This is a question I get a lot, especially from our B&B guests or customers at a market, conference or show. So perhaps I should begin the new year with an introduction.
My husband, Keith, and I have been married for 35 years now. In the beginning, I would have laughed if someone had told me that I would run a farm and raise goats and alpacas. Me? No way.
I thought my parents had lost their minds when they moved their family three miles out of town when I was in 10th grade. You would have thought they had moved us to the ends of the earth. But I think the beauty and the space there planted seeds deep inside of me.
We have been blessed with six children, one who has special needs. About 15 years ago, CeciGrace had a major leg surgery which required her to be wheelchair bound. Our home in town was a three level house with no full bathroom or bedroom on the main floor. Every morning and night, Keith and I would carry Cecily upstairs in her wheelchair. We would have to decide while in the living room which side we needed to be on to assist Cecily in the narrow bathroom upstairs. Or one of us would have to leap over the bathroom counter! One night Keith and I started laughing (we chose laughing over crying which has been a theme throughout most of our trials and life). Keith told me that we were only going to be older and weaker while CeciGrace would be bigger and heavier. He said we needed to move to a home that better accommodated for her needs. Huffing and puffing, I agreed!
The hunt began for an accessible home...and while we were at it, Keith requested that we get some land for breathing room. We absolutely did not want to build and started to look. Well, God has a sense of humor and His plans are many times different than what we first imagine. Always infinitely better. Always.
We found one home that we loved and it would work for our needs; however, the details did not work out. Our realtor mentioned that she knew the contractor who had built that home. We contacted him and he said, "Uhm, yeah, I've got those house plans in the corner of my office. Where would you like to build?" Again, an infinitely better plan as we were able to get more acreage, better location, and personalized the floor plans to even better suit our family's needs.
We still had no idea our farm was being established as that first footing was dug.
After a year of building, we moved into our farmhouse. And then I started looking at all of the land surrounding us. I wanted to put some of it to use.
Another one of our children could not tolerate cows milk and I loved to read all about those homesteading stories. The conclusion of those two facts? How hard would it be to just have two goats for milk?
We started with two Oberhasli goats, DaisyMae and Marigold. Our first goat kid was named Tulip. And the milk production began.
What did a person do with all the milk DaisyMae and Marigold produced? Oh my goodness. There was only so much my family could drink. So I made goat milk ice cream, chevre, fed the chickens ... and started reading those homesteading books again. A person could make soap from goat milk and there were so many benefits!
I handcrafted three varieties and it cleared up some ongoing skin issues that our children had. Plus, it was magical making soap and watching oils and milk combine to become a loaf of soap. Amazing.
Soap making and goat breeding created the need to name our little hill where we lived. Oh, the ideas that were tossed around ...nothing felt right.
The first spring we lived here, I was disappointed in that we did not have trees on our property and there were no wildlife. Remember how God's ways are always best? Well, He gave me the beautiful song of the Meadowlark to brighten that first spring and to show me that the outside was indeed full of His creation. Meadowlark. That was the first word.
We also wanted our new home to be used in raising our children, to teach them a solid work ethic, to learn animal husbandry, to be thankful for the gorgeous views and amazing sunsets. We wanted to give them a rich heritage. Heritage. That was the second word.
And our farm was named. Meadowlark Heritage Farm