I often get asked what we "grow" on our farm. This is little difficult to answer because we are really a homestead, not so much a single product farm. So what does that mean? We are really trying to produce as much of what we eat as possible. I remember when we started this journey my friend Ellie said, "soon you won't even have to go to the grocery store!" At the time I thought she was crazy but as we continued to try new things, it really became our goal. We are not there yet but each week, I feel like we are moving in the right direction.
In order to buy the things we don't or can't grow ourselves (coconuts do not like North Georgia weather) we sell things that we grow or make on our farm. We often grow extra produce in the summer and grow out a few extra meat chickens or rabbits to help offset the cost of feed for them.
We also have gotten pretty crafty on the homestead. I make and sell all natural soaps, skin care, and deodorant. My husband makes hardwood charcoal, pots bulbs for gifts, and tans the rabbit pelts. We are working toward getting our cottage food license to be able to provide our Saturday customers with biscuits, bread, and other goodies. We will soon be looking for people interested in purchasing goat shares that will allow them to have the milk from one of new goat moms. Eggs are another hot commodity around here. I can cook eggs a million ways to Sunday and plan on doing a blog post about it soon. Eggs are also a great way to reduce your meat consumption.
We are also super excited to participate in the Statham Homestead Trail this weekend. In honor of Earth Day, we have several things we have found to reduce consumption for your home. We will have reusable cloth napkins make from recycled materials, glass water bottles to reduce plastic waste, and insulated thermal tote bags to reduce shopping bags that seem to end up everywhere. Come to farm from 8-4 on Saturday or Sunday to shop, tour, and love on some baby animals.
If we spoke about homesteading for more than fifteen minutes, I would bet I mentioned goats. Goats are the one thing I desperately wanted on our farm. We got chickens to see if we could handle having animals. My daughter wanted rabbits and even put up a third of the money to buy a breeding pair. But it was always goats that were my end game.
I did not jump into this lightly. A few years before we were going to get goats, I volunteered to goat sit or milk any goat available. I went on farm visits and called ahead to make sure I could milk different breeds of goats. I tried goat milk from as many breeds as I could find. Are you beginning to see how deep my obsession runs?
After a lot of research, I decided I wanted LaMancha goats. They are gorgeous dairy breed that has high butter fat and great temperaments but very tiny ears. I bought my first doeling from Rockin' H Farm. Amanda was super helpful when we purchased our silver fox rabbits the year before. She was very helpful when I wanted to come and meet sweet Cami. She let me try the mother's milk to make sure I liked it before I purchased her.
She was very shy but adjusted quickly. We got our first wether, fixed male, from SonRise Farm to keep her company. They were super cute together and both are great friends. We have since added a Nigerian Dwarf wether and a sweet baby girl named Phoenix from On Holiday Farm. This farm also provided the stud for this year's breeding. Yes, that means what you think it means. His name was Romeo...how appropriate!
This is Shakespeare "Romeo", a.k.a. the stud.
After a long weekend, he went back home and we waited. Five long months have to pass before you see any babies. For several months, we didn't even think Phoenix was pregnant. But low and behold, her udders started filling up and her belly rounded. Cami on the other hand acted pregnant as soon as he left the farm. Funny how goats can be so different.
As the due date approached, I spent a lot of time looking at the back end of the girls. I mean, a lot! And then, while we had guests over for a farm tour, Phoenix started acting really strange. Just for safe measure, I moved her to the milk parlor for safe keeping and asked the kids to keep an eye on her. A few minutes later they sent me text that there was something oozing out. I'll let your imagination fill in the gaps. (Though I do have pictures.) Before I knew what I was doing, I was helping deliver two precious baby goats into the world. Phloxy Moxy and Phillip made their grand entrance with an audience of eight humans.
Cami was not going to be outdone. She went into labor the next day which lasted for 48 hours...bless her heart. And right in the middle of a thunder storm. Once her water broke, those babies hit the ground before I could even get the video recording. We were blessed again to have a boy and girl, Brown Bear and Moose. They were over a pound heavier than the first set and just as adorable. I am elated that both births happened without incident. And in just a few weeks, we will have fresh milk, too.
We will have the babies out at the Statham Homestead Trail. Stop by and get some goat cuddles of your very own. They will be out from 11:00 - 12:00 both Saturday and Sunday.
We finished the outhouse, began planting our summer vegetables, and installed our rainwater collection system. The bees have been checked and rabbits readied for guests. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby goats and newest fluffle of bunnies. (Yes, that is real word.) We've cleared and set up a picnic area for you. And plenty of soaps, lotions, and charcoal has been made and packaged to sell. We will also have plant starts ready for your garden.
And why am I telling you all of this? We are doing all of this to share our journey with you. I would love to show each one of our followers our hard work. I want each of you to see what we have been able to accomplish in one year. I want you to experience our love of local produce and meats for yourself and hopefully inspire you to try something new.
Vasek and Brooke
We are thrilled to share our homesteading successes and struggles with you. There's a steep learning curve here and we are ready for the challenges.