Friday, August 21, 2009

New website and promotional material

I don't know how I did it during the heat of summer and 12-14 hour days, but am getting closer to having all the info online and in promotional material; like banners, printed clothing, personal business cards and hats for ALL of our friends. If you will, check out the new website at I am still adding content, and will be done soon. Hold on to your hats.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Found the masked culprit eating all our ducks; after I camped in a tent with the three nests for nearly a month. He was all the way back by the stage. Nahana cornered him/her up a tree. At first I went to get the net and a trap, but decided by size that it would be best not to endanger our lives or any other animals lives and had to shoot it down with a .22 rifle. It took two shots to get it down from the tree, but it took another 8-10 shots to bring it down. A very strong and dangerous animal indeed. Why did god make dangerous animals so beautiful? Anyway, we are left with 6 mature ducks, no ducklings. 2 ducklings down, around 50 eggs destroyed, and 7 mature ducks defeathered and eaten in one night! The racoon had a good run, and there may be more around, so I'll continue to camp out until fall. It brings new meaning and reason to camping. I'll put some pics up soon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friends of the Fresh Idea Farm membership

We invite you to become a Friend of the Fresh Idea Farm, A 40+ acre "oasis-like" park and organic farm in the Palouse hills outside of St. John for your labor in helping manage and create. Be part of the legacy of a nearly 100 year old (fourth generation) farm that has survived drought, harsh winters, field fires, floods and the great depression all while being planted, landscaped, and redesigned to become a 20 acre arboretum and wildlife habitat with recreational facilities, lagoons and informal lawn courtyards and a natural lawn amphitheater. It has been decided to allow only 100 members to become involved. This opportunity will only be granted if 100 people show interest. Membership donations are $365 per year. $1 per day for the entire family. Payable anytime during the year or to be worked off in labor. Must also volunteer one day per month grounds keeping or skilled labor depending on demand, skills and experience. From there it is YOUR property. Do what you want within reason and respect for the other members, the property and the wildlife. This also includes business ventures you want to start but have not had the space, place or materials. Or that huge garden you want to plant but don't want to maintain daily. Reservations and length of stay required, unless it is a holiday event open to all members and guests. Membership donations and tour donations to be directly placed back into The Fresh Idea Farm (an environmental and educational nonprofit) paying for tools, machinery, organics, materials, sustainability, entertainment, and structural accommodations for family retreats and entrepreneurial ventures including art studios, culinary studios, workshops, and educational facilities which members will be able to use whenever available.

Here what we HAVE to offer:

-Many varieties of herbs including several unique mint flavors, chives, lemon balm, chervil, thyme, oregano, basil, hops, and much more both annuals and perennials.

-Approximately 5 acres of organic soil, thousands of nursery containers, and a variety of common (but often not available at stores) edible plants.

-A selection of landscape plants and a nursery license for purchasing wholesale.

-A large, 3 story recreation barn housing the outdoor and indoor sporting equipment and seating. (Currently under full remodel to become a pavilion with outdoor kitchen and lounge.) Present equipment includes billiards, ping-pong, horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, croquet, and water sports equipment.

-A proper smokehouse AND wood for smoking anything to your liking. Sausage, salmon, or cheese? Try maple, apple, apricot and birch.

-Several bonfire pits and private fire pits scattered around the landscape.

-Large open-air amphitheater, planted in lawn facing to audio and/or video stages.

-Two lagoons and counting. Both larger than a city pool. Fairly clean for swimming. We do!

Fresh, cold artisian well water not tainted by fluoride and chlorine. Take as much home as you can drink.

-A shed, shop and studio containing all the tools necessary to build or create almost anything.

-Large grass "courtyards" for entertaining, private parties, family reunions, BBQ's, and weddings.

-Recycling area.

-Apples, pears, and sometimes apricots.

-Great birdwatching with a large variety of migrational and year-round birds.

-Local golf courses close by.

-Several great fishing and recreational boating lakes close by. We can also stock the lagoons with fish.

-Two large school busses being converted into "first class" tour busses.

We WANT to add: ziplines, large tree houses for adults and children alike, pavilions, gazebos, an herb distillary, a home brewery/winery, screen printing, mushroom farming, aquaculture, an outdoor/indoor natural health spa/sauna, art classes, photography tours, skills classes, wild edible classes, biodome greenhouses for year-round organic production, rainwater catchment/storage, a larger permanent covered stage and medium-sized outdoor movie theater screen.

Board meetings, retreats, all-member events held quarterly. May bring guests at anytime of your membership within reason.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS: (pending approval)

Grounds keeping and landscaping: 20 positions

herb and vegetable gardening and harvesting: 15 positions

Organization and cleaning: 10 positions

Construction: 10 positions

Concrete and hardscaping: 5 positions

Art, installations, music, and interior or exterior decoration: 10 positions

Culinary: Food, drink, prep, ferment, ect. 5 positions

Web design, advertising, forum admin, and maintenance: 5 positions

Recycling, upcycling and material scavenge: 5 positions

Audio, video production: 5 positions

General Maintenance: 10 positions

Most qualified applicants may have one or more of these skills, hobbies, or knowledge. Training is available. No experience necessary.

-gardening, propagation, harvesting

-common plant identification




-concrete work

-electrical knowledge

-simple mechanics and small engines.

-art: graphics, painting, pottery, murals, installations, ect.

-musical talents, band networks, booking, recording, ect

-writing: grants, proposals, advertisements, donations, ect.

-photography, videography.


-culinary, chef, catering

-welding, metal work.

-design, architecture, mathmatics

-animal care

-sustainability, solar, wind, electric vehicle conversion, passive solar, radiant heating, biodiesel, solar hot water, ect.


Everybody has a skill, a talent, or occupation that will benefit everybody. What's yours?

The planting

Jon, James, Justin, and Tommy Shire have been REALLY busy planting nearly 400 or more trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, ground covers, herbs and vegetables that had become too root bound in containers, which is almost every plant... Austrian pine, Corkscrew Willows, Ponderosa Pine, Concolor Fir, Blue Spruce, Red Maple, Japanese Maple, Tatarian Maple, Douglas Fir, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, False Indigo, Spirea, Lavender, Sweet Woodruff, Valerian, Hyssop, Hops, Wisteria, Clematis, Succulents, and Boxwood, to name a few. These plants complement the thousands of other plants already in the ground. We've even been experimenting with cold-hardy bamboos, bananas, and palms from NW Palms in South Central Washington. Our long-term goal is to create a huge, lush oasis for humans and wildlife to enjoy. Here in the Palouse hills of Eastern Washington, the only thing to see is rolling hills, abandoned and occupied farmsteads, and dryland fields for as far as the eye can see; so we really are an oasis, but in my mind it's a metaphorical island. Private parks like ours are almost unheard of (and often laughed at by local rednecks) stranding us from other creative and environmental people. After everything that needs to be in the ground is, I will provide an accurate number of plants planted and amount of money that all plants combined would have cost. Both will surely be BIG numbers! Thankfully we were able to keep overhead low, by raising and propagating many plants ourselves and utilizing our exisiting farm equipment.

We will not be operating Oasis Productions Nursery anymore after the collapse of the greenhouse this past winter and the insurance covering everything but snow. We will, however, still have the wholesale nursery license, containers, soils, seeds and propagations for new Friends of The Fresh Idea Farm as a private or members-only nursery/garden. If you are interested in having bareroot plants drop-shipped to your door, we can be of assistance for a price that cannot be beat. Check out Lawyer Nursery on Google for sizes and prices. It is a bit hard to understand, so shoot me your questions if you have any trouble.

Some plants accidentally became specimen plants and have been pruned or trained as bonsai, currently residing on the North Deck. A beautiful, stunted purple Chokecherry, weeping douglas firs (I've never seen this happen before. Maybe we've got the only ones:)), and red osier dogwood. With a few ferns, some bright ornamental grasses, and other flowers, we've made the deck and the areas surrounding look very tropical. I'm going to go take some pics now...
Schierman Agricultural history


Agriculture has been the heartbeat of the Schierman family since before it became a business, when farming meant providing food for immediate family and to barter with and gift neighbors. It is a legacy that goes beyond the job, because even our last name translates to ‘wheat farmer’. Throughout generations fathers and grandfathers have taught about the lay of the land, the struggles of farming, livestock, and the mechanics of the machines. But the most wonderful setting to bond with family and friends has always been in a newly planted field, after a long day of working in the dirt.


The massive Schierman family movement happened several times after first homesteading in a valley along the Palouse River, not far from where Oasis Productions Organics and The Fresh Idea Farm reside today. Many distant relatives still live in the Palouse area, after taking root throughout generations of agricultural life on the rolling hills and the communities they cradle. The first Schierman homestead contained several houses and farms to provide food and comfort to extended family making the trip from Russia. Often, after a few years, a couple ambitious families would move out in search of land of their own to purchase or claim, leaving behind a welcoming and furnished home and a thriving farm for other Schierman family members to begin a new and free life. Even in America, life has its bumps in the road, and many knew the struggles it would entail to create a sustainable space to call their own. From the ripping of the first sections of sod, removing trees and shrubbery, and “picking” rocks; to horse-drawn farming teams, stitching and hoisting grain sacks, dust storms, horse-powered combines, the great depression, cook wagons, floods, world wars, tractors, and finally self-propelled combines. The agricultural world has evolved beyond imagination from the day when a farmer could spend all day plowing his field with a horse-drawn implement, only to spit across his entire days work. Luckily, the mechanical age had its minds on the matter, and invented some of the most intricate contraptions of modern agriculture still evolving today.

With farming, comes hands-on training in welding, woodworking, construction, mechanics, sustainability, food preservation, weather watching, and self-sufficiency. A trait and behavior that can make a man proud to work hard to provide without end, and a metaphorical and physical place to hang his hat or cool trapped feet in a stream. Even more proud he is to be greeted with homemade cooking, organics, and a healthy selection of meats, preserves and fermentations.

We may think life in that time was full of impossibilities and hardships; which, indeed it was. However, we are the ones, now burdened with global climate change, light pollution, urban sprawl, and natural desecration, who must work our way through unforeseen futures in hope of healthier and more enjoyable living. We as a global race must remember and practice the simple ways of our ancestors and their relationship with the earth, and encourage nature’s irreplaceable gifts to flourish in our modern industrial society in hopes of realistic environmental balance.

Ducks minus 7

In the last couple days, half of our ducks got taken from their nest in the cattails, and their eggs all broken but not eaten. Each ducks demise can be seen on the property, as the feathers are sticking to the grass where they were devoured. Only one small webbed foot to be found as evidence that it was them. With only 7 ducks left, and only one female nesting, I pitched a small backpacking tent, and laid sentry near the nest. I'll be camping there until the eggs hatch. I could lay ambush and shoot the coyotes, but I'd rather trap them. Who knows how many long nights would pass before I shot one. If anyone has any large traps, I'd like to borrow them.