Monday, 5 January 2009

Introducing the Matron of Husbandry

by MOH, Throwback at Trapper Creek

Hi everyone, I am writing to introduce myself. I am flattered to have been asked to join this great group of writers, who write about subjects near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for inviting me and I hope I can add a little bit to the mix, I know I have learned many interesting things from this blog.

Some of you may have already read my regular farm blog, Throwback at Trapper Creek, so this may be a little redundant for you.

I farm with my husband and teenage daughter on land that was homesteaded by my paternal grandfather in 1881. Our farm is a Century Farm, which is a historic designation awarded to farms that have been continuously farmed by the same family without a lapse in farming. Our house was also built by my grandfather and is pretty much original, with the exception of an indoor bathroom. I am the last child of the second to last child born to my paternal grandfather, so I was brought up by older parents who still used some of the old ways. If my dad were alive, he would have celebrated his 110th birthday on New Years Eve. (I wish he was still here to teach me more.) So I have learned firsthand many of the skills so important these days with a changing economy.

We reside in the Pacific Northwest, our garden zone is 7a, our gardening challenges are 120" of rain per year with the accompanying cloud cover, and a Mediterranean type dry summer, with hardly a drop of rain from late June through mid September. (Unless we have hay curing.) We garden using the flat row method, with a dust mulch, which requires little or no irrigation. Utilizing wide row spaces, and proper thinning. This method is used for all truck farms in our area also, avoiding the need for irrigation. Several books by Steve Solomon, Water-Wise Vegetables, and Growing Food when it Counts, detail this quite well. At 1400' elevation, on the western slope of the Cascade Mountain Range, we do not have enough heat units to consistently ripen warm weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and melons, so these garden crops are raised in an unheated greenhouse, where we do have to water.

We maintain an organic, rotationally grazed beef herd, selling meat through word of mouth and through the site. Striving to be as self-reliant as possible, we raise our own vegetables, fruits, meats, and keep a family cow. So expect posts about daily farm life, and year-round gardening from me as well posts about our gravity water supply and heating our home and household water with wood from our timberland. My husband works off the farm, so I will be blogging from a my perspective of a farm girl, who is as comfortable cooking from scratch as building fence.

It is a great amount of work just living here, we are not off grid, but minimise our use of electricity. To live like this is an anomaly in this day and age, but more and more people are wanting to learn more about the lost skills of self reliance. Our interests include: home dairy, blacksmithing, log construction, homeopathy, animal husbandry, biodynamics, permaculture, gardening, food preservation, seed saving, local history, quilting, knitting, sewing, hand embroidery, and soap making to name a few.

Our main goal is to be good stewards of this farm and insure it's survival for more centuries to come. The other stuff along the way, is just part of life, blogging is a way to preserve the daily minutiae of our brief time here. Thank you for inviting me to join.

Root crops under dirt mulch and snow cover.