About Us
Our Pay Dirt Farm School




2006 Schedule

July 30th – August 5th
August 13th – 19th
September 3rd – 9th
September 17th – 23rd

Cost: $2,950
Farmstay includes 7 nights in one of our rustic wall tents, breakfast included; 5 days of instruction; 5 lunches; 6 dinners; and excursions to surrounding farms and markets. Late afternoons and evenings are free to enjoy as you choose: nap, read from our extensive library, relax by the campfire, or walk the beautiful hills of the Palouse. Courses scheduled during a one-week stay are choosen based on student request. (Airfare not included. However, we'd be happy to meet you at the Lewiston, Idaho, or Pullman, Washington, airport.)

Course Descriptions

Organic Cooking
Instructor: Julie Bell

Learn how to cook easy, healthy meals for friends and family. Start by learning to identify what is in season and utilizing fresh produce. This workshop will teach basic kitchen skills, and you will learn how to make a one-skillet meal. The workshop will also introduce you to our newest product, ChillOver Powder, and show you how to make a delicious new dessert.

Course outline:
· Tour of the gardens
· Identifying produce that is in season
· Learning basic kitchen skills
· Preparing a one-skillet meal
· Preparing a super salad
· Preparing a ChillOver dessert

Organic Gardening

In North America, the average distance that food travels to get from where it is grown to where it is eaten is 1,300 miles. That means the produce in our stores is several days old by the time that you purchase it. Imagine being able to walk out your back door and pick fresh produce to feed your family. In this workshop, we will be addressing how to grow fresh, healthy food for you and your family without the use of harmful pesticides.

Course outline:
· Building your soil
· Tools of the trade
· Tools of the trade

Seed Saving

Seeds may be inexpensive to buy, but they are even cheaper when you save them. The heart of your food is your seeds. You will learn how to harvest and save seeds that are healthy and disease-free.

Course outline:
· How to save different varieties of seeds

Food Preservation
Instructor: Julie Bell

Enjoy the fruits of your labor year-round. You will learn various methods of putting up your produce, such as canning, freezing, and dehydrating. We will also talk about root cellars.

Course outline:
· Overview of techniques
· Canning
· Dehydrating
· Freezing
· Root cellars

Instructor: Sunny Cook

Have you ever felt like there was too much month left at the end of your paycheck? This course will discuss low-cost living, living on your income, and the difficulty of sticking with simple living when the world around us is promoting consumerism.

Course outline:
· Why is simple living not so simple?
· What does “living within your means” actually mean? And how do you accomplish that?
· Setting up a working budget
· What are your goals?

Chopping Firewood

Tackling a brawny job with some female ingenuity. We will introduce you to techniques that will make this chore easier.

Course outline:
· Tool maintenance
· Tools of the trade
· Picking up an axe

Instructor: Brian Westgate

Healthy soil is important to your garden’s health. Composting is an easy, organic way of achieving that goal. This workshop will address different types of composting and the uses of compost.

Course outline:
· Various types of composting
· Uses of compost

Marketing Your Farm
Instructor: MaryJane Butters

Do you feel like your business is standing still? Do you want to know how to reach others with your products? This workshop will address ways that you can promote your farm.

Course outline:
· A private session with MaryJane Butters on how to personalize your marketing

Instructors: Nick Ogle and Brian Westgate

*This course will also be offered as a one-day course and includes lunch and dinner. The cost: $300

Tired of our dependence on foreign fuels? Raising your own fuels may be an alternative. This course will show steps to help you through a fossil fuel withdrawal. You will learn the benefits of biofuels and their by-products.

Course outline:
· What are biofuels?
· Processing of biofuels
· Building a pump
· Biofuels and their by-products

Farm Animals
Instructors: Nick Ogle and Kory Rountree

Are you looking to expand your farm with animals? Some animals are manageable on small plots, and this workshop will address them. You will be able to experience first-hand the joys of farm animals.

Course outline:
· How to start a hive
· Collecting honey
· What does it take to raise chickens?
· The advantages of goats
· Raising cows on a small lot

Building a Wall Tent/Starting a Bed & Breakfast

Value-added products are encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agri-tourism is very popular overseas, and is building up momentum in the United States. Offering a bed and breakfast is a simple way of introducing others to the farming life. We will show you how we started a B&B in wall tents and how you could do the same on any piece of land.

Course outline:
· The basics of a B&B
· How to build a wall tent
· Agri-tourism ideas

Community Gardens
Instructor: Kelly Riley of PCEI

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) is a local organization committed to increasing citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region’s environment through community organizing and education. PCEI’s Community Agriculture program runs our community garden with plots rented by local people. Community gardens help to support family farmers and fulfill local citizens’ food and fiber needs. During this workshop, you will be given a tour of PCEI’s “ranch” and local community gardens.

Course outline:
· Tour of PCEI
· How to set up a community garden

Organic Certification
Instructor: Gabe Gibler

In order to be a certified organic grower, you need to meet certain standards mandated by the state and federal government. This course walks you through the steps of receiving your certification, from the time you decide you want to be certified to the inspection.

Course outline:

· So you want to be certified
· Organic standards
· Record keeping


Greenhouses have been around since 30 A.D., and their appeal has not diminished. This course will address questions you may have about growing produce in a greenhouse year-round and discuss various types of greenhouses.

Course outline:
· History of the greenhouse
· What can you grow in a greenhouse?
· Various types of greenhouses

Tool Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your gardening tools will extend their usefulness and save you a bit of elbow grease.

Course outline:
· Helpful tools
· Tool shed safety
· Proper care of tools—cleaning, oiling, and sharpening

Sustainable Landscaping

Landscaping is more than just a tree or a shrub plopped in the ground. A Money Magazine survey found that landscaping as a home improvement project has a recovery value of 100-200% if the landscaping is well done. But who says that landscaping is just shrubs and flowers? This workshop will introduce you to some great landscaping ideas. A tour of Potting Shed Creations of Troy, Idaho, is also included in the day.

Course outline:
· Assessing what you like
· Different landscaping materials
· Container gardening

Learning to Knit/Crochet
Instructor: Anna Black

Knitting and crocheting is no longer just for grandmothers, they have become the hip activities of all ages. Learn the domestic arts of knitting and crocheting, starting with a tour of an alpaca farm to learn about the production of wool. Followed up with an easy project that you finish at home.

Course outline:
· Tour of Big Meadow Creek Alpaca of Troy
· Learning to knit
· Learning to crochet

Treadle Sewing
Instructor: Anna Black

Let your happy feet help you make a sewing project. Learn to make a simple apron on an old-fashioned treadle machine.

Course outline:
· Machine maintenance
· Getting the rhythm
· Making an apron

Sample Daily Schedule

8:45–9:00 am sign in
9:00–10:00 composting
10:00–10:15 break
10:15–12:00 gardening
12:00–12:15 break
12:15–1:15 lunch
1:15–2:15 hoeing
2:15–3:00 seed saving
3:00–5:30 afternoon rest
5:30–6:30 dinner

8:45–9:00 sign in
9:00–11:00 chopping firewood
11:00–11:15 break
11:15–12:30 budgeting
12:30–1:30 lunch
1:30–5:00 sewing on a treadle machine
5:00–5:30 break
5:30–6:30 dinner

8:45–9:00 sign in
9:00–12:00 canning
12:00–12:15 break
12:15–1:15 lunch
1:15–4:00 freezing/dehydrating
4:00–5:30 break
5:30–6:30 dinner

8:45–9:00 sign in
9:00–4:00 cooking class with lunch
4:00–5:30 break
5:30–7:30 campfire dinner with MaryJanesFarm employees

9:45–10:00 sign in
10:00–11:00 honey bees
11:00–11:15 break
11:15–12:15 chickens
12:15–1:15 lunch
1:15–2:15 cows/goats
2:15–2:30 break
2:30–3:30 research/discussion
3:30–5:30 break
5:30–6:30 dinner

9:00–11:00 farmers’ market
11:00–12:00 lunch in downtown Moscow
12:00–2:00 tour of Moscow
2:00–5:30 break
5:30–6:30 dinner

Read a Pay Dirt Farm School student's Farm Journal from his stay at MaryJanesFarm in July 2003.