Friday, October 11, 2013

Open Farm Day 2013

You are Invited. 

Our first year of homesteading is coming to a close as the end of the year approaches. Before blankets of snow tuck everyone and everything in for the winter, we want to celebrate our first year with neighbors, family, and friends. What better way to do that than by sharing our homestead with you?

9 AM Goat Milking Demonstration: We'll hold off on our morning dairy goat milking until 9 am. Ruby and Jane will take the milk stands first. Followed by Leah and Rachel. Get a first hand view of how to milk a goat doe from start to finish. We'll share how everything from washing our does udders to straining the milk. Try your hand at milking if you want to.

12 NOON Goat's Milk Soap Demonstration: Join Sonja in the kitchen for a live demonstration of making a basic goat's milk soap recipe. Our Lally Broch Farm Goat's Milk Soap needs to cure for 4-6 weeks to complete the saponification process. But, don't worry! Sonja prepared for your visit by making some unscented goat's milk soap in advance. From noon to 4 pm, visitors can melt the pre-made soap, add their favorite essential oil combination, and bring home a 1.5 oz soap sample of their very own creation.

11 AM & 2 PM Fiber Demonstration: Join local "Treadle and Threads" fiber artist, Kelli Bucklin in a live fiber spinning demonstration. She'll show you how to clean, card and spin fleece. If time allows, Kelli will set up her spinning wheel and weaving loom and demonstrate how they work.

11 AM- 4:30 PM Cider Pressing: Bring your apples and your own containers to our homestead and use our hand-cranked cider press to make up to 2 gallons of apple cider for free. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase apples from local orchards from us to eat or press into cider for a small fee.

Kids' Activities All Day: 

Petting Area and Farm Animal Viewing: Kids may be able to pet young chicks, ducklings, and goat kids in our petting area. They can visit the pastures to see our retired Quarter Horse, Jasmine and friendly goat does browsing. This is rutting season, so though our bucks are friendly, touching them would not be a good experience! But, you can certainly watch them in their pasture, climbing on logs, head-butting, and maybe you'll even catch them trying to convince a doe that they are irresistible! Watch the turkeys in their yard. Throw some bread or scratch to the chickens, ducks, and geese. Check out the new Guinea fowl. Visit Ebony, our Vietnamese Pot-belly Piggy. And, be sure to stop by to see our the bunnies in the barn.

Face Painting: Free

Games: Try to catch an apple suspended on a string. Play a game of bean bag toss.

Farm Stand and Gift Shop Open 9 am - 5 pm.

We strongly recommend rubber boots or comfortable shoes and warm clothes for your visit. This is a homestead with farm animals. As cute as farm animals can be, animals poop... a lot... unexpectedly. Please, keep this in mind. Also, though we anticipate your visit will be full of great memories for you, farming and homesteads carry inherent risk. Animals, even "friendly" ones can injure people and carry germs. By visiting our farm/homestead, you are assuming those risks 100% for yourself and those you bring with you. 

Directions to Lally Broch Farm

We are very excited about sharing our homestead with you. This is our first year and there is so much to do before this homestead becomes the farm Sean and I are dreaming of, but this is a celebration of where we are and what has been accomplished this year.

Thanks for visiting, Friends. We hope to see you soon. ♥

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Goaties, Keets, & Ducks... Oh My!

I never thought I would feel this way, but I kind of miss the winter. Not the mounds of snow that have to be removed, certainly, but the "down" time. The quiet. Days snuggled in with a warm fire in the woodstove and the snippets of the sounds of my family around me in various rooms going about their days. I am certain that when winter comes to Maine, I will have forgotten wanting its quiet. But, right now, when we are so busy preparing for it and finishing all the last details of farming this year, it doesn't sound so bad.

When you are busy time seems to fly by.  At the same time, there never seems to be enough of it. Summer has ended. The Twomblys of North Carolina have returned home. We enjoyed a final showing at the Belfast Art Market. The barn is mostly complete save the doors, filling the hay loft, building larger pens for the bunnies to spend their winter, and building the kidding stalls. Oh, and there is the repair work that now needs to be done thanks to our randy buck, Asher.

This is what happens when an 18 month old goes into his first true "rut" and is desperate to get to some does- any does. That used to be a solid wall sheathed in 1/2 inch OSB.

In addition to these necessary Autumn chores, we also need to get our wood split and stacked and spend some time preparing for our first ever "Open Farm Day". We are tentatively planning to host it on October 26, 2013 from 9am-5pm. I will finalize the date and post a schedule of activities early next week, so be sure to check back.

In the meantime, I polled our farm's Facebook friends about what they would like to see posted. Unfortunately, somehow, I lost the footage of the hen laying an egg. So, for those of you that voted for that option, you'll have to wait a little longer to see that up close and personal. For you others that wanted guinea fowl, ducks, and goats, here you go.

First, a visit with our wayward goat does:

And, then video and footage of the growing Guineas:

We purchased our Guinea Fowl locally in Montville, Maine from Shelagh Delphyne . She has great, healthy stock and I can't recommend her highly enough. Shelagh breeds several varieties of Guinea Fowl. She is very knowledgeable and is quick to share her experience with new Guinea Fowl keepers.  Shelagh, after seeing some pictures we posted on our Facebook page, was also kind enough to point out that wood shavings as bedding can be a problem for Guinea keets. Since I use pine shavings for almost all our littles, I wanted to look into that. Sure enough, I found several sites, such as this- Maguire Farm- warning against using wood shavings since the keets might get confused and attempt to eat them. The information I found at Guinea Fowl International suggested not using wood shavings on keets less than a week old.

Here at Lally Broch Farm, we used shelf liner paper for the keets for the first week or so. Then, we switched over to the pine shavings. We had no issues with our keets using the pine shavings, but I think it is important that new keepers (such as us) are informed of potential hazards. I have seen our keets scratch and peck around in the shavings, but thankfully, ours did not seem inclined to eat any of it.

So, that is what has been happening around here. We are very excited to host an official "Open Farm" Day and hope that we will entertain many friends and new friends that day. If you are interested in coming out for a visit, be sure to check back for a detailed schedule and information.

Thanks for visiting today, Friends. ♥
Sonja ♥