Our farm journey has been a long journey, that is not even close to being ended. We aren’t actually sure how we got to be four years into our farm journey, it seems just like last August we were talking about if we even wanted to embark on this path, and yet we know we have come along way, and hopefully we will continue learning, growing, and continuing to improve ourselves so that we may help you on your farm journey; whether that is through your own farm, through the meals you prepare and share with your family from our locally raised eggs, and meats, or the flowers that grace your tables, bringing light and sunshine into your home and office.
We know we haven’t been exactly keeping up with our blog, and we are so sorry. Even though we have both had animals, and hobby farming our whole lives, we are still surprised how much time it takes to get everything done! Many of you already know but David and I don’t live on the farm, but rather 15 minutes away, so it is always a scramble going back and forth and it doesn’t help we don’t have the internet at the farm to be able to take a break during the day and log on to post. We really do want to try and do better, so feel free to remind us to take time out to let you all know whats going on.
Last year we hatched over 1500 chicks, ducks, turkeys, quail, guineas, and geese. David ended up loosing count towards the end but he really had the incubators cranking and despite some early troubles with fertility in a few of our breeds he was able to do an amazing job with our hatching. This year with the beautiful mild winter we have already had our first hatch! You may see a few less breeds this year, and yes we decided to not raise a few of our breeds. We keep changing what we want to raise, and more importantly how we want to raise our chickens. We elected to combine a few of our smaller pens into bigger ones so that our birds have more room to move and thrive. By enlarging some of our pens we eliminated the room needed to raise so many breeds. As we continue we hope to be able to build a few more coops so that we can have more breeds but for right now, we are happy that all our hens and roosters are happy and healthy in their enlarged coops. You can see all the breeds we have available under “Our Animals” tab on the home page.
Pasture is always a demand for us, as our main farm only has 5 acres total, and we were so blessed to be able to partner with Peggy & Floyd Zaepfel of Wisdom of Grazing farm to secure summer pasture for our sheep and goats. Peggy and Floyd are raising 100% grass fed beef on their 80 acres in Barker. Currently they are raising Red Poll and red poll crosses a heritage breed on the threatened list of the livestock conservancy They plan on having whole, half, quarters, and cuts, of their grass fed beef available fall of 2017, plan on supporting this local farm and help in their conservation efforts of this beautiful breed.
With the drought we were not able to take the sheep and goats to the pasture until August, but once they were there they loved it. We rotated their pasture with moveable electric fence every three days and used a moveable shade structure of cattle panels and tarps for them. The weather stayed nice enough for everyone to stay on pasture until the middle of November. With how energetic, healthy, little hoof care they needed, and happy everyone was we can’t wait until we can put everyone out to to pasture again this spring, and with the way the weather is it doesn’t seem like it will be very long until the pasture will be green again.
Speaking of all of our sheep and goats, we were so unbelievably fortunate to add a few additional ladies to our herd last year. David and I attended the Orleans County Fair like we do every year, and in the goat barn there were these beautiful big beefy girls, and we started arguing about what breed they were. David insisted they were Boers, and I countered that they were Nubian Boer crosses. Well in my quest to be right I asked one of the woman in the barn helping out what breed they were (I was right!), and it turned out she was the original breeder of the two older ones and we had a good chat about goats, and farming in general. After our talk we moved on to look at the rest of the goats, and I fell in love with these gorgeous angora goats. I really wanted to steal them and load them into my car. David of course was not on board with that and banned me from stealing, and quite literally had to drag me away from them. We enjoyed the rest of fair and go on with life. A month or so later I get a message on Facebook from the woman I had talked to at the fair about the goats, and the family who had those goats were looking for new homes. Now David and I really didn’t need any more goats at all, space was tight already, our plans for having the summer “off” from cleaning pens and buying hay had gone kaplewie with the drought, but what’s a girl to do when faced with big beautiful lovely gorgeous goats???? David said no, so I brought them home anyways. Carmel, Tootsie, Sophia, and Lydia have certainly made their presence known here on the farm, with their beauty but also their amazing personalities. They are very friendly and loved to be petted and fawned over. Caramel did a little hierarchy upset and became our new herd queen simply because none of our current goats could even come close to competing with her draft horse size. Sophia has already kidded a gorgeous energetic doeling we have christianed Dixie Rose. To top it off as I was writing this very blog, we received another call from our “Swamp Goats” former family and they decided to part with their last goat Sweet Pea, a three year old Nubian/Boer doe who is an absolute sweet heart who loves faces scratches.
Going into 2017 we are planning on having at least some regular hours, 1-2 days a week although we may change up the days and times for chick season versus the summer and winter season, keep an eye out for coming information about days and times. We will be providing our beautiful cut flowers again this year starting late June (as long as Mother Earth decides to grace us with some rain this year) Thursday-Saturday (some Sundays depending on the weather) or by pre-order.
For those interested in all of our delicious meats we are happy to announce that we are now offering lamb and goat by the cut. We have been able to find a USDA processor who was willing to take us on and we now have chops, racks of lamb, ground, roasts and more for purchase. We are still offering lamb and goat by the whole or half for those interested in larger quantities for the freezer. This year we will also be providing a limited number of non-GMO whole chicken, in addition to our conventional raised chickens in whole and cuts. For everything we offer and pricing visit our edibles page.
Take advantage of our spring special. For all orders placed before April 1st you will receive 10% off your order. Our special is for whole or half lamb or goat, whole chicken, your Thanksgiving turkey, and whole duck, perfect for Christmas dinner. There are several ways to place your order. Download and fill out our Spring Special Order form and drop it off, email it back, or snail mail. Pay by check, or card. We let you know when your order is ready. Easy! Our delicious pasture raised meats are a healthy choice for you and your family, while your support us your local farmer.
Of course so much more went into last year than this little snippet, but we will be sharing more of our farm and what we have been learning in the weeks to come. We thank you so much for coming out to our farm last year and supporting us, and sharing with us your own farm journeys.