The “Carlson Barn” on the “Old Foss Farm” @ “The Smithshyre” is officially listed by Washington State’s Department of Architecture and Historic Preservation as a Heritage Barn.
What does this mean for the barn, it has protected status. We are now eligible to apply for a grant to preserve the barn. We are very excited about this designation. Someday we hope to offer a multi-course farm to table dinner in our registered heritage barn.
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.
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!!
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!
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.
* 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
We are sad to announce our farm stand was thieved again. That is now twice in as many weeks. In response we have moved it slightly so that we can see it from our house. We will no longer keep change available; please come with exact change we regret any inconvenience this may cause.
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.
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.
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”.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.