Devon Acres Farm is a small farm near the south bank of the Grand River in Brant County, just west of Brantford and southeast of Paris. We are the Kirbys; Marie, Robin, Maggie and Aerron and the kids, with a lot of help from CSA working share members and from volunteers. We also have a lot of help from Robin and Marie’s daughters Trisha and Heather and their families too. We grow nearly three acres of organic vegetables, pasture chickens, ducks, turkeys, sheep, cows and three Belgian workhorses. We are adapting our farm to Agroforestry techniques meaning that trees and shrubs are grown throughout and alongside farmed areas to increase diversity for us farmers and to encourage greater diversity of plants and animals species. We are planting fruit trees, berry bushes, various shrubs and many different species of native trees. This is a very long term project that will take years. We need to purchase and plant many plants each fall and spring. The planting, and the care required to keep them growing, especially in the first year or two, requires a lot of effort.
We grow a very large number of different and sometimes unusual vegetable varieties in our gardens. We have small flocks of ducks and chickens for eggs and meat, a herd of about ten cattle for beef and flock of around fifteen sheep for mutton and lamb. The horses, cows, sheep, turkey, duck and chicken are all on pasture when possible. The horses, cows and sheep are fed hay during droughts and the winter months.
We use both workhorses and small tractors for power on the farm. We find the tractors especially useful for small jobs that need either horses or tractor but need take only 5 or 10 minutes. It takes no time at all to get the tractor and be working with it whereas with the horses it can be half to three quarters of an hour to fetch the horses, harness, unharness and return them to their pasture. If we were using horses several times each day during the week we would harness in the morning and leave them in harness and ready to go, the whole day.