming and pasture-based livestock management.  We knew in our hearts that we wanted to be able to provide our customers with this nutrient-dense food that was raised in a clean sustainable way.  This change of management brought an unexpected benefit to our family.

After we made the transition away from conventional practices we saw a noticeable difference in our own personal health.  Larry had been struggling with unexplainable skin rashes and stomach issues for years.  We consulted with a naturopathic doctor who tested Larry's blood and discovered multiple food allergies.  Once we knew what we were dealing with we made a mostly complete shift to homegrown, organic foods.  Within two weeks of changing his diet the rashes disappeared and his digestive issues started to clear up.

It was during the following four years that we started to raise pastured broilers for friends, neighbours and ourselves.  Let me tell you.  We thought that the homegrown chicken we had been raising prior to this time was good, but once those birds were allowed access to fresh pasture on a daily basis, the flavor was exceptional.  These birds were allowed to enjoy the green grass and fresh air.  We also switched to a grass-based pasture system for our cattle and sheep.  They were now feed only grass or hay depending on the time of year.  The only cow that received grain was the milk cow, who would get a cup per milking just to encourage her to come to the barn to be milked.  We also started raising turkeys at this time.

Pasture raised chicken

Pasture raised chicken

We introduced pigs during this time also.  We started raising our own pork because of Larry's digestive issues.  He couldn't get even get through a part of a pork chop and his stomach would be churning.  When we ate our own pasture raised pork there was no issue at all.

Heritage Berkshire pigs resting after being moved to fresh pasture.  Notice that they still want to be on the dirt?

Heritage Berkshire pigs resting after being moved to fresh pasture.  Notice that they still want to be on the dirt?

By this time our farm was looking a lot like Old MacDonald's farm.  This was to be the fulfillment of our dream. 

Time changes things though as we have seen through out our journey.  We were about to move again.  This time it would only be to the other side of the farm.  The Alberta government decided that they were going to twin highway 43.  Part of our farm borders the highway.  The government was purchasing land from the bordering farms to be able to expand the highway.  They purchased ten acres from our farm for this purpose.  This gave us the money to start to build a larger house to accommodate our growing family.  

We will jump right into the next part of the journey in next week's blog post.  Hope to see you there.

Yes!  I want to stay connected with the farm.