The Farm

We bought this farm in Dunbarton in the spring of 1969 so we could grow, as much as possible, our own produce to assure the health of our young family. The farm consisted of a house that dated to 1786, about 20 acres of pasture populated by 15 "dry" cows from a neighboring dairy farm, and about 120 acres of woodlot.

During the 46+ years of our stewardship, there have been many changes. We installed a farm pond to raise fish and to provide a cooling swim during the hot humid days of summer. To our delight, there has been some excellent skating during those winters when the cold preceded the snow! We built up the soil in the garden area and now use only organic practices in the production of our flowers and produce. We established a small chicken flock and tried our hand at raising pigs and steers for meat. The last few years have seen the construction of several hoop houses to extend the growing season for both flowers and produce.

We have also experienced the unintended consequences of a shortage of time and money, a common problem with small farms. When we stopped raising beef animals, the pasture was invaded with every invasive plant common to this area. When we bought the farm the barn needed a new roof. There was never enough money so now it has started to collapse. However, the game is not over; there is an action plan to restore the pasture (think goats) and the basic post and beam structure of the barn is still viable

Discovering the history of the farm is an ongoing mining of local knowledge and entries in various books and journals. In the 1940s this place was a dairy farm which accounts for the white-washed room on the side of the barn. Some time in the past, the pasture area was planted to broccoli and cauliflower. In 1900, the woods on top of the ridge was the location of the garden for the family. In 1850, the house experienced a major rework as it was converted from a colonial to a Victorian structure. At this time two small buildings were relocated to the side of the house to accommodate a second family. In 1979, we added a major post and beam structure to the back of the house to accommodate our growing family and to provide a decent kitchen area in which to process the summer bounty for winter consumption.

Our latest endeavor is to become carbon neutral. We have installed a photovoltaic solar array that meets all our electrical needs on an annual basis. Our hot water and winter heating needs are met by a wood-fired boiler using wood cut from our woodlot. This just leaves fuel for the cars and the tractors as a net carbon consumption!