We have passed a quarter century on the farm and our garden reflects the years of change and growth. There has been a natural progression from annuals to perennials, to shrubs and trees. We now have a garden with good form and structure filled with plants that have proven themselves worthy from the border to the table. Our kitchen garden has filled our needs with herbs and greens, and we have had plenty of flowers to fill our vases.
We are thrilled to have our daughters back on the farm. Sophia joined us a few years ago after spending several years traveling, followed by 3 seasons developing her skills on several farms Maine. She has become a very serious farmer. Her knowledge has helped us make the transition to becoming amazingly self sufficient. The animals she got us started with years ago have taken on more important roles and we finally have enough infrastructure built to feel that we are doing a good job. Rita, our youngest, has committed to a full season on the farm and is working with Sophia to help make it all happen. She has also become Karen’s mainstay in arranging flowers weekly at the The Boonville Hotel.
Our newest addition this year has been Cora, the family jersey cow. She spends her days munching grass in the orchard and giving us an abundance of milk and cream. Our yogurt and butter are our favorite products so far, but we are trying our hand at all kinds of cheeses, hoping to be able to put away enough hard cheeses to get us through the winter. We have a lively flock of sheep to keep down the grass and produce meat for our table. The goats provide milk for our favorite fresh chèvre in season and meat for the table as well. We have been adding to our chicken flock and now have plenty of eggs for everyone for the first time in years. They follow Cora through the pasture to spread out her manure and complete the loop.
Our hoop house addition a few years ago made our vegetable growing much more productive and gave us a jump on our short growing season. Sophia has been working with her draft horses and gathering tools for several years now and is ready to put them to work. The field crops are yet another layer and have to be fully integrated with the orchard systems.
It’s exciting to watch the farm evolve, and to have the generations working together to make it happen. Nothing stays still and as long as we are open to new (and new-old) ideas, we keep improving on what we’ve created. It’s a rewarding life and we enjoying sharing it with the guests who come through.