Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there! We celebrated the weekend at the farm. While Liz was out getting pampered and having her hair done, I surprised her and converted an old horse shed to a potting shed for her.
Now she finally has the space to lay out all her supplies in one place! She loves it and as already used it to start some seedlings for the Frederick Farmer’s Market.
If you read our earlier post about our first project, you know how much research we did in finding the best materials to keep our goats in their new pasture. We ended up going with the cattle panels — as they were sturdy, tall and essentially goat proof. Since the new fence has been installed, it has worked fantastically! No goats have managed to breach the fence — so they turned around and looked the other way…
For the next several weeks, the goats were content with their new found freedom. Approximately 2 acres of new pasture! All for them! But apparently the grass is always greener on the other side (ok, maybe it was literally greener, but that’s beside the point). Within a matter of two days, the goats escaped 7 times!
Drastic measures needed to be taken! Some quick brainstorming (i.e. Google how do I keep my goats from escaping?) led me to electric fencing. Many articles talked about electric fencing as the only way to deter goats, meaning it worked “most” of the time. So I made up my mind and decided this was what we needed. And as luck would have it, the previous owner must have asked Google the same question, because there was already wire run along the fence line with insulators already installed — all I needed to do was supply a power source.
Apparently, you can’t just hook up a car battery to the line — won’t work. I learned this the hard way, I was desperate. I had just dragged Big Nina, our large Lamancha back over for what seemed like the hundredth time, and she become more stubborn and obstinate with every escape. Let me tell you that trying to move a 200 pound goat that doesn’t want to go is no easy feat. So yes, I tried the car battery — and was quickly disappointed. So, I forked over the money and went to the Tractor Supply Store and bought a Solar-powered Energizer by American Farm Works.
It was so easy to set up! The only catch was that you need to give it enough time to charge the battery via the sun. Big Nina, quickly learned that the grass wasn’t that much greener : )
It has been awhile since our last post, it’s been pretty crazy around the farm. There has been weddings and family visiting from South Africa. But the work on the farm hasn’t stopped — neither has the acquisition of new goats to the farm : )
If she isn’t careful, my beautiful wife Liz will soon be known as the goat lady. We have unintentionally become a local goat rescue. A lady called Liz about 2 weeks ago and asked her if we would be able to take in some goats that need a good home. This new bunch included two 3 week old “kids” so of course she said yes.
Fortunately I had finished the new fence for the back pasture and had moved the herd back there — much more room and much happier goats! They have settle in nicely and the kids are in love with the “kids”. : )
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!
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
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.
So we officially moved to the farm 2 weeks ago today! We are still unpacking boxes. I’m amazed, and a little embarrassed, at how much stuff we have. Moving to a smaller house has been an adjustment for sure, especially with all three kids in the same room. Liz and I are loving the process of thinning out our things, and figuring out how we will adjust to a smaller home. We have found that being in a smaller home (without a TV) has brought our family of 5 even closer together.
And did I mention we got goats?! I laugh as I write this, because these goats have been in the works since we found out we were getting Wozani Farm. I joked with Liz that we needed to move in first–before the goats. We did manage to move in first, with the goats close behind. We got two mother goats with there 4 kids and they have settled in nicely with their own right next to the chickens. The big mamma is a Lamancha, and the white one is Angora. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn all the ins and outs of goat keeping.