Feed Store, Uncategorized

Growing Dreams


It is Tuesday, and we are two days away from launch.

What are we launching?

I am finally going to spill the beans. I’ve been hinting around at this launch on our FB page for a week now.

My dear husband and I are taking over a local feed store starting March 1st. If you are familiar with Young Family Feed, then you know right where we will be. Jack and Staci have decided to that it is time to turn the page, and as such, offered us an unbeatable opportunity.

I’ll be honest, after we closed the towing business, I felt a little bit lost. I knew we would go back to regular work and just continue on, but we are entrepreneurs naturally. We enjoy being in business for ourselves, and we are passionate about our ideas. We put our whole selves in to our towing business. It was a brutal day, and following weeks, when we had to say it was time to close.

When the opportunity to buy the feed store came up, we were nervous. Heck, we still are. We just closed a business, and neither one of us wanted to experience that heartbreak again. It was a painful loss. So we kicked the idea around and one moment an idea would snowball with another, until we were wading through an avalanche of possibilities. The next conversation would be darker, harder to have, and full of fear.

We decided to punch fear in the face and take the leap. Jack and Staci are incredibly fair and the terms they presented are more than agreeable. Really, they’ve been an enormous blessing to our family.

To think, we met them because a dear friend mentioned the dollar bin at the feed store, and I just had to see what it was about. Then, Jack helped me pick feed for my farm animals. Then he kept barley in stock so I could grow fodder. Standing at the counter visiting with Staci every time I came in became something I looked forward to.

They even special ordered things for my goats.

The store is closed 2 days a week, and I usually forgot on Saturday to run to town. So I’d look real close at what feed we had left, and if no one would miss a meal from me waiting until Tuesday, I vowed to always wait until Tuesday. Supporting local is important to me, and Young Family Feed became part of my goal to do just that.

Now, Young Family Feed will continue operating, with some new faces, and a new name, but Jack and Staci have forever left their mark on our community, on this store, and in our lives.

Thank you, Young Family, for passing the baton and giving us the opportunity to continue the story of this small town feed store. We are honored and humbled.

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, 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


Slow Down Dear

Not words I want to hear. In fact, these very words make me feel a little irritated (okay, maybe hostile). I chase things hard, and fast.

I am always trying to learn new things. I always want to take classes and go to school. I’m writing tonight as a form of therapy. It’s time I address these feelings. Not having a formal education and being certified makes me feel less than. I was supposed to do something GREAT with my life (academically speaking). But it didn’t happen that way. And I can find a hundred reasons to discount the medical coding schooling I took, on top of a hundred GREAT education opportunities I should pursue.

Earlier this year, it was counseling, at one point it was nursing, graphic design, another language, and a few other things along the way.

Lately, certified herbalist has been in my cross hairs. I found an online course, for a reasonable price. I zoned in (well, how zoned in can I be on 100 projects?) I kept sending it to Pa W. He never said a word, so I called him about it today.

“Is it just a crazy idea to want to be a certified herbalist?”

He let me know he doesn’t get it, it doesn’t interest him, but to do what I need to do. I have his support. But then, the words…

“But you’re doing too much again, slow down. I don’t think you need to be a certified herbalist to make the products you want to make and sell stuff from your farm.”

I felt a growl in my throat, and I had to hold back my thumb from hanging up on him. Don’t tell me to slow down! I’m not doing too much! Why are you standing in the way of the greatest dream of my life?

That thought stopped me in my rage, as I recognized it – I’ve thought that same thing about every schooling thing I thought I should enroll in. Each one was the greatest dream of my life – at the time. A few months after not spending my money on it/enrolling in it/chasing it, I’ve nearly forgotten it. That, my friends, is not the greatest dream of my life, or anyone else’s. Great dreams are not easily forgotten. They keep us awake at night, they churn over and over in our heads and our hearts until we step away from the fears and begin pursuing the dreams. Then, they drive us to grind and hustle and do whatever it takes to make them come true.

These are whims, whims that a long time ago, I learned should drive plot points in novels I should be writing, because the stories in my head are what keep me awake at night. They are what churn around over and over again in my mind, begging to break free, to be told.

But fear stands there, telling me how the stories don’t measure up, how they aren’t quite good enough. Fear shakes its ugly finger and tells me I don’t have what it takes. And I listen. I squash the stories before they are able to bloom. I push them away, out of my mind. I find a million other things to chase.

So, one of my goals as I grow this farm, and the little farm business that is so important to me (and has been for a very long time), is to write. I’m going to blog our journey. I’m going to write and share my thoughts, and how things are going. And I’m going to make a little window of time for the stories. It’s time I tell them.

What great dream do you have, and how have you let fear stand in your way?


Learning As We Go

If you know me, you know that I am kind of all or nothing. Kind of obsessed, or I disregard almost entirely. If something is important to me, it’s more than 100%. If something is outside of my notice/attention/focus, then it is completely outside – less than 0%. Or at least, that’s how I feel about me. I don’t feel like there are many areas that I accept partial effort from myself. (Occasionally I over commit myself and the result is less than 100% effort to things accidentally. That’s another post for another time.)

Farming has been no different. We’ve been here for a month. In the month leading up to moving here, I arranged to purchase a pig. I told myself that I would wait a month for any other animals, and that I would add them 1 at a time, or maybe in pairs, with the exception of chicks.

I told myself I would space out my purchases. I would buy critters in time with having the freedom in our budget to build appropriate critter shelters.

I would go slow. It takes time to build a farm. It’s a thing for turtles, not hares.

Slow. Steady. Consistent. One thing at a time.

And then I bought 9 goats in 1 week, 7 of them came with 2 dogs. I got a border collie the week before them. This past week we bought 12 chicks (who are happily chirping in their brooder in my kitchen.)

Slow. Steady. Not this Ma.

I want my farm to be up and going all the way, so I have a pig, 9 goats, 16 chickens, 1 horse, 5 dogs, and 8 ducks. And now I’m trying to build shelters for all of them. And I am spending countless hours reading about all of them.

You know, until this week, I thought I really knew quite a lot about farming. My rapidly growing farm is humbling me – I don’t know all of the things I thought I knew. I only know some of the things and I have lots of learning to do.

I’ll be honest, guilt is a plague I am familiar with – and the things I don’t know were causing me to allow guilt to prod at me. I was upset that I didn’t know everything, that I wasn’t an expert before I started bringing my farm animals home.

Then a friend said it’s best to learn as you go. And her words were a salve to the sore that come from the prodding. I allowed the words to soak in and I realized, experts don’t become experts only by reading the books. Experts become experts by practice – and even knowing all of the things doesn’t put a drop in the bucket compared with doing some of the things. So I am doing and reading and learning, and my bucket is overflowing.

You know, it’s a lot like parenting, really. I didn’t know everything when my first born made me a mom. (Now, I thought otherwise, at the time, but the years have taught me the truth.) I could have never known everything before having kids. In fact, 7 kids, 11 years later, I don’t even know close to everything. In fact, I hardly know a thing. I’m a student of parenting – always learning, every day.

Remember to learn as you go – it’s not necessary to know it all. It’s an elusive thought, thinking you can know everything about a field. It’s like waiting for everything to be perfect before doing something, that something is just never going to happen. It’s just better to jump in with both feet and get started.

Happy Trails!
Ma W.