grassfed

The Journey: Building Our Farm House

The winter of 1998 found us starting the preparations for building our new log home.  Larry, along with a neighbor how had a skidder headed out the to woods to select the logs that would be used to build with.  After a month of selecting, falling and skidding the logs out of the forest we had a large deck of logs.

Log deck ready to be hauled to their new home

Log deck ready to be hauled to their new home

Now the logs were ready to be hauled home.  To accomplish this we had to hire a neighbor with a log truck and plow an area at the new yard site that would be big enough for him to turn his truck around and unload.

Plowed and waiting for the house logs

Plowed and waiting for the house logs

Unloading the house logs

Unloading the house logs

Then we waited impatiently for the cold Alberta winter to turn to spring so we could start to peel all those logs.  As a family we were able to start peeling logs in May.  In June a bunch of friends and extended family came to help us with the peeling.  By the end of July we had finished peeling 82 full length logs.  This was a job we were very thankful to have finished.

At this point we left the logs to dry for the remainder of summer and fall.

Friends and extended family helping with the log peeling

Friends and extended family helping with the log peeling

In November we hired a contractor to help assemble the logs into the frame of the house.  They finished this by February and were ready for the roof the following spring.  By the fall of 1999 the roof was on and the gable ends were all that was left to do on the frame.  These were finished that winter.  The following spring and summer we were able to get the wiring and plumbing installed.  

The fall of 2000 found us expecting our fifth child.  We became impatient to get moved into our bigger home.  It was far from being finished, but this did not deter us.  It was warm and dry and much bigger than what we had been living in. 

This move was much slower to accomplish than all previous moves in our married life.  We hadn't decided what we would do with the old house at this point so we would only move what we absolutely needed to survive at the time.  Eventually however we did get all our belongs moved to our new home and rented out our little house.  

Our new home

Our new home

As of today our house is still not completely finished.  The ceilings need pine boards and the main floor is in need of tile and hardwood, both of which we now have.  So we are hoping to find the time this winter to install the flooring.  We decided long ago that we would not go into debt for our home.  We have finished different portions of the house as finances have allowed.  I am so thankful that we chose to do it this way.  It has allowed us to put any extra money into building up the farm to what it is becoming.

The next couple of years found us setting up our new yard site.  There were no outbuildings here.  We have carved this site out of the forest.  We were able to find a couple neighbours who had old wooden graneries that they no longer used.  We cleared away some trees to move in what would become buildings to house our various animals.

Moving in old grain storage buildings that would become housing for our animals

Moving in old grain storage buildings that would become housing for our animals

Our farm and barn yard areas have seem many changes over the years.  For us changes occur as we fine tune the way structures are utilized.  We are always trying to set up things so that the workflow is efficient.  Some of the original buildings have remained in place while others have been resituated to a new area so they can function more smoothly for us.

We now feel that we are where we are supposed to be.  This is our "home".  Our children wouldn't let us move even if we wanted to go to a warmer climate.  Many of our dreams have  become a reality while some we have had to learn to let go of.  We are excited for the upcoming years to unfold before us.  The possibilities for this small family farm are endless.   I can promise that grassfed beef, goats and lamb, pasture raised eggs and pasture/forest raised pork will always be the foundation of our "beyond organic" sustainable permaculture farm.  We are committed to these farming practices.  Not only for ourselves, but also for all our customers who allow us the opportunity to serve you in this capacity.

We hope you have enjoyed following us on our journey up to this point and invited you to join us on this road called "life".

 

 

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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.