Farmgirl school is supposed to be uplifting, inspirational, and full of fun and hope. It is also about our life so I suppose not everything can be as such but I inadvertently caused a storm of emotions for many people across the continent and beyond in empathy for us. We want you to know that we just do not have the extra strength or energy it would take to rip out the wood stove, pipes, fittings and fix the ceiling at this point. We have no emotional attachment to the stove. Our hundreds of plants will feed the local wildlife and a lot of hungry girl scouts that are coming Monday to take home a transplant since they helped create the garden in the first place! We are not sad over these things any longer. With the encroaching wind mills and the negativity here we are more than ready to head out on our next journey. So let’s get back to the inspiration and hope part of this blog! Yesterday we visited a lovely urban homestead that was so enchanting and complete that I am ready to get back into the city. We were there taking a cob building class to make outdoor structures. Doug and Chris will be creating a chicken coop, bread oven, and who knows what else! Tomorrow I will take you through our class to learn to make cob. But today I want to take you through the enchanted homestead of my friend, Niko and his wife, Brandi at Folkways Farm.
It wasn’t very long ago that I wrote a blog post about Old Colorado City (which is a bike ride away from where we are going to live) and that is where we headed this fine evening. I met Niko three years ago when Joel Salatin came to speak at a local farm. He sat with me and Nancy and we talked all things homesteading, about his family, his work as a cobb builder, and we told him about our adventures in homesteading. I later ran into him building a yurt with our friend when we went to visit the goat she bought from us, and then at the homesteading store, and then…well, you get the picture. We were meant to meet.
His beautiful wife held their youngest daughter on her hip and spoke freely with the guests. His middle daughter came up to me and took me with her on a tour of the “forest” where a silent cat lay secretly in the high weeds below trees. They are easy people, barefoot, comfortable in their surroundings and self and I was instantly drawn to them.
They have created an oasis in town, a secret place of sustenance and wealth. Herb gardens, Permaculture gardens of food, honey bees, goats, a shed-barn, and places to get lost and read or dream or be. The plot of land is about the same size as the one we are moving to and I was so inspired and overwhelmed with ideas and joy.
The cob structures look to be out of a fairy tale. A sweet chicken coop stands off the back porch. Another is a bit more elaborate and whimsical. It is a chicken coop with a bread oven on the side. One could start a fire in the cooking area to heat the coop on the coldest nights while making some delicious thin crust pizzas. A door on the other side lets the chickens out to wander a closed in area that felt roomy and lush. A towering apple tree above provided shade.
The greenhouse built in the back yard was a structure of fine art and skill, a transporting place out of the cold. A place for tea and books in autumn and a place to grow starts in the spring. All made from reclaimed windows, mesh, wood, straw, clay, sand, water, manure, and painted with beautiful slips. Niko is an artist above being a builder.
One can meander from the front herb garden, past the vegetable gardens, visit the bees, duck under the apple tree, wade through weeds and medicinal herbs, follow a path past the goat yard, past bins of delicious compost, a pile of wood, the beautiful green house, wave to the chickens, pass the hemp plants growing tall for fiber, onto the back porch to sit a spell, and visit with the kind family that lives there.
I spoke with Jillian at the end of the class. She wanted to make sure that I considered our new venture to be our homestead. I asked what if we jumped forward fifty years and there we still were and her then much older daughter would mention to visitors that her crazy aunt lives in the back. “That would be fine,” Jillian replied.
And so begins our urban farm adventure.