Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wrensong East....

Some of you already know of our latest purchase, and wanted to see pics. Some don't know yet that we have plans to move (hopefully in the near future).

Guerdon and I bought 10 FLAT acres approx 7 miles East of where we live right now. It is bare land so it will be a definite work in progress. This is the gate going into the "estates" where our property is:

It is fenced, with post and pole but other than that it is nothing but 10 acres of Scotch Broom, an invasive weed. There is a beautiful view of the mountains going into Stevens Pass, but unfortunately when I was taking these pics it was cloudy at the peaks. We hope to face our living room and back deck towards that view.....

First step will be to eradicate the Scotch Broom. I had a Snohomish Conservation District certified Farm Planner, Bobbi Lindemulder, come out to discuss the property. She is going to help me with a farm plan. After the Scotch Broom is taken care of they will fly over and take a pic to get a good idea of the "lay of the land".

I'll try and include each step we do on the property, maybe it will be helpful to others developing acreage. I want it to be a sustainable farm and we are hoping to get mostly if not completely off the grid. We're looking into solar, and geothermal for heating and power etc. Also, hope to put in a russian type fireplace. We will probably be living in the barn for awhile as that will be the first thing that goes up.
More shots of the property:
Looking north, there is an enormous barn and riding arena on the property north of ours, beyond that is a home and then the river.

This next shot is our only close neighbor, they are across the street from our place and have lots of nice horses. :) There is a great trailhead just down the street, you can ride forever (well, almost) I hear you can ride all the way over to E. WA and I'm sure you can pick up the Pacific Coast Trail along the way somewhere.

Here is a sustainable farming course that Bobbi told me about that I hope to get signed up for:

Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching
For more information please visit
or call/email Sarita Schaffer 206-914-7948
Course Dates/Times for Fall 2010 Wednesday Evenings, 6-9 pm, Sept 8 – Nov 24
Cost $250 per person or farm couple/family
Location Classes will be held at the WSU NW Research and Extension Center on Memorial Hwy (SR 536) in Mount Vernon. Field trips may include farms in Snohomish, Skagit and/or Whatcom County.
Course Format
Classes consist of presentations and activities led by local farmers, WSU graduate student Researchers and local agricultural professionals. Participants will meet as a class once a week on Wednesday evenings. Two farm field trip days are included, scheduled on weekends. Instruction is bilingual (English with simultaneous Spanish translation & occasionally Spanish with simultaneous English translation)
Course Objectives
1) to gain knowledge of the practical aspects of sustainable small acreage production systems for a wide variety of enterprises
2) practice assessing the feasibility of developing a small acreage farming enterprise, including how to: evaluate personal and family goals, evaluate land and personal resources, develop a farm plan, and research marketing, regulations, and community resources.
3) experience the challenges and opportunities faced by small acreage farmers, preparing them for farming and/or technical, advisory, and agricultural educational positions.
Sample Course Modules*
*Weekly course modules vary slightly from year to year, depending on participant interest and guest speaker/farmer availability. The following overview from last year is intended to provide a general idea of the topics covered. Modules are not necessarily presented in the order below.
Module 1: Starting with Whole Farm Sustainability in Mind
· Understanding “sustainability” and “whole farm” concepts
· Applications of sustainability and whole farm concepts on the farm
Module 2: Successful Whole Farm Planning
· Applying the “Whole Farm” concepts to develop a farm plan
· Whole farm planning tools
· Assessing personal (and family) interests, skills, and values
· Developing your whole farm goals
Module 3: Evaluating Your Whole Farm Resources
· Introduction to the whole farm plan layout
· Resource inventory and assessment
· Mapping the farm property
Module 4: Direct Marketing Strategies
· Exploring methods to market direct to consumers
Module 5: Enterprise Assessment
· Enterprise ideas for small acreage farms/ranches
· Production requirements and feasibility of enterprise
Module 6: Evaluating your Market
· Consumer and market trends
· Researching the market and customer base
Module 7: Sustainable Crop Production
· Implementing farming practices that promote sustainability
· Growing organic
Module 8: Ecological Soil Management
· Soil characteristics important to plant growth
· Building healthy Soils
· Soil testing
Module 9: Integrated Pest and Weed Management
· Basics of Integrated Pest Mangement
· Ecological weed management
Module 10: Sustainable Livestock/Poultry Systems*
· Sustainable animal production
· Grazing management on small acreages
Module 11: Facilities and Equipment
· Selecting Appropriate Equipment
· Irrigation Systems for small acreage farming
· Meeting the building and fencing requirements
· Renewable Energy Resources on the Farm
Module 12: Assessing the Potential for Profit
· The basics of farm economics
· Enterprise budgets as decision making tools
Module 13: Enhancing Success of Your Whole Farm Plan
· Tools for tracking success
· Assessing Sustainability
· Proactively addressing legal liability issues

As we go along I welcome any suggestions and helpful hints people can offer! This will be where we retire to and live out our lives so I would like to make it as smoothly functioning as possible.