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Around the Farm

Another Season....

We have finished kidding for 2024, there are 58 beautiful kids on the ground!!! Our numbers are outrageous and we will be working hard to get that under control in the next year. Kidding season will be greatly reduced.

Our cow herd has grown. Jewel, another Pineywoods has joined our herd, We have also retained Freckles last two calves since they were gorgeous heifers, half red angus/ half pineywoods. They should make some beautiful calves.  So we are currently as 7 ladies in the herd. 3 Jersy cows, and now 4 cows for beef production. Which is exciting.

Spring went by in a flash, because I was so busy kidding. Not much sleep, alot of stress and its all a bit of a blur. Hard to believe the heat of summer is settling in already.

The barn is loud from the hum of the fans that keep every body comfortable.

I'm about to try a new selling plan for the farm. If you follow us, it will be on facebook soon as I try to prepare our website for it. I'll announce it in the coming days.

 

MAJOR UPDATE

Its certainly been awhile since this has had any words added to it. 

The farm has grown like crazy. SO many lovely goats, jersey cows, another LGD....

We are milking 20 head of goats this year which is a first for us, with so many. We had 42 beautiful kids and still have a few for sale. My hope is to eventually get the farm pages updated and active with info of animals we have for sale. But that's still a ways down the road. If you have interest, shoot me an email asherfarmfresh@gmail.com and I'll happily fill you in on whats available. Or text me. That usually works too.

We hope this blog becomes a bit more active, and more informative. Time is my rarest commodity most days. But there's always hope.

Until next time, hopefully not long

Anita

Christmas 2018

WOW - so much has been going on!!  The farm is really shaping up! We have crossed fenced what used to be our huge front yard and now 1/2 of it is a pasture!! But the fence is gorgeous. I worked through the fall adding some raised beds on the OTHER side of the yard, one of the main reasons for the fence.  NO GARDENING WITH GOATS. You can't grow ANYTHING with goats loose in the yard!! Now that the fence is in place, I'm spending the winter setting up some raised beds so we can grown herbs and fresh greens and all that fun garden stuff. All of our barn cleaning is being composted into the raised beds!! 

The goats are great. We have 17 now!! 5 does will be delivering babies in the spring so that is really exciting.  We have a few young does will be breeding in the spring for fall babies!! That will keep us in milk!!

We had a GREAT HONEY harvest this year. We still have plenty of honey for sale, its listed on our sales page if you want to check that out!! We also sell our raw milk, and we have fresh pasture eggs!! Brought in a new batch of baby chicks back in September, so egg production will really ramp up in the spring.

Plans for the winter include two new chicken houses, one in the backyard/barnyard compound for the laying hens, and a second one out further out in the goat's pasture to raise some meat chickens and turkeys!! Just hope the weather gives us a few more nicer days, we've had tons of rain!! It takes sunny days to get that stuff built. 

We also hope to expand the barn a little bit to make some room for a cow!! We hope to add a Jersey to our little menagerie!! That will be fun! 

Our commercial kitchen/storage/milkroom/retail shop is coming along. We're converting a 53foot van trailer for this project. Walls are mostly up inside, and some of the wiring is run. The outside pole is up for electricity. Baby steps baby steps baby steps. We get there eventually!!

This farm is such a blessing to us. Its a sanctuary, and home, and a place we love to be. If you're ever passing through, look us up!! You can hug a goat, or pet a chicken!!

New Addition - Honey Badger the LGD

It was a year ago, according to Face Book that we brought home our first LGD, Gracie the Great Pyrenees. LGD stands for Livestock Guardian Dogs, these are dogs that have been bred for generations for the specific purpose of guarding livestock against predators of any kind. Normally large dogs, with gentle natures, raised within herds of the animals they will grow to protect, they can be ferocious when their herd is threatened. There are many different breeds of LGD's, which is an umbrella term that covers them all.

But it takes time and maturity and training. Independent by nature, they can be hard to obedience train and they need a certain amount of socialization, just so they can be managed. There ARE trips to the vet and maintenance things that must be done to maintain their health. Dogs that go 100 to 150 lbs have to have some form of manners, and while kind and sweet naturally, they are independent thinkers, and DECIDE if they want to come when called, or listen to you!! CHALLENGING!!

Gracie has matured well at 14 months, while she still is not completely reliable and won't be until 2 years or older, she does a good job keeping possums, coons, hawks, and the big crane that wants to hang out our pond, away. She checks her perimeters and loves her goats. She's very good with the goats, and I THINK she is safe with chickens. The only issue at the moment is with the ducks... in her mind, ducks are supposed to be on the pond, or the fence barnyard.  If she catches them wandering the grassy yard, she INSISTS (by chasing them) that they must return to the pond. So we are still growing and learning. She also has a penchant for NOT coming when she has something else on her mind. But its a work in progress and time is on my side.

LGD's work better in pairs or groups, so as Gracie has matured and discovered her instincts... we have added a new face. We picked up Honey Badger (aka Honey Booboo) almost 2 weeks ago!! She is 1/2 Anatolian Shepherd and 1/2 Great Pyrenees. And she's just a gangly mess of legs and big feet at 10 weeks old!! She is a very calm dog, with a ton of sense!! She's settled in well, is calm around the goats, and chickens and all the rest. She's cautious with the goats and should be! She's eating great and growing like a weed. She has taken to Gracie, and shadows her most of the day. Gracie doesn't seem to mind her new companion.

So hopefully these two ladies will grow and mature into the amazing animals they are meant to be and provide me with peace of mind, knowing that they stand guard during the night to keep all the other critters safe!! What an amazing calling!! I hope I can help them be the best they can be!
 

Goat's Milk Lotion

Looks like we will have a new addition to our great line up of products soon!!  Every thing seems to be holding together well with the Goat's Milk lotion.  I'm so pleased with how its held up and performed. Everyone that has been using it, loves it. I personally have done every thing in my power to get it to grow mold and make a mess but its held up well with NO ISSUES. I'm happy about that.

So that is a great addition to the line-up. Since I'm putting it out there I think I will go ahead and introduce a Rose infused face cream I made up and tried out last year.

The farm is just doing its usual through the summer. We're milking, feeding and mowing grass.

The bucks are all headed into stinky rut!! And the girls are all becoming more active and apparent in their heat cycles.  Which means our breeding season is fast approaching. I think I have it all settled in my mind about who will be "dating" who for kidding season next year!! I will be using 3 bucks this year, and there will be ALOT of babies next spring, starting in February.  Its exciting!! I will be breeding 5 does for sure, but am planning on breeding the youngest group in December for May babies. So we will have two crops of babies!! And that will be so much fun!! And intense and exhausting during delivery time!! LOL

I've been working on a farm page for this site to make it a more complete picture of all we are doing.  I need GOAT PICTURES.... and that takes huge efforts to get some formal shots of the gang, which we've never done. I plan to work on that in the coming weekends when Wayne is around to help.

Hope we get some fencing done this weekend, and there's always something exciting just around the corner!!

The Parrots

I don't post much about the Parrots.  They've been here so long I often forget they are very much a part of this farm life!!

Last September we started a big project. The old aviary was showing its wear and needed replacing. So we set out to build a new better aviary, only somewhere along the way God gave us a vision for a whole new BARN/AVIARY and the process of pulling it all together was nothing short of amazing.

No plans, just our imaginations and our amazing communication (Wayne and I LOVE to talk to each other) we set out to build this new space. Its been a slow slog, but after the birds having to survive TWO hurricanes in only their flights with no other protections... we were finally able to move them into the new aviary!! It was such an exciting time!!

The birds have responded well to the huge light filled spaces and the high placements off the ground. Our flights extend nearly 14 feet up from the ground!! It shortened our feeding time because our feeding arrangement is nothing short of amazing!!

There is a short video on our Asher Farm facebook page that shows some of the barn. We put in a loft, and have moved the house birds into it. They are SO happy!! Lots and lots of changes around here, and some days I have to take a gulp and hold my breath. I remember the day we took down the last of my old aviary... for nearly 20 years I had lived and worked in that building with my little gang. It was hard to see it come down... it was harder still to see it come down and NO NEW PLACE to go. We were rebuilding on the old footprint. So it had to come down, to bring the new one up.

Life is crazy. Time goes by so fast. And things change. Even good change can be hard. We like the things that are familiar to us. But God knows what we need more than we do ourselves.  And I have to make sure and say that the amazing space that has been added to my life was His Vision... Wayne and I just implemented what He showed us!! And I'm grateful for these changes!! Stretching those tent stakes, is what the Bible calls it. LOL!!!

blog post

These little girls have been such a fun group to have on the farm. They were born on March 14 about 7pm! Lucia, my first Nigerian Dwarf goat is their mama and Lil Hills Farm SFR Rainman, my first herdsire, is their Dad!! Rain is such a dream to own. He's gorgeous and sweet!! Lucia, was huge when we went into labor at day 146, she was right on schedule as far as Nigerians go.

I was right there to assist her. Birthing babies can take alot out of a doe. Even though she doesn't necessarily NEED my help, being there, cleaning babies, gently assisting them into the world relieves the stress on the doe and helps her conserve energy.

The entire process didn't last much over 30 minutes from the first real push, and toes pointing out, to the last big push to get a full breach baby out, we had four babies on the ground, a heap of dirty towels and Lucia and I both were exhausted.

Once everyone was fairly dry and stable I started checking to see what we had. I checked through them once... looked like all girls, surely not.  I'll check them all again, with four babies, its a bit chaotic. Still looks like ALL GIRLS. Did we just have a set of quads that are all little does?  Seriously?  One last check, this time noting each girl, yep, it was an all girl squad!!

They have been a pile of fun!! I'm not sure there is anything more beautiful than to watch Lucia run out across the green grass surrounded by her four babies. Naming was quite a chore, for better or worse I settled on four flowers that all started with the letter P. We ended up with, (in order of their birth) Poppy, Petunia, Pansy and Peony!!

I probably should sell one or two but it seems kind of mean to break this group up. So for now, they are all here!!

GOATS MILK LOTION

I finally attempted some Goat's Milk Lotion. I've read alot of negative stuff about making lotion in general and especially Goat's milk lotion. So I just kind of skipped over the lotion process. Well, its been requested often, and I finally decided to check into it more in depth. 

I spent a few days reading up, checking recipes, picked one and went for it one night about 8pm!  I know not to make stuff at night... it was a gooey milky mess!!!  UHOH, that's not working!! And I threw it out!!

So I waited until the next day for a second attempt. In haste and exhaustion I had mis-read instructions, which I do alot at night...

After Milking and feeding, when things finally settle after the morning rush, I measured and slow heated and mixed and watched... and amazingly enough...I ended up with a silky, creamy wonderful LOTION! It smells terrific with a mix of Lavender, Frankincense and a touch of patchouli, the texture is like silk and my skin feels soft and smooth HOURS after applying it.

So, I bottled it and handed it out to a few folks to test it out. As soon as I know its shelf stable, it will be offered for sale!!  Yall don't want to buy molded or separated lotion!!

So look for it!! Follow us on facebook!! We've got a farm page now, so you can catch some of our day to day activity, and The Market has its own page!!  Thanks for checking in with us!!

Anita

Remember when you support a small business or a farm... you are supporting someone's dream!!

FLYING TIME

Seems like the only blog posts I write are posts about not having time to write blog posts!

So, its nearly the middle of May of 2017. It was still 2016 the last time I wrote. Go figure. We got GOATS the end of December!! The week after Christmas, Lucia and Daisy joined us via a road trip to North Carolina!! Lucia is a dwarf Nigerian, and Daisy is a mini Saanen. The Saanen is a full size dairy goat, Day is a cross between a dwarf Nigerian buck and a Saanen doe.

Lucia was pregnant, and she delivered us a gorgeous set of Triplets on March 10!! So I've been busy learning to keep and raise goats!! And milk and feed and goatify my yard which is a lesson in frustration and futility.  I am not gardening at home at all this year, and will work to repair their voracious appetite based damages next year. Of course I bought the goats BEFORE the fencing for the additional acreage was done because that's basically how we do most things around here.  So they are eating my yard.

But goat ownership is FUN, frustrating and some days a little terrifying.... Lucia was a trooper during her delivery but we had two goats present at one time DURING the birth which was pretty intense but God's Grace and my calm husband, I managed to push one back, and hold it, wait for a contraction and pull one out!! So we added Thelma, Roscoe and Louise to our little homestead farm that day. Two does and a buck, who is now a whether. So having the babies led to milking their Mama, which means we have AWESOME goat's milk in our household now!! Absolutely the most delicious stuff I've ever had. Its like drinking ice cream!! Milking has been a fun thing to learn... not. Lucia is not always cooperative about that endeavour but we are finding our way. So this morning, I'm making my first cheese with Goat's milk and we are making Chevre which is just french for goat. But sounds so MUCH cooler... Chevre Cheese!!  I'm such a sophisticate. LOL with chicken and goat doodie some where on my person.. which is my normal state now.

More updates, lets see, two weeks ago I chased bees all week. One hive released three swarms in the course of about 6 days. We were beyond blessed to be able to capture all three swarms, thanks to a very well placed crepe myrtle bush that seemed to be the perfect landing spot for all three swarms.  Honey production was doing very well just before the swarming started.  Its a trade off. I went from 2 hives to five, so I'm not complaining.  All have settled well and are eating and building up. So that was a busy but great happening.

Most all of the gardens are planted. We are growing potatoes for the first time, and we have corn, peas, limas, okra, squash, tomatoes (of course we have tomatoes we are southern) bunches of herbs in the greenhouse, green onions, yellow onions, garlic... seems like I've skipped something. There is asparagus crowns put in the ground, and the new peach trees have a few baby peaches on them and the apples trees are all leafing. Inside the green house both the lemon tree and the lime tree have fruit on them. I'm attempting ginger this year. And there's probably something stuck in a pot somewhere that I just can't think of right now.

Soaps and body products are good. Just finished an Aloe Rose soap which is new for us. I think its going to be a really nice facial soap.  And I am about to make my first real lotion. I have made body butters, but not lotions due to their short shelf life. This is a rose facial lotion, so I'm looking forward to giving that a try.

You can check us out on Instagram or facebook to see some photos of what's been going on!!

And I've started adding some of our Soap Natural line to Ebay!! So you can find us there too!!

I would like to maintain this blog a little better, and I think I say that every time and still takes MONTHS to get here.  Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later.

Until then..

 

 

Tis The Season!!

We have been BUSY around here!! So much going on as the seasons change.  We're about to have our first really cold snap here in Alabama.  All the bird buildings are buttoned up, so no body will be too chilly.  The greenhouse is in FULL swing, lemon tree has bloomed and has lemons, the lime tree looks happy, the pineapple plants LOVE their new home!! I'm rooting some tomato cuttings I took before the first frost got the heirloom tomatoes.

The bees have settled in for winter, I did steal a little honey late fall. Its rich and dark like fall honey is, and delicious.  I've created an amazing face cream using colloidal oatmeal, honey, Shea butter and coconut oil. My face is loving it!!

The winter garden is doing well. The lettuce is crunchy and delicious, cabbages, Brussell sprouts and broccoli are all growing well.

Its peanut brittle and pecan brittle season, and I started sour dough starter and have been baking sour dough breads.  I love to bake in the winter, nothing like a busy hot stove to warm the house!! We've been doing soups and stews for a few weeks now.

Rain FINALLY came!! It was with a grateful heart I watched my happy ducks and geese wander the yard in the downpour.  We continue to pray for those who have had to deal with the wild fires, the victims and the brave folks who work so hard to fight them... and not just in TN but all over the country!!

I've got to get busy with Christmas boxes, and fill them with all the goodies I make around here. Tried out a new recipe I had run across, candied citrus peel... what a shock that was!! So simple and makes an all natural delicious candied treat!!

There's a bit of an update! I try to post pics on our facebook page, you can always check us out there.  I've added buttons to the front page to find us, and view our timeline.  Slowly but surely I'm working at pulling this all together!!

 

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