Today marks one year of being on the farm. It’s gone by so fast! One year down, a lifetime to go. Since our closing last November, we have grown immensely. When we started, we already had a couple rabbits and a handful of chickens, but those numbers soon grew. We picked up ducks, more chickens, more rabbits, a pair of geese, and we ended up getting goats. We created social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for everyone to keep up with the animals and follow us on our journey. The one thing we haven’t done much of is blog, so here we go with our second blog post.
We completely underestimated the importance of quarantining new animals. As we were growing our goat herd in the Spring, we brought in a very young goat that had coccidiosis. It’s common in goats but can be very hard to treat when they are young. If not caught soon enough, it can be fatal. Because of this, we lost several goats and were completely devastated. We spent a little less time posting about the farm on social media, and spent more time reading, researching, and educating ourselves on better care and husbandry practices. Every step of this journey has been a learning experience, and we hope that someday we’ll have a wealth of knowledge to be able to pass on to others like so many people have done for us.
We started off in our new house with cleaning and painting. A fresh coat of paint in the master bedroom and in the living room helped make the new house feel like our own home. In the Spring we had our refrigerator and our oven go out. We replaced the frig with a cheaper model for the time being because we knew we wanted to remodel the kitchen soon. We still haven’t replaced the oven because the stove top still works, and we still have a countertop toaster oven. Over the Summer we had family come in and help us with a kitchen remodel. We had friends that remodeled their kitchen kindly give us their beautiful old cabinets, and we were also able to get some free tongue and groove wood from another friend that we used for the ceiling. With the help of family coming in to help with tear down and install, we were only out the cost of new flooring, new counters, paint, and trim. We’re hoping to add backsplash this winter to finalize our new kitchen. The remaining new appliances will hopefully be added in the next year.
Overall, this year has been… a lot… to say the least. We have had so many ups and downs on the farm, losses in the family, trying to stay on top of our own physical health, and accomplish growth on the farm, while still maintaining everything that we have, in a year when the costs of nearly everything has increased, especially the cost of feed. There have been days where we wanted to throw in the towel, but realistically the good outweigh the bad tenfold. While we have experienced sadness and loss on the farm, we have also experienced the rewarding feeling of finding a newborn litter of rabbit kits 30 days after a successful breeding (to be exact, it’s been 7 litters total!). We’ve experienced the excitement of one egg in the incubator pipping at 10pm, waking up to 5 new hatchlings the following morning, and then coming home from work to find that a total of 9 newborn chicks were waiting in the incubator. We’ve also hatched ducks. We brought our goat Mimosa into the farm already pregnant in the early Spring, and she graced us with a baby doe, Brandy, at the end of April. We’ve had the joy of watching Brandy grow on the farm with us this first year and can’t wait for her to eventually have babies of her own in the years to come. We anticipate three of our does (Mimosa, Half-pint, and Bella) to kid in the Spring, so we’re perfecting a few goat milk soap recipes to be able to sell soaps directly from the farm.
Planning for a large garden our first year was probably not the best idea because it didn’t happen. We were able to get a few tomatoes and a few peppers from 3 or 4 plants each. We tried growing seedlings for so many different plants early in the Spring but got too ahead of ourselves. The sprouted plants grew tall and lanky. They were so fragile, and it was still too cold to bring them outside. We tried to set up a mini greenhouse inside, but it wasn’t large enough for all the plants I had started. I bit off more than I could chew, and they failed. We’ll try again next year and try to be better prepared for the weather and not start too many too early. I guess this is farm life; we’re constantly battling the weather, feeding, cleaning up crap, maintaining, and trying to grow. It’s a lot of work, but it is more rewarding than anything we’ve ever done in our lives. We hope you continue to follow us on our journey because we’re only just getting started.