Thursday, August 16, 2012

Using Time Wisely

Yesterday I spent all day juggling a needier than usual baby and playing catch-up with house cleaning that didn’t get done while I spent the previous three days sick.  I failed to accomplish some important things and went to bed last night feeling like I had let myself down.  This morning I made myself get out of bed with a new determination and better attitude.  I decided that I need to spend today making a set of new goals and a more organized, less chaotic schedule, and emerge from my bed tomorrow closer to the person I want and need to be.    I already have a daily “To Do” list that I create every evening and add things to during the day, but I need more than just that.  I may even be guilty of doing things that weren’t on the list and then adding them just so I can cross them off.  HA!  I also have an excel spreadsheet of my day in half hour increments to give me a general idea of what I should be doing when, and just to remind me of the importance of the self-discipline that I need to have for my work from home life to be a success.  Time to de-clutter my life and create my own map to success.  Here’s my map.

New Goals

Wake up when my husband gets home.  I NEED to have some time in the mornings to visit with my husband for both of our sakes.  I also need a small amount of quiet Willow free time in the mornings.  It will be nice to have Daddy around to help with the baby while I wake up, hang washed diapers on the clothes line, shower, and enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee.  I can also use this time to blog, something I have not been able to find time for since having the baby. I love mornings, but am not a morning person.  Eight in the morning is a very reasonable time to wake up. No more staying up till wee hours in the morning rendering myself too tired to wake up before 9:30. 

Spend time daily outside with Willow while caring for the animals after everyone is fed and dressed.  We both need play time outside for sanity’s sake and I she enjoys helping with farm chores.  What a great way to kill two birds with one stone.  This is also MY escape time.  I NEED to make time for myself, and although I’m not by myself, this time will help me feel centered.    Alone time will come later.  No more rushing and trying to squeeze animal care in after dark.  That’s ridiculous.

Computer time is not when I could be doing something productive.  I am only going to be on the computer either early in the morning during my “peaceful time”, while I’m nursing, or in the evenings during my “relaxation time”.  It can eat up a lot of my time, I have nothing to show for it, and have less slash marks through tasks on my To Do list.  No more wasting time online.

Accomplish housecleaning and meal preparation while the two year old is awake.  No more scrambling to get all of this done while she’s sleeping.  I need to utilize my toddler free time to accomplish Feral Farm tasks.  No more putting Feral Farm on the back burner. It’s more important than a clean house.  It’s my source of income and I…umm…….need more income!  I need to take my business more seriously and work harder if I want it to generate a serious income.

Accomplish “To Do” list goals BEFORE I milk the goats. No more going back to the “To Do” list after my husband is off to work and my toddler is off to bed.  It gets me wound up and makes it hard to get to sleep at a decent hour.  After it’s “goat milkin’ time”, that’s it.  What didn’t get done for the day will have to wait until tomorrow. 

Milk the goats at six o’ clock. No more seven-thirty milking. My two year old will usually still be napping at this time, so if by chance the baby is also napping, then I won’t have to wake Daddy up to watch screaming kids while I go out to milk.  If she is awake, I am going to try and bring her with me. He is um…..not a happy person upon waking up J, and screaming kids and grumpy Daddy are not fun for any of us. I’ll not be so stressed and pressed for time to get dinner made and my husband’s lunch made before he leaves for work.  Evenings will be a lot more relaxed with an extra hour to get everything done. 

Bathe kids every other day and put Willow to bed right after Daddy goes to work. My toddler enjoys her bath time and it relaxes the baby at a time of day that she seems to want to scream a lot.  No more remembering just as I think I’m done with things “Oh no.  I have to give the kids a bath tonight.”  Not sure why I never remember until the last minute. I’ll just plan on doing it every other day and write it into my schedule.

Relax in the evenings and get to bed BY midnight. I know I can’t control exactly when I fall asleep, but I can create an environment conducive of relaxation and sleep. After the kids are bathed and sleeping I can spend some time on the computer, or watching tv to unwind a little.  Then I will get ready for bed and bring the baby in bed with me to nurse while I read.  When reading has made me drowsy enough, I’ll put the baby in her crib and turn the lights out for myself. No more staying up until 1, 2, or later in the morning.

These are all attainable goals that will help me simplify and organize my chaotic life.  Organization and self-discipline are key to having some sanity, and hopefully even some serenity, in my life.  I am going to print these off and keep them where I will see them daily.  Is there anything you have been doing or want to be doing differently in your life to be your ideal self?  

   I took this right before a big storm this summer.  I feel like my personal chaos storm is almost over.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Bit on Broilers and Broth

Our family raises enough broiler (meat) chickens to last us through the year.  I like to get them around late July so that they're ready to butcher when the weather is starting to cool down for the season, for food safety reasons.

Why Cornish Cross Broilers?

Cornish cross are the variety I get because they are eating, meat growing machines and are ready to butcher at a mere eight weeks of age.  These are the breed of chicken you buy at the store.  By the way, "cornish game hens" are the same chickens, but are butchered even younger.  I have raised egg laying breed chicks and broiler chicks together before and am amazed at the difference in growth.  The broilers are three times the size of the egg types by the time they're a couple of weeks of age.  They're a white easily pluck-able bird with brains apparently half the size of any breed of chicken I've ever had. We've also butchered young (and old) egg laying breed roosters.  The meat is very flavorful, but also VERY tough.  They also cost a lot more in feed to raise to be butchering size.  That's why I prefer the cornish cross. Taste, efficiency and economy.

Chicken Tractor

This years batch will be our fourth batch of broilers.  For our first batch, I was inspired by Joel Salatin's book "Pastured Poultry Profits". The book is geared towards people who want to earn money doing this, but the concepts can be adapted to a small scale operation like mine.  I built a chicken "tractor" almost all by myself, with a baby strapped to my torso.  Haha.  I used old wood, tin, and chicken wire we had laying around.  The tin was actually from my husband's grandmother's pool she used to have here 30 + years ago. Here's the result.

The plywood on top is a lid that lifts up.  There's no floor in this pen so the broilers can eat fresh bugs and grass.  I moved this pen twice daily and will admit that it's too small for more than about 12 birds or so.  Our grass, where the pen had been, received a huge nitrogen boost from the manure and grew ridiculously green and fast compared to the surrounding grass.  It left a weird, dark green strip of
grass everywhere it had been.  Haha.  Notice how some of the birds have grown faster than their feathers!  They get sunburns in those bare spots. 

Free Ranging

Our subsequent batches of broilers have all been raised completely free range.  This has worked well for us and is less work.  The chicken tractor would be great for people with less property and more neighbors.  I have noticed that the birds that we've free ranged have more dense, longer bones because they get more exercise.  Interesting, huh?  The only problem we've had with free ranging them is that the cornish cross are so dumb, they don't know when to get out of the way of danger.  They linger in the road and other dangerous places.  I've only ever lost one chicken to a car (that I've known about).  I SAW it get run over.  It lived.........until we butchered it that is.  The breast meat was bruised and green.  The cats got to eat that one!  Ew.


Our chickens do not get bagged chicken feed.  We buy it several bushels at a time from our local grain elevator.  It's usually a some sort of mixture of corn, wheat, oats, barley, with soy meal for protein.  In fact, that's the grain all of our animals get.  They have free choice oyster shell for calcium. They also get vegetable scraps and love to eat zucchinis that have gotten too big for people to want to eat.

Butchering and Broth Making

Currently I don't have any butchering pics, but will post some this fall for those that are interested in seeing the process.  Once they are all cleaned, we bring them (in a cooler) indoors and cut the legs, thighs, breasts, and wings off of any we aren't going to save for roasters, then vacuum seal them.  They take up less room in the freezer this way.  Once the parts have been cut off, I throw the carcasses into huge stockpots along with herbs, carrots, onions, garlic, cooking wine, salt, and pepper.  It's important to add some cooking wine or a splash of vinegar to help release all of the nutrients the bones have locked away.  I let the pots simmer away for hours until the meat and bones are mush.  Once I think it's had enough time cooking, I pick out what's left of the meat, bones, and veggies and feed it to our cats.  They LOVE this!  I run the broth through colanders and either can it or freeze it the next day.

Broth Health Benefits

Homemade chicken broth is a super food.  Grandma was right when she made you eat chicken noodle soup or drink broth when you were sick!  In fact, I'm sick right now and drinking some hot broth, which is what inspired me to write about it today.  It is FULL of vitamins and minerals.  I read an article today about how homemade broth can heal kidneys, re-mineralize teeth and bones, protect against tooth decay, and even help rebuild cartilage and provide glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.  Amazing!  Really, it's so easy to make, everybody should give it a try. Use the bones from your roast chicken or Thanksgiving turkey.  


Homemade broth is heavenly tasting!  It's so good, that I drink it by the coffee cup on occasion even when I'm not sick. My picky two year old loves it as well.  It will add dimension and nutrition to your cooking.  You could even freeze it in ice cube trays to add a boost of flavor to a meal.

Our chickens taste more.....chicken-y than store bought because of the range of foods in their diets.  I think the flavor is superior to store bought by far.  The meat is a bit firmer than store bought because of the exercise my chickens get, but the flavor makes up for itIt's not tough though, just firm.

I encourage everybody that can, to raise their own.  Not just chickens, but whatever you can with what you have.  Many urban areas (even Seattle) are allowing people to raise a few hens in backyards now.  It's fun and rewarding.  If more people raised their own, I believe we'd need a lot less anti-depressant prescriptions.  What a great way to be able to eat gourmet quality, healthful food at an affordable price!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Milky Experience

Yesterday was my first REAL attempt at milking one of my goats with the intention of drinking the milk and continuing on a daily basis.  I milked our wild white doe with no name.  Since I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant, my husband helped get her to the shed and up onto the milk stand.  She is not exactly lead broke like my others.   The shed is not more than 40 feet from their pen, but we did have a few laying down incidences.  Hopefully she will tame down soon so I don't need Curt's help everyday. Once on the stand, she found her grain and calmed down.  I brushed her down to remove debris and washed her udder well with a warm, wet washcloth and some vinegar.  Then I took a deep breath and began milking!


After I thought I got most of the milk out (it's kind of hard for me to tell when I should stop, but my hands were cramping), we returned her to her goat pals.  I brought the milk pail inside and quickly strained it and poured it into a quart mason jar.  The milk pail is basically a stainless stock pot with a handle to carry it bucket style and a lid that covers most of the top.  My milk strainer came with a large pack of disposable filters.  When I milked her again today I got just shy of a full quart. This doe is still very young and will produce a lot more next year after she kids again. Here's the milk from day one.

This goat will save us about $60 a month since until now, we've been buying overpriced organic milk from the store. Interesting fact: Goat milk is naturally homogenized, meaning that the cream and milk are mixed and do not separate out as does cows milk before homogenization. That's great.......until I want the cream. We are going to drink our milk "raw", which is kind of a nasty word for unpasteurized, because of all of the health benefits of raw milk.  It's teeming with beneficial bacteria and heat treatment kills them off.  That's right, the milk you buy from the store is full of little dead bacteria, both the good and the bad. Milk straight from my own animals that I know was cleanly produced and is only a day or so old has a very minimal risk for any illness.  Drinking raw milk replenishes your gut with healthy bacteria while strengthening your immune system.  Since it's not heated, all of the heat perishable vitamins and minerals are still intact as well.  Also, if I were to pasteurize, that would be one more step, more time, and more dishes to wash.  I am all about simplifying things!

Just to be on the safe side, since I'm pregnant and my daughter is just two, we have been drinking small amounts at a time to kind of inoculate ourselves.  Probably an unnecessary step, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.  We have a gallon of whole organic store bought cow milk to use up anyways, so I've been mixing them.  Willow seems to love the milk straight better than store bought cow milk.  She says "Yumm! Goat milk!", gulps it down quickly and demands more. I think it's good, but definitely different. It will take some getting used to.  It tastes faintly grassy, which makes sense because the goat is eating lush pasture right now.  My husband tried a teeny bit in his sugary coffee and said the last drink was "gross".  Hmmmm.  That's disappointing to me since we've had goats for three years with the plan to milk them in mind.  Hopefully he will adjust.  The kids and I will drink it though.

I will be ordering some simple cheese making supplies and cultures very soon from  I'll start out with the easy cheeses like mozzarella and chevre and maybe progress from there.  My favorite cheese is brie, but it sounds very difficult to make for even experienced cheese makers.

I'm going to save some of today's milk for rebatching some plain soap I made to make a gentle goats milk soap.  I'll probably add lavender essential oil to it.  What I love about soap making is all of the creativity involved.  I can made my soap out of whatever oils I want, and make it in any color or scent.  It's fun thinking of things to add as well, like goat milk, coffee grounds, oatmeal, herbs, and flower buds.  I even have some Morrocan red clay and some finely ground pumice that I have yet to experiment with.

Unrelated to my goat milking experience, but yesterday we received 40 baby chicks from the post office. I buy them from At least 30 are females or "pullets".

Today my husband and I planted a bunch of peas (probably about 200 feet of snap and shelling), carrots (some purple and some storage type), shelling beans, some purple radishes, and lettuce. Hopefully tomorrow I can get my golden beets, rainbow swiss chard, and my red and sweet carrots in. It froze a few nights last week. The "wall-o-waters" protected 5 tomato plants, but there were 4 unprotected and they croaked!

I made some AWESOME chicken teriyaki burgers tonight!  I am out of chicken breast, so had to cut some thighs and legs off of the bone, but think it turned out better this way with the darker, more moist meat.  I marinated the meat all day in teriyaki sauce and cooking wine.  Then, deboned and threw it on the grill for 4 minutes, flipped it and put cheddar on.  I cut up a pineapple and used half inch slices (with core cut out) and threw those on as well as some onion slices in tin foil. I toasted the Hawaiian sweet buns, and let the chicken rest for a few minutes.  Then, I put a small amount of mayo on the top and bottom bun to waterproof it, assembled my burger and drizzled a tiny bit of teriyaki sauce on.  Even our....selective eater Willow said "Mmmm! Yum! Good!".  Have a great day everybody!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet the Critters

Wow.  What a beautiful, sunny 70 degree day today.  Willow and I played outside a lot of the day.  While she was napping, I took the opportunity to plant 110 feet of red and Yukon gold potatoes and some more peas (since the chickens seem to have found a secret entrance to the upper garden and dug up 100 feet of the ones I had planted last week).  I love the warm feeling of a slight sunburn on my skin.  It still feels like the sun is shining on me.  

Spinach and arugula quiche is in the oven, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to introduce you to the animals of Feral Farm. 

This old guy is a three year old Welsummer rooster.  They're a breed known for laying dark brown speckled eggs.  I also have two Welsummer hens. His tail feathers are a little beat up from him trying to keep the younger roosters in their places.  I'm sure this is where the term "pecking order" comes from.

 I have about 28 hens and 4 roosters, two of which are destined for a stockpot as soon as I have the time.  I'm expecting a shipment of 40 chicks any day now.  I order them online and they travel via USPS.  The local post office will call me early in the morning when they arrive.  It usually takes 2-3 days for the chicks to reach me.  They can survive this long without food and water because right before they hatch, the remaining yolk is absorbed into their bellies.  I choose the chicken breeds I have based on laying ability, cold hardiness, temperament, and of course, LOOKS!  I like to have a nice assortment of breeds and colors to look at, and I can tell individuals apart more easily.  Some of the chickens I have are called Easter Eggers, and lay a blue-green shelled egg.  Here are a few of the girls.

When an Easter Egger and brown egg laying chicken cross the resulting offspring will lay an olive green- grayish egg.  Here's a typical dozen.  The bottom left egg is from a Welsummer hen.

My chickens free range our property.  We let them out in the morning and they put themselves to bed before sundown. I find it interesting that animals have a concept of time, but they certainly do.  The goats stand and look impatiently towards the house if we are late getting them some grain. Speaking of goats.......

We currently have three does (female goats), one buck (male goat), and two goat kids.   The goats we have are Swiss dairy breeds.  They're lean and very athletic compared to a lot of other breeds.  People that use pack goats for hiking in the mountains usually use Swiss breeds because of this.  Yes, people really use pack goats!  My four adult goats are yearlings, and still growing themselves. 

They still have quite a bit of their winter coats in this picture, so they're looking a little scruffy still.  The brown and white kid up front is our doeling, who doesn't have a name yet.  Any suggestions??  The black and white doe behind her is her mother, Estella.  Estella is by far our most mischievous doe and is always getting into trouble, but she is a friendly goat. The cream and black doe in front is our sweetest, most gentle goat, Mildred.  She has an extra teat growing off of one of her normal teats, so if I ever milk her, it'll have to be on just her other side.  She does not appear to be a heavy milker anyways, so we may just keep her more as a pet.  I do not normally keep unproductive animals, but lucky for her she has such a great personality.  The kid with horns is Mildred's buckling.  We did not bother de-horning or naming him since he is destined for our freezer this fall. Estella and Mildred are half sisters and are both purebred Alpines.

Our third doe is not pictured.  She's a Saanen Alpine cross and is pure white.  She is not tame, so doesn't have a name and won't until I get to know her a little better.  We bought her last fall from an auction, and I don't think she had ever been handled.  I can touch her now (finally) when she is eating her grain, but she doesn't enjoy it.  She had a pure white buckling this spring, but we had a horse in with the goats that killed the kid.  Goats must feel loss also, because she adopted the buckling pictured above.  He is not only nursing his own mother, but "white goat" too, and is growing at a phenomenal rate! I separated them today and will attempt to start milking her tomorrow.  I did milk her once, and mostly succeeded in taking a Cleopatra milk bath!  Haha!  I am not new to having goats, but am new to actually milking them.  It should be interesting trying to milk a wild goat while I'm 35 weeks pregnant!

This is our buck, Buckley.  Real original name, huh? He is rude, mischievous, and unfortunately a necessity to make baby goats.  He's a purebred Toggenburg.  They're always brown with cream markings.  He can clear a four foot fence effortlessly.  Since we discovered this, we modified our 60' horse round-pen and turned it into an inescapable 6 foot tall goat prison, complete with barbed wire at the top.  He has not been able to escape this enclosure......yet. 

We also have two (now feral) rabbits.  My family and I love looking out our window and seeing the bunnies hopping around, doing cute bunny things.  :D  They were supposed to be the beginning of our meat rabbit breeding stock, but then they dug out of their enclosure perhaps sensing their fate.  We're pretty sure they're both males, so my meat rabbit venture has been postponed until another year.  Honestly, I don't have time for them this summer anyways.  I really think the world would be a better place if everybody had bunnies hopping around their homes.  It's impossible to not feel happy after a bunny sighting! 

We currently have four adult cats, and two strays living here outside.  There are three batches of kittens that we know about.  They're supposed to be "barn cats", but are really more like "deck cats".  We always keep more cats than we think we need, because we've had such bad luck with cats dying from different causes or disappearing.  They do a good job at keeping our mouse population down.

The Dog

We acquired a new puppy a couple of months ago, and appropriately named him Chaos.  He is a bizarre mix of Yorkshire terrier, Poodle, Red Heeler, and Border Collie.  He's about four months old now and about the size of a fully grown wiener dog.  He's also kind of shaped like one, with short legs and a long body.  Willow and Chaos are a pretty good team.  

Hope you enjoyed meeting the animals of Feral Farm.  Stay tuned for my attempt at milking a wild goat tomorrow!

Friday, May 25, 2012

How I Got Here

Some of you are probably assuming that I grew up on a farm doing all of this stuff, so it all comes naturally.  I didn't.  I grew up in Yakima, Washington.  An area most known for it's production of apples.  If you read the sticker on any apple, it will likely read that it was grown in Yakima, WA.  I did grow up in the country, but not on a farm.  We had the typical pets.  A Labrador, a couple of cats, and some fish.  I've always loved animals, and when I was about 12, I got my first horse, Cocoa.  My mom and I loved horses and always had a couple, but that was as far as my parents would let me venture into the world of farm animals.  I remember them saying that "When you have your own house, you can have as many animals as you want."  Probably a mistake telling me that!  :)

My mom had a small garden when she could, and ALWAYS had flowers.  I grew up helping in the garden a little bit, but we weren't ever serious food producers, it was more of a very small hobby.  Mom always canned a little bit of jam and usually some peaches too.  This knowledge didn't stick with me though.  I've had to relearn it from books and hands on experience. 

My parents divorced when I was 12.  My dad moved to Montana, and my brother and I followed.  I lived there for a year, in apartments, and actually loved it there.  The people were nicer, the scenery was beautiful, and many people lived a rural lifestyle that I so envied.  Visiting my mom that summer vacation was enough to entice me to move back.  I missed actually living in the country and having horses.  I kept various horses until I graduated, then sold my last horse to pay off my truck loan and become an "adult". Instead of going to college right after school, like I should've done, I moved out and worked crappy, minimum wage jobs for two years.  I realized that I deserved more out of life, and enrolled at Montana State University, in Bozeman, and returned to live with my dad and brother in 2007.  It was nice living with them once more, since I missed out on that as a teenager.

I met my husband, Curt, when I started working graveyard shift at Wal-Mart in Bozeman.  He was originally from a small town in north central North Dakota, called Rolette.  He brought me back for Thanksgiving to meet his family.  I loved it here, and couldn't get it out of my head that someday we'd move back and raise our kids on his family's vacant farmstead, and that's what we did.  So, my college experience only lasted one year, but by the end of it, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do.  Farm sustainably, on a small scale, in a way that worked with nature.  All of that, I decided, could be learned through reading on my own.  I didn't know it at that time, but a whole lot of trial and error hands on experience was also going to be involved.

Curt and I married on the farm near the lake, in the pasture after it was hayed, August 15, 2009.  We wasted no time, and Willow Ann Lunde was born on May 23, 2010.  Willow is now two and LOVES living on the farm.  She helps me gather eggs, feeds the goats and chickens their grain, and "helps" me in the garden.  We are expecting Lunde girl #2 near July 3.

I started my business, Feral Farm  making (from scratch) natural lotion, lip balm, soap and more, Fall of 2010.  I desperately wanted a way to make a living on the farm, so I could stay home with Willow and raise more of our own food.  I was originally just going to make goats milk soap, since I already had the goats.  I ended up basing my business off of my body butters, and lip balms.  I have slowly been adding new products, like my lotion bars, soap, and VERY soon a line of natural baby products and natural insect repellent.  I love what I do.  It's the perfect mix of science and creativity to feed my soul.  I learned how to do all of this on the internet, but the recipes are all my own formulations.  I hope to use as many things grown here, on the farm, as I can in my soap, like goats milk, herbs, and even vegetables.  I currently use some of the lard that I rendered from the pigs I raised last year in my soap.  The pigs were raised humanely on pasture.  I also use the lard for cooking.

I need to add that Curt is NOT a country boy, and this is his first time living out of town.  Luckily, he puts up with me, my crazy ideas, and my rural ways, and is a pretty good sport about doing things on the farm like putting up fencing, and feeding the animals when I need him to.  We are learning to do this together. So, just because you've never done something before doesn't mean you can't start, or it's too late.  It's a lot of work living on the farm and growing our own food, and it sure as hell isn't all roses, but I believe with enough determination and a fair amount of luck, anybody's dreams can come true.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Blog! Farm History - Present

My first blog post! Here it goes........

This blog will be about my life here on our family farm raising my children, animals, and food in rural Rolette, North Dakota.  I am a nurturer, and also love to create things.  I'm a twenty-five year old business owner of Feral Farm, my brand of hand-made soap, lotion, lip balm and other goodies. Today is the day I officially resigned at my job and start working solely for myself.  This is a bold move.  One that both frightens and excites me. I feel lucky to be where I'm at, at such a young age and hope to accomplish a lot in my lifetime.  In this blog I will be posting a lot about farm life, gardening, my love of good food, animals, values, child rearing, wildlife, sustainability, my business venture, creative ideas, and other ramblings. I'll also include a lot of pictures (one of my hobbies)! 

A bit about this farm's history

My children are the 5th generation of Lunde's to inhabit this farm.  The entire farm is around 186ish acres.  My husband and I own seven where the farmstead has always been, and his parents own the remainder of the farm.  A large portion of the land has turned into a lake.  Curt's dad recalls when he was a child growing up here, the lake was just a stock pond.  The first year we moved here there was a lake shore full of all kinds of neat treasures, like antique bottles. There's even the front end of a rusty old pick-up truck that the lake has since swallowed.  See pics below. The lake has swallowed it's shore completely and is eating away at new land now.  

When my husband's dad grew up here, his father raised sheep.  His mother never worked off of the farm and spent A LOT of her time gardening.  Some of her flowers are still alive and remind me of her every time I see them.  I never got the chance to meet her and only briefly met him before he passed away at the age of 90. I often wonder if they are looking down on us now and shaking their heads at what this farm is becoming, or smiling.  :)  

A bit about this farm now

My husband, Curt, and I have lived here for three years.  The original farmhouse was too far gone to live in, so we tore it down.  That was a sad day. We bought a stick built house from Deneschuck (sp?) homes in Minot and moved it here. 

We grow a lot of our own food and I'm constantly striving to grow more.  Currently, we have around 7,000 square feet of garden.  In the next couple of months we'll have a total of around 9,000 square feet of garden, 2,160 of which will be covered by a high tunnel greenhouse.  A high tunnel is a large hoop house structure that is covered in thick clear plastic.  The plants are grown in the ground.  With a high tunnel, we'll be able to extend our growing season by about two-four months per year.  This is a HUGE deal, since our growing season for vegetables is typically 90-120 days long. We're a zone 3 here, the harshest growing zone in the US, so we are very limited in what will grow well here.  The high tunnel will allow us to cheat a bit!  My in-laws are building one as well on their part of the farm and have even more garden space than we do.  Wow! We preserve a lot and eat a lot of our produce fresh, but also sell at the Rolette Farmers' Market in town during the summer. The Rolette Fermers' Market Facebook page is

We have three milk goats, their kids, and one nasty billy goat.  I am going to start milking them now that I am a work-from-home mom and will, hopefully, have time to do this.  I am hoping to make some delicious cheese and other dairy products.  We tried the whole milk cow thing, but I prefer an animal that I can MAKE do something and that cannot hurt me or my kids. Goats are much smaller and more manageable.  Our two year old daughter, Willow, loves the goats. So, for now, dairy goats it is!  We butcher our extra bucklings in the fall ourselves.  Last year was our first year doing this, and we were a little uneasy about the taste and killing large animals that we've raised.  My husband does the killing part while they're busy happily munching grain, so the don;t know what's coming.  It really is the best way for them to go, and not stressful at all.  I do the eviscerating and most of the processing. Once we tried the meat, our worries were set aside.  Turns out that goat meat is delicious!  We also butchered a lamb and can detect no difference in flavor.  It's a MAJOR improvement over venison! I also raised four pigs last year.  Not sure if that's something we'll do again, as pigs are a huge pain in the ass! I enjoy them much more in my freezer!  :)

We also raise our own hens for eggs and meat chickens (broilers) each year.  We have not bought chicken or eggs from a store in almost three years.  It's so much better for you and better tasting.  The yolks are bright yellow and are actually lower in bad cholesterol and higher in healthy omega-3 fats since our chickens free range the farm. The meat is a bit firmer though, not mushy like store bought.  Keeping them out of my gardens and flower beds is a challenge at times.  That's the only downside of free-ranging for me. 

More on all of these, and more topics later. I don't want to bore you to death and think that;s enough for now!  :)