Welcome to the farm!
This weekend, we had friends of ours from church over for a farm visit. The afternoon had been more than a year in the making, what with dodging bad weather and Omicron and all the other crazy things that happened through last year. But, Eraldo and Allyson are possibly interested in starting a sheep operation on their farm and wanted to do a little bit of hands-on research.
Our farm visits start with the same warnings: the white fence is electric and it will hurt a LOT if you touch it, this is a working farm so be careful where you step, and we have 2 very large and very friendly (to people) dogs.
Although their young son Yuri was overwhelmed at first with the alpacas, he quickly warmed up to the baby goats and chickens.
And he ESPECIALLY loved our darling bottle baby Little Miss Frisky Biscuit. She even let him hand feed her grass through the fence!
We talked about the progression of our farm through the years, and how we got to where we are now.
And even though we’ve answered variations of this question many times before, it was never worded with quite as much eloquence as when Allyson asked what were the hardest days on the farm? Without hesitation, Brian answered “loading the trailer to take to the processor.”
Easy days vs. hard days
You see, yesterday was a wonderful example of one of the “easiest” days on the farm. It was perfect weather, the animals were happy, green grass is now starting to grow, and the sun and wind are helping to dry out the muddy areas. Our visitors were happy and excited to be there, the animals were super receptive to them, and Brian and I both had slept well the night before and had eaten a delicious and filling lunch! (Don’t ever count out a good night’s sleep and full bellies as contributors to whether your day goes well or not!! hahahhahah)
But the days aren’t always so easy. Our answers were surprising to our guests, though – because selling the goats or ewe lambs outright? It really is ok – we know they will be headed to new homes where they will be loved and cared for. We meet their new owners, we offer tips and suggestions in addition to every bit of our contact information to use if they have questions. Not that we know all the answers! But we know enough to at least help direct them to where answers could be found.
The hard days are when the weather is uncooperative. Or the animals are uncooperative. Or the equipment is uncooperative. Or heck, when *I* am uncooperative (hey! It happens!). But loading our lambs and goats up to take to the processor is always the hardest.
And then the question is “but how can you do that?!?!?!?” From conversations, it seems there isn’t so much as a backward glance when someone raises cattle and loads them on the trailer. But I am guessing the smaller size and stature, in addition to the friendliness of our animals, makes our trailer loading an incredulous concept. The answer starts with “this is a business for us.” I plan to do a post this year to show what happens for us on processing day.
There’s a disconnect between farmers and packaged food
The Covid shutdowns made supply chain fragility very apparent. I remember seeing completely empty meat cases at the local Kroger, and Facebook alerts from friends when a new shipment of hamburger was delivered. But do you know where there wasn’t much supply disruption? The local Farmer’s Market.
We’ve been steadily growing our processed lamb sales over the years, and in 2020 we took more lambs to market than we had in years past. We completely sold out our entire stock of lamb from April to July 2020, and our market continues through the end of October! Although I would like to think it was solely because customers recognized a superior product, I also know that panic purchasing was a lot of the reason. Lucky for us, in 2021 as things started to get a bit better – we were able to retain some of those new customers.
But what is the difference between seeing a live animal on the farm, and seeing a vacuum sealed package of meat? In my opinion, it is just perception. It wasn’t that long ago when families would slaughter a chicken from their backyard and cook it for Sunday dinner. Or kill a deer and process it themselves. Now that we are away from that time and place, and are spoiled by not having to hands-on work for our meat, it’s a completely different thought process.
We love our animals
We share so much love for our farm. It’s evident when we have visitors, it’s evident when we sell breeding livestock, but it’s also evident when we sell our USDA processed meat.
After the answer of “this is a business for us,” I always quickly follow up with this sentiment:
“Wouldn’t you rather eat something that you know was loved and cared for every minute of its life? That was nurtured and protected, instead of just another animal in a feedlot? We strive to make every day of their lives wonderful – and then they only have 1 bad day.”
But some days are really good…
And if you spend your day with alpacas, and dogs, and goats, and sheep, and then end with a climb into the hayloft – I would say that’s a pretty good day indeed!
p.s. don’t forget to get your pre-orders placed by Friday at 12, for pickup at the Hardin County Farmers’ Market!
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This Post Has 23 Comments
I’m obsessed with your farm!😍
This is a great way to share a fulfilling lifestyle and teach a work ethic to others!
Farmer’s markets are the best place to buy food. People tend to buy all their food at a store where most of the food is getting old or not raised humanely. There are so many health benefits from buying from local farmers. This post is very informative and I look forward to the upcoming post about what happens on processing day.
That is good you kept new customers throughout this crazy year! Farms are a lot of work!
My family came from farmers and I have a lot of respect for those that work on farms.
We love your farm!
It’s a lot of work. We own two ice cream shop and I proudly support our local farmer here.
I have a lot of respect for small family farms. They are for sure the best place to purchase your meat and produce from when possible.
Enjoyed reading about the farm lifestyle and work ethics. Thanks for sharing.
I’m vegan so I really don’t eat any kind of animal or or use animal products. Personal choices, right?
Yay for family farms! Keep working the land!
Thank you for giving us a look into farm life! My grandpa had a farm, but I was so little back then I never really realized how much work went into it and they retired shortly after. I do remember playing with baby chicks and petting calves though.
I love reading about your farm. People have forgotten how to live a simpler life. I wish I could do this, too.
This looks like an awesome farm. I can imagine there are tough days. But I would love to be around animals.
We are city folk, but used to daytrip over to farms for apple picking season, and my son loved the animals! Thanks for bringing back those memories!
This sounds like a really rewarding lifestyle, thank you for being transparent about farm life.
I really love and enjoy reading anything about your farm! It is so good to hear about farm life!
It sounds like you have a lovely farm. I love that animals are cared for well there rather than stuck in a feedlot
The life in a farm is definitely unique, very hard but also very special. It’s nice to read about it in your post!
I love this look into farm life! Your farm looks awesome. I bet it’s hard to keep up with but it seems like it would be so rewarding too!
I guess weather would be a big determining factor for how your day goes! I am glad that the weather is getting better.
Aw! You have such a cute farm! Bottle feeding animals is just the best!
This looks like a fun place to visit. I grew up on a farm, and the best part of it was seeing all the animals that we feed and all the animals are cute too.