Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Granny's Farm.

A four hour drive south from Chimacum Valley down to Raymond (which is still in Washington state), and we found ourselves in a rain forest paradise. Tired of bananas, peanut butter and crackers, hungry for some real food, the kids had double portions of free range goat stew with fresh salad when we arrived straight for dinner. Having not done any chores yet, we were treated like family right away. Blackberry wine for dinner, good company, and fun to do chores discussed during our first meal together and we were excited to spend a week on a great farm!

Granny's Farm is a beautiful 120 acres farm, located in the area of Willapa Bay. 5 acres of gardens and pastures are home to Larry and Sandy, a lot of animals and wwoofers.

Larry and Sandy are a retired couple who got married 11 years ago. They are quite phenomenal.

Larry used to work as a psychologist in Children's hospital in Oklahoma. When in 1976 an oil embargo happened, oil was rationed for about 6 months or so. It was long enough for Larry to realize that he didn't want to commute to work. He wanted to work where he lived. 7 years later he decided to start an oyster growing farm in Willapa Bay.

"Oysters? We tried, and didn't like them. All that sand crunching on our teeth!", Mirek told Larry while they were working on a sawmill .
"That's because those were bottom oysters. I grew oysters on poles. They were clean of sand," Larry commented as an oyster pro.

He kept on doing oyster business for 20 years and when his kids grew up he sold it and started looking into living on a farm, raising animals and veggies.

Sandy is another cookie. From the back cover of her book, "Auctions-a fresh formula for grassroots fundraising":
"Sandy Bradley is an auctioneer for nonprofits and arts organizations. She is also a musician, writer, and, for 13 years host of the "Sandy Bradley's Potluck" on National Public Radio. She has served on the Seattle Arts Commission and the Bumbershoot Commission. In 1991, "The Seattle Times" named her one of ten "People of the Year" who make Seattle a better place to live. A licensed auctioneer since 1979, she is currently an oyster farmer on Willapa Bay".
This information about Sandy is slightly outdated. She is not an oyster farmer anymore, but a "granny" farmer to a lot of young wwoofers that come by year round.

When the stock market started going down two years ago, Sandy pulled out her money and they bought this farm.

"Good move,", I said.
"I think so, too," Sandy agreed.

They are very new in the valley and neighbors are warming up slowly but steadily.
In two years with the help of wwoofers they have done a good job of building up the farm and developing the land and pastures. The gardens are producing a lot and animals are thriving. Larry loves to work with his saw mill and Sandy has become a master preserves maker.
Larry and Sandy have a vision for their farm. They want to build a community where everybody will have a place to contribute and enjoy being a part of vibrant growing self-sustainable farm.

Plan for a green bio cemetery that has been up in works for a year now, is half way done with permits and regulations. Sandy and Larry want to devote 20-40 acres of land for the green cemetery. There will be no iron caskets used, but linen cloth or other natural materials to wrap the bodies up.

"Life and death are parts of a natural cycle, and it should be our right to be eaten by worms. I don't want to be turned into a slimy soupy mess, I want to be eaten by worms!", Sandy's words could be a true shock to hear.

The fees that the green cemetery will pick up will take care of land taxes and other land expenses. The land for the cemetery could be sustainably harvested and fruit orchards planted. There will be no huge head stones, and the forest will eventually take over again. This is a great concept and there are should be more green cemeteries all over the country for people to choose to go the natural way.
There were another 5 wwoofers on the farm when we arrived. So, the record has been officially set with 11 wwoofers all together (a previous record was 9!).

Sandy likes to have a lot of people around.
"It's too boring with just Larry and me on the farm. I enjoy the commotion, the constructive energy, the learning and teaching opportunities, simply all aspects of human interacting with each other," Sandy was sharing with me.
"Aren't you tired of the noise, sometimes? All this explaining to do and answering the questions non stop?", I asked her.
"Sure I do. That's why I grab my sleeping bag and go to sleep into the chicken house. Or we try to get away and travel a bit," Sandy was smiling, remembering their travels.
"We went to Europe for two months last year and biked through 6 countries. Going to Finland to participate in the solar composting toilet convention was a lot of fun. We were the only Americans there and had a blast. Larry made a presentation of his model and we met a lot of nice folks".

Check out Larry's website here:

Can't you just imagine the fun we were going to have on Granny's Farm?


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