We are a couple currently living and working on a large campground and outdoor school venue in Veneta, OR. We have been discussing for some time transitioning to farming on a larger scale and living a more self-reliant lifestyle. The pandemic led to the camp furloughing our positions, and we are taking the opportunity to move toward our goal of starting a farm and homestead.
A little about us:
Stu: I worked as the operations manager for the camp, coordinating and supervising the renovation and construction of cabins, bathroom facilities, and other out structures. I have experience in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical system installation and repair. In addition, I have formal training in residential electrical systems from time in the military. I am an ASE-certified automotive mechanic specializing primarily in passenger cars and trucks but familiar with diesel engines, hydraulic systems, and small engine/power generation equipment. I come with most of the equipment and tools to support all of these trades. Maintaining a 219 acre camp has also provided me with experience in restorative forestry practices, namely the (non-chemical) removal of invasive blackberry and scotch broom, thinning and diversification of densely-planted conifer monoculture, and protection of waterways (specifically Long Tom Watershed).
Thea: I worked at the camp as an independent contractor, aiding in new projects and maintenance, but I was introduced to the property through my work as the programs manager for the summer camp and outdoor school programs which the camp hosts. To support the curriculum of nature education I have familiarized myself with much of the area’s plant life. I led guided nature walks and taught about ecosystems and the importance of sustainability. Before working for the camp I worked for Americorps doing fuels mitigation work. My training there focused on removal of ladder fuels and creation of defensible space, as well as removal of invasive species and thinning/chipping work which included being certified to operate a chainsaw. Our work in invasive species removal was extensive and necessitated heavy focus on the preservation of sensitive native species as we were working on both private and public land to remove scotch broom, poison oak, blackberry, and holly. I have a bachelor of arts in English and speak Spanish.
We are looking to make the transition from conventional employment toward farming and self-employment. We are looking for space to farm produce as well as raise animals. I (Stu) am a woodworker and would like to focus on making this a more primary income source. We are transitioning away from working full-time, so in the beginning, offering our skills in the form of work trade could be beneficial to both parties. We are also open to leasing space, farming cooperatively, and partial contribution of what we produce. Access to a workshop (or the possibility of building one) is a necessity. Our long-term goals revolve around a certain amount of independence, but we are open to considering participation in an existing operation.
An on-site well and powered, lockable work space would be necessary. Wooded areas on property ideal. Available barn space a plus but not necessary (would need the ability to build such otherwise). We would need access to electrical service. Certification not necessary, but absolutely no herbicide or pesticide use.
We participated in the construction and farming of a small (~1000 square foot) Hugelkulture farm on the camp. We have an inner bed where we grew tomatoes and an outer 'ring' of mounds with kale, chard, beets, broccoli, strawberries, beans, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, green onion, cauliflower, herbs, flowers, and others (many of the aforementioned in multiple varieties). Outside of this fenced area grew potatoes, squash, and sunflowers, as well as a number of fruit trees. We have two female saanen goats that we are raising to breed.
Breeding of goats and ducks for dairy products, eggs, and potentially meat. Productive bee boxes. Small established vegetable farm. Establishment of rainwater collection and alternative energy sources (wind and/or solar). Expansion of wood-crafting business to supply stable income. Identification of most sustainable and lucrative income sources (figuring out what works out best).
Productive and fully established livestock and produce farm. Private residence (not on wheels). Primary reliance on renewable energy sources.
We will be living in a small tiny home with plumbing that will serve as our residence. Electricity and water access would be necessary. Septic/sewer cleanout access is not required but would be preferable.
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