Normally I only share what’s going on with our grassfed cattle and pastured pigs and chickens that we raise here in the mountains of Virginia. And they are definitely the main stars of the show and the biggest part of our farm.
But that’s not all we do! We also raise layer hens on pasture to provide eggs for our family, and recently started raising goats. We’re milking them now, and what a fantastic and healthy addition to our menu.
Gardening has also been a family endeavor of ours for nearly 12 years. Our five children, ages 12 to 2, have been taught to garden by their daddy Timothy.
This year we’ve canned green beans, made tomato juice and sauerkraut, frozen spaghetti squash, and made pickles. It’s a ton of work for everyone, but the tasty goodness of preserving our own organic produce is rewarding. The children and I have also made apple crisps, applesauce, and frozen peaches from our fruit trees. Along with starting a new homeschool year, it was a VERY busy August.
Favorite spring/summer pictures:
This was a standoff between our cattle and hogs. Both groups were nosy that day 😊
One of my daughters is holding a new baby goat in the picture above. We got to witness nearly all the births, and getting to cuddle and play with them has been a delight for all of us!
The very best part of raising meat chickens is the first several days, when they are oh so cute! We have 65 of these little guys right now.
Life is not just the highlights and the smiles for the camera, it also encompasses the sad moments and trials. We’ve had our fair share this year. One being that we lost a heifer (young cow) to birth complications. We did everything we could to help her, and it was devastating to say the least. Not just financially, but it’s a real blow to our family morale when we lose an animal to unforeseen circumstances or complications.
We also lost several of our first batch of meat chickens to predators. Mountain farming has proven very challenging to raising meat chickens on pasture. Reinforcing the moveable chicken pens, and using extra electric wire around them has helped. Bears and raccoons are our biggest predators up here.
Working with animals is very humbling and helps us to rely on the Lord for our strength and courage, since there are many unknowns in farming throughout the year.
The biggest blessing lately has been getting to know people who come to our farm to pick up a meat order. We often find commonality between us in trying to live a healthier lifestyle through better eating. They often look around and enjoy seeing what we’re doing and how we’re trying to holistically farm in our little corner of the world. We are encouraged when people take time out of their day to come support our farm and get some good meat for themselves in return.
Have you ever raised chickens or other animals? Let me know if you’d like to see more peeks into farm life in future posts!
We’d love to hear back from you!