Project #1 – Goat Fencing

Project #1 – Goat Fencing

Previously, Liz explained the need for new fencing for our herd of goats. We have many plans for the back part of our farm, but we can’t do anything until the existing goat pen is moved. Not only is the current goat pen in our way, but the fences are so dilapidated that we have jerry rigged it with zip ties and chicken wire just to keep the goats at bay. So we have decided that this will be the first project of the spring for us.

The reason we got the goats to begin with was to act as a form of weed control in the back pasture, so our current plan is to build a new fence about 400 feet back from the current pen and have the fence span the entire width of the property, essentially fencing the goats into back part of the farm.

The next step that Liz and I need to decide is what type of fencing material do we use? We were wandering around the Tractor Supply Store yesterday (our new favorite store) and found 3 options:

In this order, the fencing price and quality go up. We were initially thinking that a standard welded wire fence would work fine, but have found out with our current fencing, that goats like to climb fences and those weld points break with their weight, so unless we wanted to replace this fence again in a a year or two, this option is out.

Our next option is a woven wire, which like it sounds, is not welded but woven. This type of fencing can withstand the weight of the goats, but will still bend and sag under their weight. It will last, but will sag and bend with time.

The last option, and the one Liz and I are leaning towards is panel fencing. We were talking to someone at the Tractor Supply Store, and she recommended these. She said that she has been using the panel fencing for her goats for several years, and they still look like they were installed yesterday. Another benefit to these panels are their durability – goats can climb all over them and they hold their shape. Plus, since this fence is place keeper until we are ready to expand farther back – we can detach these panels and use them again.

If any one else has any ideas or can share from their personal experiences with containing goats — Liz and I would love your feedback. Just leave a comment below. We will continue to keep everyone updated on the progress as we move forward!

What we know for sure.

What we know for sure.

When I pick up an O Magazine, the very first section I turn to is ‘What I know for sure’ right in the back. It’s where Oprah spends time telling us her truths and what she’s learnt over the years. They always lead you to believe in the greater good, in yourself and each other. To breathe deeper and to take it slower.

What we know for sure when it comes to our wonderful Wozani Farm is all centered around the thought of community and sustainablility. Both of which Rainer and I strongly believe is needed and lacking in the US. So below we will be defining some of what we know for sure.

What we know for sure:

  • Let every avenue we explore be a teachable moment for ourselves and others.
    • Community classes
    • Community courses
    • Community Gatherings
  • Permaculture is a word that keeps coming back to me.
    •  Reuse.Reduce.Repair.Recycle +Sustainability
    • We are going to strive for low impact to the earth.
      • By Conserving water through zericscaping and drought tolerant plants, while maintaining an attractive aesthetic.
      • Use grey water from the household for garden/farm needs.
      • Creating Habitats which allow for symbiotic relationships.
  • Keep it green.
    • We are so saddened how Round Up, giant corporations and city build up are creating worlds that are destroying entire ecosystems, where the butterfly and bee are no longer thriving, thus by default or chain reaction farmers can’t produce (bee pollination) and insects species are endangered (monarch butterfly) So we will strive to create safe habitats for all Gods creatures, well, most of Gods creatures, be-gone all snakes and spiders! 😉
      • Bee Friendly – We will resolve to do all we can to make our 4 acres as bee happy as possible, by both hosting bees through bee hotels and hives, and by planting pollinator friendly crops, flowers, shrubs and trees.
      • The monarch butterfly is in a steady decline. Milkweed, the essential plant that sustains the butterfly’s life cycle is being eradicated as for its name sake – MilkWEED. We’d love to become a certified Monarch Waystation where we would aide in the conservation to assure the preservation of their species by creating an ideal habitat for them. In order to do this, we would have to verify that we provide enough milkweed to sustain the Monarch in all its life stages. More information at http://www.monarchwatch.org
      • Organic! Yup, all plants and animals on our little farm will be grown and fed with organic practices. We’d love to be verified as an organic farmer. (we got goats to help control the weed situation, because oh man… weeds are bad in the back.)
  • Healing! Both Rainer and I love to help and uplift. But, it goes beyond our education, Rainer as a Nurse Practitioner and I as a Holistic Nutritional Consultant, we yearn to strive for more.
    • We want to bring health back to families encompassing mind, spirit and body. We are not sure exactly what it will look like but here are some ideas.
      • A healing garden that soothes the soul with herbal smells, and soothing running water. Both bringing you closer to God, while filling your senses.
      • A wellness practice on the property that gives one the option to seek western medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional, physical therapy, movement classes, to get you in your best health for a perspective that pain is telling us something is wrong, and we don’t want to dull the pain, but rather find the root cause and target that.
      • Finally, we are thinking of creating some kind of retreat. More of that to come.

These are some of our Founding Principles, and what we do with Wozani will always be based off of these.

Inspiration

Inspiration

For you to understand the direction that Liz and I want to take Wozani Farm, we thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of our sources of inspiration. We envision this farm to be a place of gathering and community; of wellness and healing; and a place to connect with God and His creation.

We believe that we can take this old horse farm, and make it into something spectacular that we can enjoy, our kids can enjoy and a place we can share with the community.

One of our strongest inspirations goes back to Liz’s roots, to a farm in the Cape Region of South Africa called Babylonstoren. It’s origin is as a fruit and vegetable garden, but it has evolved into so much more. A place for gathering and wellness — and good food. Monty Don (whom we both have major crushes on -liz) did a tour of Babylonstoren, you can see it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vfzJzo8FIc

Another inspiration for us is JM Fortier’s micro farm in Southern Quebec. He, along with his wife, run a small 2 acre market garden that produces a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They have shown us that it is possible to have a successful farm, without all of the big farm equipment and without following “normal” farming practices. They are an inspiration to us because they show that it is possible to grow large amounts of organic produce without needing hundreds of acres and expensive equipment to do so. They are a main supplier of organic produce for their community and that is definitely an inspiration to us. I would definitely recommend their book “The Market Gardener” — very good advice, even if you don’t want to start a fully operational farm.

And lastly, we found this lovely couple on instagram years ago, and have dreamt incorporating their daily practices into our lives, from canning, to kombucha to gathering all they harvest and live off of their produce. Their love for chickens and monarch are pretty beautiful too. In fact Deanna calls herself the Monarch Doula. The transformation from before and after of their backyard is something to dance on the roof top about. https://homesteadandchill.com

Step 1 – Fencing

We got to walk the farm again today as a family. The sun was out and so were our dreams and… the goats. ❤️❤️ The reason we got goats in the first place was to control our abundance of weeds, but it became apparent very quickly that the goats need secure fencing, and we certainly don’t have that yet, the fencing may be as old as the house. So for the most part they are in their pen unless we are out with them herding them away from the neighbors delicious yards.

Step 1 for us is border security (not trying to be political or anything, but we really need a great big wall, just kidding, but that would be nice;)), this will allow the goats freedom to roam and enjoy and guzzle all the weeds – their intended purpose! Which will in turn give us the ability to start amending soil and prepping for veggies.

Securing the perimeter will also allow us to get our dream LGD (livestock guard dog) of sorts, to protect the goats and chickens and love on the kiddos (human).

The problem with fencing is both the cost and the time it takes. I’m herding my own little human entourage at all times, and when out back I have to be even more on my toes because the goat heads are outrageous and Margot is a crawler and a I-put-everything-in-my-mouth person at the moment.

Soooo, I think we are realizing slowly that this dream of Wozani Farm will take longer than anticipated but, because this is a forever home for us, we are ready to tackle the long slow journey of transformation. It might be a 10foot tackle at a time, and take us 25 years to accomplish all our dreams. But hold on tight to your slow horses, here we come. :):)

So many plans…

So many plans…

We have so many ideas and dreams for this land.  Liz and I have been taking advantage of the cold weather that has been pushing us inside recently.  We have been using this time to brainstorm ideas and to figure out which projects we want to start with. When the weather is nice, we have been enjoying walks around the property, dreaming of future possibilities.

We feel that this land was given to us so that we can make a place of gathering for the surrounding community. In addition, it gives Liz and I a platform to share our passions for whole food and holistic health. Between Liz’s training as a Holistic Nutritionist and my background as a Family Nurse Practitioner, this is something that we are passionate about.

In the next couple posts, I want to outline some specific projects that we have on our list for the farm. Since the heart and soul of this farm is community and gathering, Liz and I are always open to suggestions from others when thinking of ways to make this farm a place for community, good food and health promotion.

Out for a walk
Harrison is so excited!

Wozani – The Meaning.

DSC_0085In both Xhosa and IsiZulu the word Wozani means Come.

We believe that this piece of land is here for more than us. And we believe that what is ours belongs to God, so we feel strongly that God is calling us to create a bringing together of sorts here on this land.

When we went through farm names, we thought of everything from Long meadow farm, to Shalom, or Narrow Field and Cotton wood farm. We wanted the name to hold meaning, and description, but not to hold us to one type of crop or venture.

We knew ultimately that our land will be used for community. We want it to bring people together, to build people up, to spread love and hope and beauty.

I truly think that a whole lot of pain and issues we all face today is because of lack of community, lack of coming together, lack of getting our bubbles popped and sharing our depths with others.

Growing up in South Africa, Xhosa was my dad’s first language, and we lived many years in KwaZulu-Natal where Zulu was the mother tongue, so when looking into words, of course Xhosa and Zulu both spoke to us, and having them share the same word for the meaning COME was special.

Whatever Wozani becomes, and OH MY GOODNESS, the ideas are many and HUGE, Wozani will be a place of community. A place to build. A place of peace.

Here are some of our ideas, but we’d love to hear your ideas with what the 4 acres of land could be used for. Or even expand on some of ours?

  • Community horse.
  • Classes for veggies, homesteading, plants.
  • CSA
  • Community sensory garden
  • Community events
  • Venues
  • Rainer’s practice or store front near the busy road.
  • Lavender fields

So WOZANI friends!!

Please come and visit us!!

Rainer. Cool, Calm, Collected.

Here’s a little get to know session. 🙂

When I was a we little lass, my favorite form of precipitation was the rain. I remember always saying, ‘if rain was a person I’d marry them.’

It blows my mind that God does grant us the desires of our hearts. Like. True story ya’ll! Maybe 20years or so later, I married RAINer on May 8th, 2014.

And he really does bring out all the feels that rain gives me. He brings peace and comfort. And of course we want to cozy next to our wood burning together every night when the kids are in bed, him with black tea or whiskey in hand, and me with a warm apple cider vinegar.

He’s a man of many hats.

For work, Rainer is a full time Family Nurse Practitioner, and a reservist in the Airforce. He started studying for his NP License when we were growing our first kid, 3 years later and 3 kids later he graduated. Omg! It was a time of our lives that nearly broke me. But his persistence and forward momentum/dreaming always kept us going.

Let’s talk about his loves.

– Books, he has a good old fashioned library with hundreds of books and a catalogue of them all. Do you want to borrow one, no problem, he’ll check it out to you. Favorite genres are history and spy thrillers.

– Chickens, which are strictly his. We say Rosie is Willa’s but we all know the truth. His (lovey lady lumps) hens, are precious and loved on everyday by him. We’re planning on 6more in the spring. :):)

– He loves to see fruits of his labor, gardening, sowing, harvesting and prepping are things that we are both drawn to.

We decided early on that we’d love to bring kids up with space, and teach them good old fashioned hard work. One of our many reasons for this farm, and I’m so grateful he’s my partner through it all!! 🙂