Behind the Scenes Farm Tour
Ever wonder what goes on before & after hours to make the farm run smoothly? Who am I kidding, it's a rare day when things run smooth around here... Animals & machinery are never predictable, we just have to go with it!
But here are a few pictures of our little farm & the "workers".
Inquiring minds want to know!
First off, some are overwhelmed with the neighbors. There are pens & pens and barns & barns full of calves and heifers (female cows that have not had a calf yet). We are right across the road from that. You'll know it's the right place if you see way too many goats!
You may actually see a couple of our milk cows at the neighbors. That’s because they are the best neighbors in the world and they let us use the pastures for our cows because they don’t want to have to mow all that grass! Plus I (Anna) work there, no relation, that’s just my day job.
So there’s a brown house across the road from the huge heifer farm. You have arrived!!
PLEASE BE WARNED! Most of our property is surrounded by electric fence.
Even if it looks like innocent rope, it is electric. The only part you can pet animals is through the boards at the farm store. You'll be pestered by a few goats in the pen there.
Calves may seem randomly placed for your viewing pleasure. Actually, they are strategically placed for mowing and trimming. Then you get those mysterious "crop circles" in the yard. Luckily the government hasn't come to check them out or confiscate our calves.
Drive straight up the driveway to the farm store. Penny will greet you by barking a lot, but just say "Hi Penny", pet her, and she'll be your best friend.
Like, your most annoying best friend. Like, the one that doesn't have kids & doesn't understand you need to be in bed by nine and can't "go-out" and hang with the ladies until midnight anymore. Penny will be like that best friend that never leaves you alone..
Awe, but we all love the "Penny's" in our lives.
So drive on up to the farm store, and mosey on in. It's not quite finished yet. But it's equip with electricity & lights, the main thing needed to keep your milk, eggs, & meats cold, and to see. And you have to check out the AWESOME wagon wheel chandelier Scott worked so tirelessly to hang up!
If it's your first time picking up milk please make an appointment. After we give you the run-down, it's fair game. Stop by when it's convenient for you to pick up milk, eggs, meats, maple syrup, jelly, goat milk soap, lip balm, body butter.
Did I miss anything??
Oh yeah, I did! There is artwork for sale in the store also. All the pictures you see hanging are not only our decorations, but the prints are for sale. Frames are not for sale. Please ask for assistance if you'd like a print.
Now how did all that stuff get in the store?
Lets take a stroll back to the barn.
We ask that if you want an "official tour" or want to bottle feed a calf, to make an appointment. We can't have visitors roaming around leaving gates or doors open by mistake. The neighbors may frown upon goats tromping in their yard & buildings.
It's a barn, and this is an honest behind-the-scenes tour, so this is what our barn looks like...chickens go in & out and mess up our neatly stacked straw bales. Thanks chickens!
And now we have ducks, which are even more messy. But chickens & ducks are both great bug control, so a must-have addition to our farm.
Our Jersey cows produce the delicious creamy milk. Cows are on pasture when possible. Drought, floods, & temperatures all affect pasture growth. When pastures are not adequate cows are fed hay. Obviously you can’t have pasture growing when it’s -25 degrees (yes we had that winter of 2018… don’t ask, it was a bad winter and some of our animals didn’t make it.)
The Milk House is where the bulk tank is. This is the cooling/storage tank for the raw milk. The tank cools the milk & agitates it so the cream doesn't separate. Once it’s bottled, then the cream will separate for your butter making adventures!
The cows are waiting by the door to come in the barn for milking. The cow stores her milk in her udder, which has 4 teats. Milk is squeezed out of each teat by the person doing the milking chores (more than likely, Scott:) to check that all is well with milk & udder on the cow.
All commercial dairies milk their cows twice a day, and some even 3 times a day. Here, on our small family farm we don’t like to push our cows, so we only milk once a day. It’s also easier for our family’s schedule.
After the cow calves (has her baby, she has to have a baby to produce milk) we do milk twice a day for a month or 2. They produce SO much milk it would be painful for them on once-a-day milking. And too much pressure on the udder can lead to mastitis (infection). We just go by what the cow tells us.. We are cow whisperer’s (not really;)
For milking, the teats are wiped clean, dipped in iodine, then dried off with a clean towel. Then the milker is put on the cow and milks her into a stainless steel bucket.
Once the cow is done milking, the milk is poured through a milk filter into the bulk tank where it is cooled within a few minutes to 36 degrees.
After milking, the first thing our daughter does is bottle feed any calves that are not weaned yet. Another bottle is saved for the evening feeding.
Twice a week the tank is bottled and sanitized. Any extra milk is fed to our pigs & chickens. Ever had milk-fed pork? You’ll never go back to store bought. Soooo good!
Pastured milk-fed chickens are moved to fresh grass daily in our front yard. We only raise them from spring to fall. Also, very tasty! And the leftovers are perfect for chicken bone broth, very healthy!
Oh man! I almost forgot the goats!!
How could I? They are kind of a main attraction since we use their milk for our handcrafted Goat Milk Soap. I do have to say it’s quite amazing. You can check out my blog on our soap to see all the amazing benefits it has for your skin.
The goats seem to be everywhere and are taking over every open space we have. My horse lot keeps getting smaller…
I blame our oldest daughter. Ever since she got a job she just thinks she can just buy every goat that’s cute. Which is pretty much every one.
No, really, she does all the goat chores (milking & feeding) and pays for all their feed/hay/up-keep, then sells the babies in the spring.
The same care is taken when milking goats as milking cows. Teats are striped of first milk, dipped in iodine then wiped clean & dry before putting the milker on.
A new “thing” we’ve added this spring (2018) is bees! That is totally Scott’s job. I don’t ‘do’ bees. I don’t particularly like any insects. But Scott loves those “things”.
I’ll just stick with eating the honey.
If you catch Scott at the right (or wrong, depending how you look at it) time he'll crack open a beer with ya and won’t stop talking about bees. If you get bored, just start slowly walking away and he may never notice you left.
WOW! You made it to the end without falling asleep?! I’m honored! Oh wait, wipe that drool off your mouth.
There’s a lot more pictures I’d love to put on here, but you’ve been a trooper reading this long blog. We’re blessed to have such loyal customers!!
We’d love to meet you if you haven’t made the trip out here yet.
A word of warning.. it’s a very rare occasion that we are clean and not-smelly. Except for the few minutes after church on Sundays.
Consider yourself warned!