Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wonderful (what is it?)

I call it Wonderful but anyone know what this is really called? I want another one.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Garden update

Sunday the Percherons came back to disc and level the field. I had never thought getting virgin dirt ready for seeds would be quite so much work. The Bahia grass was like an impenetrable force field weaving ridiculously spindly vines that acted like they were made of steel. Six weeks from the first discing, three trips from draft horses, talk of a burn, and finally the finishing touches with a tractor and we have a garden field.

It's still not perfect. I still have to go through every row with a hand cultivator/mini-hoe thing and manually chop out the thick winding roots that run deep and muck up my garden beds. I can't even explain this tool but it is now on my list of Things-I-Can-Never-Live-Without. I'll have to take a photo, maybe someone can give it a name other than "Wonderful".

Then we started dropping posts to run fence along the perimeter. The old school Percheron owning farmer tilted the corners of his moustached mouth ever so slightly when I professed the desire to contain my plants. His seventy-seven years of gardens needed no barriers. I'm the new kid on the block. Sometimes I wonder if I glow green in the presence of these Farming Gods.

I have no shame siphoning information off anyone that cares to respond to what I'm sure are assinine questions. The quietness I usually encounter after my mouth closes I'm not all together certain isn't their self control reining in a laugh or serious contemplation. Perhaps they're wondering when I'll leave, taking a mental bet on the month farming will break me. I'll bet they think "August.". Heaven and Hell both know I'm not looking forward to that month.

But I'm not leaving. I can laugh at myself and my questions. And I'll ask them anyway.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Deconstructing and rebuilding a life

The farther and farther I dive into an agrarian life, the more things appear in simple, majestic form. I marvel over new ways to do things I've never imagined possible. Even if those new things are actually really old.

I feel like a child more times than not. Impressed with discovery and hungry for learning. Sometimes embarassed with my ignorance but not prideful enough to discredit another train of thought. The curious in me needs to debunk what the world has served to me in truths, spoon fed me at times, and batter it all with the seasoning of "why?"s.

The need for power in its many forms has hindered my ability to believe in my own capacity. I cannot because someone smarter, richer, cleverer than I am has told me this is true. You cannot live without electricity. You cannot live without a 9-5. You can't be smart unless you go to school. And so many other things have been told to me without being said out right. But I have seen people do this and more. So much more.

Even things as mundane as toothpaste I look at through a new spectrum of light. I've learned what is in commercial toothpastes. I have learned to make my own. Something that had once only been accepted in my life with a name brand and a fancy box, I am now astounded by with the ease of relying on myself to create. And it doesn't stop there.

The more I learn the more I want to learn. The more societal and material things I want to deconstruct. Break down into everyday parts I can reassemble for my needs. The more things I can learn to live without.

One thing I have realized is that once you learn something it can never be unlearned. It can be ignored, true, but I think the knowledge still looms in the background. A haunting mass of shadows. You can only fool yourself so long and so much. Sometimes I learn something and change only to learn even more and have to change that same thing once again. I feel like even when I get to the grass roots of the issue, I then learn there are problems with the dirt underneath until everything needs to get uprooted and we start again brand new.

Its not an easy way to live; completely out of sorts with an honest reality. Finding a footing only to be off-balanced yet again. But it is what I choose -living in knowledge and truth and the constant persuit of both- and I need to remind myself of that everyday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Farm Girl's Best Accessory

If Cordi and Emmy are outside they will have chickens in their arms.

At first I objected to their constant handling of the chickens.

But they are careful and gentle and listen for the chickens when they cluck to get down.

It has definately helped make the chickens calmer and friendlier.

And they don't exclude the two month old chickens either. Which is wonderful, perhaps they can tame one of the boys we have applying for the Rooster position.

Well, one can hope. Either way, the chickens are getting luved up. Which, I think, makes the eggs just a bit tastier.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My new obsession

I'm trying hard not to let the news of no sheep or goats pull me down too far. There are still a lot of things we can do and we need to focus and concentrate on the positives. One thing we definately, positively, 100% can have is chickens.

Right now, the small A-frame coop houses the three oldest birds. I built that awesome new coop and they hate it. They're like the cool girls in school that hang out by themselves and whisper about you when they know you're looking. They look down on it like it's the chess club and they're the top of the pyramid at football games. They don't like being in there with the little chickens.  They steal the little ones food and scare them off from the scraps because cool girls don't eat with loosers. They make eggs, gawddamn it. They're the Phi Beta's of my barnyard and everyone else is in on scholarship.

I like totally love them.

I haven't grow attached to the new bunch of chickens from Christmas mainly because I'm still heart scarred from butchering Coco and the majority of that batch are going to the pot. Soon. I was adamant the kids didn't name any of them. After the one that got murdered by that mangy neighbor dog, we're down to 8 out of 13 that are definately roasting material. The remaining 5 are so alike that I've started referring to them as 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and so on. They're nearly identical and the Borg identifiers aren't even bird specific, I just make sure there is a total of 5 of 5 at lights out.

Since I have so so many Americaunas (the three big girls plus the five little Borgs) I am desperate to mix it up. The hatchery websites charge just about what I'd buy in birds for shipping making a $35 order nearer to $75. That's a little rich for my blood. Searching CraigsList I found some of the more interesting breeds available from a feed store. I packed up the kids this morning and we headed out to buy some birds.

I went a little overboard. I have twelve new babies brooding in the barn bringing our current total of birds up to 28.

Silver Laced Wyandotte (this is my favorite, so far.)

 Black Australorp (Can I have 2 favorites?)

Buff Orpington (ok so, three?)

Rhode Island Red (Classic. But not my favorite)

I also grabbed (cause, why the heck not?) two Black Sex Links or Rock Reds since those are a hybrid and are sexed by their color. Which is slightly creepy but they're definately pullets and we don't need more she's-a-he surprises. Now the naming begins! Should we go with theme names or just let the kids pick silly ones like the peeping chick they want to name "Noisy"?*

*the kids get to name everything so don't feel too badly for them.

Fighting amongst ourselves

The word on the computerized street is that a fairly well known group of individuals out of California has decided that they own the terms "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading". This would be the Dervaes family that own and operate Path to Freedom Urban Homestead. I won't link them here, I don't want to help line their coffiers. In the course of their ten plus years of homesteading in the city they have had a good bit of success with an online store, local sales, and a movie.

They helped take what some of us city dwellers longed for and made it successful and recognized.

But they didn't create it out of thin air.

Urban homesteading is something that has been around a long time (remember Victory Gardens?). It is a movement, a state of mind, an action, intellectual property if you will. Yet, somehow the Dervaes trademarked the terms last October. The reason for all the current fuss is that they are now implementing their dominion on what so many of us use in everyday talk. They reason that they did this is because they have seen the terms slug fast and loose from the hips of Big Business, taking the virginity of them and defiling it so that the words loose their meaning. They become green washed, useless. Much like the terms "organic" and "natural".

I don't question that. I think that is a fine motive. But when actions become inconsistent with motive I start getting a queasy feeling in my stomach. My bullshit meter goes off and I have to step back and analyze that which I had once believed in. The first tingle something was amiss for me was when they wrote a blog post about agreeing to host a reality TV show and -while I appreciate the honesty- said it was only for the money. Their current trademarking actions of having Facebook shut down pages that use the terms is ridiculous. Their letters to non-profits telling them they have to cite the Dervaes whenever they use the terms is appaling. They use the excuse that when the world thinks "Urban Homestead" they immediately think "Dervaes" is egotistical and their drive to make the world cite or link to them when using terms that have been around for generations is nothing short of money-grubbing.

It's not so much owning them, it's what they're doing with it that is the issue.

According to them, every time I write URBAN HOMESTEAD® (it has to be written just like that) here on this very little known blog, I have to also say something somewhere near these words that this belongs to the Dervaes.  So, if I wanted to write about my friend's URBAN HOMESTEAD® I'd also have to tell you somewhere near the text that the Dervaes own those words. If I wanted to talk about my grandma who had a URBAN HOMESTEAD® back in the 1930's to help alliviate the food consuption of her children and her kids worked in her URBAN HOMESTEAD® over the summer and her URBAN HOMESTEADING® inspired her neighbor to start her own URBAN HOMESTEAD® as well as her daughter having a successful farmer's market stand because of her own URBAN HOMESTEAD® I would have to tell you that the Dervaes own those words even though my grandma did this all before they were born. *this is a fictitious story about my grandma to prove a point, she had a rural homestead.

Their website states this "In addition, more and more people began to use the term for profit..." but isn't that what they're doing? (besides mucking up my blog with all caps)

Currently, they have removed their own Facebook pages after being inundated with (mostly) politely asked questions about their motives. Their blog posts and twitter feed are defensive. They have issued a sort-of response on their website which basically just gives a copy of the letter they sent out but they have blocked any comments. There is now a Facebook group to take the terms back, bloggers -like me- are responding with their own feelings, and online editorials are being written. Before their personal and business pages were pulled people en masse were writing their objections, vowing to end support of the homesteaders both financially and socially. Their "like" numbers were dropping by the hundreds. All while, the Dervaes are pulling out of the spotlight, hopefully to regroup and apologize.

It's bad enough that we have to fight the government and big businesses to live simpler lives, have food that is healthy, and fulfill the dreams and desires we're being called upon to live out, but do we really need to fight amongst ourselves?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Sheep.

Yep, no sheep are allowed either.

I feel like I'm in Bizzar-o country.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


The neighbor's 2 dogs escaped this morning and in front of Rob who was shouting and spraying it with water and the owner calling them, one of the dogs took off with one of the 2 month old Rhode Island Red rooster chicks I had bought myself for Christmas in it's mouth.

Why do I feel like I should be singing this to a country tune? 

The irony was that it was the husband of the neighbor that told me Monday we couldn't keep the goats. Rob -in his frustrated anger and not knowing it was that neighbor- commented about us having to get rid of baby goats yet dogs that are causing harm are allowed.

The dogs took off with their bounty. The neighbor followed after them. Then he came back a few minutes later cradling a half dead baby rooster in his arms. He's offered to pay for it but it's the principle of the thing. It's another nail our confining coffin of country life. The wee rooster is in a clean nest under the heat lamp with water near the tip of his beak. He won't stand and won't drink after a couple hours resting. I have little hope for the poor thing. Even if he was destined at a later date to become dinner, he still shouldn't have to suffer being mangled by a beast twenty times it's size. He should have had another half a year at least and gone out with a quick humane death. I'm seeing what happens in the next few hours. It breaks my heart but we may have to put him down.

Now we have to invest hundreds into fencing for the chickens now that the dogs know where the fast food drive thru is unless we're ready to accept more chicken losses.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Paper Work

I've come to the conclusion that in order to succeed we need to have a written plan. So far we've just been moseying along taking projects as we will and as our whims dictate. That works well for small ideas in a small area for personal use. A hundred square feet of garden doesn't translate well into ten acres of working farm.

We've been talking through the ideas we have for the farm, how we want to proceed, what we'd like to ultimately have and how we're going to get there. For seven people on one tight budget there's no way we'll be able to fund this thing 100% on our own like we wanted. Not if we're striving for creating an actual business out of the deal.

But more on that in a later post.

I realize that having a written goal and dream is going to be beneficial. As those whimmy projects come our way we can sit back and decide if they work for our overall goals or just passing fancies which can help us determine the amount of time and money we want to invest.

We need to discover what it is we want and write it down on paper. Create tangiblilty in ink before flesh. Something we haven't done before. I like planning, I don't mind making lists and crunching numbers but I like far better the actual doing of things. Like before I even got pregnant with my first child I had an Excel spreadsheet of items needed, quantities needed, estimated prices, actual paid price, actual quantities on hand and totals of the lot. I had what would be the nursery closet stuffed full of diapers, clothes to two years, tubs, wipes, shoes, sheets, diaper bags and various other gender-non-specific items before I had even got two pink lines on the stick. Yeah, I'm that kind of Virgo.

A few people have mentioned stepping back and slowing down which actually physically hurts. It's been nearly three years since we decided to have a farm, two years since we decided the location and bought the land, a year since having rabbits, six months since the chickens. I'm not sure how much slower we can go, at this rate now we'll be nearing retirement before we're anywhere near the picture we have in our heads.

I think writing it out, spending at least a few weeks tumbling ideas and figures and possibilities will help take this rugged rock that is our hopes and dreams and polish it up to a shining, smooth gem. At least, that's the plan.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rural Decay

There is an silent epidemic happening all across the country here in the US. A corruption that is moving through the land, oozing out of the traffic-ridden cities. The illness of urban sprawl. Rural decay.

When I lived in the city I dreamed of country life. It seemed so apart from what and where we were that in my mind there was a demarcation line between City and County. A thick band that was tangible, that separated here from there, now from then. Farms and farmers were completely seperate entities, a club to join, a specific place in the world. I know, it sounds silly but that was how removed from the process I really was.

The two co-exist, are sybiant really. There can't be one without the other. Without farms there could be no produce consuming cities, without cities there would be no reason for farms to produce. I understand that now. It seems the city still doesn't though.

All this week I have been hunting for Agriculturally zoned property in Florida. Around the entire country actually. Some place that we can develop our farm, legally have it a business if we so choose, raise the animals we prefer and not have to worry about someone iwith more clout coming along and telling us "No" because they didn't invision goats as neighbors in their retirement.

It's been a depressing and unfruitful search.

The reality is that farmland is being gobbled up. As farmer's die, retire, go broke, with no one to pick up in their stead, their hundreds of acres of what was once a nourishing, food producing farm are sold and parcelled off in huge tracts with restrictions forbidding the soil to be reborn to farming. Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin. Just to name a few.

Our country's heritage is being infected. The country's future is being threatened.

While stumbling around the internet in my fog of depression earlier this week, I tripped on an organization that fights to keep Farmland farming. The American Farmland Trust is established for just this purpose. Their motto "No Farms No Food" has resonated with me. I ordered a bumper sticker.

The increasingly overbearing regulations and restrictions the government has been pushing down on the American people regarding food production and sales won't matter soon as all the workable land will be sacrificed for country estates. The United States will become a negative food import country, much like Egypt and we all know how that's working out over there.

Without Farms there is no Food, it's simple math, really, that should scare everyone that thinks about it.

The new hype on urban farming is wonderful but growing enough food in our ever increasing society has got to come from a larger source. I completely think everyone on every block should have at least one house that grows at least some of it's own food, sell, trade or gift that food to neighbors, have children grow something in pots on the windowsill, revive a vacant plot with a small communitiy garden. People need to learn how to organically grow their own food to relieve some of the pressure of importing (even from different states) and other environmental impacts. I wouldn't mind heading to the city and teaching a group of people how to grow their own tomato plant.

Actually, teaching is one of the things I'm passionate to do on my farm. I want to have "Farm Weekends". For a small fee individuals and families can visit our farm for a two day weekend of workshops. Each weekend centering around a certain goal, task or product. A dairy weekend; a wool weekend; a harvest weekend and so many other future ones are floating around my head. Car loads of gownups and children spending forty-eight hours submerged in learning and loving. Bonfires crackling on Harvest Weekend while a couple of dirt smeared guys hammer out a tune as kids dance in the firelight their faces brighter than the flames. The last of the hard squash lining up in baskets behind them the cooling air hardening them off for winter storage. The smell of roasting chicken mingling with fresh bread and wood ash. Women gathered in the kitchen pureeing pumpkin for a pie, the sunshine from earlier in the day spicing the tender flesh. Finishing touches on the baskets of produce, eggs and meat packed up for them to take back to the city. Nourishing memories they'll consume after a stressfilled work day. Seeds of change germinating as callouses disappear from their hands.

But without land it will never happen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

digging out.

So far, all this week I've accomplished is feeling depressed and searching for things on the internet that might help. Regardless to say, this hasn't been a productive week. I'm happy to just get myself dressed in the morning and feed the kids three squar-ish times a day. We haven't made any decisions about very much of anything. The waiting and not knowing is killing me. I'm a Virgo. I like to have a plan.

Cold frame built from the left over chicken coop roof.

I'm trying to focus on the things we can do. The baby rabbits that should come in a month. A cow is back on the idea board. The wet weather has made it impossible for the draft horse team to come back to plow. My skin is itching to get seeds in the ground. Patience is not my virtue.

Inside the cold frame.

I messed up earlier this week and left the plastic box with all my seeds in it outside overnight and it rained. I woke up to 1/4" of water lining the bottom of the box and seed packets so drenched they disintegrated when I tried to carefully peel them apart. It rained for nearly 15 hours straight. Heavy, fat drops more like a high-pressure bathroom shower than a rain storm. I saved as much as I could, which frankly wasn't very much at all. So perhaps not having the garden ready doesn't really matter as now I have to replace over 150 seed packets before I can even start.

All gone. Sorry, Jessica who gifted me with the "Mystery" seeds and a few others.

The baby goats have a new home we'll be taking them to tomorrow, now to break it to the kids. Today was Farmer's Market day but the roads are flooded out with yet another rain storm.  I'm getting a little tired of all this percipitation when I have very little need of it right now. So, back to forcing myself to be happy in the moment, be grateful for what I have, thankful for what problems I don't.

Hey, maybe we'll get a rainbow later. Who knows?

Things I do have.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yet more disappointments

I'm getting to a point right now that I wonder if we'll ever truly be able to create the farm we want. I've been sitting on the edge of tears since yesterday. Yeah, I suppose you could say I'm getting negative. Depressed. Heart sore.

I know the saying that something worth doing is going to be hard. But good Lord, I'm not sure if this is what is happening or if the Universe in general is telling me I'm on a fool's errand. Perhaps we just should have stayed put and shoved our dreams into a back city alley. Perhaps we reached too far. Our eyes focused too far past what should have been our goal. Perhaps we should have been happy in the moment instead of hoping for something that we didn't have.

Whatever it is, my spirit feels like it's been trod upon. A lot.

I'm not opposed to hard work. I don't mind sweat or dirt. I breathe through injury and am not afraid to try something. I tackle projects with greatest intent even when lacking proper skill. I like power tools and books. I read about what I can't yet do. I want to take what I learn and bring it to those that can never do or don't want to. Show the world that good food can be raised, animals treated well, things can be done differently. Maybe, even a little better. I want to be the steward of a little piece of dirt. Rear children that will do the same someday.

Why is that so hard?

We had come to the conclusion that we might stay here a second year, we had planned to move the shipping container over and give ourselves a little extra time to figure out what do to on the land since our options are so limited. But that's scrapped now.

I feel that time is going by and we think we know what we're going to do even just a few months from any given point only to have it crash down around us. Time wasted, ideas tossed away, hope crushed. See, there's that depression again.

So, we're at a crossroads yet again. The land we own is deed restricted, as is here. What if we develop it and a few years down the road those residents decide to join together and actively work to not live beside a farm? What would we do then? Since it had happened here why couldn't it there? It's not zoned for Ag. There aren't any other farms around. Even if they decided they just don't like goats -as was the situation for this development- and told us after we had aquired and loved and nutured a small herd that we'd have to get rid of them we'd be crushed emotionally and possibly financially. We can't afford to have that happen.

Now the questions arise. Do we stay? We've said we're not staying a second year here which has my mind already twisting with moving dates that will fall just after Autumn harvest. All that work will be scrapped. Or do we? Since we're allowed cows perhaps we should just get one of those. Hope that raw cow's milk will be okay for Max and stay here continuing to work on the 5 acres that might not be welcoming to a working farm.

Or do we go completely? Look out of state for land with less restrictions, a place to be, go back to our original idea of living in a camper while we build from scratch. Where would we go? Where is there in the World that welcomes our ideas and hopes and dreams? That won't pry in with harsh regulations and nosy neighbors and fight us tooth and bone for what we want?

All I know is today I'm tired and weary and want to go over the edge and let the tears fall.

Monday, February 7, 2011

No goats.

I just talked to a neighbor that informed me the homeowners association voted against goats. We have to find new homes for Felicity and Buttercup ASAP. If you know anyone in the Gainesville, FL area that would like two beautiful little goats please send them my way.

I'm going to go be sick now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Climbing me looking for dinner.

Friday marked the week's end for us. The kids and I ran into town for goat hay and ten pounds of raw wool. The wool will be cleaned and blended with Angora into roving and yarn. I can't wait to offer it for sale in our Etsy store. Rabbit wool from my own bunnies, Sheep wool from a neighbor raising an endangered breed and a small family mill in my state. I've raised the bunnies from babies. I know the shepherd. I've shook hands with the sheep. I'll drop it off in person; discuss with the owner the best methods and blendings in the spring.

It feels good to support local. It feels even better to be part of the process.

My friend and her family came that night for a weekend visit. I'm not used to hosting overnighters as my previous house wasn't size accomodating. They've bought land just down the street and plan to start a self-sufficient farm like us. Nine kids and four adults somehow fit in for two nights without fighting. The first night, excitement was riding the kids, like the eve before a holiday but so much more because it bounced between them all and back again.

Saturday they awoke with much more energy than the parents, siphoned from some magical place inacessable to grown-ups. I wish I had a tenth of that bottled. I'd be rich. Or at least not quite so tired. After some errands, we started putting up the fence around the pasture. This was built for a horse farm with a beautiful wood slat fence running the perimeter. A beautiful fence that goats would walk right through. My shoulders and arms feel leadened. Tired. Old.

In two days we ran wire fence between the posts, anchoring in between for a little extra goat resisance, pounding in three-quarter inch staples by hand across some two hundred plus feet and four feet up. We'll need another 330 foot roll plus a good chunk of a third before it's ready for the animals. We hadn't even had to sink the posts since the pasture was already there, I can't imagine setting that up from scratch. PX90 has nothing on farm work.

I decided today was the day for breeding the rabbits. At breakfast Duncan got a mate. The weather has been stable with warm days and cool nights. I think the last of the frosts is behind us even if the almanac warns into March. Florida hates the cold and shrugs it off like a thick coat as quick as it can in lieu of flip flops and mosquito repellant. I'm hoping when Flora builds her nest there won't be any question further question of cold. This will be our first litter even though we've owned rabbits for over a year. Today was the first time I thought of kits and had no doubts. Sometimes you have doubts or worries and surge on through, other times you just sit and wait them out.

If all goes well, come May we'll have fluffy white baby rabbits for sale.

The rabbit area and chicken coops got mucked out and spread on the garden. Tomorrow Blake is coming back over to finish the tilling with his horses. I'm trying hard to hide my giddiness behind the stoic expression of something more than a novice. I don't think it's working very well. Then the post pounding starts. More wire will get stretched; rabbit-proof fencing this time. I have sprouts starting green life in yogurt cups, lettuce and strawberries from the farmer's market waiting for more room to spread their roots. Even more seeds are on the way. Tri-colored pole beans, strawberry popcorn and turnips, buckwheat cover crop, white radishes and heritage lettuce. The garden will be a wonderland by June.

Leeloo went off-leash for the first time today. I'm marvelling at how well her training has turned out over the course of just one short week. She sat, she came, she played. Tonight, we went out together off-leash again without a hitch. She's like a new dog. Even if she did gnaw the corner off the guest's sheet. I suppose we can't all be perfect.

Tonight I'm ending on a high note. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, I ache worse than the time I stupidly signed up for a personal trainer at Bally's. The house is a mess and the list of things to do didn't really go down at all regardless of the near endless work of three days. But I'm pleased.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Poor Practice

I've been searching for some older does so we can start milk productions sooner than next spring. I love my little does but the grocery bill needs a break. When I was searching for the two I initially bought in December I came across a dairy farm that had advertised "bottle babies" for $45. After many days of back and forth emails I had decided to come out to the farm which I mentioned in my email and all of a sudden the reply stated that those $45 babies were sold two days ago and now the only ones left were $125 and up.

But I'd love them anyway so come on over. With cash.

I was disappointed in the bait and switch. Why didn't she mention this in all the prior emails? I wrote them off and continued searching. I found a great goat farm just a block over with the same kind of bottle babies at the same price. All wasn't lost. Buttercup and Felicity are happy little kids in our barn.

Well, I realized now that waiting until next spring isn't going to work for us as far as milk production goes, so I am in need of older does that are in milk now or pregnant or can at least be exposed to a buck prior to pick up.

In searching today, I came across the same farm listing does up to 4 years old for sale. So, as I'm often in the habit of doing, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and emailed them telling them what I was looking for. I just got a response.

Apparently, I can buy a doe but I also have to buy at least 1 buck. She now won't sell the does alone which isn't at all in her ad of "does starting at $100". I can buy as many does as I want but I also have to buy a buck. One doe, one buck.

I don't want a buck. I never mentioned buying a buck. I dont' have the facility for a buck. I have kids too young to be exposed to a buck. I don't care how she reassures me (not knowing I don't have the right farm for a buck) that I'll love the bucks and they'll be SUPER great and I better hurry before Sunday because she'll sell them to someone else that's scheduled to come. Oh, and she takes cash, just so I know.

As a begining farmer, I see how this is a terribly poor practice of livestock sales. She gets you hooked with low prices and false promises and then slams you with the catch be it higher prices or multiple animals. This is a large farm, they have a CSA, they've been in business for years. I'm wondering how many people they take advantage of this way. It gives farming a bad name and gives me another dose of learning the lesson of never offering second chances.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Recap

January was quite the month. My first full one-twelfth of the calendar that was 100% farm life. Here's a little recap.

-I built a chicken coop
-The baby goats went back and came home again
-The garden was tilled by draft horses
-I milked a goat
-Ate our first duck eggs
-Tried goat milk for the first time
-Supported our neighbor's farms at the Farmer's market
-A goat had scour and I got her through it
-Made a compost pile
- Helped worm goats and got a hoof trimming lesson
-Moved more stuff from the city
-Started getting our first eggs from our chickens
-Butchered a rooster
-Leeloo started a new dog training program
-I helped process a newborn lamb
-Built a cold frame
-Ate the first chicken we raised and butchered
-The kids and I visted a few neighbor farms
-Seeded the pasture for the goats

And it's only the beginning.