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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Dear friends of the Shyre – you have done it!
We are finalist in the Kitsap Bank’s edg3 FUND! The next step will be a presentation event on Thursday, November 12th at The Kitsap Conference Center at Harborside, 100 Washington Avenue, Bremerton, WA.
Networking starts at 5:30. Presentations start at 6:15 with the winner announced at 8:15!
We’d love to have you there to cheer us on! And we know you’ll be cheering for us at home if you can’t make it.
Tickets are $10 and include Heavy Hors d’oeuvres and two drinks provided. http://edg3fund2015.brownpapertickets.com/
Business Attire requested.
We are incredibly excited! Now, time to get going on the presentation.
We love you all!!

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Edg3 FUND has started, Vote Now

Edg3 FUND 2015
Edg3 FUND 2015

Please Make Us Finialist!

Vote Today! or until the 30th <------- click the link, vote here! Edg3 FUND is a small business competition put on by Kitsap Bank. The award is $20,000 which we need to make capital intense improvements on "The Shyre". Right now, is the public voting period, which is open until September 30th. Only 2 days left to vote!

Please vote for us, The Smithshyre.

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Kitsap Fresh

Kitsap Fresh

Introducing Kitsap Fresh

Do you want more delicious lettuce mid week – now you have a second chance at fresh, local produce every week. Kitsap Fresh is a new online marketplace connecting farm to table in a whole new way.

Sign up now, then every Sunday, visit our online marketplace. Select items from our local farmers and craftspeople you’d like to purchase, complete your order. Meet us at the Slippery Pig Brewery each Wednesday from 3 to 6:30, to pick up your order. It’s that simple.
Slippery Pig Brewery

* 100% Volunteer Driven
* Convenient online shopping
* Read about your local farms and learn their philosophies and practices
* Slippery Pig Brewery is our distribution site. (future satellite pickup locations)
* Convenient late afternoon pickup times allow you to pick up your order after work.
* Reasonable $30 annual dues* (expires Dec 31st each year)
* Produce harvested the same day as pick-up

Click the link and join today!

“Kitsap Fresh”

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Permaculture, Poly-culture and Dreaming of a Forest Farm.

Here at “The Smithshyre” we have many agricultural plans and just as many influences. The idea of a forest farm is not brand new, not by any means. “J. Russel Smith” wrote “Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture” in 1950. He documented forest agriculture all over the world including 1000 year old practices of harvesting acorns and chestnut for animal fodder (feed) in Europe. That is just the tip of the iceberg there are so many ways to included perennials into an agricultural farm plan, it is up to your imagination.

Soiled straw litter and feed bags help smoother the sod.
Soiled straw litter and feed bags help smoother the sod.

The use of perennials allows the farmer to skip tilling/cultivating, which can be harmful to top soil and may increase erosion. Tilling also requires time and fossil fuels. Sowing and thinning can also be reduced or eliminated by the permaculture farmer, saving much time and energy. Weeding and watering can also be reduced especially once the plantings are established. Each year perennial plantings come back stronger making more food and animal feed then the year before.

some upturned sod lines the bottom of each planting.
some upturned sod lines the bottom of each planting.

Poly-culture is growing many different crops at once. A forest farm would accomplish this by definition. Whereas a traditional farmer usually practices mono-culture. Corn, soy or wheat growing alone as far as the eye can see. This kind of mono-culture is bad of ecology because it decreases diversity, among other reasons. Suppressing diversity as mono-culture must increases pest and disease of that crop forcing them to use more sprays and energy to protect the crop, a kind of costly “catch-22”.

These Marion Berries (?) which we found growing this way and that.  We transplanted them into neat rows to be trellis later.
These Marion Berries (?) which we found growing this way and that. We transplanted them into neat rows to be trellis later.

At “The Smithshyre” We are planning on a seven layer farm forest. Mark Shepard authored “Restoration Agriculture” where he makes a great case for forest farms. Following his progressive work we plan to mimic the diversity of an Oak savanna.

We will replace the Oak with Chestnuts (another member of the Fagaceae family) which will grow and mature much faster then an Oak. Under the Chestnut will be shade tolerant Ribes like Gooseberries and Currents. In the next row, 30 feet to the south, we are planting Apples and other semi-draft fruit trees with an understory of Beaked Hazelnuts. This is a protein rich nut which grows on a large shrub and is native to the Pacific Northwest. Perfect food for turkeys and humans alike.

The purple stake marks a Beaked Hazelnut.  4 Apple trees to a row & 8 Beaked. Hazelnuts as the understory.
The purple stake marks a Beaked Hazelnut. 4 Apple trees to a row & 8 Beaked. Hazelnuts as the understory.

The next must southern row, is 12 feet away. This row will be all Rubes or sun loving cane berries like Raspberry and Wild Mountain Berry (Native Blackberry / Cascade Berry). Eventually all the trees will have veining plants like Grapes and Kiwis trellising right on the tree. Under the trees we will grow mushrooms, flowers and herbs. All of these rows are planned out so we can move our portable infrastructure right through the forest farm.

The forest canopy will also shade the grass in the heat of the summer when grass would otherwise go dormant. We hoped to create a 40-50% sun dappled effect on the grass. This type of UV filter will allow the pasture grasses to grow all Summer long and reduce irrigation needs. This UV filter would mimic an oak savanna where grass grows longer and is more nutritious. Rotation of livestock should also mimic the effect roaming herds have on a savanna. This will be the discussion of a future post. Thank you for your continued support.

This Spring we have planted:

8 Chestnut trees
2 Apple trees
20 Marion Berry bushes
3 Tay Berry bushes
1 Thornless Logan Berry bush
10 Raspberry bushes
50 Wild Mountain Berry bushes
18 Hops rhizomes
26 Beaked Hazelnuts shrubs
2 Currents bushes
6 Gooseberries bushes
12 Blueberries (low bush)

We plan to plant more of everything over the next few Springs and Falls. This endeavor will require patience, it will be more then a decade before the larger trees even approach maturity. However, the output of this farm forest will only increase over then next few decades and could last more then a 1000 years.

All new planting have been staked for their own protection.
All new planting have been staked for their own protection.
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Turkey Eggs

The first turkey eggs of the year, 2015.

We breed our own Narragansett heritage turkeys. This year we have 6 hens and a tom as breeding stock. Turkeys lay far fewer eggs then chickens so it is best to properly incubate a turkey egg. They should be hatched by early May, we will see.

Our first turkeys eggs of 2015 March 13th, about 6 weeks early
Our first turkeys eggs of 2015 March 13th, about 6 weeks early
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Portable Infrastructure “Salatin” Style

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm is one of our inspirations. One of his main ideas is “Portable Infrastructure”. It is even a chapter in “Sheer Ecstasy of Lunatic Farming” one of his titles.

Laying hens in a floor-less pen part of a breeding program
Laying hens in a floor-less pen part of a breeding program

Here at “The Smithshyre” we use “Salatin Style” floor-less pens that are 8ft x 8ft approximately. We move our pens two times a day once before dark this ensures the birds have fresh pasture to sleep on.

Rhode Island Reds in a converted broiler pen.
Rhode Island Reds in a converted broiler pen.

These hens are in a floor-less broiler (meat bird) pen we have retro fitted for a breeding program. By scratching and manuring the land, these hens are helping us prepare perennial beds. The pen directs their efforts, reducing our effort overall.

Laying Hens

She was a bit surprised as I accessed the nesting boxes..
She was a bit surprised as I accessed the nesting boxes..

Our mobile hen houses (Egg Mobiles) are retro fitted single axle travel trailers. They have both been outfitted with nesting boxes that can be accessed from outside the mobile. This makes egg harvest pretty fun and easy.

Hens on the other-side of some poultry netting with our mobile hen house, EMB1 (egg mobile 1) in the background.
Hens on the other-side of some poultry netting with our mobile hen house, EMB1 (egg mobile 1) in the background.

Egg Mobile 1 and 2 (please help us with more inventive names) each can fit about 60 roosting birds. Egg Mobile One (EMB1) was made from a travel trailer frame with odds and ends from the farm. We did buy roofing material both metal and clear plastic. The clear plastic provides daylight and some Ultra Violet cleansing. The roof is a single pitch design which keeps it simple and provides for good ventilation.

Exterior doors make nesting boxes easy to access.
Exterior doors make nesting boxes easy to access.

Once every 5 to 10 days the mobiles are moved, giving the hens access to fresh forage and protecting the land from overuse. This closes the nitrogen cycle and boost fertility. The hens and eggs are healthier because of the natural forage and setting. The green grass and sunshine are like tonics to a laying hen. This is why a Smithshyre egg is so much better then all grocery store eggs.

A converted travel trailer makes a great mobile hen house.
A converted travel trailer makes a great mobile hen house.
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Spring 2015 – Year 2

Spring is just around the corner (if not already here….) and we are SO excited!!!
Before I get into all the juicy details of our plan for this coming year, we really do need to thank each and every one of you who has stopped by, bought yummy food or were just curious about what we are doing. This has been the most incredible experience of our lives and it is because of you – Thank You!!
Thank You for sharing our vision and quest for clean, healthy, REAL food.
Thank You for supporting your local farmers.
Thank You for making us feel right at home in our new roles as “farmers”.
Together we are making a difference. “Be the change you seek…”-Ghandi

We’ve got some pretty big plans for 2015, wish us luck – we’re feeling quite ambitious!
We are planning on #6 – 100 bird harvests this year. 600 birds vs the 375 we produced last year. Thank you for all the feedback on the breeds, we have chosen the Freedom Ranger as our “meat bird of choice” for this coming year. The quality of meat was top notch. And their “chicken-ness” made us happy (good grazers, no-fighting). They dressed out really nice at 11 weeks, averaging 5lbs. We are also working on our own clean room and may be able to offer frozen or parted out birds in the near future (hence why we are not quite ready for Spring yet). Thanks to last year being such a great success, we are planning to increase the number of turkeys for the holidays to 50.
Our laying hens have been good girls this Winter, doing their best to keep our fridge stocked with at least “some” eggs. In case you don’t know, chickens do not like to lay eggs in the Winter. They want to be on a beach with a mai tai like the rest of us. So we’ve added lights to give them a few more hours of light every day. We can’t help with the temperature or serve them a mia tia, but they seem to be managing just fine. Thank you so much for being patient with us in this period of low egg production. We’ve really enjoyed meeting so many of you while you wait for us to check the boxes and make you a quick dozen. They are on a steady incline in production and almost back up to 5 dozen a day. As the days get longer, so should the egg production. We anticipate over 50 dozen a week by April.
We are very excited to announce plans for baby chicks this Spring! All our breeds are Heritage and therefore very difficult to sex. We will be offereing: Cuckoo Maurans (dark brown), Easter Eggers (blue), Olive Eggers, Rhode Island Reds (brown), Silver Grey Dorkings (small white egg, mainly a high quality meat bird) and possibly Dominique’s, Black Silkies and the highly prized “Frizzles”. We’ll also be selling Narragansett turkeys babies w/ a holiday harvest option.
In addition to poultry, we are planning to offer fresh produce. We were so blessed with 2 orchards here on the Shyre. We’ve had our apples identified and have a number of treasured species. We also hope to get some cherries away from the bluejays this season – any advice would be appreciated. We also have blackberries, native wild mountain berries and a number of other delicious berries we are hoping to get into our farm stand this year.
We’ve selected a number of our favorite produce cultivars for the garden – pretty much got a little bit of everything. In addition to produce, we will be offering a number of culinary and medicinal herbs.
If there is something particular you’d like us to offer, shoot us an email and we’ll see what we can do. We’ll also be selling plant starts this year. Pre-order is an option. I’ll be making up a list of our seeds soon – stay tuned.
The pastures are going to be changing soon! Erin’s permaculture dream is coming true! Chestnuts, hazelnuts, ribes and rubus… OH MY! 7 layers of goodness! Vine fruits, fruit trees, mushrooms… Stop by and pick his brain, he’s obsessed (in a good way). Don’t worry, there will still be room for the chicken pens to cruise down the aisles, they’re a huge part of the plan. In addition to the birds, we need some quadrupeds, so the search for Shyre pigs is on. Chickens, turkeys, pigs and goats – all cruising the aisles, cleaning up and putting out – completing the nitrogen cycle – “the essence of permaculture”.
And just when you thought we were crazy enough, we’ve also hatched plans to offer flowers and bulbs (cut and potted).
Some pretty big goals in our second year and we’re going to need help! We’re looking into getting a WWOOFer or two, but are also thinking about “work share” where you sign up to work and earn food.
With so many different things going on here at the Shyre, we are organizing our email lists to better suit your need. If you are on the mailing list currently, you are on the “everything list” and will get every email we send out (which isn’t much, luckily we’re busy farming). If you would like to streamline your emails from us, please send an email and specify your interests (starts, baby chicks, produce, flowers, chicken and/or turkey harvest, work share or EVERYTHING).
SPRING FLING!! Everyone favorite event! Baby chicks, bubbles and fresh, hot donuts! Fun for the whole family! This year…we hope for something we’ve never had – sunshine. So this year, we’re going to do it a little later in the year – late April, early May – stay tuned.
MUSIC: I don’t know about you, but we love to relax and enjoy some good music with good people. Last year, we gave out cards to a number of local musicians and we’re really hoping they call. So if you know anyone who’d like to entertain here, let us know so we can check them out.
Phew…I think that’s all for now.
Again, Thank you so very much for your support, it means everything to us to have our dream of clean food be so well received by our community. We look forward to seeing you all real soon. Be well.
Erin and Roni Smith O’ the Shyre
“Be the change you seek…” – Ghandi

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