All of our animals are raised as holistically as possible. We do not medicate or use chemicals on the farm. Free-ranging is supplemented with locally grown hay and grains. Every animal we raise helps to provide for and support our farm and our lives.
We are raising multiple pig breeds in an attempt to create the perfect mountain hog! Gentle, intelligent, cold-loving, good foraging lard pigs. This project will be years in the making. When we butcher hogs for ourselves, we use 100% of the meat and fat, as well as clean the bones and skulls to help support the farm. We render fat into lard for cooking and making soap, process all of the meat from the entire animal (including nearly all of the organs/innards), and we trade and give away a lot of pork 🙂
Industrious chickens contribute eggs, meat, feathers, and egg hatching services to the farm. They keep insects to a minimum, turn compost heaps, and forage on fresh leafy forest underbrush in the spring and summer. We raise purebred marans and lavender ameraucanas, as well as olive eggers and fibro crosses that produce purple, black, and blue meats.
Our blend of Flemish, New Zealands, and Californias produce big, robust bunnies that provide the entire farm with a bounty of benefits, including meat, fur, target grazing, and natural products! Our breeders are raised in bonded colonies in open-air outdoor runs, where they have room to run, jump, and be a bunny. Grow-outs are finished on fermented grains and fresh forage in the sunshine and fresh air!
Our affectionate, burly pack goats Aster and Isöl accompany us on most of our foraging missions. They provide us with comical companionship and an invaluable packing service. In 2020 we phased out our miniature milk goats in favor of big, robust, purebred American alpines. Our milk goats provide us and their barnyard companions with milk, cheese, and whey. Their offspring will provide us with valuable income.
All of the goats help to clear lush underbrush from the forest which reduces our fire risks, as well as carve out nice trails through the trees making pastures easier for us to navigate. They fertilize and enrich the soil with manure and help us work the land into a healthier, more bountiful ecosystem.
A new experiment started in 2020, we are now happily farming guinea pigs for meat, primarily as a sustainable food source for our dogs. Surprisingly hardy and easy to manage, the guinea pigs have been an absolutely delight to keep and a valued addition to the farm. Keeping the GP’s has allowed us to scale back on rabbit production, which is more space and management intensive. Our GP’s are kept in bonded breeding groups, reproducing naturally just as the rabbits do. They reside in large 4x8x6 walk-in runs with 4 verticle teirs to explore in each pen. Here they are secure from predators, but with plenty of room to climb, scurry, and nest.
We raise coturnix quail in a variety of colors. They live in a 700 square foot enclosed aviary where we grow a variety of food crops. They run freely and forage naturally, supplemented by our locally grown grains. Quail provide an abundance of meat and eggs, as well comical companionship.
While they offer tid-bits of meat and income, we raise doves primarily for the pleasure of interacting with these gentle, curious, and independent birds. The doves live in a large open-air outdoor run with ample room to fly and nest naturally. We grow annual and perinnial food crops in their run, creating a diverse and enriching habitat for them.
Hardy heritage turkeys, bred for disposition, physique, and beauty. Our turkeys provide us with meat, oil, feathers, and provide invaluable services as egg hatchers and flock protectors!
Helpful honeybees indulge in a full spring, summer, and fall of staggered and diverse blooms. They provide us with sweet medicine (honey), as well as useful goods like wax, pollen, and propolis! Our hives are 100% treatment fee, unmedicated, and as organic as bees can get. They have no access to any agricultural crops up here!
Permaculture systems: Orchards
2019 marked the birth year of our first orchards here on the mountain with 19 fruit trees planted. In 2020 we started over 22 new fruiting trees and scores of berry plants. Every spring we will be planting from 5 to 20+ new trees. In years to come they will provide the farm and the land with a bounty of food, and passive benefits such as trimmings for feed and smoking wood. As they mature they will enrich the ecosystem, providing for both the farm and the wildlife around!
Permaculture systems: Greenhouses
In USDA zone 3, greenhouses are a must for extending the growing season. We are expanding from several hundred to several thousend square feet of greenhouse space, maximizing our ability to feed ourselves and the livestock with good, wholesome, home-grown food.
Permaculture systems: Ponds
Our first pond has flourished into a rich ecosystem for native amphibians such as frogs and salamanders, as well as a unique host of aquatic insects. It enables us to irrigate many of our animals, crops, and orchards. As we continue to build and shape the land, more ponds will be created for food, water, irrigation, and ecosystem enrichment.