My buddy Alfred has built the world’s coolest maple syrup evaporator based on an innovative design that is entirely his own. It’s made of brick and uses a double combustion system to maximize efficiency and sap boiling speed. In this video, we gather some sap and then starting cooking!
My day job is in Washington, DC. My family and farm are in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. In this video, I make my regular commute home. Along the way, I explain the challenges of living in two places as well as my plans for how I want to die.
Our Vermont farm has a (roughly) 130-year-old dairy barn. It is massive. And while it looks really cool, we have a dilemma. We have an amazing, historic barn. It’s beautiful. It has character. But we’re not really quite sure what to do with it. In this video, I offer up a short tour of the barn and talk about some of our future plans.
Today is the start of something different. We’re going to start posting YouTube videos as a way to provide more regular updates on our various farm related activities. Subscribe and enjoy!
In this video, I give a tour of the silvopasture and show off how the trees survived through the winter. For those of you who are new to the blog, we started a 6 1/2 acre integrated orchard and silvopasture in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Staged as integrated rows along more than a mile of swales and berms, our orchard includes chestnuts, hazelnuts, mulberry, elderberry, apple and black locust. While it is going to take years to develop, we are really excited about our future food forest. This was a huge effort last year.
Technically speaking, we hired our first employee at Gold Shaw Farm on Sunday. His responsibilities will include pest control and general cuteness. We have dubbed him Pablo, Barn Cat.
Greetings from the Vermont Taiga! It has been way too long since I last offered a farm update. My only excuse is that it has been crazy busy on a number of fronts. And although it can be overwhelming at times, things are going well.
So what has happened since the last time I wrote?
We have completed the swales and berms! And in my humble opinion, they look pretty damn good. All told, we ended up digging 6,083 feet of swales that get as deep as 18 inches, with berms that are roughly 24 inches high.
Later this week, a massive excavator is going to arrive on the farm. It’s finally time to start digging our swales and berms. We’re going with the excavator instead of shovel digging because there are more than 6,000 feet of swales and berms that need to be dug. That’s nearly a mile and I just don’t have that kind of time.
This weekend’s dig is part of our larger plan to establish seven acres of permaculture-style orchard and silvopasture. We have a butt-load of bare-root trees showing up on the farm in late October and I want to make sure we have finished all the necessary earthworks to set the orchard up for long-term success.
Before you can dig, you need to mark where you will dig. And that activity proved to be a lot easier in theory than in practice.
It was one year ago today that I woke up in a strange and unfamiliar barn. Having arrived after midnight the previous evening, I had just slept for five hours in a camping hammock hastily slung between two barn posts. Technically, I was trespassing. It wouldn’t be until later that afternoon that Allison and I would officially become the proud owners of a sprawling 158 acre property that featured an elegant-but-in-need-of-repair farmhouse and a massive banked barn located in a charming Vermont town roughly 50 miles south of the Canadian border.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we bought the farm. In a way, it wasn’t that long ago. But when I look back on all the work and progress of the past year, it feels like eons.
Continue reading “Year One”