Food

Fun on the Farm

An introduction to country living

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Once in a while, my main man gives me a sidelong glance, bats his eyelashes and tells me he thinks it’s time to add a new addition to our urban farm.

While the subject of his obsession du jour changes—sometimes he thinks goats are something we can’t live without, other times he makes the case for a family milk cow or wool-producing sheep, miniature horses, ducks and the like—my response typically centers on the phrase, “I don’t think so, dude.”

My answer is firmly based on the fact that I’m the early riser in our domestic partnership, and thus am often the one responsible for letting the chickens out in the morning and making sure they—and our Flemish meat rabbits—have enough food and water to get them through the day.

I’m not up for a new retinue of extra tasks—tasks such as milking a surly goat at the break of dawn. As a small-scale farmer, I’m aware that keeping animals around to augment our food supply is well worth it, but also requires a commitment.

The powers that be who are putting on the annual Country Living Expo and Winter Cattleman’s School Sat., Jan. 25 at Stanwood High School are also savvy to the fact that as eating locally—whether it’s raising your own animals and vegetables in your backyard or farming for profit on sizable acreage in the county—is hard work.

Although some of the workshops they’ll be offering are already full, with more than 170 classes on the roster, both urban farmers and longtime tenders of the land should still be able to find offerings that will help them on their quest for “country living.”

A quick review of the sessions reveals food-production-related classes on: beekeeping, poultry processing, cob oven-building, fruit tree pruning, raising sheep, cheese and yogurt-making, swine breeding, container gardening, cider production, pie crust creation, growing giant pumpkins and veggies, fish smoking, backyard chickens, raising beef for prime grade, pressure canning, raising heritage turkeys, finding and cooking wild edibles, mushroom cultivation and many more.

For the more dedicated farmers, workshops also abound on everything from propagation techniques to equine first aid, agroforestry, on-farm composting, how to choose the right tractor and implements for your property and projects, greenhouse growing, ewe flock nutrition, organic certification for livestock producers, sheep shearing, maximizing litter production and (yuck) livestock fecal exams.

A trade show featuring local agribusinesses and networking opportunities will also be happening throughout the day, and a prime rib lunch is included in the registration fee. Workshops fill up fast, so you’ll want to get online as soon as possible and peruse the lengthy list to ensure you can still get in on the action.

By afternoon’s end, it’s entirely possible you’ll realize that you want to begin a new career as a chicken farmer or bee whisperer. Conversely, you might understand just how much work “country living” requires, and instead continue to rely on visits to local farmers markets and other purveyors to augment your food supply. And that’s O.K., too.

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Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Foof Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Last Outrageous Women

7:00pm|Village Books

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

7-Day Dance Festival Finale

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

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Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

South Whatcom Birding Walks

8:00am|South Whatcom Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Southside Rummage Sale

8:30am| Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Little Mountain Trail 10K

10:00am|Carpenter Creek Winery

Salmon Sighting

10:00am|Thompson Creek Bridge

Pesto Perfecto

11:00am|Ferndale Library

Council of the Animals

11:00am|Boulevard Park

Trial Vineyard Open House

12:00pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Sedro-Woolley Brewfest

2:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

The Art of Living

3:00pm|Deming Library

River Walk

3:00pm| Horseshoe Bend Trailhead.

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Kulshan CLT Community Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

BowEdison Anniversary Party

5:30pm|BowEdison

Democrats Dinner

5:30pm| Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa

Fall Demo Derby

6:30pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Moment

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

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Sunday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Bellingham Bay Marathon

7:30am|Gooseberry Point

Rabbit Ride

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Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Eat Local Month's Restaurant Week

8:00am|Whatcom County

Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally

9:00am|Anacortes

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Whatcom Chorale Benefit Concert

3:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

see our complete calendar »

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