designer, woodworker

Growing up in the country I always had a passion for wood . The smell, touch, and mouldability of it has captured my imagination since my young days when I roamed freely on my family's seaside property and observed my grandfather working with his hands. Woodworking interests lied dormant for a while as I explored other interests like music, graphic arts, and photography. After graduating from the foundations program in Applied Communication Arts at NSCC , I used these skills employed with Barrie and Langille Architects as a designer, photographer and CAD technician for three years. 

On becoming disillusioned with being behind a desk all day I left to apprentice with my wife on an organic farm in Northern Ontario where I had an opportunity to work with my hands at a number of different tasks, including carpentry. Having rambled around Halifax for three years, at the farm I was reminded that a rural life was more to my pace. I immediately felt the fresh air and good nature of neighbours in this kind of open landscape was an ideal for myself and future family.

When I returned home to Halifax, I was hired on by a restoration company and within a couple of years had worked my way up to become the head of the woodshop at Forbes Restoration, a company specializing in Victorian ornamentation, where I created and installed a variety of Victorian pieces, from epic exterior bracketry to shelving units to doors and some contemporary furniture pieces. Working with Forbes tuned my design abilities and helped to marry my other skills in drafting and communication arts with my growing passion - artisnal woodcraft. 

During my time with Forbes, I felt a growing connection to trees and would contemplate the origins of the wood being used, wishing I could be involved at the earlier stages of its selection to ensure both the trees and resulting wood were harvested with respect.  I also imagined great satisfaction from handling wood at its harvest and taking it from the raw material to finished product

After three contented years there, it was time for me to marry other facets of my being (nature, ecomindedness, spirituality, and gardening) with my woodwork

I became aware of an opportunity in the woodshop at Windhorse Farm. Attracted by its story of sustainable forestry, and forward thinking ethics, I applied, and became the wood shop manager and resident woodworker there. I have been honing my skills as both a woodworker and designer there ever since and my dream of involvement in the earlier stages of lumber harvest and milling has been realized.

To demonstrate our commitment to responsible forest management we are  Forest Stewardship Council ® certified FSC® C015739 & FSC® C017717 and are members of the Acadian Forest Keepers.

To demonstrate our commitment to responsible forest management we are Forest Stewardship Council® certified FSC® C015739 & FSC® C017717 and are members of the Acadian Forest Keepers.


Caring for the Land

Windhorse Farm is right in the heart of the Acadian Forest, one of six endangered forests of North America. Although the entire region has been severely abused over the past few hundred years there remain a few remnants of mature, fully functioning Acadian Forest. Windhorse Farm is one such place. Settled in 1840 by the Wentzell family, the woodlot has been harvested each year for the last 170 years yet has the same volume of standing timber today as it had when the first axe bit wood in 1840. It is, in fact, the longest standing example of forest sustainability in Canada.





Jim established Windhorse Farm with his wife Margaret, over 20 years ago. Jim holds a Masters Degree in Forest Ecology and has been involved in commercial forest management for over 40 years. He has written extensively on sustainable forestry issues and taught contemplative forestry and natural landscape management throughout North America.