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Old Barn Farm & Co.

Posted by Chrystal Axelsson on

Old Barn Farm & Co.

 

I don't really know how to introduce this, it was so unexpected and totally happened within a split second. We moved. Again. 

Though this move was unexpected, it has turned out to be a blessing. While battling a good bout of some serious depression this past fall up till recently, we found out we had to move. Knowing the housing crisis in our area after the Camp Fire I immediately started looking. We landed on this property in a way that truly shows me that there is someone out there guiding us.

Though moving right before Christmas was doubly as difficult as moving would be anyways with 6 kids, I saw the opportunity and gift given to us. There's a LOT of work to be done to get the land fire safe. Yes that's a huge concern here in Northern California. If you look up Helltown Ca you will see how heroically Helltown was saved by residents during the Camp Fire in 2018. 

 I spent the first 5 weeks on our land in a haze, going out only to connect with the earth and wondering what in the world I was going to do.  This canyon has experienced so much pain and loss in the last 14 months I felt that here.  I felt the heartbeat of the trees, the desire in the soil to give life once again. 

 

With much thought and research on the matter, and what I could do to give back. I decided that with all this land, and truthfully, the fire danger in the area we needed animals to help tend the land, goats and sheep eat the leaves and debris. All these Oak trees leave behind dry leaves and there are a lot of non native, invasive plants and grasses that don't survive our hot summers and turn into nice little fire starters and spreaders, they also cut off life to our native plants which also help abate fire. And that's how the farm started. I had... have choices to make. What animals would I love to raise? What animals can not only work the land, but produce some kind of income? What would coincide with Old Barn Living? Sheep produce fiber, goats produce goats milk. I can make fiber for the store, and make soaps, lotions, and more with the goats milk! 

I'm so big on our ancestry and heritage with my children's Icelandic roots that it was a no brainier that we'd definitely have to raise Icelandic Sheep. This sent me down the rabbit hole of Heritage breeds. The breeds that are best for fiber and my desire to join Fibershed. That led me to Jacob Sheep, the first sheep I purchased two gorgeous lilac boys, one 4 horn ram we named Hawthorn, and one sweet little wether Bea named Cocoa her fav winter drink. 

On this journey of finding the best heritage fiber sheep, I met Elizabeth, owner and head ringmaster of her own beautiful farm in Butte Valley, Milk & Honey 1860. Here I fell truly in love with the notion of raising sheep and children together. Elizabeth gracefully homeschools her 6 children, a venture I briefly tried and failed miserably at. Her children are smart, sweet and kind. Elizabeth patiently listened to my super green ideas. Ideas that I know will change as I learn more about raising sheep and goats.

 

Today I sit on land I'm cultivating, proudly own sheep, goats, a mini donkey, and soon a family milk cow! We have 27 of the sweetest chickens and love collecting their beautifully colored eggs each day, it's like little gifts of joy they leave for us! We hatched 13 little chicks in the incubator and the children learned how chickens hatch. This lifestyle is a change for us all, it's a change for better, we downsized our living situation massively, but we expanded our lives. We have LAND and livestock and so much life flowing from our fingertips it's beautiful. I am so happy with where this journey has taken us. I can't wait to incorporate our farm into more products for Old Barn Living, products that are made straight from the farm! 

 

Thank you all for your patience and understanding and most of all your support as you all saw something was up with me here. It's been a rough journey, but I feel like I can finally put down roots, finally call somewhere home.  

~Chrystal 


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