• Animals,  Homestead

    Welcome, Little Cow

    Well friends, our little sanctuary farm has welcomed home a miniature Jersey steer.  He is the sweetest little thing ever!!  I found him advertised on craigslist and something in that ad really pulled on my heartstrings. Rehoming a 2 year old small Jersey Steer. We were going to butcher him for meat, but don’t have the time or right tools now. If you’re interested in him for meat or a pet, it doesn’t matter. Feel free to contact us. He’s up to date on his vaccines and worming. He has an even temperament. Unfortunately, he’s hard to lead though. You have to pick up.   Poor thing was only 3…

  • Animals,  Homestead

    Five Things You Need to Know Before Getting Goats

    Goats are trouble!  We’ve had them for 6 months and I can tell you that we weren’t ready for them when we thought we were! 1. Goats don’t control where they poop.  Seriously, this is an important fact because they just let it go whenever and wherever, unlike horses or dogs that tend to go to a specific area.  So, that being said, here are some things you might not have thought about. Goats will poop in their water bucket if it’s too low, OR their mineral bin.   I tried the small over the fence feeder for their minerals and no matter where I place it, it doesn’t work out.…

  • Homestead

    A Farm Thanksgiving

    This is our first Thanksgiving on the farm, and it’s funny how farm work can creep into everything!  I had planned for a nice family dinner, the girls had each picked out a favorite recipe and we were going to spend the afternoon cooking and eating together!  Well, it was a nice thought.  But, what really happened was that we spent much of the day installing last minute fence posts.  Here is the back story… Our new rescue, Georgie, is young and bold and headstrong!  “Electric fence.. what’s that?”, she says.  Nope, our 5 mile solar powered electric fence charger did nothing to keep her contained.  We didn’t realize how lucky…

  • Homestead

    Perilla Mint – Toxic Weed

    It would never have occurred to me that the mint we have all over our property is toxic!  It’s not one of the top poisonous plants you hear about when you have horses.  But apparently, this particular variety, Perilla Mint, is quite toxic and can be fatal to goats, sheep, cattle and horses.  Luckily, we had an agricultural extension agent out from Virginia Tech to help us identify any potential toxic plants growing in our pastures – and she found it all over.  She spotted some right up against our barn, and in the back pasture.  Unfortunately, they exploded all over our property throughout the summer.  They like growing near wooded…

  • Animals,  Homestead

    How did we end up with goats?

    Goats?  I never would have thought it.  But, life doesn’t always take you down the roads you expect!  My high school daughter was working at our local vet’s office and her colleague rescues baby goats that are headed to slaughter.  One day she brought two babies into the office to spend the day with her when they were teeny tiny, and if you haven’t seen baby goats before, well, there isn’t much chance you can walk away without a soft spot in your heart for them.  I would have to say that was the beginning. We visited her rescue farm and got to meet her goats and pigs, and the…

  • Homestead

    Fencing

    Who knew there was so much to think about when fencing your property!  It’s fairly expensive, so you want to do it right the first time around, especially when you have a larger piece of land. Most importantly you need to consider functionality, maintenance and cost factors. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before fencing your farm. 1. What type of animals do you have currently, AND, what type do you want to have in the future?  This is important because when installing permanent fencing you don’t want to have to go back and make changes.  (Yeah, we learned the hard way.)My daughter and I ended up adding about…

  • Homestead,  Spirit

    Mistakes Abundant

    I had such a good laugh today.  It was the second day in a row that I made a pretty BIG mistake.  I can laugh about it because thankfully disaster was averted.  (I am grateful that my husband was a good sport about it too!) Yesterday’s Mistake:  This is our first week taking care of our horses on our own land.  And we are trying to figure things out as we go, especially since Ellie is on stall rest and limited turn out.  I picked up some temporary electric fencing to make small paddocks for her to hang out in for part of the day.  Small enough that she can’t…

  • Homestead

    Constructing the Dry Lot

      We are pretty lucky that our barn is located on higher ground and right next to a wooded area that we can use as a dry lot paddock for the horses.  It is always dry and has firm footing, even on days when it is rainy.  It will provide shade and space for them to walk and move, without getting too much grass or mud.  One concern I’ve thought about is that horses can eat the bark off trees, damaging them.  But I hope that with enough free choice hay left out for them, they will leave the trees alone.  Immediately adjacent to the run-in shed, we are going…

  • Homestead

    The Barn Goes Up!

    Hi everyone!  This is the most exciting time for us, because our barn is finally going up – and that means farm animals are on their way!  The process of choosing a barn was a long one.   I quickly realized that my original sketches and plans were going to have to get trimmed down a bit in order to stay within budget.  Goodbye to the second story yoga loft space.  It just wasn’t practical at this time. Having gone through the process, I would recommend making a list of what needs your barn has to satisfy.  For us, most importantly it meant that we needed a run-in shed that the…

  • Homestead

    Crazy April – Managing the contractors

    Spring is the time for building a barn and fencing our pastures! Our little homestead will be completely transformed, and it took hours of drawing and planning and months of researching in order for this to come together. But, it’s funny how things work out. Managing a big job like this on a budget is tough because I sourced the work out to smaller contractors that were knowledgeable but still small-time guys that didn’t charge an arm and a leg like bigger companies would.  And when you go that route, you have to be patient. Let me give you the condensed version of the craziness. I had been waiting for…