1. The top stone of a structure or wall.
2. The crowning achievement or final stroke; the culmination.
We like to think of Capstone Farm as the culmination of what we’ve learned in life up to this point – whether it be philosophical, academic, professional, or spiritual knowledge. As unexpected as it may sound, our life experiences have led us to this, a desire to farm and create a path to the ideals listed in the “About” section of this blog.
So we knew we wanted to farm, eventually, but as we both had full time jobs with demanding travel schedules, we knew it wasn’t in the cards, possibly until retirement. To scratch the itch though, we listened to podcasts, read books, and reviewed other farmers’ websites. Through this research, we determined a good starting point would be sheep (and chickens).
Fate intervened at this point and circumstances arose such that I left my job and was able to focus on the impending arrival of our first child. We decided that in this period of “free time”, we would start the farm, on a very small, experimental/educational scale. We spent the summer after the birth tearing down an old shed and replacing it with the chicken coop (8’x12′) and sheep barn (12’x16′).
During this “infrastructure phase” of the project, I was evaluating what type of sheep we wanted. I characterize our selection of Clun Forest as destiny. Years earlier when I was getting my MBA in Virginia, I had written a business plan to determine the viability of raising high end beef. My research led me to a nearby sheep farmer. At the time, I was very focused on my career in aerospace and, to be honest, didn’t pay much attention to his breed of sheep. Seven years later, in the midst of our research to determine what breed of sheep we were going to get, I was listening to a Livestock Conservancy Heritage Breeds Podcast and they were interviewing this same sheep farmer! It felt like this was meant to be. About six months later, we went to Virginia, loaded four sheep into the back of our pick up truck, and became sheep farmers ourselves.
In the eighteen months since then, we’ve had eight lambs born on Capstone Farm and have learned many, many lessons about sheep, nature, and ourselves. While establishing Capstone Farm was a culminating point in our lives, there will most certainly be ongoing benefits and knowledge to gain as the farm evolves.