Two wandering biologists putting down roots on a small Ohio farm.
Long ago, on an island far far away, lived 5 field biologists - alone amidst millions of seabirds. It was there, on Laysan Island in the north west Hawaiian Islands, surrounded by dancing goonies, white sand beaches, and no other habitation as far as the eyes could see that Matt and I (Brette) fell in love. I'm not sure what it was that drew me to Matt more; the limited dating options, the stench of 'pheromones' present due to the lack of running water, or the repetitive serenading of the same chord played over and over as he learned the guitar - but whatever it was worked.
I won't bore you with details, but in the following years we've been lucky enough to work in some amazing places with equally amazing people and wildlife. We've done everything from collecting penguin diet samples in Antarctica, radio monitoring endangered crows on Rota in the Northern Marianas, conducting reproductive surveys of cliff and crevice nesters in Alaska, as well as resighting endangered piping plovers in the Gulf Coast after the oil spill (just to name a few). As incredible as all our adventures were the life of nomadic field biologists, having to apply for jobs and move every 6 months - sometimes to opposite ends of the country, gets a bit exhausting.
It was only in the start of 2015 that we decided to take a break from our wandering ways to spend more time with family, and participate in the many activities that are impossible to do when on a remote island (have a garden, pets, brew beer, make soap, woodwork, spin, weave, can, etc). We are very lucky and appreciative that Matt's family has a farm in which they are willing to let us utilize for our own ventures/adventures. We continue to gain experience working with Roger and Sharon on the farm, and are all learning about organic transitioning together. Most importantly we get to celebrate all of life's events with Matt's family and make semiannual visits to my family in New Hampshire as well.
What We've Achieved in our first Three years...
- Started a market garden where we grow produce to sell at the Sidney, Ohio farmers market from May thru October.
- In 2017 we started a small CSA in which shareholders can come to the farm or market weekly for a bag of fresh in season veggies.
- Erected two high tunnels (greenhouses) in 2015/2016) to increase the growing season of our delicious heirloom organic veggies.
- Renovated the old brood house on the farm to work as a chicken coop as well as purchasing a mobile coop to house our flock of ~20 laying hens. And are in the process of renovating a larger wagon into a mobile coop for our growing flock (2017).
- Have initiated the use of cover crops in the grain production on the farm in order to lesson erosion and increase organic matter in our soils. 2017 marked our 1st official year towards the 3 year process of turning the whole farm organic.
- Plugged numerous stumps and logs around the farm with mushroom spores (we've had minimal success so far, though hope to keep trying). And will be setting up an old walk in cooler in hopes of starting a mushroom growing operation in 2018.
- Have begun annual tapping of the maple trees in order to produce homemade maple syrup.
- Started beekeeping - of which we now have five hives - to not only help with pollination on the farm but also to give us another delicious commodity to sell at market.
- Set up pastures and acquired our own fiber flock of CVM sheep and Pygora goats. We hope to be able to sell breeding stock to other fiber farms and sell our own fiber/fiber products at market.
- Planted ~30 fruit trees/bushes on the farm including; apples, blueberries, peaches, pears, nectarines, and cherries.