180315 Had a wonderful visitor from Germany here last month, now she's on to the US and points south. We're in midst of planting seedlings, getting equipment ready and planning projects for the spring. Daylight hours just broke 12 hrs today!
170921 Just past fall equinox and we're getting a long spell of hot weather, while the caribbean has hurricanes, BC has forest fires, Argentina and Asia have floods, also African countries. We are blessed here, no doubt about it. Fall harvest is proceeding.
170703 had a wonderful visitor from Netherlands stay for a week, got to know each other well, made a great contribution to the gardens and berries. Thanks AM.
170624 Just passed the solstice, days 15 hrs long, very green and lush this year, lots of water in the ground. Welcomed first helpxer today from Netherlands.'
170201 The days are now over 10 hrs of sunlight, the plants in the greenhouse have resumed growing. The droughty conditions continue, very little snow. We look forward to planting time.
160902 We are having a dry summer with many challenges due to shortage of water. I enlarged the irrigation system so that gardens and animal watering is not a problem. Looking forward to any helpxers for the fall and winter.
160120 We are having a mild winter with very little precipitation. I worry whether there will be enough groundwater for next year's pastures. We have a local intern with us for the winter, which is working very well.
141201 We have just finished an 8 week visit by Michael from Hanover, Germany, loved it, he's a very independent worker with the animals, running equipment, building things. He was able to handle many chores alone, including milking the cows (by hand) and feeding the poultry and sheep. A wonderful fellow, he set a new standard for helpfulness here at O 99.
Our farm is a diverse organic livestock and vegetable farm in the Ontario Greenbelt. Camelia and I hosted 15 travellers in 2013, with great success, and would like to continue meeting travellers of all ages. We are situated 10 kilometers from town (Hamilton) and transit-accessible (3km to nearest bus stop).
Our intent for the farm is a permaculture 'garden farm' demonstration site. You can find a case study written on Old 99 in the 2013 book, The Permaculture Handbook, Garden Farming for Town and Country, by Peter Bane.
We have heritage breeds of cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens on a rotational grazing system along with waterfowl and honeybees protected by Maremma dogs. We have a 300 m2 vegetable garden, 2 185m2 greenhouses for season extension, and a third hillside house for woody plant propagation and perennial crops, and a very young orchard.
Every day at Old 99 Farm can be a day of learning; it's up to you. I hope to pass on the main ideas of permaculture as well some specific techniques. On a small diverse farm like this, there is much to learn, so you can decide what interests you most. There will be lots to learn about chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks, in addition to the cows and sheep.
We expect helpers to work around 25 hours a week, but we can be flexible with what tasks you are involved in. Usually you will help with the morning chores. If you like cooking, you can be in the kitchen more. It would be great to have helpers who are skilled in carpentry, welding, electrical, or other construction tasks as we will have several small building projects this year. I am willing to engage a candidate for an extended farm internship to someone interested in the small farm permaculture lifestyle.
There is a fully equipped two bedroom apartment with wifi for helpers. Food is mostly what is grown and raised here on the farm so vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, and eggs. We make our own bread. We cannot accommodate special diets or smokers. You can have breakfast on your own in the apartment, and we will have lunch and dinner together in the house from Monday-Friday. Weekends will depend on what your plans are. Helpers will be expected to contribute to meal preparation and clean up.
Bring clothes and footwear for working. Waterproof footwear is a must. In terms of clothing, bring clothes that can get dirty, and are appropriate for seasonal weather.
Leisure activities at the farm are limited in winter but can include hiking, chumming with the animals, and enjoying a book/dvd from our pretty good library. Off-farm, the city bus is close by to take you down into Hamilton with bars and restaurants, movies, etc. There are a lot of excellent hiking trails around, as the Niagara escarpment and Bruce trail passes through. There is a rail trail that passes right by the farm so you could also take a bike into town. GO transit for day trips to Toronto or Niagara falls is at the nearby university, which is accessible by bus.
Stays of minimum 3 weeks are preferred. I am seeking mature helpers who are cooperative problem-solvers and willing to learn and able to try new things. No smoking or drugs please, and drinking only in moderation. I ask that you keep cell phones in the apartment. Please help keep the place tidy. Respect for others and for nature is of highest importance.
Photos: top L to R, Ian with cows milking in pasture, the new lamb flock in March, Camelia with dayold chicks, Bottom L helpers 2014, farm layout design, the farmstay apartment.