We started in 2012 with a 1,000 sqft garden space, then doubled that in 2013 with our new garden fence. In 2014 we added strawberries and a permanent herb garden (herbal teas are in the master plan!). This year we are adding garden beds into the hill on the north side of the garden space to add more space for winter squash.
As we build our soil, we have been lucky to benefit from a local neighbor, Yamhill County Mushrooms, who provides us beautiful mushroom compost. Thanks to this, and our great luck that the one flat acre on our hill has great southern-facing light, our garden has grown very well without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Our goal is to continue to avoid these products!
In 2012, we raised Royal Palm turkeys, and in 2013, we bred and raised two batches of Royal Palms. We found these birds beautiful, but too small for our holiday purposes. In 2013, we obtained a breeding trio of Narragansetts, for the 2014 holiday season. We’re really happy with this breed. In 2016 we are experimenting with cross-breeding our Narragansett Tom with a Broad-Breasted White hen.
Our turkeys have their own coop next to the chickens in our large barn, a large outdoor run, and almost always have access to the large 1 acre pasture that they share with the chickens. During laying season and when we have young turkey chicks they are restricted to the smaller run for their safety. Like the chickens, we feed the turkeys Scratch and Peck Organic Turkey Grower, which is soy-free and Non-GMO. They also get garden extras, and the occasional kitchen scraps.
We keep a flock of 40 hens for egg laying, and also seasonally raise chicks to laying age to sell as laying poults (so you can start getting eggs right away, and skip the expense and the mess of raising chicks). Eggs are available year round, and in 2016 we have a few laying poults that will be ready to go to a new home in July.
Our flock is a mix of breeds, primarily Ameraucanas. We love the variety in our egg cartons, and we believe our hens deserve to be treated well, like the hard workers they are! We don’t use lights over the winter to extend laying season (and decrease hen’s laying years), so our egg production slows in the dark months while the ladies get some rest. The chickens have their own secure coop next to the turkeys in our large barn, a large outdoor run, and access to the large 1 acre pasture that they share with the turkeys. Like the turkeys, we feed Scratch and Peck Organic Naturally Free Layer, which is soy-free, corn-free, and Non-GMO. They also get garden extras, and the occasional kitchen scraps.
The Handsome Gentleman: Verence II
Our goat herd is primarily Saanen, a large dairy breed. They are experienced pack goats, and great brush eaters! In 2013 we added a sibling pair of registered Saanens from Two Track Farm, and we look forward to establishing our own herd name with our 2016 kids.
We have two adult sheep, Eureka and her mother Blackfoot. Blackfoot is half Perendale, half Leicester, and Eureka is 3/4 Leicester. They joined us on August 10th, 2012. Both ewes delivered single ewe lambs in spring 2013, named Gadzooks and Hinderspot. In 2014 we added Sams, our ram from our wonderful neighbors at Distracted Acres. Sams has been a productive father! The sheep typically have the run of our large hill pasture: too steep to mow, but perfect for light-footed grazing.