Welcome back to another season of farm and homestead tours! I'm ready for more entries for 2014! Please read here for guidelines.
We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome, Our Mountain Hearth!
Joseph and Lauren live in Northwest Montana on a couple wooded of acres bordered by 1.5 million acres of Jewel Basin and Bob Marshall wilderness — one of the last great wild places left in America. You can visit their blog here.
What is your name and the names of your family members?
We are Joseph and Lauren.
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
We have been homesteading together for about three years. I was born and raised in large-scale agriculture, while Joseph grew up with a big garden and parents who canned their produce every year.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
Our homestead sits on a couple of acres of wooded mountainside, in one of the last great wild places left in America. We are routinely visited by bear, cougar, deer, elk, and all the wild things!
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
We homestead with a focus on permaculture principles. We grow a large garden every year, and also raise ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, pigs, dairy goats, rabbits, and a few horses that mostly stand around eating all day.
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
We decided that we wanted to make the shift from a lifestyle of mindless consumption, to one of intentional production. We wanted to find out if we could grow our own food, make a lot of the things we need, and learn some of the skills that our grandmothers would have used every day. So far, so good, on all counts!
Any future plans?
We intend to continue refining our techniques, and adding infrastructure to our homestead. We have some building projects planned, using reclaimed materials, as well as enacting new strategies to live simply with as little reliance on modern technology as possible. Of course, we WILL be keeping our computer!
Do you have any funny stories to share?
We had a large dead tree fall across our perimeter fence last spring. We knew this tree was going to become a problem eventually, as it was very rotten. We had a good wind storm one night that brought the whole thing down, but the tree was so light and hollow, it really didn't damage the fence. It sort of just laid across the top of the fence, squishing our no-climb goat mesh wire down a little bit. Well, our dog Denali is always on the hunt for a way to escape the property so she can go visit with all the dogs along the road. She saw that tree and thought that she had won the escapee lottery! She vanished from the yard, and left us searching frantically for her. My husband walked up and down the road for an hour, calling for her, asking the neighbors if they had seen her. There was no sign of our Denali. Just as we were about to become frantic, Joseph heard this far off whine that sounded kind of strange and hollow. He followed the sound and discovered that Denali had tried to escape the yard by climbing up inside the hollow trunk of that tree, where she became hopelessly wedged and trapped. After a good round of dog-shaming, Joseph had to take a hatchet and carefully tear the tree trunk apart to free Denali. She hasn't attempted a tree-based escape since!
How about a sad story?
Before we knew anything about raising goats, we bought a pair of good-looking dairy goats from a fellow across town. When we purchased these goats, we weren't told that they had been bred. I would guess that the previous owner didn't know, either, as he seemed like a good honest man. They surprised us by having their kids a few days apart, in the depth of winter, when we were completely unprepared! It turned out that not only were they bred at the wrong time of year, but the offending stud was the full brother of one of the girls, and the son of the other! We ended up with four kids, only two of which survived as there were some serious genetic problems with the two that we lost. It was a heartbreaking beginning to our goat raising journey.
Let's Tour Our Mountain Hearth!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from the Lauren, as she tells you what is in each picture.)
Bliss, the happiest milk goat in the world, chowing down on mountain wildflowers.
White gold from our wonderful goat girls.
Elvis, our new young Nubian herd sire. He's very sweet but stinky.
Our homestead woodland.
Our backyard playground, Lake McDonald.
The summer time bean patch.
The homestead flock on a lovely autumn day.
A bounty of eggs from our hardworking hens.
The view out my kitchen window of a batch of young broiler chickens.
The “Lurkey Turkey Brigade” greeting us as we arrive home from a trip to town. They get more excited than our dogs when we come home!
Anastasia, one of our foundation stock meat rabbits.
Our Duroc sow, engaging in her favorite piggy activity.
Lauren, thank you for sharing with us! We hope you enjoy your free thank you video, our gift to you. Plus, feel free to display the following graphic on your site. (Right-click and save to your computer, then upload to your site and link to this farm tour post.)
Would you like to be featured?
Are you a homesteader or farmer at any level? You don't have to live in the country, you don't have to be doing everything.
Being on the journey is the only qualification. We want to see what you're doing, no matter how big or small.
Click here for submission guidelines for the Down Home Farm Tours series. We're excited to hear from you!
If you're selected, we will share your farm/homestead pictures and stories in a dedicated blog post, plus you can add the featured graphic to your blog or website. And, we'll give you a free thank you video of your choice!
Please give Lauren and Joseph a warm welcome in the comments! Be sure to visit their blog here.
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