farewell Oregon, hello Wisconsin

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oregon fern

We are packing up and leaving lovely Oregon tomorrow. My sister and niece will be flying back to San Diego early in the morning, while Tony and I will be packing up our Subaru to the brim with our belongings and as many of our tomato starts as we can fit and heading out to Wisconsin to partner with Peter and Mo Allen of Mastodon Valley Farm. Tony and I will be running broilers, hens, some veggies, and whatever else we can manage to find the time for. We decided to do this after attending the Permaculture Voices Conference in March. We debated returning to the National Park Service or making the plunge and doing some full-time farming. We have chosen to farm. It will be yet another temporary situation, but this time we will be spearheading our own enterprises and will be directly responsible for our own income. We started an LLC and plan to, at the very least, feed ourselves.

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Revisiting Cast Iron

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The other day Emily and I went to the antique store and, as usual, did  more looking than buying. I go and have eyes only for old tools, cast iron cookware, and generally old rusty metal. When I go to look for a cast iron  I love the shops where half the inventory is outside of the building and 90% of that is covered in rust. This is the way to get good deals. Unfortunately, this was not that kind of store but the more typical sort where most things have a price tag that make you want to put them back on the shelf and walk away slowly. I had looked through a shelf of exciting yet expensive cast irons and was about to move on when there on the bottom was lovely little 6″ pan covered in rust and totally unappealing. It was 4 bucks and  I bought it. Continue reading

Biodynamic Workshop at Swallowtail Waldorf School & Farm

We had the privilege of visiting Swallowtail Waldorf School & Farm today for an introduction to biodynamics, hosted by the Oregon Biodynamic Group. Tony and I had a basic understanding of biodynamics but had been interested in learning more and today offered us the perfect opportunity to dive into the basics. I had been a little leery of biodynamics after an experience I had on a biodynamic farm in New Zealand 7 years ago… It was a small homestead specializing in blueberries. I helped with normal tasks like weeding, hauling things, digging, etc. One day while I was there, I happened upon the owner of the farm who looked startled when I found her in a dark corner kneeling before a few piles of cow poop, with several lit candles surrounding her and the poop. At the time, I thought she was worshipping the cow manure. I was a little shocked, and ran out of the room. She never mentioned it to me and I was left wondering. A few years later I heard a description of biodynamics and made the connection between the revered cow poop and biodynamic preparations. I began to understand that the preparations, although seemingly strange (like smashing cow manure in a cow horn and burying it), has quite a bit of science and practicality to it. I will share a little bit about what we learned today, and some photos of Swallowtail Farm.

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tire swing at Swallowtail Farm

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Potluck and Screening of “INHABIT” on APRIL 23, 2015

We will be hosting a screening of “INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective” on Thursday April 23, 2015, at 7pm in the AgriVino Event Center at Abbey Road Farm, in the Yamhill/Carlton area.

“INHABIT” is a beautifully done documentary following at least a dozen small farmers and permaculturalists from the Midwestern and Eastern States with a positive message of change through permaculture principles. If you are an organic farmer, student of permaculture, or interested in learning about a positive, hopeful path into the future, come watch the film! If you cannot attend, you can also rent, stream, or buy the DVD. To find out more about the movie itself, click on the picture below:

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We will also be hosting a potluck dinner, and providing a smoked, pastured turkey! Bring a side dish or dessert and drinks & YOUR OWN PLATES AND SILVERWARE.

We are hoping to gather a good group of people, and hope you can make it.

Please RSVP by emailing nomadic.farm@gmail.com

visiting the Salatins at Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia

the entrance to Polyface farm in Swoope, Virginia.

the entrance to Polyface farm in Swoope, Virginia.

I have applied to be a Polyface Summer Intern with Joel Salatin and his family for two years in a row. The first year I did not make it past the first round of questions, but the second year I did, and was invited as one of 45 “check outs” for a two day visit this last December. I want to share my experience with you, but will first explain the application and acceptance process. Continue reading

“INHABIT” the documentary: a permaculture perspective

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I recently watched an early screening of a film called: “INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective” with the makers of the movie at the Permaculture Voices Conference in San Diego. It is truly worthwhile — the best of the food and agriculture documentaries that I have seen. I believe this film has the power to inspire and inform people of all ages and walks of life with the hope that there are good and positive changes happening in our food systems. The film is released on April 22, 2015, and can be viewed here on our blog. I am planning to buy a hardcopy and show this movie to as many people as possible!

Synopsis

Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise behind permaculture: a design process based on the replication of patterns found in nature. INHABIT explores the many environmental issues facing us today and examines solutions that are being applied using the ecological design lens of permaculture. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.

Farmer and Rancher Rally Day at the Oregon Capitol

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Tony and I participated in this rally yesterday at the Oregon State Capitol. It was sponsored by the Friends of Family Farmers organization, whose goal is: Promoting and protecting socially responsible farming in Oregon. It was established ten years ago when some concerned citizens got to together to protest the establishment of a 55,000 head dairy operation in eastern Oregon. Since then, their numbers have grown and they operate a number of programs that help them in their mission. For more information about Friends of Family Famers, go here.

Yesterday, Tony and I decided to join the ranks of over 150 oregon small farmers at the state Capitol where we were educated on some current bills including:

Enhancing and Funding Aggie Bonds (lower interest loans for beginning farmers)

Protecting Working Lands

Increased Funding for OSU Extension and Ag Research Programs 

State Level Genetically Engineered regulation

Agritourism liability protections

Preventing Misuse of Antibiotics

Farm to School funding

Urban Agriculture incentive zones

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