You can hardly see the outside Christmas tree for the blizzard! We've had two big nor'easter snowstorms already, before Christmas. Last year there was no snow to speak of and sheep were eating green grass in January.
The "Womerlippi Farm" is actually a homestead or smallholding where most of the food is grown for our own consumption and that of our friends and family. We raise Corriedale/Romney-cross sheep, feeder pigs in season, and Golden Comet, Aruacuna, Black Laced Wyandotte, Brahma, and Buff Orpington hens. We have wooded pasture, old apple trees, and a large kitchen garden. We build and maintain our own energy-efficient buildings, service and fix our own vehicles and farm equipment, and generally live a thoroughly self-reliant lifestyle. Our farm goals are less economic and more psychological/spiritual and lifestyle oriented. We like an independent, quiet home life with a lot of interaction with animals and the earth. Farming, building and energy-related engineering is also part of our education work at Unity College. Having said all that, we're practical people and grow a lot of pretty solid food and fiber. We're also happy to sell you some eggs or yarn or lambs.
PS: "Womerlippi" is a combination of our last names, "Womersley" and "Phillippi." The one is broad Yorkshire, the other Greek, although Aimee's ancestry and home culture is Pennsylvania Dutch/Shenandoah Valley Church of the Brethren. When Aimee and I married, she didn't take my name. She said she "wasn't trading up."
Why is this "A Great Farm Diary?"
Because the setting for the events recorded here is the "Great Farm" of Jackson, Maine, that's why. (Not because this is such a great farm, although we like it.)
Started by privateer and financier Israel Thorndike in 1806 as a vacation home, the famous Great Farm of Jackson was an agricultural showcase for this area of Maine, and Thorndike used it as such, an advertisement for his private land office business, as he disposed of the famous Waldo Patent, in which he was a part owner. Land purchasers could work off their mortgages as laborers on the Great Farm. Most deeds in Waldo County trace back to Israel Thorndike.
Thorndike, born to a family of modest means, went to sea to make his fortune. He captained a privateering vessel during the Revolutionary War, and tweaked the nose of the great Royal Navy more than once. He then settled to a life as a financier, merchant, and captain of industry in Boston. He remains listed as one of the fifty richest Americans of all time. He was the author, with Eldridge Gerry, of the first recorded gerrymander, and so his name went down in history for that peculiarly undemocratic deed too.
He was, in short, a rich, arrogant, unrequited arse, whose primary redeeming feature was impressive ambition. If you are such a person, you should feel ashamed. My work in academia has introduced me to many such wealthy people, and frankly, I'm tired of them. The world doesn't revolve around you and your silly ideas of what is important. Grow up.
Our own much smaller farm sits on a few acres of the original 2,000 that Thorndike developed as an agricultural showcase. As he was a famous Federalist, while Aimee and I are obvious neo-Jeffersonians, of sorts, I doubt he'd be pleased with what we've done with the place. But we don't give a rat's wotsit. As I said, we like it this way.
Read the very last posts in the archive for more details, or use search terms like Israel Thorndike or "Great Farm history" in the Google Blogger search engine (above, on the left).
How this Diary is Arranged:
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.
The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive below, click on the link provided, and read backwards from there to get it all in chronological order.
To find out what is happening right now, read the first post first.
Purchasing Womerlippi Farm produce in season can be done by email arrangement, and/or by shopping at the Marsh River Coop in Brooks or the 47 Daisies Farm Stand in Vasselboro.
We sell yarn, fleece, pesto, and livestock for meat or breeding.
The yarn is Bartlett Yarn's 4-ply, a medium-thick yarn, in natural gray and brown, as well as natural dyes. It is soft and bulky, and makes nice old-fashioned knitwear. You can buy it for $7 a skein by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We ship priority mail, minimum ten skeins at a time. The shipping is extra. Or you can get it for a few bucks a skein, either over the counter at Crosstracks restaurant in Unity, Maine, at the 47 Daisies Farm Stand in Vassalboro, Maine, or at the Marsh River Coop in Brooks, Maine.
We also have raw white and brown (natural colored) fleece in large quantities each spring, unwashed, untreated. Email us at email@example.com and name your price. Expect to pay shipping. This year (2015), for the second time, skirted fleece will be available at the MOFGA Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. Look for our tags in the fleece tent.
Our pesto is available in the frozen food section of the Marsh River Cooperative in Brooks, Maine. If they happen to be out, tell the person behind the counter and they'll ask us to deliver more.
At various times of the year we have live breeding ewes and/or feeder lambs and pigs, and frozen lamb cuts by prior arrangement. Again, use email to set up your purchases.
We now have a child who naps during the day and so have curtailed our former farm stand egg operation. We also have dogs who bite. We like that they bite, because we have a child we want to protect. If you come unexpectedly to the farm, stay behind any temporary hot-wire gate or fence, or park in the driveway, until someone comes. We'll know you're there because the dogs will tell us. Loudly. Annoyingly. They will wake our kid, if she is asleep. We will be mad about this.
If no-one comes, we're not home. Go Away.
If you are yet more foolish and try to get out of your car and/or cross a gate or fence, expect to get bitten by a shepherd dog, rammed by a ram, or chewed out by a shepherd.