Hi, and welcome to Stone Soup Farm!
We're a tiny farm in Ferndale, Washington. We've just started, so we're learning as we go.
There are five of us: Me, my husband Mark (he's not really a farmer -- he's a chemical engineer and isn't ready to give up his day job any time soon,) and our three kids. Sawyer's 14, Sander's 9, and our little girl, Scout, is 4.
We've got a bunch of chickens, a few turkeys, some guinea hens, two fat little pigs named Poppy and Petunia, and a golden retriever named Butter. We've also got a couple of very spoiled house cats and some hard-working, not-spoiled-at-all barn cats.
Our farm was a real, working dairy farm from 1921 until the 1970s. It was started by Olaf Robertson, who bought 40 acres here and cleared it with a team of horses and some dynamite. He went back to Norway, found himself a wife named Nellie, and the two of them built a log cabin.
They raised five children here, and had a dairy farm with about 20 cows, and quite a lot of chickens -- about 2,000 chickens, at one point.
But by 1950, Olaf's children had decided that their mother deserved better than a log cabin, so they built a small house to live in while they tore down the log cabin and built a real farm house.
The small house is now our guest house, and the farm house, built in 1951, is where we live now.
Olaf and Nellie lived here until the '60s, when they decided to retire. The property has gone through several changes of owner, and some of the land has been sold in parcels.
The farmhouse, though, is still here, and I'm writing this from the kitchen where Nellie used to make meals for the farmhands on a half-wood, half-electric stove, and where she used to make doll clothes.
Their youngest daughter, Beverly, grew up and went off to be a teacher, and when she retired, she came back and moved to a piece of property right next door. She built a house there, on a few acres where she used to chase cows when she was a kid, and now she comes over to tell us about the history of the farm and bring us fresh green beans from her garden.
We've been here since March, 2013, so we're new at this. So far, we're still clearing away 20 or more years of neglect, uncovering old buildings, tearing out ivy and fighting back blackberries. The barn has all of the windows broken, and chicken coop is beyond repair.
But the farmhouse is in great shape, and the guest house just needs a coat of paint and a little imagination. Well, that and a bathroom.
But we're just getting started. Our two pigs are our first real "farm" project -- they'll be ready to turn into bacon come January. The chickens keep us all entertained, and our first garden here this summer was so productive we were stunned!
So come with us on our journey, as we try to resurrect some of the beauty of this place, and as we try to figure out where we go from here. It's going to be a lot of fun!