10 New Goals for the New Year.

Our Goals for this New Year.

#1 Get internet – After three months of going to McDonald’s every time we needed to use the internet (seems a little counterproductive to what we are trying to do with food) we tried to get AT&T to hook us up.  Unfortunately, the service man came out only to tell us that we lived too far away for the internet to work.  Needless to say, order cancelled. We may have to get creative!

As penance for our sins, we promise to perfect a farm to table McNugget once things getting rollling.

#2 Milk our goat – Due to Ginger’s lack of widening over the last few months we are fairly certain she is not pregnant.  We haven’t noticed her coming into heat though either, so we could be surprised!  Gracie on the other hand is showing all of the tell-tale signs of carrying a kid so hopefully on March 1st we will be getting our first sip of goat’s milk!

#3 Mealworms – We are hoping to start a mini mealworm farm to help feed our chickens.  With the addition of 39 chicks in December we are going to need all of the wormies we can get!

#4 Outdoor lighting – We currently have no outdoor lighting.  Our Front porch light was broken within a week of our moving in and we have been using flashlights and lanterns ever since.  Seems like such a simple task to prioritize, but after putting out the daily fires associated with farm life it is easy to forget!

#5 Hatch our own eggs – We are hoping to be able to hatch our own eggs for our new Ameraucanas, Cochins, Buff Orpingtons, RIRs, and silkies!  We will have to see how our straight run chicks develop and try to supplement with more hens and roos as needed.

#6 Meat Birds – After a good friend let us borrow Joel Salitan’s book Pastured Poultry for Profits (a highly recommended read!) I felt empowered to make the leap.  We are already doing research on how we want to start 50 birds for our personal use and hopefully take orders to raise birds for our friends and neighbors!

#6 More Pigs – Michael has become quite the hog farmer and I am so proud by all of the work he has put into them.  He hopes to have 10 pigs next round and I am hoping to have 6.  We will see where the compromise is!  I have no room to complain since he carries the heavy buckets of feed every morning and night, fills their water, and scratches their ears, all while I sit in the warmth of the house watching.  There seems to be quite a bit of interest in this first round of happy hogs, so the plan is to scale up a bit!

#7 Our Garden – Our current pigs have been tilling and fertilizing our garden for us all fall and I am getting excited about the harvest we will be seeing in a few months!  Last year our garden was destroyed by a gang of heartless thugs (also known as groundhogs) so we will be taking extensive preventative measures this year.  We have ordered a fat envelope full of heirloom, non-GMO, organic seeds that I am excited to put in the ground.

#8 Rabbits – Michael is itching for additional meat sources to help push us on our way to sustainability.  With rabbits propensity for quick reproduction and development of lean meat, a breeding trio can actually produce more meat in a year than a steer would.  I am struggling a little bit with fluffy tails and cute twitching noses, but I have been promised to be spared from the butchering process until I feel more comfortable.

#9 Be generous – We are hoping to create enough food to be able to share! Once we’re getting some delicious return from this project we’ll be able to build some baskets throughout the season to spread the love with some folks. I think that the hard work we put into developing the sustainability of our practices is incredibly important. With that being said, I believe that sharing our food and our story is even more important when it comes to effecting the way that we, and hopefully others, connect to the food we eat.

#10 Get Married – Michael is the love of my life.  I could go on for pages with mushy feelings about his hard working spirit, his passion, his dedication, his wonderful hugs, how good he looks in overalls, and his sweet smile, but I will spare you!  Although getting married to your fiancé seems like a silly goal, as homesteaders (which double as fire fighters since there are always fires that need putting out) taking the time and money to separate yourself from your farming ventures requires effort.  We have already been engaged for 4 months with minimal planning and since Michael doesn’t want to budge on his dream date of September 2017, we have our work cut out for us!  I can’t wait for the day when we stand with only our immediate family in a beautiful outdoor location to pledge our lives to each other.

We would love to hear about your goals or resolutions for the coming year!  Comment below or send us a message to share, we would love to chat about it.

My 5 Favorite Things About Homesteading


Some days I sit back in awe of everything we have been blessed with and am amazed by what our labor has created so far, other days I need to be reminded of all of the wonderful things around me.  This morning before work I managed to step in every kind of animal poop that exists on our farm – and of course I wan’t wearing my rubber boots.  That all too familiar little slide in your step when your weight bears down on a fresh pile of dung repeated itself about four times from the door of the chicken coop to the door of our car.  This morning was a morning that I needed to be reminded.

Here is a brief reminder of some of the amazing things I enjoy on our homestead.


#1 – My Partner


I bet you didn’t know Michael was also a male homesteading model did you? I’m joking, but I am truly blessed to call this handsome, hardworking, goofy man mine.  Homesteading is hard and tests your fortitude in the face of unbelievable self-inflicted stress.  Through it all, this wonderful bearded, beer-lover has kept me not only sane, but extremely happy with the life we have chosen.  Did I mention how cute he was?

On top of working a full time job at New Belgium Brewery, he spends his off days spoiling me and laboring on our farm.  I don’t think he has had a true “off day” in months and is still one of the most enthusiastic and loving people you will ever have the privilege of meeting.



#2 The Opportunity to Share


One of my favorite things is being able to share our farm with others!  Before doing this, Michael and I had never really even experienced a pig in real life or a goat outside of a petting zoo.  Curious about these critters?  Drop in any time to meet them, much easier to visit them than raise them!



#3 – Fluffy Butts and Fresh Eggs


With the goats scheduled to kid in January (the coldest part of the year, whose poor planning was that?) and the pigs graduating to the freezer in late February, the chickens have thus far been the only return on all of our hard work. Thanks to these lovely hens, we have not one, but TWO dozen eggs in our fridge!  I believe we will have some farm fresh quiche tonight.  I’m not sure if their productivity has filtered my sight of them, but they get cuter and cuter with every egg they lay.  The cuteness of the original eight may have been all of the influence we needed to go forward with another 36 chicks that are currently brooding in our basement… and the 25 broilers scheduled to come in February. Why not go all out?


#4 – Better Than Netflix Entertainment


There is never a dull moment on the farm.  Even after all of the chores end (not because of lack of chores but because of lack of daylight) there is so much movement and noise that I don’t think the phrase “I’m bored” has been uttered since the acquisition of our first hen.  Seriously y’all, goats climbing their playground, chickens in dust baths, and pigs running around squealing is way more interactive than Netflix.  Which is a good thing since we STILL haven’t set up internet at our house… AT&T came out to set us up and claimed that could provide speeds almost as fast as dial up! We decided to pass.



#5 A Growing Intimacy With My Food


Since starting out on this endeavor, our appreciation of food has completely changed.   It changes your perspective when you can literally look outside and see the source of your sustenance.  Now, meat does not ever have a chance to “go bad” because it was forgotten in the fridge.  As a matter of fact, we eat significantly less meat. Knowing that meat was more than a tray at the grocery gives it a much higher value than it ever had before.  When our chickens decide they are going to revolt and hide their eggs from us, forcing us to buy eggs from the store, we buy the $5 eggs that we know come from happy, free range chickens.  Seeing the joy that comes from watching our hens scratching around the yard has deepened my conviction against supporting companies that keep their animals in inhumane conditions.

What are the things that you are most grateful for on the homestead?


5 Challenges of Homesteading in Your Twenties



#1 Responding to “Want to grab a drink tonight?”


Loaded question- yes, of course we do!  Right after we feed the pigs, lock up the chickens, deworm the goats, start new feed fermenting, wash out everyone’s water buckets, start a load of laundry (clothes never stay clean on the farm) and take the dogs out.  Right after that we would love to grab a drink… of the moonshine our friends gave us at home in the comfort of our pajamas.


Oh!  You meant a drink at a place that frowns upon patrons in elastic waisted pants?  Hm… maybe another time!




#2 Dinner Plans


Since deciding to raise our own meat for humane and health reasons, we have been trying to make a conscious effort to be responsible consumers.  We are THOSE people who buy the 5 dollar carton of free range eggs, the ground beef from the local grass fed farm, and the yogurt that comes from happy cows and we honestly believe it is worth every penny.  Since making those decisions though it has been harder for us to go out to eat. Most restaurants in our area do not mirror our values and we hate to pay money for something we don’t believe in.  Our most recent solution has been dinner parties!  But lets be real, we are still in our 20s, the whole budgeting thing seems a little far off and hazy, and feeding 6 people organic, grass-fed steak is really freaking expensive.




#3 Community


Most people our age are not doing what we are doing.  The constant tasks that demand our attention and keep pulling us back to our home can be isolating.  We have no experience in agriculture to have farming friends, no kids to keep us plugged into other people through “mommy groups”, and hardly enough time to keep up with the friends we do have.  If you are one of those friends and reading this- we haven’t forgotten you!




#4 Finances


Michael and I have some kick-butt jobs with companies that do awesome things for their employees and take seriously the impact they have on larger communities.  That being said, we have entry level positions.  Living in Asheville where the cost of living to the average salary is extremely disproportionate, we have very entry level salaries.  Not only that, but neither of us have ever owned or maintained a home, raised animals, managed acreage (even though it is just a couple), or been accountable to anyone but ourselves for our finances.  I am sure that there is a learning curve, we are just on the wrong side of it!  Moving is generally expensive, but add on the start-up costs of fencing, coops, pens, shelters, animals, feed, and medicine and we have been cooking up a recipe for what I call “I am so proud that we kept $6.13 in our savings account baby!”. Soon we will be swimming in eggs, pork, and goat’s milk, but right now we are swimming in bills!




#5 Patience


We love what we are doing.  Everyday presents a new challenge and it is awesome to have a wildly passionate and dedicated partner to take on those challenges with!  However, this is a very long term project.  We lie in bed at night and tell each other our dreams of having all of our  hard work at the farm pay for our mortgage, of having a well-read and followed blog, of becoming experts in our field, but all of that is a long way off.  The farm doesn’t currently pay for itself and neither of us are good with moderation (we are talking about adding quail to the farm!) Eventually our growth is going to have to slow and we are going to learn how to focus on maintaining and improving efficiency in order to possibly create a profitable farm.


These are the challenges we are currently facing,  what are your biggest challenges?  What have you found to combat these issues?  We would love to hear from you below!

The Reality of Life


Growing up hunting taught me a healthy respect for life and death.  My father instilled in me the understanding and respect of hunting as a way to obtain delicious meat and a form of wildlife management.  My dad Carl grew up impoverished in a minuscule coal mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  The family often relied on the bounty of the hunt for (inexpensive) sustenance.  Hunting also lessens the chance a herd will contract illnesses; especially Cronic Wasting Disease. This ravaged my home state of Maryland where whitetail deer overpopulate nearly all suburban areas. I participated in controlled, planned archery hunts designed to improve overall herd health. The meat harvested was either eaten by me or donated to local food kitchens.  Death was a necessary part of this process.  Is it easy to kill an animal? Absolutely not.  In fact, I have cried every single time. I’m a pretty emotional dude.  For me death has an immense impact.  And yet, shortly after a kill the adrenaline wears off and I pull myself together quickly.  Death happened at my hands and I accept its benefits and its consequences.

Going into this whole homestead farm thing, I felt that my experience around intentional killing to harvest meat, aka hunting, would benefit my mentality surrounding death on the farm.

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Three of the Seventeen current residents of Folly Farms

Flash forward to this past Weekend.

Thanksgiving was spectacular.  My mom made the drive down from Maryland to check out our developing homestead.  The three of us enjoyed the holiday immensely, making the couple of days fly by.  Mom left early Saturday morning to make it back home before the start of the work week.

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Showing Mom our progress

We slept in a tad bit, rolled out of bed, and got to the usual AM chores.  Casey went out to feed Dory, and I to the basement to grab the hog food ferment.  Half way up the stairs I could hear screaming.  Intense crying and screaming.   I thought it was coming from the house next door but, as the corner at the top of the stairs was rounded, I realized that the painful moans were coming from our property.  I dropped the food and I increased the pace of my step.  I yelled for Casey, my first thought was to pull her away from whatever awful scene must have unfolded. As I got to our quaint pen the gate was wide open, my fiancé on her knees sobbing aloud, and no Dory bleating or tail wagging.  I knew.  We lost our kid.  Our bottle baby kid was gone.

Over the next few hours our numbness went to sadness and our sadness to anger and our anger back to more more sadness.  We dug a deep grave.  As deep as we could go in the clay that was devoid of moisture due to the 50 + days of no rain.  Wrapped in a soft clean towel, we laid Dory the Goat-Dog-Kid to rest and marked the site with a gleaming hunk of North Carolina Quartz atop our hill.

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Hanging out with Dory-the-kid over the last week

The pain rocked us.  As I type this 24+ hours later I still feel an uncomfortable sadness deep down inside.

Losing an animal that you have bonded with feels like cruel and unusual punishment.  Many of us have lost dogs, cats, ferrets, and even fish. We loved many of these animals like family and are aware of the sting. It hurts like non other. Casey and I bottle fed our sweet Dory not even 12 hours previous to finding her lifeless in the corner of her home.

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The more beautiful parts of our farming

Reality has reared its ugly head.  Life on the farm has been absolutely stunningly beautiful, but death is a part of the equation whether through the harvesting of our hogs or the unexpected and sudden death of a kid. A kid we had grown incredibly close to.

Life and death on the farm.  Unfortunately, they freaking go together.  Dory taught us this lesson early on and I have to be grateful. I am more so grateful for the time we got to spend with her before she left us.

It’ll never be easy to lose animals here on Folly Farms but death is a reality we have no choice but to accept.  We were reminded of the cost of the beautiful cycle of life that we all enjoy. Thanks little goat for everything you have taught us.


A Weekend on the Farm


It finally happened.  The stars aligned, Michael’s managers had seen my haggard face at the brewery and thought that something must be done, and we got an entire weekend off together.  Most couples might take for granted that they have weekends off together, but between our varying work schedules, we had not had a single day off at home together in over 4 months.  It was amazing.


We started off our morning with lattes and solving the world’s problemsimg_7480

Let the chickens out to roam around

Fed Dory her bottle.  (Is there really a more precious sight than a handsome man bottle feeding a baby goat? No.)img_7539

Then we hung out with the goats.  We call Ginger our “Stoner Goat” as she is the most laid back but also the most food-motivated.  Today though, she was especially slow moving.   We saw her lift her tail and start to poop, but this was no normal poop. img_7601

Knowing that we had been having problems with scours in our baby goat and that you had to catch a stool sample before it touched the ground, I did what any crazy goat lady would do.  I grabbed a leaf and caught the poo.img_7604

You can clearly seem my mixed emotions of amusement/horror at what I had just done.  Another one of those moments where I question, what am I doing with my life?img_7618

Folly and Jackson love helping dad bring the food to the pigsimg_7623

We are in desperate need of rain up here, you can tell by how dusty the pig area has gotten. Unfortunately this has been contributing to the situation with the wildfires that are still burning in our area.

We are currently playing with a 3 day pig slop fermentation system that is being supplemented with corn and food waste.  Our basement looks like something that would belong to a mad scientist with different buckets bubbling at different rates in every corner.img_7668

A worried Michael drives to the vet to get the stool sample tested.  The vet said their was no sign of parasites or anything else that could be causing the upset.  We have decided to switch to a less rich hay in hopes that it helps out their little bellies.img_7674

A quick trip to the library yielded great results!  My favorite time of the day is when we eat our fresh scrambled eggs, sip lattes, and flip through books discussing with each other what we glean.  It is the most relaxing and calming part of the day.


We had something try to break into our chicken coop over night (no chickens were injured) so we threw some “finishing touches” on our redneck chicken coop and started to chase down the chickens.  In order for chickens to recognize a coop as “home” where they will return every night, you leave the chickens locked up for a few days.  img_7748

Michael is a natural and fearless chicken wrangler,


I moved a little more slowly and mine escaped.img_7792

We ended the day by trying to socialize our fearful goats  with grain (Read about how we got these skittish cuties here.)img_7800

Look at Hazel’s cute tongue! It was a great weekend on the farm and an amazing day of getting to see my fiance during daylight hours.