© Susan Jennifer Robson 2015
I was raised in various cities throughout England. I have a B.Sc. in Physics, with Electrical Engineering subsidiary, from Birmingham University, England. I started out my working life as a computer programmer, way back in the days of the dinosaurs, moved to Canada and then changed my profession to become a realtor for 12 years so I could spend more time with my young children. When I left real estate, I became a private Math and physics tutor for high school students. In 1995 I took a course in Interior Design at a University College on Vancouver Island, where at least one day a week was spent drafting by hand.
But all my life I had wanted to have a farm. As a child we had a holiday cottage on a farm in Herefordshire, and that was where the rot set in. I started yearning for a farm.
In 1993 I bought 15 acres of raw land on Vancouver Island. It was covered with skinny alders with no space between the trees to even park my truck. Some weekends, my son, James, helped me clear out the old logging roads. We used machetes instead of chain saws - it was so quiet, with just the hack, hack, hack, hack.....crash! breaking the silence. Three years later, James graduated from his High School where we lived and went off to University in Toronto. I left our old home and moved into a mobile home which I had already set up on the property.
27th March 1997 was a very memorable day. My 200 day-old chicks and 3 behemoth pigs all unfortunately arrived on the same day. It was somewhat overwhelming, never having raised either chicks or pigs in my life, but it was also exhilarating and the beginning of my new life as a hobby farmer.
I wanted to clear some of the land with my pigs, so they needed a pigsty. I had been renovating my own houses each time I moved, so I had learned framing and other necessary evils over a long period of time. I also needed outbuildings, such as a woodshed and well house, and the chickens needed a home. I experimented with different layouts inside my barn, which was an old logger's bunkhouse that I had moved onto the property. I finally found a layout which worked well for my small number of pet hens, while the chickens that I was raising to sell lived in another part of the barn. I had quickly tired of washing the eggs from 200 hens every day, and began raising up to 300 day-old chicks every 5 months, which I then sold as ready-to-lay hens.
The design of little red chicken coop in my book "Chicken Coop for 6 hens, S. J. Robson's Woodworking plans Volume 1" is based on the coop layout for my pet birds.
Once I was established on my farm, I began designing small things made out of cedar fence boards, which either my daughter or I needed for our gardens. I was already going to the market on a Saturday to sell the few eggs from my pet hens along with my 2 books "How to Raise Day-old Chicks in Your Back Yard" and "Chicken Coop for 6 Hens, S.J. Robson's Woodworking plans - Volume 1", so I began making my garden creations to sell there too.
I have taken up photography in the last few years and have masses of photos, so once I have finished writing my book of stories about the animals on my farm, which I have called "Pig Tales and Other Stories", I will be making some wildlife books for children using my photos, which will eventually find their way into the e-book market, but that will be a while yet.