Local food in these challenging times…

During this awkward time of “social distancing”, we are finding ourselves full of gratitude. Grateful for our health, our wonderful home and for truly being best friends. We are grateful that we have electricity, internet and that we can still enjoy our friends & family safely via speaker phone. Grateful we have created a homestead that can feed us in challenging times. I’m immensely grateful that we have been able to find the silver lining. For us, it means less distraction and more focus on the homestead. Completing projects that have been on our list for far to long. Time to focus on growing food in the gardens once again. Here at The Shyre, we’re working with other farmers, WSU Small Farms program and health officials to continue to support our community with food. Our farm stand will be open, albeit by reservation only. In an effort to protect ourselves in our isolation and to protect our customers who have a need, we are going to try something new.

Our farm stand will become virtual. If you need eggs, please call or email to check availability first. Once confirmed, you can pay via paypal at “thesmithshyre@gmail.com“. On the phone call or in our email response, we will let you know when they will be available to pick up in our farm stand. These eggs will not be in the refrigerator, as it serves as a vector for transmission. They will be set out shortly before your pick up time and will be labeled with your name. Please do not take eggs that are not labeled for you. If this happens, we will have to stop our services. NOTE: To cover the added cost of using paypal our eggs will now be $8 per dozen with a limit of 2 dozen per household.

As our gardens grow, we will begin to offer produce as it becomes available. Stay tuned for more information regarding produce.

This is a strange time for us all. The recent events have brought the concerns of “food security” to the for front. We encourage all our friends and neighbors to start growing gardens of their own – simple, fast things – radishes, lettuces, spinach, peas will get you eating in about 30 days. But also plant longer, sustaining items like kale, chard, carrots, potatoes and onion sets if you can find them. Braising mixes are another long sustaining offering that will last all season if taken care of. It’s not to late to run out and get your supplies now – seeds, tools, soil and supplements. Plastic sheeting and tubing will help you to make a row tunnel or mini greenhouse, which would let you get started right now. These do not need to be tall enough to walk in, you can make them from an 8ft pvc pipe, bend with the ends cut at an angle to enter the soil. You’ll want clips to hold the plastic down, but we used this system our first few years with great success. You can do this!

Best of luck to you all, stay safe and we’ll keep posting as things progress.

“Be the change” ~ your friends at The Shyre, Erin & Roni

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Goat Yoga * New baby alert*

We’ve got very exciting news!!! Our ladies bred in the Fall are quickly approaching their delivery dates and looking quite plump. There are 6 ladies due the weekend of March 7th. This means there will be no classes offered that weekend or the following weekend. Our first baby yoga class will be March 21st. I’m so excited, I love all my kidds, but there is just so much magic around new life. Follow our Facebook feed for all the new baby action!

Dates, Details & Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

See our Goat Yoga page for all the details. Or on our events page at BPT.

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Heritage Barn Application

We at The Smithshyre love the history we were blessed to buy into. We have applied to have our 1930’s barn register as a Heritage Barn. If we make the listing we will be eligible for a grant to preserve the barn. Here is part of the application.

The Carlson’s and later the Foss’ made important contributions to Kitsap Counties early settlement and agricultural heritage.

It was 1882, Frank Carlson of Sweden came to the New World for a better life. Once in the Seattle area, he found friends from the old world “The Johnson’s”; Andrew, Oscar and Clara. In 1883, Frank and Clara were married and started a 160 acre homestead. They planted many fruit trees which still bear substantial fruit today. Frank and his brother Alfred cleared land and built a one room cabin right away. They then started work on a proper home. It was a log hewn building 2 stories with 2 large rooms. They had 5 children by 1903.

In the 1930’s the dairy barn was built. It had 10 milking stanchions. Most of the barn seemed to be dedicated to a hay shed. The hay grapple fork, hood and rail system are still in place. The hay shed floor is made of large logs split and placed unevenly as if to promote ventilation via the floor. The dairy half has a floor of large milled 12 x 4s. When we took possession in 2013 there were several vintage milking stools still in the barn. By 1940 the Carlson’s had all moved on and the farm was rented out for $25 a month.

In 1915 Victor Foss married Hilma Sundberg, as a wedding present her grandfather bought them 40 acres from a lumber company near Poulsbo. They had 5 children by 1925, Russell was the second born, it was 1918. Victor became the communities favorite butcher and Russell helped his father often. They offered house call butchering.

Annie Jensen and Russell Foss got married in 1940 and moved into the “Old Carlson house” that was now empty. The place was in bad shape but rent was only $25. They fixed it up and by 1947 they had 4 children of their own. They were able to buy the house, barn and orchards with 40 acres from Mrs. Clara Carlson for $1,800 in 1942. Russell was exempted from the draft because their butchering service was so important to the community.

After the war in 1948 Foss and sons built a large slaughterhouse, “Foss Packing”. The business had an excellent reputation. By 1953 the county road on which the packing house was situated was formally named Foss Rd. N.E. The Foss’ ran cattle on their 40 acres and offered beef finishing services as well. The whole family worked at the packing house and it was a going concern until the late 1970’s. In the 1990’s the packing house became the Thomas Kemper Brewery, which is closed.

The “Old Carlson house” is a pile of weathered wood and other homesteading implements. Some 20 fruit trees still bear fruit and we love to share their story with guest and visitors. Roni and I bought 5 acres, the “Old Foss Farm” as locals call it, in December of 2013 from Nancy Foss (Russell and Annie Foss first born) to help pay for her assisted living.

Two Foss sons and their children remain on Foss land, each on five acres. Gordy Foss leases to us five adjacent acres. They all appreciated what we have done. We have returned vivacity and a fresh agricultural hue to the old farm. We have a pastured poultry business and a large market garden, we call it, “The Smithshyre”. We also keep Dwarf Nigerian dairy goats, American Guinea hogs, Narragansett turkeys and Finnish sheep. The Carlson’s and later the Foss’ made important contributions to Kitsap Counties early settlement and agricultural heritage. We are proud to continue this history.

Heritage barn from the NE
Heritage barn from the NE
Heritage barn from SW
Heritage barn from SW
Looking East from within the barns hay loft
Looking East from within the barns hayloft
Looking East from within the barns hayloft
Looking East from within the barns hayloft
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We believe animals to be sentient beings. They have feelings, thoughts, emotions, memories. Capable of expressing joy, love, sadness, loss and even frustration. They are intelligent and have impressive memories, especially if it results in food.

The Shyre has been blessed with so many wonderful sentient beings that we feel they deserve their own bios. Each creature is special and has a distinct personality, even their voices are different. We can typically tell who is yelling even if we’re in the house. We love them and hope you will enjoy getting to know them.


“Against All Odds” – Interesting name, I don’t quite recall the history, but I believe she wasn’t expected to survive. But she did and she is now our beloved, cantankerous herd Queen. When Addie came to The Shyre way back in 2014 as part of a goat lease from a wonderful local farmer named Jodi. Jodi is a well renowned breeder of Dwarf Nigerians. We consider ourselves to be VERY lucky to have been part of her program. Not only did we start off with wonderful genetics, but she held our hand every step of the way. I consider her to be a Saint for putting up with all my stupid questions, “over” reactionary mothering and complete inability to navigate the world of ADGA and DHIA.

Anyways, back to Addie. Addie was incredibly timid when she first came here. Her partner was Minnie, who was the initial herd Queen, also from Jodi. After Minnie passed away from a birthing she did not survive, Addie took over. When Minnie was resting after being medicated by the vet, we all knew Minnie would not recover from her injuries. Her two children, Evenstar and Fili from the year before, were standing over their exhausted mother, sniffing her face and nudging her with their snouts to get up. It was heartbreaking. Addie came over, sniffed Minnie, looked at her children and nodded. Then she walked away with the kidds and never looked back. It was like she knew what was happening and that it was her duty to raise these kidds. To this day, 4 years later, Addie and Evenstar still sleep together every night. You’ll even find them cuddled up in taking in the sunshine during loafing.

Addie, the Herd Queen leads the tribe back to the barn in the “Goat Parade” at the Barn Raiser (Evenstar is right behind her).

Addie has a very certain head swing that tells you she is not going to go where you want her to go. And being herd queen means she’s not going alone. She can be real trouble when she wants to, which is usually. Addie has a few names on The Shyre, some of them are not so flattering. Usually she’s “Addie-gooter” which sometimes gets a “ma-gooter” or “Adeline ma-gooter”, but most frequently, she’s “Addie the Hussy”. I know, that’s so not ok, but she just really is. She got pregnant through the fence once which I guess she was REALLY feeling because she delivered quintuplets! That’s a 1: 10,000 chance. She got in the paper, but the stat was wrong and didn’t make it look very impressive. But if you only have 2 teets and 5 mouths to feed, well – you’re impressive. Addie has delivered 5 sets of babies since 2016, 15 kidds, of which only 4 were girls.

Addie is known for really showing her pregnancy off, being wider than she is tall! She completely knocked off a panel from the door because she just couldn’t fit through anymore. I’m not really sure when Addie is due this Spring either March 6th or 19th. The only thing for sure is that they will be totally adorable and….mostly boys.

Yikes! Addie just before delivering her quintuplets

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Starting this weekend, the Kidds will be performing their very own version of the beloved Nutcracker! They have been practicing all week to show you their moves. The story line might be a bit difficult to follow, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

Classes are open for Saturday and Sunday. Walk-up spaces may be available – please check schedule or call (360-271-0679) to make sure class is happening .

Dress warm, wear a cap and bring your friends so they can take pictures of you while you giggle. As always, professional instruction by our lovey Ms. Amanda and a short farm tour will follow class for those interested in learning more about The Shyre.

May your holiday be warm and joyous with love from friends and family… and baby goats.

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Spring 2018

Someday Spring will arrive. Today (3/22/18) is seems like old man winter is on his last gasp for the year. A rain and snow mix feel on the farm, only briefly. It didn’t not frost overnight even thought it was a clear night. Has the last frosty night come and gone?

My internal almanac hopes so.

Some food, the cold hardy stuff, is already in the ground; but I would love to get the grass seed going. We have some places to improve the pastures to provide more forage.

I did get some fencing up to create some paddocks and hay fields. We also got 14 apple trees in the ground (Thank You Lori Brakken) as part of the permaculture forest farm project. This fall I hope to get some replacement Chestnut trees in the ground.

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Help Us Preserve Our Heritage Barn

The old Foss farm came with a great old dairy barn. We keep our dairy goat herd in the barn.

Minni and her kids on pasture, just weeks old.

However, the barn needs a preservation project. The barn needs about $30,000 in work if it to remain standing. We have been award a Heritage Barn Initiative Grant. These grants require a 50% match so we still have some fundraising todo. But with the backing of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation we will start work in the Spring of 2019. We hope to have the barn finished before hay season. We are planning another barn-raiser fundraiser for 2019 date TBD stay tuned!

Please check out our Heritage Barn Preservation Project page for the details.

We area asking people to donate via our Go Fund Me site. Here is the link https://www.gofundme.com/thesmithshyre. Thank you in advance for donating to our cause.

Barn and Impressive Maple in the mist.

I have great blog post about the barn, its history and so forth click the link to check it out.

Heritage barn with cedar shake roof section visible
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