Vigilant Farm is a homestead farm which Scott Hynek and Kathleen DeVore  created from hardscrabble wood land lying between the East Bethel Road and Walker Mountain near Goss Pond.  Their farm is a home for bees, hens, ducks, geese, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, turkeys and emus. It is a living model of recycling, reusing, conservation, organic farming, soil enrichment and self sufficiency.  The farm is named Vigilante Farm.

 

What impressed me the most came as first stop on this tour – a greenhouse and composting building.  With solar heating the greenhouse had hot beds for plants, yesterday there were peppers and broccoli and from there the heated water is piped to a large storage tank in the adjoining compost building. Scott has a control panel to direct the flow of hot water from the greenhouse’s inside roof collectors to the plant beds, the attic, compost piles or the storage tank depending on weather, season and temperature. I was informed that this structure is called the “BTU (British Thermal Unit) barn when in discussion with engineers; otherwise, compost building is OK.

 

The bees I learned can be protected from mites if they are given a sugar coating treatment.  Besides producing honey for home consumption and enhancing homemade bread they can be used for pollinating jobs at the Blake’s and Carter’s farms.

Just beyond the beehives, there is the Bethel Aquaponic (Aquaculture and Hydroponics) Research Facility – which is designed to produce a nutrient strengthened water flow – the same water flow system could also used to raise fingerling rainbow trout. (There would be the possibility of putting the trout that had outgrown the tubs into a pond in the fall to be caught by traditional means the next spring. 

 

The “Research” facility will need another year’s work before it can become operational.

 

  After the research facility, we met the friendly pigs, sheep and goats. Although these fellas are part of the farm resident’s self-sufficiency plan they are also fine pets.  Scott mentioned that the pigs as well as being both good meat and good company are useful. By being fenced into their sloped and wooded area they dig up trash, dig up rocks and help to turn woods into garden or a pasture. And the pigs are quite happy doing this. While I was inside their domain the pigs behaved toward me just like friendly dogs – curious and wanting to sniff me over.

 

Along with these four footed creatures come the hens, geese and ducks but they are more independent. Beyond them are the turkeys and rabbits and beyond the rabbits comes the Emu Park.  While the emus may be the main sightseeing attraction like all other animals raised for food, these creatures have two lean red meat thighs and when fat from an emu carcass is rendered into oil this product is quite valuable and generally sought after.

 

Overall, in terms of growing food though, the most essential part of the farm is the compost building because from it comes the means to turn rocky, sandy soil into fertile plant growing areas.

Vigilante Farm

23 Goss Pond Road

 

Greenhouse and BTU barn

Solar hot water collecting system—

Control panel for directing solar heated warm to various destinations in greenhouse and compost barn

One of the solar heated plant beds in greenhouse.

Composting bins—

Completed compost material ready for adding to planting beds

Rain water collector on compost barn

Vigilante Farm’s friendly pigs and their private watering hole.

Smart goats can lock and unlock barn doors

Recycled  and reused—trees removed from Telstar High School grounds were sawed by Brian Dunham in Greenwood and used to expand the chicken house

Rabbit house at Vigilante Farm

Vigilante Farm

Goss Pond

East Bethel Rd

Emu Park

September 28, 2012

 

Vigilante Farm—Bethel Maine

 

The Bethel Journals

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217

www.thebetheljournals.info

 

Why I started the Vigilante Farm

by Scott Hynek

 

Seven years ago I was having serious problems with my neighbors, and the law could only do so much to address these problems. In order to encourage these neighbors to leave, I began to practice "aggressive agriculture," starting with bees and moving on to goats, chickens, pigs and guinea fowl, all housed smack up against the property line.

 

No one knows if all this bothered the neighbors, but I found myself enjoying the critters, so I added rabbits, turkeys, ducks, geese, emus and a sheep. The goats, geese and sheep are pets, but all the others are food.

Those felonious neighbors did leave, as it happens, and I now have excellent neighbors who seem to enjoy having a farm next door. I enjoy learning about each species and observing their interactions.

 

I'll stop almost anything to give a farm tour, and love to tailor these tours to the audience - toddlers to octogenarians, grew-up-on-a-farm to never-been-out-of-urban-New-Jersey, "I don't want to step on that" to "Can I hug an emu?" Tours can be rated G, PG-13, R or X, as appropriate.