In 2005, inspired by the self sufficiency we remembered from our grandparents, and the wisdom of our Ancestors, we purchased a small piece of land with an old farmhouse (Circa 1875) a small barn and 12 acres of workable land. Three had been fallow for the previous five years, being sheep pasture before that.
The other eight was rented and commercially farmed and as such was in completely depleted and badly compacted. The following year we took the eight acre field out of production, planting it in hay. We began planting a variety of fruit and nut trees in the fallow pasture, dug a pond, and began planting windbreaks.
I remember my grandparents farm, with fruit trees of every kind, berry bushes of every variety, currants, gooseberries, thimble-berries, black caps, a sugar bush; picking hickory nuts (and then eating them). A bountiful vegetable garden with every variety of vegetable you could imagine. This is what we wanted.
The following year we took the eight acre field out of production, planting it in hay. We began planting a variety of fruit and nut trees in the fallow pasture, dug a pond, and began planting windbreaks. We started inter-planting the nut trees with some berry varieties with the goal of determining the plants best suited to our specific location. Next we started thinking about Fruit trees
We planted trees and shrubs and perennial vegetables of every kind imaginable.
Our food Forest came alive!
Buying a lot of fruit trees seemed cost prohibitive so we decided to look into growing our own.
As we looked around for more options, we stumbled upon a workshop (advertised as a grafting workshop) that introduced us to the term Permaculture.
Once we grasped that what we were doing had a label and a massive body of information and experience, (and the realization that we were not alone) we were powerfully inspired.
We dove right in and started to learn about Permaculture.
As we added plant diversity ( flora) we quickly discovered that a healthy ecosystem also has animal diversity (fauna). Our initial plantings of food crops soon became inundated with too many feasting beasties. To balance this we introduced our first working Jack Russell Terriers.