It’s summer and I’m home. While I’m home I try to spend as much time as possible with my best friend, her husband, and their assortment of animals on their beautiful property. They have worked so hard on their one acre lot, that in the beginning, was an empty piece of property neglected and stripped bare by horses. I’ve known them since the early years and am always so impressed with how much has changed and how much they’ve put into it; blood, sweat, and tears. The property is a combination of rehabilitated habitat to encourage and support wildlife and land used for sustainable organic food production. They’ve modelled the more purposefully used area on the principles of permaculture, basically intelligent design. For example the chicken roost shares space with the potting shed, so seedlings can enjoy some of the warmth given off by all those cozy hens. The majority of the garden is grown in raised beds that are situated on top of the septic field. The soil had to be sandy, which would have been nearly impossible to grow vegetables, so they created raised beds out of gabions, wire filled with loose rock, a perfect home for lizards, insects and garter snakes as well as vegetables.
Anywhere you look you’ll see a beautiful combination of native flowering plants, some domestic plants, vegetables and herbs that are full of many varieties of pollinators, including their honey bees. If you turn around you’ll see potatoes (above bottom right), kale, or garlic, peas, squash, or carrots. All of the vegetables are organically grow and most are heritage varieties. On my first night there, we supped on grilled butternut squash, fresh peas, and potatoes from the garden.
My friends also raise chickens exchanging kitchen scraps for eggs. They’ve worked hard keeping their flock replenished with younger stock, but I had no idea how frequent roosters can hatch over hens. Needless to say they often have a few extra bachelors hanging around. The rooster above, a black australorp, is a real sweetie, no need to keep an eye on him while passing through the chicken yard, which also doubles as a small fruit orchard. The chickens, below, lavender orpingtons, help to keep the weeds down. I squealed when I saw the beautiful shade of grey they were.