‘We bought the farm’ is an old-timey way to indirectly say someone has died- often referring to death in a battle, or plane crash. While we did have our share of battles with debt collectors and nay-sayers (no plane crashes though), for us it holds a more literal meaning- after over two years of fundraising and negotiations with family we have finally purchased 28 acres of the family farm lands!
These 28 acres include Sachum Brook, running along the West side of the property. Forest trails through mixed hardwood forest, a vernal pool in Spring and magical hemlock groove, blueberry and apple orchards, our gardens, apiary and chicken coops as well as the original farm house (now condemned) built in the 1790’s.
Forest path that leads across Sachum Brook to the vernal pool and hemlock groove
Big bend in Sachum Brook, a favorite spot year round
The idea of owning land feels strange and disconnected- what does it even mean to ‘own’ land? It has always been our goal to prevent this acreage from being developed, to protect and re-build our four generation family farm and preserve habitats for wildlife, birds and native plants. Our owning the land on paper will allow us to do all this- and more, but we think of ourselves more as stewards than owners.
This land is home to the animals we raise- chickens, honeybees, an Australian Shepherd and three crazy cats. It is also home to incredible wildlife, birds, insects, amphibians and mammals. The old farm house has been a home to little brown bats for years, we have great blue herons fly over the yard regularly. Barred and great horned owls visit and call- bluebirds return to nest each year. This year we had dozens of monarch caterpillars and butterflies- and found a praying mantis in the garden.
We have seen bobcats, a fisher, coyotes, black bear, fox and a mountain lion (yes, it was a real mountain lion!) in the yard. The hemlock grove is home to some very large porcupines, and the vernal pool has had spotted salamander eggs two years in a row. Deer love to come snack on fallen apples, raccoons and skunks are regulars too.
Bluebird houses on the meadow edge- we have had nesting pairs for the past three years
Our apiary- all 19 colonies- nestled between old apple trees and our vegetable gardens
Our three chicken coops, with a mix of bantams and standard birds stand on the other side of the old apple tree
While the work of a farmer is never done- this land purchase is a huge step in the future of Olsen Farm. THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us along the way- we truly could not have come this far without each of you.
If you are local to the Berkshires- please join us Saturday, November 9th from 4-6 PM at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge 444 North street in Pittsfield to celebrate!