We are looking for 1-2 families or very kid-friendly people to join us in creating a working farm/cooperative. It’s not often people get to choose their neighbors & cohorts, hence the very verbose listing. We want to get this right and connect with likeminded awesome people. **Please note that we are at about 2600ft elevation, have a pretty wide range of temperatures (below freezing almost every night from late October to mid-February or later and sometimes 100º+ in the summer), intense sun year-round, 45-65mph windstorms, and low rain.
Read on if you’re still intrigued:
Former biodynamic/organic garden space and Lakota traditional buffalo ranch in Shasta Valley surrounded by beautiful hills & mountains, with near-constant unobstructed sun and stop-in-your-tracks sunsets. Previous owner has passed and we (his son and daughter in law) are in the final stages of clearing enormous quantities of junk off the land to be a fresh palette. Currently, the neighbors sometimes pasture their cattle on some of the land, but that’s it. It’s mostly just star thistle and old growth patches of alfalfa.
All of our friends & family who come to visit marvel at both the progress we’ve made cleaning it up, as well as the high potential for really amazing beauty to be had here. It’s difficult to not become an avid birdwatcher here. We get near-daily visits from both golden & bald eagles, ravens, brewer’s blackbirds, kestrels, magpies, scrub jays, meadowlarks, goldfinches, geese, barn owls, woodpeckers, doves, and harriers.
We are not extremely seasoned growers of anything, to be clear. We both grew up with productive gardening/farming/hunting/butchering, but are kind of getting back to those roots by being here and extensively researching. We maintained an extremely lush backyard garden with our chickens in Portland, but that is worlds different than the landscape now! While it says we’re not interested in mentoring, we believe we have a lot of knowledge to share & exchange!
Zachary: 38, former chef, former owner of two coffee shops, cheesemonger, degree in cinematography, photographer, and general “Zack of all trades.” Low-key animal whisperer. Sci-fi & comic nerd. Plans with the land include: making delicious cheese and creating a low-impact lifestyle out here.
Dawn: 33, copywriter & editor, former nanny with education in developmental psychology. Herbalist with ten years of study, along with permaculture & polyculture studies for equal time. Affinity for land & space design, researching, and raw fresh foods. Sci-fi nerd & bibliophile who enjoys baking & embroidery. Plans with the land include: vineyard, learning how to make natural wild yeasted wine, healing the land, and living a balanced enriched life.
Our daughter: 2.5, vivacious, inquisitive, and eager to learn. Loves to explore and read, as well as jam out to favorite tunes. She is just as likely to enjoy quiet time with a book as she is to be participating in group play, she enjoys hanging out with people of all ages—not to mention snuggling on all of the animals.
You: Probably lean similarly to us. You want to build community in a farmstead setting, without feeling stuck to be in that setting 24/7—you don’t want to be absent neighbors to people like us, but you also don’t want to share dinner every night. 🙂 Maybe you have an outside/remote job, maybe you have some savings. Cost of living will be pretty low here, but you’ll need something to sustain you until things get going out here. You are interested in forming a worker’s cooperative at the ground level. You are interested in working towards a cooperative land share as well. You are probably a family. Maybe you’re seasoned in this setting, maybe you’ve only kept a backyard garden. You are eager to experiment with different growing/building/management techniques. You respect and are gentle with all animals. You aren’t put off by curse words or dark humor. You understand the use of a couple guns on a rural property and are comfortable with this…along with staunch gun safety. You are looking for somewhere to put down metaphorical and physical roots. Maybe most importantly, you self-analyze and practice critical thinking. You are not averse to direct communication and don’t avoid “difficult” conversations.
**Please note: recreational marijuana is illegal to grow in Siskiyou County, even though it’s legal in California. We are not interested in anything related to marijuana or hemp, beyond a few personal plants. Thank you for respecting this.
Finish clearing land of debris, figure out how the water system was laid (in other words, we need to dig up all the lines and probably replace most of the piping, there are leaks everywhere!), creating infrastructure to combat high winds & hot sun, smoothing & trenching the driveway, building out the pole barn & any other smaller structures using mostly earth bag techniques with trenching & french drains.
Solar & wind energy!
We want to have likeminded people join us out here to build an oasis in what is now a fairly barren open grassland. Rewilding, fire line work before summer 2019, perimeter building with mostly native plants & trees, while also breaking ground on the vineyard & medicinal herb farm in one section. A market garden/CSA is very doable. What animals and crops could you fortify this vision with?
A worker's cooperative that affords everyone involved a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle.
A lush rewilded landscape habitat for bees, birds, humans, and small livestock alike.
Hoophouse walipinis (dug-in greenhouses) to experiment with more warm-weather fruit/veg trees...coffee would be a dream.
Thriving 20 acre vineyard & medicinal herb farm, productive blackberry perimeters incorporated into fruitful food foresting, perhaps a small goat dairy with mindful rotational grazing for goats/fowl/maybe cows (miniature cows, anyone?), and as off-grid as possible.
Space for hosting workshops, educational philanthropy & low-impact events, along with farmstays & nonprofit agritourism.
We really want to build a professional food prep and cook space to be able to share in order to produce professional-level goods. A CSA that delivers & a seasonal pumpkin patch would work well too.
Currently, we are still clearing the mess of the former occupant; our father/father-in-law. He was a buffalo farmer using traditional Lakota practices and also maintained a small certified biodynamic plot on the land. The level of detria out here has truly been unreal, so we are still clearing the slate back to square one.
We alternate between clean-up/teardown, animal care, and of course parenting. We have cleared all major safety hazards for toddlers and children to be able to run around a bit.
Water rights exist, fantastic private well!
Montague clay loam, then loamy silt when you get about 1.5ft down. The ph is slightly acidic at roughly 4.5-5, while the well water is very alkaline and high in calcium and magnesium. Everything we've been testing in our small test garden has grown really well in the past year. (Wine grapes, blueberries, fig tree, bamboo.)
Approved, but unfinished 60x20 pole barn with attached small greenhouse. Could easily be finished out to have a living quarters upstairs and barn/workshop downstairs.
A lot of the structures here were not built well, so they are either slated to be torn down or are in the process of being reworked. We have adapted a small shed to house our chickens and built a temporary goat shed until the barn is finished out.
Tractor in usable, but not-great shape. Weedwacker, various building tools, garden tools, hand tools available to share.
None that we are aware of beyond it's super dry. Currently, zoning does not include permanent residences, but if you come with a tiny house, that is a legal workaround. We are eager to get zoning set up to be able to build permanent earth bag housing for ourselves and anyone else who is interested in this lifestyle.
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