It’s summer on the farm and I must say, I finally feel like we are finding our groove! We’ve got projects galore over here, unfortunately, none of which are finished so there’s no point in showing photos of the half done chicken coop or the fields that still need tilling for the upcoming fall flower planting... but there’s still excitement, nonetheless!
We’ve added two new members to the farm this past week…
Friends, meet Leslie and April, our 2-year-old female goats! These gals are just the beginning of our goat herd and I must say, I am absolutely in LOVE with them! They are super sweet gals. I’ve learned a lot about goats and goat farming in the past few days. Although we had been talking about getting goats for a while now, it was always more of a “someday” dream. However, after seeing these two gals online, I couldn’t help but mention the idea to Dylan. To my surprise, he was up for the adventure and we drove about 5 hours (round trip) to bring them home. Thankfully, goats are pretty simple to care for so the transition has been fairly easy so far. Their basic needs are food, water, shelter and a few other simple tasks that I’ll include in a future blog post! In the coming weeks, we will build them a permanent shelter and fenced pasture. For now, they are on tie outs during the day (which they do very well on), eating the overgrown shrubs and grass, and sleeping in what will be our new chicken coop! That might sound silly, I know, but the new coop is an 8x8x6 roofed structure, so there is plenty of room for the gals to sleep and spend the night.
The timing of all this could not have been more perfect. We finished the corrugated aluminum roofing for the chicken coop the day before we go the “twins” as I refer to them as. Once the goat pasture and house are finished, we will move the twins out there and finish up the chicken coop. Like I said before, Leslie and April are just the beginning of our herd. We plan to get a buck this fall so that we can breed these gals and have some baby goats (kids) running around the farm next spring! Eventually, we will add more goats (whether farm born or bought from other farmers) and raise part of our herd for meat and part for dairy.
Now, about the other things growing on our farm... let's move over to the garden!
Our garden is FINALLY beginning to flourish. I don’t quite know what was different this year, but everything seems to have grown so much slower this year. We’ve harvested radishes, blueberries, and a very sad amount of strawberries. The tomatoes are just starting to show up and everything else is still growing bigger every day. I’ve made notes for the necessary changes for next year, one of those being getting my seeds started earlier in the year (indoors) and sowing seeds outdoors earlier as well! Another change we will make in the garden for next year is to add a few more raised beds and till up more land for crops. We plan to grow more corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, and more varieties from the squash family! The lessons learned from gardening never cease, and I don’t mind one bit!
Lastly, I’ll give you a little update on our chickens…
We are finishing up their new, spacious coop here in the coming weeks! It's an 8x8x6 walk-in coop and will have plenty of space for our growing flock. I'll give you a coop tour once it's finished! I’m excited to have that project checked off our list and have the chickens and turkeys in a larger, covered space! We will also work on improving the chicken run, reinforcing the fencing and there's also talk of expanding the run to make room for future flock members. I think Dylan has realized that's inevitable at this point!
Speaking of turkeys.. the death count has finally halted, and we have successfully kept three out of six turkeys alive and now thriving! Had I known how hard they be to keep alive (FYI turkeys are very dumb), I might not have taken on such an endeavor. Next year, IF we decide to raise turkeys again, we will get at least a dozen chicks. The death rate is much higher in turkeys than that of chickens... so we will be better prepared for next year! These three survivors have grown big quickly, so they’ll be good size by the fall, just in time for butchering before Thanksgiving. Some people ask me if it’s hard to know that we will be butchering them and honestly, it was at first. When they were little, their cuteness definitely didn't help my emotions, but now that they have grown up, my mindset has definitely changed. I still care about them but have found myself caring more about them growing big and strong so that they can provide our families with good meat. In the back of my mind, I know I cannot get attached to them and that’s OKAY! We care about all of our animals, whether we plan to raise them for meat or not. We want them to have happy, healthy lives, enjoy their days and then serve their purpose. We have decided that for our family, we want to know where our food is coming from and what better way to ensure their health than raise and grow the food ourselves?!
Farm life is not for everyone, but it sure is for me! Stay tuned for the adventures ahead!
-The Happy Egg