Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Farm Open House 2018

SPRING IS HERE! Finally! The warmer spring breeze is bringing change to the farm in the form of new life and new directions.

Saturday, May 12 (10am - 4pm)
893 Ave Gatineau, Cantley, QC.

Come anytime, stay as long as you like!
* Farm tours
* Baby ducklings
* Lots of baby lambs (some to cuddle!)
* A trio of bouncy heifer calves under the watchful eye of Fanny-the-cow
* Yarn, sheepskins, rovings, and raw wool
This year we will also have lamb sausages on the BBQ for sale and refreshments to share, feel free to bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy the apple blossoms and freshness of the farm in spring.

TIME TO ORDER FOR 2018 - We are asking folks to please place your orders early this year - the financial pressure of a new farm means  we need to be sure of selling all of our meat before year end this year, and will be pursuing additional points of sale such as restaurants. If you don't want to be disappointed, please order early!

VISIT US AT THE WAKEFIELD MARKET - We will also be vending at the Wakefield Farmers Market this season. We will be there for a few weeks in the spring, and then for several weeks in late summer and throughout the fall. Please come visit us and support the superb variety of local farms.

SPRING SHEARING - (Please note: date change) On Wednesday, May 23 in the morning we will be doing our spring shearing. If you'd like to come and watch (and help!) please get in touch. For fibre artists it's a great opportunity to see the wool on the sheep and pick out a fleece you like. We love having people help (even if the help is bouncing the baby or providing great conversation).

WE WILL BE MOVING - We will be moving the farm in late summer to a much larger piece of land near Wakefield, and we're looking forward to expanding our operations a little. We look forward to hosting you there in the future!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Farm Open House - June 17

New date for our Farm Open House --- 
Saturday June 17 from 11-4. 
This is what you can look forward to:

Our junior farmers, Hazel and Georgia will show you how to pet the baby lambs. We'll have coffee, tea, and cold drinks available, but feel free to bring a picnic lunch. Stop by anytime and stay as long as you like, from 11-4.

 * Meet the sheep & lambs, cows, pigs, 
hens, and brand new baby ducklings

* See samples of wool in various stages - raw, carded & yarns

* Take a walk in the woods 

* Marvel at the miracle that transforms Sun + Soil into Grass into Meat & Milk & Fibre

*Learn about our farm and how we grow food and fibre for you.

Get in touch by email, phone, or FB for our address and directions.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

We're hiring this summer!

Thanks to all who applied for our farm assistant position - we have found somebody to work with us this summer. If the group of candidates that applied are any indication, the future of ecological agriculture is very bright indeed!

We are looking for somebody who is honest, committed and reliable, a dedicated worker, a keen observer, willing to learn new skills, and interested in organic agriculture to come and work with us this summer! Previous experience working on a farm is an asset, but not required.

About the position:

We require a commitment from May 15 – August 30 but will give preference to somebody who can continue to work until mid-October. Time off within this period is possible but must be negotiated to fit outside of key work periods. There will be a minimum of 8-12 hours per week that will be paid at the rate of $11.25 - $13.50 per hour depending on your skills and previous experience. Additional income will be created for the right person through profit-share and/or enterprise opportunities and/or trading labour for farm products (including meat, dairy, wool, eggs, garden produce/fruits, or livestock) for personal use or transformation & sale. Somebody who is self-motivated and hard-working can expect to generate a full-time income. We will provide full training for all of the tasks that we expect of you and can provide mentoring and off-farm learning opportunities for aspiring farmers.

Your main tasks will include:
·      Grazing assistance (rotational grazing)
·      Livestock care
·      Composting
·      Haying
·      General farm maintenance including fence and outbuilding construction and repair

Depending on your interest and motivation we will also involve you in the following:
·      Wool transformation, fibre arts workshops, fibre festivals
·      Machinery maintenance/repair/operation
·      Fence and farm outbuilding construction/repair
·      Sheep care including lamb care, hoof trimming, boluses, ear tagging, shearing, etc.
·      Family cow care including AI, milking & udder care, nutrition, grazing, and transforming dairy products
·      Raising poultry from day-olds up to and including on-farm butcher for personal consumption
·      Pigs feeder to finish, including pasturing and calculating rations
·      Marketing and direct sales of farm products
·      Vegetable cultivation, harvest, storage, and transformation (canning, etc)

About our Farm:
On our 40 acre certified organic farm we raise registered Icelandic sheep for their wool and meat, heritage breed turkeys and heritage breed pastured pork. We also keep a Jersey cow and her calves, a flock of laying hens, large vegetable gardens, and ample fruit for our own consumption with some excess for sale from time to time. This is a family-scale farm but we need extra help this summer as our family grows. Our farm is located in Cantley, QC, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Ottawa or 30 min from Wakefield, 5 km from a bus stop and attached to an amazing network of cross-country ski/hiking trails. On-farm accommodation in a cabin or camper/trailer is a possibility, as is ride-sharing into Ottawa for those who would like to combine this opportunity with other work in town. 

If this interests you, please get in touch. Let us know about your previous relevant experiences including any experience you may have with: farming, livestock, machinery, construction, physical labour, outdoor labour. Let us know what in particular interests you about this position and what you’d like to get out of it.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Workshop Roundup

Thanks to all who participated in our fibre arts workshop series this fall, we had a great time learning from some amazing fibre artists!

We started out on September 24 with a Natural Dyeing workshop with Amanda Carrigan, we used 5 different natural dyebaths to generate some amazing plant- and insect-based colours. We dyed with cochineal (pink), indigo (blue), goldenrod leaves and stems (green), sumac (grey) and tickseed (yellow). In these pictures you see our yarn samples in the mordant bath, and  rinsing the samples and hanging them to dry. The natural colours looked amazing! Thank you Amanda for this fantastic workshop.

On September 25 we had a workshop on wet-felting. We learned to make a Wet-Felted Bird Pod with fibre artist extraordinaire Diane Lemire. Diane is truly a felting genius and we were so lucky to be able to learn from her. Felting is fun, and it's also hard physical work! Here is Diane with 2 participants and their finished bird pods. I wonder if there are feathered residents in the pods yet? Thank you Diane!

Next up, on October 15, was Weaving on a Peg Loom with Susan Berlin. It is truly amazing the versatility of this simple tabletop loom! We learned the basics of creating different shapes with the peg loom, making simple woven rectangles, triangles, and circles. My work resulted in a series of teddybear-accessories for my daughter, and other participants later went on to create gorgeous baskets and tote bags using the peg loom techniques they learned. Thank you Susan for this fantastic workshop, and thank you as well to Kirsten of Corvus Wood Creations for the gorgeous hand-made hardwood peg looms!

Susan Berlin again joined us on October 16 for a workshop on Preparing a Raw Fleece. Using samples from various breeds of sheep, we learned how to assess, sort, wash, card, and comb raw fleece. If you want to shop from a local farmer, this is the kind of information you need to know to turn your bag of wool into something that's ready to spin or felt with. It was amazing to try out the different fibres and see how they responded differently to varying techniques. 

We finished up the workshop series with 2 amazing workshops by the talented fibre artist Anna Beaudet, who taught us how to make Traditional Padraig Slippers on October 29 and finally a Learn-to-Knit from Sheep to Cowl workshop on November 13. Both of these workshops utilized materials from our farm - yarn from our flock of Icelandic sheep hand-dyed with plant materials by Anna and myself, and sheepskin soles for the slippers. In each workshop participants went home with a well-started project and some new skills as well. Here you will see the sheepskin soles and skeins of hand-dyed yarn, ready to go and a picture of the newborn slippers that I all they need is some newborn feet to keep cozy and warm.  Thank you Anna for these amazing workshops!
During each workshop we also took some time to go on a farm tour, learning about rotational grazing, Icelandic sheep, and how we raise organic food and fibre. We spent some time looking at some fibre samples from different local farms - an amazing array of gorgeous fibres are grown right here in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and the more we support our local fibre farmers, the more they will be able to grow. And, we kept our bellies and minds full sharing food, too much coffee and tea, and a lot of laughs. Thanks to all of the facilitators and all of the participants, and also thank you to Achillea Endeavours for providing a grant that really helped to ensure these workshops were a success.

We will book some more workshops for 2017 - let me know what you'd be interested in learning and stay tuned for dates!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Workshop Series: Our Ecological Fibreshed

We are now offering an on-farm workshop series on our ecological fibreshed!

You will learn how we raise organic Icelandic wool on our farm and learn about our fibreshed and how you can support it. We are partnering with a team of master fibre artisans - in each workshop you will learn a new skill and take home something beautiful made by your own hands. Plus, enjoy delicious local food and new friendships.

Thanks to a grant from Achillea Endeavours, you will only pay for your materials and food cost! Each workshop has a minimum of 4 participants and a maximum of 8-12 so register early to guarantee your spot.

Learning to Knit: From Sheep to Cowl
with Anna Beaudet
1:00 - 5:00 pm
$ 55
This workshop offers an introductory lesson in the ancestral art of knitting, right here where your wool was raised! You will go home with an understanding of the craft and the foundations of a beautiful Infinity Cowl.

Natural Dyeing
with Amanda Carrigan
Saturday, September 24
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
$ 35
Learn to transform fibres into gorgeous colours from the materials all around you. You will work with natural dye materials such as walnut, loosestrife, blackberry, sumac, nettle, rudbeckia, goldenrod, coreopsis and indigo and go home with samples of wool that you have dyed.

How to Create a Wet-Felted Bird Pod
with Diane Lemire
Sunday, September 25
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
$ 40

A great simple hand-crafted project for the fun of it! Perhaps a little 'feathered friend' will take shelter there in the spring. Great as a gift for friends who love gardening. Wet felting offers countless possibilities.

Peg Loom Weaving: Bewildering to look at, simple to use!
with Susan Berlin
Saturday, October 15
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
$ 50
This workshop will introduce you to weaving on a peg loom. How can a simple row of pegs possibly produce gorgeous triangular patterns and round shapes? Once you see it demonstrated, you discover that it's about as simple to use as anything else in the fibre world. You will leave with an understanding of this traditional craft, your own new weaving, and your very own peg loom to use at home!

I have a raw fleece -- now what do I do? Preparing a Raw Fleece.
with Susan Berlin
Sunday, October 16
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
$ 30
If you are interested in working with local fibres but have never worked from a raw fleece before, this workshop is for you! There are hundreds of breeds of sheep -- each producing a particular type of fleece. How do you choose one? How do you assess it? Once you have it home, how do you skirt, sort, wash, and prepare it? And, what's the best use yarn to make from that particular fleece? We will also talk about where you can find different types of fibre in our region. If you spin, bring your wheel or spindle to try out your new fibre!

Traditional Padraig Slippers 
with Anna Beaudet
Saturday, October 29
1:00pm - 5:00 pm
$ 55
Create a pair of beautiful crocheted slippers with a fresh sheepskin sole using wool and skins from the farm. This workshop will cover a basic understanding of the art of crochet, and you will go home with the foundations of a pair of beautiful slippers to keep you or a loved one warm and cozy this winter!

What is a fibreshed? This term refers to all of the fibre products grown and produced within a geographic region. 

What can we find in our fibreshed? Alpaca, llama, several types of wool, kid mohair, angora rabbit and more!

What is meant by an 'ecological' fibreshed? This term refers to the fibreshed products produced through ecological agriculture. Just as people are becoming more concerned with how their food was produced, so too must we concern ourselves with how our fibres are produced. Ecological agriculture means healthy soils, better water quality, maintaining habitat for pollinators, birds, and wildlife, and a significant reduction in chemical agricultural inputs in the soil and in the animals. As a fibre enthusiast, you can help to support farmers in our region that are shifting towards more sustainable, ecological practices.