Over the years I have enjoyed seeing Pat and Diane Walker of Christmas Road Farm at the Sechelt and Roberts Creek Farmers Markets. In early August I had the pleasure of touring their ten acre farm to interview them and photograph their flock of sheep as a new wool source for the Fibreshed program.
Pat and Diane Walker at their sheep shed with Bailey, their 5 month old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross pup.
In 1976 Pat and Diane purchased their bare land homestead which had previously been clear cut. Over the last 38 years they have put in hand-laid stone foundations on which to build their warm and cozy home and all the out buildings – a true labour of love and immense hard work. Their farm now has a large one acre market garden, a greenhouse area, six Black Faced Suffolk sheep plus one lovely “black sheep” named Mocha, seventy chickens and five turkeys- all in their respective housing and penned areas.
Pat feeds the sheep while Mocha and Bailey question, “Who’s boss?”
The rest of the ladies and the spring lambs
The feathered flock
The Walker’s work very hard at tending their gardens and livestock to offer our community fine produce, eggs, handmade articles and their special Big Leaf Maple Syrup which they sell in February and March – a true local treasure.
Mocha (the alpha female)
Mocha’s newly shorn fleece
While Pat and Diane’s sheep are a meat breed, their fleece can be used for quilt batting, felting and for spinning into carpet yarn and warp. They have just been sheared by Pat and soon they will have batts of their carded fleece available at their Farmers Market stands. Raw fleece is now available.
“Three Bags Full” of newly shorn white fleece
So next time you go to the Farmer’s Market take the time to stop by and meet them, buy a cup of their fresh brewed coffee and talk fibre. Support this hard working family bringing great food and local fibre to our community.
Words and Photos by Deanna Pilling