Thursday, 30 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 6) - Timing is Everything

Part 6: Timing is Everything

Life had just begun to settle back to a normal level for us. We had started to put thoughts of the farm behind us. Tyler and Melissa were doing well and his treatments were starting. We were just about to move back into the renovated barn we had lived in for most of our time as a family. Then we got another phone call from the seller's agent from the farm.

Laura came to me after she got off the phone and told me what was happening. The buyer's who had outbid us were not looking like they could remove their subjects. Now I am not privy to what the specifics were, whether it was a case where the sellers were not happy with things and did not want to extend, or if the buyers just couldn't close the deal. Either way, we were advised that the sellers would be entertaining backup offers. What an interesting turn of events. My stomach turned at the thought of getting on this roller coaster ride again. I anticipated the next heart break.

Monday, 27 May 2013

One man's trash - Finding new uses for old freezers

I mentioned in my stories that this farm of ours does not meet my expectation of a farm. I am from the prairies where farms are rolling as far as the eye can see. That being said, our peaceful little valley can seem quite big sometimes when we consider all the things we need to maintain.

We recently had a batch of pigs which went to slaughter in late April. The past month has been booked up with visits, events, and other work projects and so we had not been out to tidy up.

I was out by our cow barn, which serves as a holding pen for livestock before pickup, as well as a storage area for hay and any grain that does not go in the silo (mostly food for the pigs). I stopped by the barn with the truck to load some more hay for our horses. While I was climbing up to open the top doors, I noticed our pig grain had been invaded by rodents.

Journey to the Farm (Part 5) - Intermission

Part 5: Intermission

The seller's agent called Laura up to advise that another party had made a better offer and that they would be continuing negotiations with them.

We were floored. We had been going back and forth verbally and were at the point of agreement. We knew that another party had been interested, but had yet to move. We hung our heads and went back to our daily lives, looking forward to another chance at this dream.

God has a funny way with timing. At this exact point in time, we received another phone call, which made everything to do with the farm vanish from our thoughts. Our friend Tyler was in the hospital and they were going to take him to surgery for a tumour.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Building a Dock ... my DIY experiment: Part 1

Part 1: Dreams and Plans

For a while now, I have been eyeing our pond and wondering how hard it would be to build a dock for it. I'm thinking of a small dock, no longer than 8-10 feet out. Something to tie a canoe to. I don't own a canoe. Details...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 4) - The Fifth Element

Part 4: The fifth element

We still wanted to have a fourth couple in the mix. We needed a fourth couple to make this work. Luckily, I had been mentioning their names up until we had been ready to give it up. Josh and Liz. We were all friends. We were all around the same age and stage in our lives. We felt comfortable leaning on each other when times were tough. Why not? As an added bonus, Liz and Katie are sisters, and Liz and Laura were close friends from childhood. It made sense. Now the one catch. The money.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 3) - End of the line

Part 3: End of the line

When we first sat down as a group of prospective owners, we introduced the other two couples to the idea. We talked about how it would look for living arrangements. Two families in the big house, one in the smaller house. We started to dig into the details of how it would work. Once we started talking details, we decided to take a big step back and just go see it.

As a group, we travelled a few kilometres from Cliff and Susan's place to visit the farm. It was interesting to me. It definitely did not fit my prairie flavoured vision of a farm. We were able to take a quick walk through the main house. It was huge. The thought of more than one family in this house did not see quite as strange.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Innovating and recycling

Maybe it is some sort of brainwashing from my time living here, or maybe it is how I am wired. I seem to be getting more and more excited about reusing things. I built a garbage pad, mostly out of reclaimed 2x4s that someone had discarded in a pile somewhere on the farm. I'm planning to build a rickety dock for our pond using more reclaimed stuff.

I just started mulling over a recent issue that I noticed. Our bags of grain which we use to feed our pigs, get left out in the barn between batches. Normally, with two visits per day, two cats, and a few traps, we have little issue with rodents getting into them. Well, they have been completely unattended for several weeks and now I can see the evidence of little paws and mouths making a mess of them. So the search began...

How do I store bags of grain without using a hopper or silo?

I came across a brilliant solution. Old freezers.

Journey to the Farm (Part 2) - Gathering Community

Part 2: Gathering community

Once I returned home, I sat down with Laura and Cliff and we started talking about their next big idea. Four families, one farm. As a former prairie dweller, I envisioned rolling fields and long days in the sun. I was skeptical that we could afford this and still have the time to maintain it. I asked to see the property.

We loaded up the Saanich GIS map service and zoomed in on the little slice of heaven that would one day be ours. It was a 20 acre blueberry farm nestled at the end of a road in a valley. Our potential neighbours would be 55 acres of undeveloped forest on one side, and Mt. Work Park on the other side. Blueberries? I had never imagined farming blueberries. Mind you, I am from the prairies and the climate doesn't favour a lot of fruit produce. I began to spin the possibilities in my head as they explained it.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Journey to the Farm (Part 1) - An Unexpected Conversation

In this series of posts, titled "Journey to the Farm", I will attempt to weave the tale of our experiences leading up to our new life as farmers in community. I hope that you enjoy the ride.

Part 1: An Unexpected Conversation

This crazy ride began a little less than two years ago. It was mid-July. I was on Thetis Island for a Church retreat. It was a beautifully sunny day and we were waiting for the ferry to come and take us home from a relaxing weekend. I decided to call my wife, Laura, to let her know we were on our way back.

She was over at her parents house, as is typical for summer weekends. The kids were playing in the pool or running around in the yard. Meanwhile, Laura and her father, Cliff, were scheming. Normally scheming is associated with some insidious plot. For these two it meant they were thinking outside the box about how to do things. In this case, they were thinking about ideas which revolved around owning a larger property where multiple families might live together. It was about then that I called.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Welcome to the Farm

My name is Jon Godbeer. I am a city boy. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. I spent most of my adult life living and working downtown. I moved to Victoria, BC in 2007 to start a family. In a few years, I went from being a single guy to a husband and father of four, I came to know God, I bought my first house, did my first renovations, moved three times, went through half a dozen jobs (in a good way), and it just keeps coming.