Our first 5 hens. Henrietta was my #1 gal pal. May she RIP.
+ Francis the rooster. The goodest rooster there ever was.
P.S. We duct taped 6 screens together, called it a crate and put them
in the trunk. Not something I recommend repeating, but it worked alright).
The first chicken coop we built. It was inside the greenhouse.
It held about 15 chickens. We currently have about 80.
It's officially the beginning of the season here at LoveBug and I've been doing a lot of reflecting. I (Rachel) thought it might be fun to talk about the beginning of the farm and the journey that's been developing along with it as we go through the season with our CSA members this year.
It's June, but we're pretty sure the plants think it's the second week of May just based on where they're at in their growth cycle. There's been an exceptional amount of rain, and we're grateful that we're now out of a drought 🤞and better prepared for fire season. BUT IT'S BEEN WEIRD. I feel weird. We have a marsh instead of a yard where we typically have plants that are 5 feet tall. Also I learned that, shockingly, many baby plants can be completely submerged under water for multiple days and still thrive! They are so strong!
Anyway...if you're curious about the herstory behind LoveBug keep reading ...
We've been pretty obsessed with vegetables since we met, we've always focused our lives around seasonal and fresh food, we've always explored farmer's markets and we've had some seriously FUN celebrations involving fresh turmeric. To rewind a bit, I'll go back to 2019 when LoveBug began. We were living and working in Portland. Alex works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, grew up on a farm and has been growing his own food for most of his life. I (still Rachel) was a surrogate coordinator at the time. I had a little plot in the backyard and did my very best to keep up seasonally. We were both living the city life but feeling pretty done with it, and really we were longing for something more. We spent most of our time outside, and felt more connected to the planet and nature bathing than we did the hustle and bustle of the city.
Rachel's mom and step-father own the property where LoveBug is located. There was a greenhouse on the property that was previously a part of a commercial basil farm and before that it was a commercial flower farm. The greenhouse is really big. It's 30 feet wide and 150 feet long and there we soon discovered more than 50 raised beds inside. The landlord's were really not doing anything with the space.
In the beginning the whole thing was falling apart and the plastic was caving in on itself. There was no door and no great way to get inside. It was a mess. Surrounding the greenhouse was an overgrown yard. Blackberries covered one entire side of the greenhouse and some were even creeping in through the plastic in the back.
Sheep had been living in the greenhouse for awhile. Sheep eat grass, and lots of things that are on the ground that have seeds. This means that everything the sheep had been pooping out had been growing and thriving for about a year, along with leftover herbs in large quantities from previous owners.
The yard had several fruit trees that were producing delicious apples and plums, and most of the greenhouse seemed like it was intact. About half the fans that were installed inside the greenhouse worked and the electricity was working as far as we could tell.
When we first started working on the greenhouse we had to draw a map to find the water and irrigation. There was literally feet of weeds. We felt like we were slowly uncovering the next stage of our lives as we cleared and hauled. It was a lot of work, but it's all paid off ten fold!
During the process of creating LoveBug we made a LOT of trips to the rebuilding center in Portland for upcycled materials and Alex learned basic plumbing AND electrical skills which have proven to be literally the most helpful and $ saving thing ever.
There's a lot more to this story, and I look forward to continuing to share with you!
We both still work full time outside of LoveBug, so I'll be posting as often as I feasibly can/want to.
Today we're proud to have a wonderful, inclusive, regenerative, and organic space filled with MANY feathered friends. We love harnessing the future we want to be in with community members who feel the same way about the gratitude and appreciation for the planet!
Thank you for being a part of a brighter future.
These photos are from 2022