There comes a time in (almost) every goat farmer’s life where you need to bite the bullet, dive in head first… and buy a buck. After three years of owning goats and two seasons of borrowing bucks from friends’ herds, it was time for us to go shopping for our own leading man. It’s a big deal! A buck is half of your herd! I really didn’t want to screw the pooch on this one. So I did my research, gave it a really good thought, did some math (!!!!), then did more research and more planning. But then it came time to go shopping for our buck. Two weeks ago, we brought him home. His name is Humphrey Bogart (Bogey), our first leading man, and he’s amazing. Let me introduce you to him and walk you through the process of buying our first buck.
Kidding season is almost here! We have three girls due beginning-middle April. This year will be our second season kidding and milking. I miss the anticipation of kidding. I miss the smell of fresh goat kids (they smell like vanilla milk). But most of all, I miss milking! It’s my favorite “chore” around the farm. I also miss opening up the fridge to see a shelf full of fresh milk. But mostly, milking is the shiz. I put in my headphones, listen to a podcast or audiobook and head out to the barn to see my girls patiently waiting for me. One by one, they walk up to the milk stand and I get to spend lots of personal one-on-one time with each of my girls. My cold hands on their warm udders, the sound of their breathing and ruminating bellies next to my cheek. Then marching out of the barn with a pail full of liquid gold. It’s like carrying a trophy back into the house every morning. I am the milk maid victor!! But there’s a lot more that goes into milking. Cleanliness, feed control, blah blah blah that you don’t always hear about when you’re getting ready for milking for the first time. So today, I’m going to fill you in on my all natural milking supplies that I use for my girls. First of all, I like raising my goats as naturally as possible. Meaning, I give them herbal dewormers and tinctures when they need medicine as a preventative and treatment. If those don’t work or something serious happens, I go ahead and use regular medicine. When they’re in milk and I’m milking them, everything that happens from start to finish is all natural as possible. After all, you are what your milk… consumes. That doesn’t really apply. But when milking, I like to use as few chemicals as possible to ensure the best possible, farm fresh, most delicious, all natural goat’s milk as possible. So let’s start from the beginning.
We’re proud to announce that we now have Iowa Swabian Hall pork available for private sales! Read on for more information and how to order your custom, heritage breed pork!
This summer has been hectic. I know that I say that almost every single blog post, but it’s true. The summer has been crazy. The farm has been crazy. It’s always crazy. It’s a farm. We’ve had some huge projects going on this summer including the expansion of our rotational grazing pig pastures, a big ribbon gutter concrete pour over our driveway and the installation of our energy free irrigation system, just to name a few. Alongside those projects, we’ve had the weirdest summer weather ever. It rained the entire first half of the year, leaving our garden wet and confused… like spectators at a Gallagher comedy show. We (well… I) said a tearful goodbye to a few animals on the farm that crossed the rainbow bridge before their time. That was the most awful part of the summer. I can start the garden over again next year but I won’t be able to get our beloved animals back. I cursed Mother Nature and the farm for my pain. I was mad. But again, that’s farming. After I dried my eyes, I realized that there was still a beacon of hope… rather, a bacon of hope. Last week, we had five sows deliver 48 beautiful baby piglets. One of those mommas was my good friend, Amy Swinehouse. So this blog post is an open letter of thanks and gratitude to her.
We were so excited to have Strange Donuts visit our farm to shoot an episode for their first season of Strange Louis!
This past weekend marked four years since we moved to the farm. Not four years since we’ve been farming, because that first year was a lot of cleaning and moving. And honestly, we didn’t know what we were doing. But four years ago we started this weird journey. I remember sitting down by our creek and in our new house full of old people furniture from the previous owners and dreaming of what our life would be like in the future. We moved out here with the goal to be homesteaders; have a few chickens for eggs, a garden, maybe some livestock. Over the past four years we learned a lot, quit our jobs, started a business, expanded our garden three times, currently care for 100+ animals and met some pretty incredible people. We had some of those incredible people out at our farm this past Sunday to help us fill our freezer with delicious, heritage breed pork that we raised ourselves. In short, it was the best day ever. Oh, besides our wedding. Whew. That was a close one.