Our Story - Bar M Ranch
Who are we? We are Dave and Christina and we call ourselves 21st century homesteaders. Like many Nova Scotian’s, we graduated from University and headed to Alberta. During our 6 years there, we lived in a tiny Calgary condo, paid off our student debt and built experience in our chosen career fields. In 2010, we felt we needed a change in pace and decided to move back to Dave’s family farm in New Ross, NS. The process was long and complicated, but we’re finally settled. Now, we both work professional careers in Halifax during the day and come home to help work the farm on evenings, weekends and during our vacation time.
The Farm: Our land was settled in 1816 by Charles Fredrick Meister and has been worked in various capacities by six generations of Meisters. The farmhouse was built cira 1845 (2nd generation Meister), was totally renovated in the late 1950s (4th generation Meister) and now, we’re renovating it again. We heat our home with wood harvested from our own land. We’re mindful when buying anything and focus on local, long lasting quality and eco-friendly products. Our home renovations have greatly reduced the resources required to heat it and electricity required to run it. Someday, we would love to incorporate alternative energy to reduce our dependence on the grid.
Currently, we help with the existing beef cattle farm run by Karl Meister (5th generation). We own a registered angus cow named Bessie and we are members of the Canadian Angus Association. We have a small flock of free range laying hens and we raise and butcher our own chickens for meat. We have three large garden plots on the go and grow just about everything included in a traditional garden. We use cold frames, mini poly hoop houses and an unheated greenhouse to extend our seasons. We collect rain water to water our crops during dry spells. We try to produce and preserve as much of our own food as possible. We pressure can, freeze, preserve, freeze and fill our cold cellar with the food we produce. We also pick wild berries and make maple syrup. In our spare time after work, we are able to produce much more fresh produce than we could ever consume ourselves so we sell the surplus to our coworkers in the city. We are hoping to expand our production again this year.
The Farm Name: With the intention to sell more of our produce in 2013, we officially registered our farm business name; Bar M Ranch. In the process of cleaning out one of the outbuildings here on the farm, we discovered a branding iron. We determined that the branding iron was given to Dave’s grandfather many years ago as a gift, from his brother Orin Meister. We used the brand as our logo. The “m” obviously stands for Meister. In the language of cattle brands, “bar” refers to a short horizontal line. A short line above the letter “m” would then be called “bar m”. Although the use of the word “ranch” isn’t common here in NS, we used it to reminisce our western days.