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Ruckle Heritage Farm on Salt Spring Island

A Jersey Cow named Alison grazes in a pasture by a barn built in 1935 at Ruckle Heritage Farm.

alison the jersey cow grazing at ruckle heritage farm

Jersey Cow Name Alison Grazes in a field at Ruckle Heritage Farm (Purchase)

In April I was again on Salt Spring Island and was happy to visit Ruckle Provincial Park for the first time without rain! Every other time it has rained on me, and while it is still a beautiful park to visit in the rain, I’d prefer to keep myself and my equipment dry. I took advantage of this opportunity and walked in Ruckle Provincial Park and Ruckle Heritage Farm for around 7 hours. I had no specific photography goals, but I wound up photographing Ruckle Heritage Farm and a lot of new (to me) wildflowers. My intention had not included making a lot of photos of the farm, but with the lack of rain, and some animals out and about, I wound up spending about 45 minutes looking at the various scenes around the farm and Henry Ruckle Farmhouse (built in the 1870’s). The first photograph above is of the David Henry Ruckle Barn (built in 1935) with a Jersey Cow named Alison (according to their website) grazing nearby.

barn and poultry coop at ruckle heritage farm

Barn (1935) and Poultry Barn (1930) at Ruckle Heritage Farm (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

Ruckle Farm was started in 1872 by Henry Ruckle and continues as Ruckle Heritage farm within Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island. The photograph above shows the David Henry Ruckle Barn (built in 1935) which is currently used for machinery and hay storage. The chicken barn on the right was built in 1930 originally as a chicken and sheep shed. It now appears to be used exclusively for the poultry – chickens and turkeys. The Ruckle Farm property was purchased by the Province of British Columbia in 1973 for the creation of Ruckle Provincial Park. A life tenancy agreement was created which gave the family the right to continue to occupy the farm area. The life tenancy agreement expired in 2019 and now BC Parks is responsible for the farm. Mike and Marjorie Lane operate the farm currently and product fresh produce, chickens, turkeys, eggs, lambs, wool, and other products.

a sheep grazing at ruckle heritage farm

A Sheep Grazing in a Pasture (Purchase)

The sheep at Ruckle Heritage Farm certainly seem used to visitors. None have seemed concerned when I photographed them from nearby, and these two below even stuck their heads through a split rail fence. Perhaps they are accustomed to attention from farm guests.

sheep looking through a split rail fence at ruckle heritage farm

Sheep looking through a split rail Fence (Purchase)

This small barn looks to to mostly be used for sheep. While many of the trees from a once large orchard are gone, some Apple trees remain.

sheep barn at ruckle heritage farm

Sheep Barn and the Surviving Fruit Trees of an Old Orchard (Purchase)

This fruit tree in the Ruckle Heritage Farm orchards is covered with what may be Common Witch’s Hair (Alectoria sarmentosa), often referred to as “Old Man’s beard”. Frequently and erroneously referred to as moss, these species are actually a lichen. I’ve seen many trees covered in similar lichen on Salt Spring, it seems rather common.

fruit tree and witchs hair lichen

Common Witch’s Hair (Alectoria sarmentosa) Covers a Fruit Tree (Purchase)

For more photographs from Ruckle Heritage Farm visit the Ruckle Provincial Park gallery.

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