The Land: 40 acres, varied terrain. Approximately 15 acres in pasture, 2 acres in orchard, 20 acres in 70 year old standing timber. Balance in buildings, driveway, etc. The pasture has varied slopes, with most on a slight Northern slope, and at the extremes a 200’ drop across the entire parcel. The 15 acres of pasture has 5 distinct individuals pastures, separated by stands of trees – there is a LOT of edge-space featuring hazelnuts, hawthorne, native berries and assorted undergrowth. There is a spring-fed creek that begins on the property and flows off – too small to be a fish stream, but it flows year-round and has a cut a deep ravine that nicely isolates several acres and creates a great Zone 5.
There is some possibility of silvopasture, and perhaps 1.5 acres of Christmas trees gone crazy could be converted to pasture. It is likely that the best immediate use of the pasture is just that … grass for animals. One acre of the pasture has been partially converted to tilled field
Because the property has several dimensions – pasture, orchard, field it is possible that we could have multiple people “farming”.
I’m looking for one or more people that have a lot of overlap with my vision (below), have the skills (or at least temperament) to forge ahead and develop your own systems in parallel with other activities on the farm. I’m in this for the long-term and would like to find the right person/people so we can assist each other in achieving our goals. Yes, that means I’m not interested in short-term or purely transactional arrangements. To that end, the rent/lease fees are negotiable.
We purchased the property in 2017, after being unoccupied for three years and pretty much untended since 2004. So the first goal is to get the farm producing again! There are a lot of possible paths to production on the farm and I don’t presume to tell a farmer what they should/must do, so instead we have a set of principles that we would like to follow (some of these are negotiable):
sustainable - there are lots of versions of this!
organic or better
no-till or low-till
layered /stacked systems
carbon-negative (and low-diesel consumption)
The property admittedly needs areas of work - fencing, some outbuildings, orchard pruning. I’m interested in improving the property and am willing to make some investments to help a farmer achieve success. I’d also like to try some season-extenders for the pasture, such as hybrid brassicas, different grass varieties, and perhaps some infiltration ponds.
It is almost certain that the best uses of the property involve raising/utilizing animals. Grazing animals plus poultry is a great combination, as is the orchard with poultry or swine.
In parallel with the farm side of the property, there are other developments. There is an additional house that we are exploring the best use for (rental, farm-stay or…?). A small electrically powered sawmill will be processing thinned timber to provide lumber and posts for on-farm use.
A note on the standing timber … nearly half the property has 70 year old standing forest of Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple, Alder and a few White Oaks. It is my goal to maintain these forests and not “clear” them, but to selectively harvest. Initially harvests will be thinning to clear dead/dying trees and to improve the fire resistance of the forest. There is a tremendous amount of wood waiting to be used on site for hugelkultur mounds, chipped for paths, used for fence posts and wood projects of all sorts.
A note on carbon … part of the reason I purchased this property is to Save The World. An easy goal, I know. I want to demonstrate sustainable (e.g. low or negative carbon) food generation. While some carbon use is inevitable, I try to make my decisions in the midst of the larger equation. The family has electric cars, there are battery-powered carts on the property, and the barn features a significant solar array (1200 kw/h monthly minimum) and we use the tractors and trucks carefully.
Did I mention that we Save The World first? After that it would be great to have a showpiece of sustainability, sort of as an historical exhibit :-). That’s an admittedly lofty goal, but if we can achieve something that is sustainable AND interesting, its much easier to reach out to people.
We’re settling in on a vision that has the land supporting itself by being an interesting destination. Zoning and codes being what they are, we can create a glampy style campground with yurts (or similar) and offer a “farm-stay” experience that ties in with the decidedly NOT clear-cut forest. In addition to selling food, we can build awareness of sustainable farming (and forestry) by having visitors on the farm. The farmers might also be able to sell their produce to visitors! If we can have farm dinners, host classes, small gatherings, weddings, etc that would be great.
The property is presently under-utilized. Most of the pasture is just that… grass. I have a small herd (6) of Dexter cattle that make a small dent in the grass production. The fields have been cut for hay in the past. The orchard is in need of tending.
I can assert that for the last 20 months there have been no chemicals used anywhere. It is likely that nothing was applied to the pasture and orchard after some point in 2014 - which puts the property well into a “transitional” category if not better.
There is a new well that can meet housing and animal needs. Need to apply (planning...) for water rights to cover row-crops and the orchard.
The soil is classic Jory Loam, with a low-ish pH and a fairly high organic matter (7%). It seems to drain well and yet also hold a fair amount of water.
Housing Available - there is a 2 bed, 2 bath house (with mudroom!) that I’d really like to be for a live-on farmer.
Barn, and some outbuildings of admittedly questionable value.
Depending on your needs, we can negotiate access to multiple pieces of equipment.
At present there are two tractors that allow us to mow, chip, till, load, excavate, and auger (as noted above, I want to limit the amount of diesel expended). I also have three battery powered flat-beds and one 4x4 Kei truck (cutest little Japanese truck). There is a farm truck too that can haul the livestock and utility trailers. I’d really like to add a ‘farm dump trailer’ which would allow the tractors to move 2-6 tons of dirt around (helpful for building those hugels and ponds).
Primarily water-rights (obtainable, but its not guaranteed) and limits on water consumption. Heavy irrigation (sprinklers) simply can't be supported at this time.
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