From Home to Homestead

     Welcome to the Homestead!

     Patch of Sky Farm is very much a work in progress. We bought this secluded property in 2014 and for the last two years we have worked on transitioning our 2 acres of meadow into a fully functioning homestead. Ultimately, we aim to farm the land and create an herbal farm. Here, our goal is to grow most of the ingredients we need to create farm-fresh skin care and other amazing farmcraft products.  

Our Vermont Home, circa 2014

2 acres of meadow in beautiful Guilford, VT. Above the meadow sits the most beautiful patch of sky we have ever seen...hence, Patch of Sky Farm. 

     My name is Joanna Wilson Phillips and together with my husband Nic (and our Presa Canario Lola), we have spent the better part of the last two years enjoying our first home and transitioning into Vermont life...and married life;) When we purchased this property in the Summer of 2014 we knew that it wasn't ideal for our needs: the kitchen was too small, the trees on the ridge across from the house blocked much needed sunlight, it ran on oil heat, and we didn't need three bedrooms (we needed 2 and a separate in-law apt with a dog free kitchen). It wasn't perfect, but we were determined to make it perfect for us.

     When we moved, I hadn't yet discovered what I wanted to do with my new Vermont life: did I want to continue my administrative career in Theatre? Did I want to open up a food truck and sell fresh, nutritious food on the streets of Brattleboro? Or did I want something completely new and different...something that reflected the knowledge I had accumulated as I continued my health and wellness journey that I started in 2012?

     I took a leap and decided to jump into the unknown. I found a relatively new online program through The Academy of Culinary Nutrition with the AMAZING Meghan Telpner. Culinary Nutrition is a topic I was excited to take on as a novice and I flew threw the course with joy. I graduated in December of 2015 with Honors and spent months wracking my brain trying to figure out where my passion in food lied. Should I do cooking classes? No, there aren't any commercial kitchens for rent in my area. Should I make and sell food? Nope, I don't have a pet free kitchen. And then it struck me: you're going about this the wrong way! Instead of focusing on what you don't have and trying to rent, sublet, or lease, why not use the land you bought to your advantage. Nic and I had tossed this idea around a few times before: what if we turned our land into a working homestead? What if we grew our veggies and and made our own power and became self sufficient, using what we had? 

     "First thing's first", Nic said. "We gotta take down the trees on the ridge". So that's what we did.

We replanted a tree for every one we took down...and even though it broke my heart to see the destruction, I know that the solar energy we glean from the land will be invaluable. 

    We are currently sourcing options for solar panel installations and hope to get the project completed in 2017. 

     Next, we vowed to stop using oil to heat our home in the winter. We purchased a wood burning stove with a blower and had it placed in our Great Room. We ordered three chords of wood for our first winter. 80° of warmth in the middle of Winter with minimal wood burning was indeed a treat and now we can't imagine life without it. 

     We came to the quick conclusion that improving kitchen space and cabinetry would have to come at a later date and turned our attentions outside. We agreed that getting raised beds built and starting our garden was the next big step for us and we were mindful that this task was lining up perfectly with Spring. We bought a small, portable greenhouse and began to nurture a handful of veggie starters and herb plants. The result has been absolutely magical...

Our baby garden, as of May 2016. 

     The construction of the raised beds commenced in May 2016 and we are completing them this weekend. Busy schedules with dry weather and lots of bugs have made the days fly by and construction has been slow going. We are determined though, and are looking forward to growing lettuces of all varieties, root vegetables, squash, and hearty herbs well into the Fall. 

Nic digging out grass. We would have loved to made beds right in our yard, but our soil is too rocky and sandy for what we wanted to grow. Our hope is to remediate the soil in other spots on our property to support things like wildflowers and squash. 

Americana, Guilford, VT. 2016

If you want something done right do it yourself. 

Almost there....

THE FUTURE...

By the end of this year we are hopeful that we will have a line of tattoo friendly, straight-from-the-farm salves available for sale and distribution as well as a line of farm crafts available locally and worldwide for the holidays. Long term, we are hoping to run retreats, escapes, and outdoor adventures with a healthy twist in Southern VT and hope that you can join us in the Green Mountains for a much needed getaway. 

Nic, Lola, and I are so incredibly thankful to live in Vermont with fresh air, rich soil, and nature at our beck and call.  We look forward to your visit!