I had a few years of farming under my belt before I started setting root on the land that is now home to Kolapore Gardens.
In 2008 I apprencticed on a farm in the West Kootenays, after being persuaded by a cousin to get out of Ontario and test the waters of B.C. That farm was called Lofstedt Farm. For most of the season I lived in a moss-insulated cabin, perched high on the hill-side, overlooking the many acres of market garden as well as a long horse barn that was home to two Norweigan Fjords, as well as an eclectic collection of interesting implements.
I learned so much that season, including the bare bones basics of how to grow vegetables, how to care for (and even kill & eviscerate ) chickens, how to milk goats, tend to dairy cows (even when they decide to go for a romp through the wooded hills – thank goodness Daisy had a bell around her neck!) and much more. I grew to respect electric fencing, having taken on the task of maintaining the 60-acre farms’ intricate network of fencing. I even learned how to skin & gut a deer!
However, as would become a trend in my farming career, I also learned alot about myself and community. It wouldn’t be uncommon for 10 people to be living at the farm, many dotted around the perimeter in their own small dwellings and the rest living in the big common farm house. I grew in so many ways that season, but one of the most shaping experiences was in watching and attending to the the progressive illness and eventual death of George the farmer. Words can’t describe the kind of mood a serious illness and looming death imparts on a tight-nit community. While we were busy up to our eyeballs in harvests and washing veggies, weeding, tending to the livestock and taking care of pressing infrastructure issues at the farm, there was the underlying understanding that George and Brigette, the farming couple who established this farm as a biodynamic learning center since the mid-80’s, were going through an immensely powerful and painful transition.
Luckily the farm attracted a young wwoofer (willing workers on organic farms) who was a nurse. This ominous omen couldn’t have come at a better time, just when George’s illness began to take a severe turn for the worse.
That year, I found something to do with my time that didn’t repulse me or immediately turn me away. Rather than a calling, I felt more of a lack of aversion, which was enough to make me sign up for another apprenticeship, back in Ontario.
I’ll leave the next chapter in this story for another time, you know it isn’t a good idea to gaze at your moniter for too long in one stretch.