Archive for June, 2012

June 6, 2012

Sarah, our apprentice, who really does drive the tractor! Read her blog entry below…

Our “new” cereal seeder can plant cereals, peas, buckwheat and grass. We’re looking forward to trying it out!

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From Sarah

June 6, 2012

For June, the weather has been wet and cold, and Windy Hill Farm is definitely living up to it’s name! The rain is welcomed by plants and farmers alike, who are taking the day to catch up on paperwork and, like me, reflect on the learning so far. It’s been just over a month since my apprenticeship with Alyson and Will began; the Tiny House feels like home and all beings on the farm, plant, animal and human are enriching my life beyond measure.

I’m not far from my family home in Moncton, but I’m experiencing all the benefits of rural life on the farm… a composting toilet, wooded trails nearby, the presence of diverse wildlife from birds to moose and foxes traipsing through the fields, constant canine companionship and the ever-present, but comforting, smell of the goat-barn. I feel very lucky to be here.

I first visited the farm two years ago after my mom suggested that I connect with her friend, Lynn Belliveau’s niece, Alyson. I had been working for a friend at Four Seasons Organic Farm in Maitland, Nova Scotia and wanted to connect with other farmers as the idea of organic agriculture as a lifestyle began to call with insistence.

My first visit to Windy Hill Farm planted the seed of enthusiasm and inspiration! That winter, I returned to B.C., where I was living in Nelson, and went on to experiment with my own gardens before moving to Yasodhara Ashram for an intensive yoga development program. I lived and studied at the ashram for seven months, eventually working in the organic garden and taking care of the herb gardens while designing some permaculture projects.

My time out West was full of growth and character building. I tree-planted for four seasons after completing my B.A. at Mount Allison, climbed some mountains and fell in love with the practice of yoga, but after spending four years traveling between coasts, my desire to stay in one place began to sprout. I wanted to let my roots spread here in New-Brunswick and last Fall marked an important commitment to pursue my long-time dream of living off the land in NB.

I turned down a job teaching yoga in Ottawa and decided to stay in Moncton. I began working at the Farmer’s Market and teaching yoga in a few of the high schools and for a local studio called BodyWise, all the while wondering how I could kick-start my interest in agriculture and homesteading. I came out to the farm last August and when Alyson mentioned that they were interested in taking on an apprentice, I just assumed she meant me! There was no question that this was my next step and it seemed like fate that the opportunity presented itself. I visited a few times before the apprenticeship began, helping to transplant Asparagus one day and harvesting a bounty of potent Dandelion roots before the first winter snows. These visits, and Will and Alyson’s awesome cooking, kept me excited about the season ahead!

The working relationship that has developed with Will and Alyson couldn’t fit better with my personality and learning goals. Full of knowledge and experience, they are both always willing to share so much. And I think I’m absorbing a substantial amount…I did pretty well on yesterday’s lunch-time quiz! Not only do we work the land, seed and plant, weed and harvest and care for the goats (and new laying hens), I am also finding space to pursue my interests in herbs, wildcrafting and sustainable living. Numerous daily projects (cheese and yoghurt making!) and conversations keep me inspired and encourage me to dream and plan. As I learn about small-scale organic agriculture as a business and viable career option, connecting with the community and finding many like-minded, inspiring individuals who are committing to living mindfully in harmony with Mother Earth. In essence I am learning how to create a rich and well-rounded life.

The summer is shaping up to be full of wonderful events like the Open Farm Day, New Farmer’s Gathering in Nova Scotia, ACORN conference and the upcoming McKees Mills Rhubarb Festival this weekend. The CSA starts in less than two weeks and we will also be at the Dieppe Farmer’s Market…haying season, my pasture poultry project, the first tasting of Dandelion wine…the season promises abundance in so many forms.