The Vision - The past and present...this is a long one

We have had such a great few years sharing our farm, we thought we would share our process in how this all came to be. So far.
2007 ... our first Norwegian Fjord horses arrived in February! Brrr!! But they were everything I had dreamed of - and MORE. Tina and Elsie both arrived in foal and within a few months our numbers grew from zero, to 2 to 4. But wait. They were so amazing, how could we not have more of them? Along came the opportunity to buy our stallion Fair Acres Ole from Patti Jo Walter in Wisconsin. No waiting to purchase, but we had to wait for him to finish breeding all those mares back there before we could bring him home.
We had a few girls come out and learn a little about the Norwegian Fjord horses over the summer and that was the beginning of what would become our Summer Intern Program.
2008 ... our first breeding season with Ole, but no babies! HA!! I could not go a year without a foal. We bought 3 mares and one was in foal. Off the truck rolled Mina, Greta & Lena - along with Lena's newborn foal. We also offered our first ever farm life camp. It started out as a donation to our kids' school auction - why not offer to let one of the kids come spend the day "out on the farm". I still have that little flyer I made up for the auction. How fun! Word spread and spread quickly. I was being asked over and over if this was something we would do for others. But our first summer's Farm Life Camp was wildly popular and we began planning soon for the next summer. I also started offering riding lessons that summer and found out I had ways to pay for my little farm besides the sale of foals and breedings. We also bred our first mares to Ole. The excitement was almost unbearable...a whole year to wait!
2009 ... We grew our little farm into a full time business this year. Farm Camp dates were added and enlarged. We added extra positions to our intern program as well as created a few "Junior" internships. Starting early spring we had more and more phone calls from groups wanting to know if they could come and tour the farm. Really? Sure, we love to share what we have and teach people about caring for the animals as well as our land. Early summer came all the phone calls about birthday parties and about the third time I said "no, sorry we don't offer that", I realized we were missing a very important way to share our farm, horses and provide additional income to our ever growing farm enterprise. We started parties in mid September and again, another successful venture added.
2009 also brought us a little closer to our larger vision of the "large farm" with spectacular field trips for myself & Scott to go see the world famous Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms in Virginia. What an inspiration to our dreams! With his un-technical strategies, farming - the natural way - has been gaining in popularity. Both by farmers/producers as well as consumers, farmer's markets, high end restaurants and even animal rights groups. It seems the only people who don't like him are the chemical companies, large --ahem--farms and some government agencies who don't seem to understand this desire to get back to natural movement. Anyway, getting to visit with and learn more about permaculture from him and the other farmers attending was adding fuel to our fire. We came home with more ideas, a larger vision and a burning desire to keep moving.
One other field trip we made was was to Nate Lewis & Melissa Barker's Homegrown Pastures in Olympia where we got to learn again - from the pro's - about processing pasture raised poultry. Something we plan on adding to our farm in 2010. We also got to meet with some other helpful people who really are just amazing to talk with and learn from including Colleen Donovan from Heifer International and Fred Berman from Washington State Dept. of Agriculture as well as other farmers interested in pursuing - or growing - their own pastured poultry farms.
We have been encouraged, motivated and forward in our plans for 2010 and beyond.

The "future" part of The Vision, will be coming soon.
Hope you all had a great Christmas & got to hug someone you love!

No comments:

Post a Comment