Written by Barbara Vaughan Bailey, owner of Blue Moon Stead LLC:
Blue Moon Stead is not just farm or ranch or simple homestead, but all of these things. It’s the place we call home. “We” would be me, two pups, two ponies and the cat who adopted us all. More than that, Blue Moon Stead is over 120 acres of home to earthworms and robins, voles and owls, deer and cougar, frogs and heron, berries and bear, flowers and bees, forest and field, and the living soils, clean air and vital waters that sustain us all.
It is my work and my joy to make Blue Moon Stead ever more healthy and productive, largely through the interplay of its diverse inhabitants. Here are some of my tools:
- minimal/no-till cropping;
- using mulch, rotational grazing and compost for soil health and water retention;
- dry-farming where possible;
- avoiding chemical interventions;
- providing pollinator and wildlife habitat;
- planting soil-building native trees and shrubs to improve graze and reduce erosion and runoff;
- protecting the watershed for birds, bats, bees, fish, humans and other wildlife; and
- providing living wages for safe, honorable work.
And of course I want to be a source of healthy, local food to my community. I primarily focus on dry-farmed storage crops like dry beans and shallots, but love experimenting each year with a new crop or two. This year I’ll be growing heirloom sweet potatoes. You’ll find my food at the Horseradish Ranch farmers’ market stand in Hood River and at select local grocers and restaurants.
My larger goal is to give Blue Moon Stead the best possible chance of ongoing protection for decades to come. This has led me to join forces with a knowledgeable, caring young farmer and rancher who can help me steadily improve this beautiful place while building her own future. Laura Bazzetta of Horseradish Ranch is an ideal partner, and I’m glad she has chosen Blue Moon Stead as her home too.