chickens, farming, Feed Store, goats, horses, Things I Enjoy

One Thing At A Time

We’re coming up on the two-week mark of running the feed store, and I have to remind myself every day that there is a honeymoon phase to every adventure in life – you know what I’m talking about, right? That time period when everything is bliss, and nothing seems to hard to tackle.

I can’t even fathom a bad day at the feed store. It just doesn’t even seem possible. Every day I wake up, and I’m almost afraid I’m going to realize it was a dream that came while I was asleep…and then I pinch myself and get to enjoy that this is instead, a dream come true.

The ideas I have are endless….I have to keep a notepad near me always. As more ideas come to me, I’m afraid of losing the last one that came to mind. I want to do all the ideas…NOW.

We have our grand opening shindig happening on March 31st from 9am-6pm, and we cannot wait to see every one for that! We are going to have vendors, food, games, and fun. We’ll even be hiding Easter eggs inside and out for the kids to find.

We will have a photographer on scene to capture fabulous photos of your kids! Her name is Paula Lynell and you can find her on Facebook.

I am honored that you continue to shop at the feed store even though it changed hands. I hope to build a relationship with you, to come to know you better with every visit.

I have an event planned for April, and for May, too!

One of my priorities for the feed store is to continue the family friendly legacy, and to drive connection in the community. While I want the feed store to always be a place to get farming and pet staples (like feed and tack) I also want the feed store to be a place of connection between local growers/artisans and the community.

I hope you’ll stop by today and say hi! And I hope you’ll bring the family out on March 31st to celebrate with us.

Until next time…wordswag_1519782540149.png



farming, Feed Store, Things I Enjoy

A Week and A Day

They say time flies when you’re having fun…I have to say I agree.

Time also flies when you’re answering questions, learning new things, and meeting new people. All things we’ve been doing for a week and a day, today.

My brain often races at night, probably because it’s the only time the kids aren’t making much noise. One particular night, the night before we opened the store the first time, I remember thinking about my first trip to Young Family Feed. I wandered the store, looked at the shelves, and found the dollar bin that my dear friends told me about. I dug around that for a few minutes, meandered toward the front counter, and stared at the feed board.

I was buying feed from a big box store and thought maybe I could find something I would like at the little feed store that was full of charm. Jack started talking to me and asking questions and listened to everything going on with Risky, the feeds we tried, and the times we made progress, the times we stalled. He listened, and he asked questions, and he finally made a recommendation.

So began my switch to using Young Family Feed for my feed needs. I changed products a few times, asked lots of questions, began growing fodder, and continued shopping there. They helped me find a good dog food, helped me get my hands on the barley I need to grow fodder. They always asked how I was, in a genuine way.

I looked forward to my trips to the feed store.

As I lay awake, considering all of this, I realized that I would now be answering questions. I would now be the one telling people about the products and what products are good for what application. I would have to learn about the things I don’t use, but I would have to learn when/where/what/why they would or could be used.

Each day, I’ve learned something new about something we carry. I’ve learned about products we don’t carry. I’ve learned about products we could carry. I’ve learned about products I never would have heard of.

I love answering questions, I love helping people find a solution that fits their needs. This week has been a real eye opener for me. I can’t tell you how many times I would answer one set of questions (or find an answer) for someone standing at the counter, only to switch gears because someone on the phone had a different set of questions they needed answered.

I left today with a few things in my “to-do” pile that I just wasn’t able to get to through the course of the day.  At first, I was a little frustrated that they weren’t done, but I had an appointment to make after we closed, so I couldn’t stay late. But as I drove, I realized my pile doesn’t only represent what I didn’t get done. It represents the best interruptions – the people I am meeting every day. The conversations I am having, the questions I am answering (or trying to), and the beautiful souls approaching the counter.

I’ll take a pile of not quite done paperwork at the end of every day if it means the smiles, warmth, and purpose that is filling my days.

Folks, I’ve manned the counter for a week and a day, and I cannot tell you how incredible it’s been. I’m thankful that a week and a day is really just the beginning to a journey that I hope and believe will span many years.

farming, Feed Store, Things I Enjoy

Opening Day 2018

Good Evening Folks!

Today was better than I ever expected – and I expected great things to begin with.

First off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone that came in, that shared our posts on Facebook, and showered us in prayers.

Opening Day
The Walker Crew on Opening Day Mar. 1, 2018

The reality of all we have taken on, and the shoes we have to fill, was evident to us today. Every where I turned today, evidence of the Young Family was present. As a customer myself, I felt an enormous sense of something missing.

I was studying some paper taped to a wall, when underneath, I found these gems.

The Young's marks in the door frame.
While inches can be measured, like the Young’s did here, other growth is harder to measure, but hard to miss.

I felt a tightness in my chest. The memories here are rich and deep and part of the pulse of this feed store.

Inspiration rose in me, and we started our own growth marks, on the opposite side of the door frame.

Marks on the door frame - how did they get this big?
The Walker’s will grow in more than just inches at the feed store.

We will add a line every year as the kids grow. It’s hard to mark lines for how much we will grow over the course of this endeavor. But I’m sure the door frame isn’t tall enough to really mark off the growth that will happen.



We brought our old dog with us. He was a rescue…11 years ago when I brought him home. He’s been on do many adventures with us. My kids are all deeply attached to him. We see his age in the slow way he stands, in the look in his eyes. He isn’t the youngster he was when I brought him home.

The twinge will remain for some time – missing the friendly faces of Jack & Staci & Hayden & Tag. The wealth of knowledge, the friendly service, the authenticity they exhibited.

The feed store isn’t the same as it was yesterday, and that was hard for me to face. But I realized that, while I was to embrace and keep the charm, we will add our own touch moving forward, and that will be good, too.

The Young Family at closing time, Feb 28, 2018

Here is to moving forward, embracing life, not being the same, but also not changing all that is great about the journey we are on.

Here is to answering questions that make me a little nervous, that make me question what I know, that make me dig deeper. Here is to figuring out our systems, our checks, our balances. Here’s to new friends, new faces, new days, new adventures.

There are no words to adequately express my gratitude for the Young Family – for passing the torch, for their legacy, for the strong foundation they’ve passed along. For their kindness, their wisdom, their warmth. I could write 1,000 posts and it would not be enough to express how my cup runneth over and how they have blessed me and my family.

chickens, farming, goats, horses

The Daily Grind

When I launched this blog and site, I had such high hopes of writing every day to tell the story of our farm. This was my space to explore all the rattling in my head, all of the learning, all of the lessons, and jot it down, and make sense of it, and share it with any one that was interested in the journey of our little farm.

Then life happened, and sometimes in the daily grind, I don’t find myself with time to come write it all out. This is a sad fact for me, one that causes me a bit of frustration. See, I’m a writer by nature, and writing out all of the things that float through my head really helps me sort things out and solidify ideas.

Our farm is in a holding pattern, things are just business as usual at the moment. The chicks haven’t started laying eggs yet, but we’ve wrangled our other two hens and a rooster, and they are all cooping together quite well. We are getting a few eggs from the two hens each week. The ducks are not happy about the cold days, especially when a layer of ice takes over the pond. They come running for dinner, but they still aren’t the friendly pets my kids wish they were.

Risky is lame more than she is not – in fact, at this point, only the kids ride her. I don’t expect her to tote me around with her foot aching. So the boys catch her and use the round pen to climb up on her, and they wander around on her a few times a week. I love that they get to do that now. I long to ride, in fact, my heart aches for a time when I get to climb aboard a horse once more, and ride my afternoon away. I’ve been praying for a solution, but it’s not in the books to go buy another horse right now.

My goats are doing well. When Shimmy dried off, I went through a phase where I was very frustrated with myself for spending what could have been sound horse money on goats. But I had to accept that everything in life has an opportunity cost – taking one opportunity always means saying no to a different one. Once we are in the spring season, with cute baby goats, and milk again, I think it will be easier to remember why I picked goats. The fact that they all come running for scritches whenever I set foot outside is a big help in reminding me that my life just wouldn’t be the same without them.

We did decide that 9 goats was a few goats too many, so we thinned out. Our buckling found a home with girls he wasn’t related to, and three of our does found homes, all with kids to play with like they are used to. One family needed a doe for milk for a kiddo that is lactose intolerant, and the other two does went to a Grandpa because his grandkids were begging him for goats.

That leaves us with 5 goats to enjoy each and every day – 5 is a much more manageable number, and while it was a tough decision, I know we made the right one.

Our livestock guardian dogs do an incredible job fending off predators all night long. We haven’t lost any of our critters to the lurkers. Ana, our female LGD, did get torn up pretty bad just before Thanksgiving – bad enough that she spend several days and nights in the house, locked away in my bedroom/bathroom to recuperate. If you’ve ever met my LGD’s, you know the house isn’t where they want to be. Poor girl, every time she heard her partner Anakin alerting outside, she was restless.

Thanks to a dear friend and her advice and salve, and my precious momma’s extra hands and know how, we were able to get Ana on the road to recovery and today she is as good as new. She is running and playing and making my heart happy with her antics. I was quite worried about my sweet Ana dog.

I’ll be back, hopefully with some measure of consistency, as we continue to learn and grow and love this little country life of ours.

farming, goats, horses

Fodder Feeding


I started with these plastic totes for $0.97 each. I grabbed the lids, too, just in case they came in handy later. I got this drill/screwdriver for $14.97. I drilled holes that were too small in the beginning, so I had to go back and re-drill my holes. I’ve found the 1/8″ in holes are the right 20170926_082742size for these tubs, my fodder growth, and the drainage I want. I tried two small sizes before landing on 1/8″ in holes. I also recommend drilling from the inside of the tubs to the outside – often the drilling leaves behind a ridge or tall spot, and by drilling out, that spot doesn’t impede drainage.

I drill 4 holes across, and 6 holes down for a total of 24 drainage holes in the bottom of each tub.

20170926_082807While I was at the store, I got paint sticks to be able to stack my tubs on top of each other. I expected to be able to stack all 6 or 7 days of growing trays on top of each other. In reality, I only felt comfortable stacking 3 trays on top of a drain tray (so 4, total).

I grow my fodder for 6 days before feeding it.

I was sprouting 4 cups of barley per tray, but decided that was too thick, and realized I was overfeeding, so I’ve backed that off to 2.5 cup of barley per tray. I dilute 2 TB of bleach in a water bottle and after washing the trays, I spray them with my bleach


solution. I don’t rinse the bleach out. I do the same with my mason soak jars, and I put

the new seeds to soak in the jar while it’s still

damp with the bleach solution, then I add warm water until the seeds are covered. I rinse them after 12 hours of soaking, then fill the jar with warm water again, and let them soak for an additional 12 hours. (When something happens and the seeds only soak for 12 hours, I feel like they don’t grow out as well.)


I stack my trays and water from top down, every day. Then, after 6 days of growing, I feed them. I’m on a system now, so even if the growth isn’t ideal, I still feed that day’s fodder. Sprouted grains, and fodder with less growth is still much more nutritious for my herd than processed feeds or a missed meal.

This fodder system reduced my feed bill from $1000/month down to $300/month. Fodder was a learn and do it now, or sell animals thing for me. I’m thankful it started up and started growing without too much of a hitch. If you have any questions, comment below!





farming, marriage

My New Coop


I’ve wanted a homestead farm for years now. I’ve wanted to milk goats, raise chickens, ride my horse, and grow a garden. I wanted to watch out my kitchen window as my kids learned to tumble and fall and get back up. I wanted to raise them with dirt and sunshine and fresh air. I wanted to be able to yell, “Were you born in a barn?” and chuckle, every time they left the door open as they ran back out to the sunshine.

The city was never my home, it’s not where I belong. It cramped me and the noise got in my head. I could never think over the noise. It was overwhelming.

chicksI knew my dear husband was willing to be witness to my dreams come true, and I knew he would work hard to afford the starting of a farm (which is a bit pricey, from our experience). But, I’ll be honest, I assumed I’d do a lot of the heavy lifting on the farm. And that was a price I was willing to pay to have my farm life.

But he has blown me away day in and day out. He’s made friends with the goats, and he built them all sheds. He is the one that said it was the right day to get chicks, and he helped feed and water them. (He’s even mentioned that he misses having them in the dining room.) He’s always loved dogs, so it is no surprise when he stops to tell them each hello.

Not only did he build goat sheds (which will get a post of their own), but he built me the best chicken coop. We looked at ideas online for a week straight. I called him a million times at work…what if we…what if we…what if we…coop2

And he built me a chicken a coop that’s just the best. My chickens love it and it let’s me keep them put up while they are small and will be where they spend their nights when they are big.

But not only did he bring me home a wood and wire structure, he went out of his way to paint it John Deere Green. Some said he should have used red, but it sure looks good to me. And he painted the name I picked for our farm on it. I cried when I saw it, and I’ve cried a few times since, because my husband knows how to love me well, and I am thankful.


farming, humor

Goats are Great

Get goats, I thought. It will be great, I thought! So got goats, I did. It was great, I thought.

In fact, when people posted free goats, I thought, with horror, how can you give away a great goat? I contemplated bringing them all home, but Pa W is a wise man and tells me no when he should.

So, this morning, I’m reveling in all my goatie greatness, getting ready to milk my doe, and carrying a bit of grain to the milk stand for her, when out of no where, all of the other goats swarm me. A bit of grain sounds mighty nice to them on this brisk morning.

I push one aside, then another. Then, the next thing I know, there are goat feet on my arm and shoulder, and I turn, to push away the nosy goat, and I get goat-punched-in-the-face.

I’m stunned.

I stand for a moment, with a goat still clobbering me, small scoop of feed held high in the air, out of goat reach. And I push again, shoving myself through the gate into the milking pen.

And then, my blood begins to boil, as I spit grit out of my mouth and blood trickles out of my nose. How dare that goat! How dare she punch me in the face! I’m giving the goat away! Free goat! Free goat! Free goat! I scream inside my head while standing at the milk stand. I’m trying to catch my breath, I’m trying to get the sand out of my teeth, I’m trying to brush the dirt off of my face.

Jazz – The Offending Goat

Free goat! Free goat! Free goat!

Over again in my head I chant. The enjoyment of the brisk morning far gone.

Somehow, though, milking my good little Shimmy girl was redeeming. I never made it to the free goat posting. In fact, after the first two pulls of fresh milk, I forgot that I wanted to give one of the girls away.

I’ve learned my lesson about milking time. I will put everyone up in the round pen before I take feed to the milking pen, and save myself the future embarrassment of being goat punched in the face.



If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping our farm’s blog alive, so from the bottom of my heart… Thank you.

The Backyard Homestead

Goat Coffee Mug

farming, Things I Enjoy

The Art of Punching Udders

I read all of the posts and pages and books and asked all the questions I could think of in regards to milking my goats. I love these goat girls (and our sweet boy), and I am so tickled to have my own fresh goat’s milk. It’s truly a dream come true for me to be working with a little dairy herd.

One of the many things I read over and over again was about punching the doe’s udder to stimulate a final let down and be able to fully milk her out. I have to admit, I didn’t want to punch a goat udder. It sounded so…harsh. I’ve breastfed a few babes, and thinking of someone punching me to release the last of my milk?

No, thanks.

So, our first couple of milkings went well, although I wasn’t getting quite as much milk as I thought I should be. I gave a meager wiggle to each side of Shim’s udder, and milked another squirt or two, closed up my jar, dipped her teats, and headed inside for the ice bath.

I got a little bolder with practice and pushed a little bit more firmly in my nearing-the-end wiggle routine – and I got double the number of extra squirts. Milked a fe

Shimmy, my doe-in-milk

w times with this, read the “punch the udder” routine again, and got a bit firmer in my wiggling once more. More squirts!

I finally gave in and admitted that the dairy folks that have gone before me for years, really do know what works. It was time to be bold enough to punch an udder. After all, when a kid isn’t getting much milk, but is still hungry, they will thrust, with quite a bit of force, their head/mouth/jaw into the udder multiple times to get more milk out.

So I finally did it, I gave each side several firm shoves. I punched her udder, on both sides, a couple of times. I got an extra cup of milk! A whole extra cup! And you know what? She didn’t flinch or budge over the ordeal – apparently, she knew I was doing it wrong all along and was just waiting for me to catch up to speed.

And that folks, is how I learned to efficiently punch a goat udder. What rad skill do you have that came to you in a funny way?


If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping our farm’s blog alive, so from the bottom of my heart… Thank you.



Oatmeal ‘n Honey Goat Milk Soap

farming, marriage, writing

The Budget and The Schedule

If you were to take a wild guess, what do you think the budget & the schedule have in common?

Stress? Maybe…not the answer I was looking for though.

I think the budget & the schedule, if considered together, will clearly reveal our priorities. Where we spend our time and our money shows who or what we value. I’ve been considering this in my own life as I talk about wanting to be a writer, wanting success in business, being a wife, a mother, a friend, a follower of Christ, a horse lover, running a little farm, being a homeschooler, and more.

I looked at my last two weeks of spending – when I had extra cash, when I had extra on the debit card, where was I spending my money? My last two weeks of spending look like farm goodies, farm goodies, farm goodies, and bowling. And a few more farm goodies. Animal feed (so much animal feed). I don’t buy the kids a lot of stuff/toys, and since we’ve moved to the new house, we aren’t eating out very often. School is on the spending list, and I have to watch it, I love books/curriculum and will buy stuff that we will barely (read: never) use.

I looked at my schedule during the same two weeks – what was I filling up the majority of my time with, and what was I using the small chunks of time for? Well, the majority of my time was split between work, farm projects and schooling the two littles. I spend time doing chores and milking Shimmy twice a day. I have been working hard to make sure I am cooking dinners these days instead of grabbing take out all of the time. (Easier to do when take out is so many miles away.) What really got my attention was my small chunks of time – 5 or 10 minutes, here or there. Those windows of time were wasted, gone forever, sucked away by social media – and the worst part is, I’d get my 5 or 10 minute fix, and often find the wind knocked out of my sails. Sometimes, it was because people can be offensive and blasting offense on FB is the norm. Sometimes, it was the ugly voice of comparison that would say “look at what that mom is doing with/for her kids” “look at what that family did together” “look at what that wife and husband did together/for each other” “look at” “look at” “look at” – and my head would spin, and I could go from best day ever status, and crash into “nothing is quite good enough” misery. Often, my 5-10 minute break would turn into 45 minutes – seriously altering how much I could accomplish in a given day.

With the budget, the glaring thing that I realized I was missing was anything that said, “First, I serve God,” in fact, there was no trace of serving God in how my money was spent. None. I about choked on that reality, because it hasn’t always been the case. And I prayed, and I prayed. And I came to the realization, I’d rather die penniless & serve God with everything I have – money, time, talent – and not just lip service, than to live in filthy riches, ignoring Him or His commands for my life. (Not that we live in filthy riches, by the way.)

Together, the budget and the schedule pointed out a few things I can do better for the kids – but I am honestly okay not giving them everything in the world. I want them to work for things, too. I want them to feel accomplished when they’ve worked hard and earned something, and I don’t believe spoiling them does that. I did notice that while my husband and I are together many hours of every day, we don’t do anything intentional for us or our relationship. No date night. No put the kids to bed early and talk night. No devotional together. Things are easy between us right now, but they haven’t always been. I know spending intentional time together helps us stay on the same page. I’d like to see us weather the good, the bad, and the ugly together, with God. My time does reveal at least some service to God – I believe He calls us to home school, and that He called us into the business we are in, to be a light in our community and serve others.

I can’t say my priorities are one thing, and then spend my time and money somewhere else. Or say something is important, only to brush is off to catch the next episode of:______________. I don’t want to offer lip service to my God, who has carried me through more than I can put to words.

I’m going to make small shifts, and I’m going to put my money where my mouth is (well, not literally), and spend my time on what matters. I know it will take focus, and changing small bad habits into good ones. I started with removing social media from my phone to break that time-waster. I’m getting up early to write. I made a shift in the budget. I’m going to talk to Mr. Wonderful about a devotional or bible reading plan on YouVersion. But it’s going to be the long haul that shows the fruit of these changes – not just the first few hours/days.


If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping this blog alive, so thank you.

 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change


The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

farming, horses, People

Look a Little Deeper

Risky reminds me of a lesson I learned years ago, as a young girl with horses. We had a bay mare, named Socks, who came to us in poor condition. Her frogs were rotten, and she had quarter cracks that were bloody. Her coronets were excessively scarred, and those are just the problems we could readily identify.

Several years later, we had a young palomino gelding, Dreamer, who couldn’t catch a left lead – not in the round pen, not under saddle, and not running around in the pasture.

With Socks, we solved the issues we could see and identify, but we were new to horses, and I believe we never helped her as much as she needed. Lord knows we tried, we just didn’t know to look for some underlying issues. My brother worked hard, under Mom’s supervision, to get her frogs to grow back. With the help of some good farriers (and a few setbacks with not-so-good ones) we got her quarter cracks healed. It wasn’t until after we parted ways with her that we learned about chiropractic care for horses.

The chiropractor was exactly what Dreamer needed. With his spine aligned, and a properly fit saddle, he could easily catch a left lead – under saddle, in the round pen, and in the pasture!

Risky started acting a little crazy when we moved her – I think the combination of weather, hormones, and change in environment got the best of her. All of those things combined sometimes make it hard to show self control, for animals and their human counterparts.

Sometimes we see the bad attitude, the disrespect, the shaking fist, flying finger, or hear a nasty word, but we don’t always know the underlying cause. Often times, the people in our own home are carrying a burden we haven’t noticed, or they are feeling a pain that they haven’t mentioned. We see this often in our blended family – the effects of going back and forth from one home to the next, and the changes in rules, trying to be involved in two completely separate schedules, and trying to remember clothes, shoes, jackets, toys, all of these things add up and wear on kids. (And this is just if there is no nastiness or hate being spread/forced from the other family. That adds a whole new dimension of wear and tear.)

I see it in my husband, too. He doesn’t like to complain, so sometimes instead of saying, “My ________ hurts, I smacked it on the wheel lift,” he gets a little short. I do it, especially if I get hungry! It can be the hardest to show grace to the people we love and live with, and my prayer is that God would show me all the grace they give me, and that His grace would flow through me. I’ve been struggling with it a lot lately. I don’t like coming down on the people I love best with a critical attitude, it’s one of the things I do that bothers me the most.

Considering all of this, causes me to consider the driver that cut me off, the cashier that was rushing me and not very nice, the server that didn’t make it back to fill up my sweet tea, and many of the other people I encounter. What are they facing that is making their day harder, and how can I be a blessing as opposed to being another hurdle in their day?

Phone feb 18 239

This is Dreamer, and his daughter, Sunny. They are both enjoying life not too far from where I grew up.

If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping this blog alive, so thank you.

Storey’s Barn Guide to Horse Health Care + First Aid

Storey’s Barn Guide to Horse Handling and Grooming