Goats Homestead

Colton and Holly

This is a story I have been meaning to write for a long time but I am just now sitting down to write it. It is the story of a goat kid that I gave up on however, Colton did not.

Holly was born a twin to one of our favorite does, Reeses on April 29, 2020. Reeses had always been a good mama and taken care of her babies without any help from me. This time though, she wanted nothing to do with the pretty, little milk chocolate colored doeling laying on the ground.

After a closer inspection and attempting to get the baby up to nurse we discovered that her back legs didn’t work. I am a firm believer that animals know when something isn’t right with their babies and their instinct is to just leave them to die. We have seen this several times on our farm – survival of the fittest.

Colton was upset and wanted to know if there was anything we could do to help her. I will admit I am not patient enough to dedicate time to rehab animals like this and most of the time I take the side of nature will do its thing. I told Colton if he helped me get her some colostrum he could try to save her.

Getting Reeses to let her nurse was easier said than done! Animals are smart and they know when you are trying to “trick” them into doing something they don’t want to do. In order for Holly to nurse, I had to hold Reeses in the corner against the wall with my body and hold Holly up to her udder while Colton helped her find the teat to nurse. Thankfully Holly was able to get enough colostrum to get her digestive system going.

We put her in a little pen with her brother and mama hoping Reeses would take her. After several checks, it was obvious that Reeses wasn’t going to claim her. It was also clear that her back legs weren’t starting to function yet. So we did what I always say I won’t do, and brought her into the house.

Colton fixed up a little box with a towel and we milked another goat so we could start feeding her a bottle. We put a milk jug of hot water in the box with her several times a day to imitate the warmth of laying against her mom. He was told that he would have to care for her and work with her back legs by moving them in a walking motion several times a day. At the time Colton was only 8 years old but agreed to care for and exercise her.

This went on for a day or two, the goat in my kitchen or garage depending on the temperature, with Colton caring for her by bottling feeding, cleaning the box out, and doing therapy with her legs. By the second day, it didn’t look like she was making any improvements so I asked Lance to “take care of her.” I know this sounds harsh and cruel but the reality is that without the use of her back legs, she would not have had a healthy or good life. It is also expensive to feed a goat that never gives you anything back in the form of kids to sell, meat, or milk.

We decided to give her another day or two with Colton’s therapy. The next morning, we woke up to her STANDING in her box hollering for her bottle! Needless to say, there was a very excited 8-year-old in our house that day! It was amazing to see her move around like a goat should and not just lay there with limp legs. I wish I had taken photos but I really didn’t think she would make it so I didn’t take very many.

Holly got to stay in the house for another day until it was obvious that she wanted to move around more than the box would allow her to. So we moved her back out to the barn with the rest of the goat kids. We attempted to get Reeses to take her again but even after forcing her to let Holly nurse several times she still refused to take her. It didn’t matter to Holly though since she was used to a bottle, she was just happy to be with the other goats and it didn’t take long for her to start running and playing.

Holly grew at the same rate as the rest of the goats. Her confirmation or structure is definitely not the best in our herd but Colton took her to the fair anyway because he was so proud of her. When she was a year and a half old we put her in with the buck to get bred. Unfortunately, she didn’t breed that year and once again we had the conversation about not being able to keep a livestock animal as a pet because they have to be contributing something to the farm.

After a couple of conversations with Colton, it was decided that we would give her one more chance to get bred the next year. Thankfully, this spring she had a pretty, black and white doeling we named Ivy. Holly was also the best milker we had this year. If you visit our ranch store here on our website, Holly’s milk is in our Goat Milk Soaps and Lotions. Obviously, Holly and Ivy are now favorites and will always have a place in our herd.

Colton has reminded me several times that he has saved Holly twice now when I was ready to give up on her. I had to admit that he was right and that maybe I would listen to him next time he thinks we should try a little longer with an animal. Unfortunately, I still haven’t learned that lesson well but the story of Snowy, the lamb, is for another day…..


Why We Are A 4-H Family

In honor of our county fair officially starting today, I thought I would reshare this from a social media post I made a couple of years ago with a few additions.

We are a third-generation 4-H family, so 4-H is something our family has done for a long time. When a family participates in an organization for that long it must be good!

We do 4-H because of the relationships our kids have developed with people of all ages, people that care about them and want them to succeed not only in the show ring but outside of it too.

We do 4-H because you won’t find better kids to be role models. I love watching the kids interact with the younger members and allow them to “help” do chores or get livestock ready.

We do 4-H for the opportunities to learn from each other. It is fun to watch the kids all teach each other how to show a species that is new to them.

We do 4-H to meet new people. Lane made a friend at the fair and was so happy to learn that he was homeschooled too – they met because they were both showing sheep. Those connections are important. Update – these kids were running around together by 9:30 this morning so they are still friends!

We do 4-H because we can do it as a family. I have been involved with 4-H most of my life and I still learn something new right alongside the kids because of a 4-H project every single year.

We do 4-H because there is a project for every kid, no matter what they are interested in or they can enroll in self-determined and make it a project. Our kids have shown almost every animal, taken legos, computer science, welding, photos, clothing, geology, wildlife posters, cooking, etc.

We do 4-H because we see a lot of value in the skills our family has gained over the years such as public speaking, completing a project, working through frustrations, how too correctly run a meeting, caring for animals, responsibility, interacting with the public, presentation & photography skills, how to win & lose gracefully, caring for your larger community, mentoring others, starting a business with livestock or selling eggs, you can work hard & have fun, and so many other positive lessons & skills.

4-H has been a big part of our lives for a long time and we can’t imagine it any other way.

If you are looking for a positive, family-friendly program to join or support, I encourage you to look into your local 4-H organization to find a club that is a good fit for your family.

Garden Homestead

Garden 2023

Every winter when the seed catalogs begin arriving in the mail I start dreaming about what the garden could be. It’s so fun to read about the different varieties and see all the flowers. There are endlesspossibilities of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to choose from.

Seeds arrived in March and plants started arriving in April giving me spring fever along with them! It is so hard to be patient and just plant the things that must be planted early while being patient for the rest.

I have slowly been getting the garden ready and planted for the last several weeks. This year, I am taking my time getting it done and doing it exactly how I want it instead of hurrying and then being mad at myself for how it looks. Yes, I plan my garden based on how it will look if I can keep it all weeded, as well as which plants are good companions for each other. Keeping my garden weeded always seems to be an issue though, year after year…..this will be the year that I keep up with it all!

Our garden is actually 12 beds made from cedar tree trunks from the trees we cut down in our yard. Each year I rotate what is planted in them. Lance and the kids used old hog panels to build an arch trellis between each bed for plants to climb up. I love how it looks when the tomatoes and pumpkins are growing up it!

This year, I decided to only plant the things I know I can grow, with the exception of watermelon because I just can’t give up on it yet. The garden consists of 24 tomato plants, 12 sweet pepper and 2 jalapeño pepper plants, a lot of potatoes, several sweet potatoes, lots of onions, butternut squash (Colton asked that we plant a lot of this!), zucchini, bush beans, cucumbers, watermelon, and several pumpkin/winter squash varieties. Everything is planted except for the pumpkins and some of the winter squash. Then as soon as the seedlings are up we will lay down thick paper with straw on top of it to help keep the weeds under control. The paper will break down over time and the straw will compost nicely into the soil improving it while it does. We also put a couple of wheelbarrows full of manure in each bed before planting to help our soil.

We also added to our orchard this year by adding 3 apple trees and 2 pear trees to the peach trees. Two grape vines flank the archway gate. Two-year-old Blueberry and elderberry bushes are also in the yard. I am looking forward to the year we can harvest from all of them too!

I believe that every garden needs flowers in it as well not only to help attract more pollinators but also because I love flowers. Once the plants are all up and we have them mulched well, I will transplant some marigolds and zinnias from one of the flower beds (I have several flower beds but those will be another post for another day!) into the garden beds since they will need to be thinned out anyway.

The goal for this year is to be able to harvest and preserve as much as we can from it so I only planted what I have had success with before. We would like to provide at least a quarter of the tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pickles we eat each year. We also go through a lot of squash and potatoes so it would be nice to have a good amount of those stored away for the winter too. If you have any recipes for preserving any of the things in our garden please send them! I would love to can a variety of recipes to see what we like best.

If you have a garden or flower beds, I hope you have abundant rain, plenty of sunshine, and no bugs except the good ones!

Finnsheep Goats Hair sheep Sheep Spring


Everything outside feels so alive and vibrant this time of year! I love watching the world wake up after winter. There are so many things I want to do outside right now since it is so nice. It is hard for me to focus and complete one task before moving on to another one tempting me when there are so many things to do.

Colton was very excited that the goat kid numbers ended up being 4 doelings and 3 bucks. One doe still hasn’t kidded that should have. She is starting to look like she might be bred so I am hoping the buck just bred her late.

We are currently having the slowest start to lambing that we have ever had. It is so frustrating! They were due to start on May 4, but so far just over half are done lambing. We have had more ewe lambs so far too! The sheep flock was culled pretty hard last fall because we finally decided exactly what our goal was for it so now we will rebuilding our numbers. All of the ewe lambs will make that process go faster!

The first ewe to lamb seems to always be a Finn. This year was no different. Ewe 049 gave us triplets, 2 ewe lambs, and 1 ram lamb! My favorite Finn ewe also had triplets and all 3 are ewe lambs! They are the prettiest little brown lambs. We’ve even had a set of quads! This is the first time we have had a set of quads (3 ewes & 1 ram) all survive. The smallest one is getting a bottle twice a day. Having a bottle lamb makes Kinzie very happy!

Four hair ewes have lambed so far with singles. All of them have been first-time mamas and have done a great job of taking care of their babies. The bonus is that all 4 are ewe lambs!

The shearer came a few weeks ago. Shearing day is always exciting and a little nerve-wracking for me. Raising wool sheep is still new enough that I am working to figure out the correct management program for them, especially in regard to their feed. The hair sheep do not need any grain and do just fine condition-wise through the winter and pregnancy. Our Finnsheep however, seem to need grain through pregnancy. After shearing this year, I was very pleased with how the Finnsheep ewes looked. All of them are in much better condition than in previous years so I think I have found the right feed combination for them.

Most of the wool seems to be nice too. Of course, a few of them appear to really like the burr patches which makes skirting their fleeces difficult! I am working my way through the fleeces so they can be delivered to the fiber mill for processing. Working through the wool helps to give me an idea of which ram I want to keep based on the types of wool his lambs are producing. I now have a better plan for who to keep for this fall’s breeding season.

The garden and flower beds are calling my name. I usually wait until around Mother’s Day to plant most things because this is Kansas and the weather can be crazy. I do have a few things planted but will be working to get most planted over the next couple of weeks. My Iris’ are beautiful this year. While at Home Depot last weekend, I picked up a few flowers to add to a flower bed I am redoing. I love the hot pink daisies and the coreopsis. The most exciting garden-related thing we have done is finally put in an orchard. I have 4 peach trees, 3 apple trees, and 2 pear trees! I am so happy about our little orchard!

The kids and I have been working to add manure from the barns to each bed so it is taking us longer to get everything prepared. It was definitely time to give all the beds a boost and the barns need cleaning out.

We wrapped up our bookwork for homeschool at the end of April. The kids learn so much outside this time of year between helping with the livestock, working in the garden, mowing/trimming for their great-grandma and at our house, identifying plants coming up, taking care of pastures, etc.

We have been blessed with rain the last few weeks. Our pond was very close to being completely dry and now it is overflowing. The vibrant green of the world that follows rain always amazes me. The grass in our pastures was struggling but is already starting to grow nicely. The sheep want to be put out to grass so bad but there just hasn’t been enough yet. They are tired of being fed hay!

I hope you are having a good spring as well and have a chance to enjoy this time of year outside!



We often create our own definitions of words not realizing how limiting that can be. I would never have called myself creative or an artist for most of my life. However, I have been rethinking this for the last year because someone called me creative.

In my mind, the word creative meant someone that could draw or paint. I can’t do either of those things very well and quite honestly don’t enjoy doing them either. As I’ve thought about this, I realized that I had a very limited view of the word.

My new view of the word creative means anyone who creates something. Which could be making a new soap or lotion, knitting a new pattern, or writing a book. Planning your vegetable or flower garden so that you find joy every time you look at it. Putting new colors together in a bat of fiber or taking that roving and making a scene with it while needle felting. Coming up with a new recipe for dinner is also a way to be creative! There is no limit to the ways that God has given us to be creative. The only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves.

This led me to think about other ways we limit ourselves by having such a narrow definition of a word or subject. There are so many lies that we tell ourselves, things that we have just made up in our heads. Maybe someone said something in passing that we took to heart. Or we’ve just developed these false beliefs about ourselves because we failed at something one time. Maybe it’s not about creativity but it’s “I can’t cook” or “I’m a bad student.” What if instead we changed these to “I need to practice more” or “I just haven’t found a subject I’m passionate about yet.”

If what’s holding you back is you can’t find someone to teach you or help you, youtube is an amazing source of information. Life is too short to wait for the perfect moment. Learn something new, write the book, take the trip, and create beauty for the world.

Agriculture Finnsheep Sheep

Finnsheep & Why We Love Them

We had raised hair sheep for several years and Hailey had shown club lambs in 4-H since she was 9 years old when I decided that it was a good time to expand our flock by adding a wool breed. Not just any wool breed though. They had to be soft, not make me itch (club lamb wool makes me itch), be friendly, easy to handle, have wool that could be made into yarn (at the time the only fiber art I did was crochet), and have at least twins when lambing.

After much research and talking with not only breeders but also people much more involved in the fiber arts world than I was, we decided on Finnsheep. Here is a brief synopsis of the breed from “Finnsheep are a multi-purpose breed. In their native Finland, where they are known as Finnish Landrace Sheep, they are raised for meat, wool and pelts. In the United States, their primary use has been in cross-breeding programs to increase the lambing percentage of commercial flocks. Recently, Finnsheep have been discovered by American handspinners for the color, luster and soft hand of their wool. An emerging market is the use of Finnsheep to produce lean meat favored by “ethnic” populations. Finnsheep are friendly, docile and easy keepers producing vigorous lambs that are up and nursing within minutes.”

In July 2020, we bought 11 head of Finnsheep from a farm in Missouri. They were beautiful, soft, friendly girls. It didn’t take long for us (okay just me) to fall in love with them.

So what makes Finnsheep the perfect sheep for us? Mostly their personalities but also the versatility of their wool which was the reason we chose them. The wool can be in a wide range of colors and patterns. It makes beautiful yarns and roving that can be used for knitting, crocheting, weaving, or felting. The wool is fine enough that it can be worn next to the skin and is strong enough to be used in garments and blankets.

Another positive was that if we wanted it to, our flock could expand rather quickly because they are known for being one of the most prolific breeds in the world. They tend to lamb in litters and can have up to 9 at a time however, 3-4 lambs are most common. We were hoping to expand the flock rather quickly but what we didn’t realize is that Finnsheep are not quite as easy to raise as Hair Sheep. We have had to learn how to manage parasites very differently from the hair sheep. The lambs also need a lot more babysitting and checking to make sure they are getting enough milk since there are more born to each ewe.

As a result, we have had to reexamine some of our management systems. This isn’t a bad thing other than we lost a lot of the lambs and some ewes the first two years while learning which management practices we needed to change. We have made several adjustments this year and I am optimistic that we will have a better success rate this spring.

For us, and for the expansion of our farm business, Finnsheep are the perfect fit. They give us a marketable product not only in their wool but also in the meat. I can use the wool for my own fiber arts, crocheting, and my newest obsession, needle felting. And hopefully, after we get all of the management kinks worked out, double or triple our flock this year. I am optimistic that this lambing will be much more successful than the last two have been!

If you are looking for any Finnsheep yarn or roving for your fiber arts projects you will find it here in our Ranch Store.

Family Goals

Happy New Year 2023!

Since it’s still January I think I can still say “Happy New Year!” to you all! I’ve had a blog post about goals floating around in my head for quite awhile but life has thrown us one curve after another the last few months and we completely fell off the wagon. However, I don’t think that “fresh starts” are only for January 1st. And thank goodness too, otherwise it would be really depressing if we had to wait for a new year to reevaulate our goals and start new.

I’ve tried the “word of the year” thing a couple of times but never really stuck with one. This year though, the word consistent, keeps coming to me. The last several months I have struggled with being consistent in our schooling, activities, and time spent on my relationships. As I was working on my goals last month, I realized that almost all of my goals had to do with consistentcy and self-discipline. Since the end of December, I have been trying to choose one or two habits or areas to start working on each week. Slowly incorporating new habits into my routine and our family routine makes it less overwhelming. When we jump all in and change everything at once, we tend to quit everything rather quickly.

Since it is the first month of the year, I wanted to share how Lance and I write our goals. It has taken us several years to figure out a process that works for us. What works for us may not work for you but I thought I would share it anyway.

Lance and I write individual goals, as well as family goals together. We focus on the areas of realtionships, spiritual, personal (health/habits), and financial/business. We also have several large, long term goals for our family. These smaller goals are the steps we need to take to achieve our long term goals.

If you haven’t written out any goals yet, I encourage you to take some time to prayerfully consider what areas you need to work on. If you are married, have a date night and dream big about what you want the future to look like for your family. Dreaming big can be scary and if you’ve never done it, don’t be surprised if it takes awhile for you and your spouse to figure out what you want for your family. It took us a couple of years of dreaming and talking before we came up with a clear vision. Now we know what we want and are taking the steps needed to get there. It might take several months to figure out what you both want. The most important part though is that you are both on the same page otherwise you won’t get anywhere.

Keep in mind there will still be hard times, even when you are trying to do everything right. It is inevitable that we will experience one hit after another, just when you think you are finally on the right path and getting ahead. Don’t give up though. Take some time to reaccess, pray about it, and keep moving forward. A quote from one of the books I’m reading has stuck with me over the last week, “the only way out is through.” I’ve been telling myself this when I have to drain the hose in the belowing freezing temps too 😉

The last few months of 2022 were challenging for us however, even as all of our other goals were falling apart towards the end of 2022, Lance and I stayed consistent with our date nights. Regular date nights, at home or out, have been one of the biggest blessings to our marriage. We can take time to talk and refocus on what our next steps need to be. Plus, spending some uninterrupted time together is important. If we hadn’t kept up with this, the last few months would have been even harder.

I also encourage you to never stop learning or educating yourself. There will always be more to learn on a topic. Read the same books over and over, something new will stand out everytime. Lance and I are trying to read or listen to some of the same books so we can discuss them. I will admit, it takes me much longer to get through an audiobook than it does Lance. As an insurance agent, he has a lot more time in the car to listen to books. I try to get in a little bit while I’m folding laudry or walking. Take classes or join coaching groups if reading isn’t your thing. Just don’t stop learning.

As we move through 2023, don’t be afraid to stop and reevalute if something isn’t working. It might just be a season or it might mean you are on the wrong path. Make time for prayer and your loved ones everyday. Consistent habits and self-discipline will help you reach big goals.

I’ll end today’s post with a quote from Ann Voskamp, “Just small things done consistently make the biggest change.”

Family Homeschool

Fall 2022 Homeschool

Since we are halfway through the first semester of the school year, I wanted to share a little about our homeschool, the curriculum we are using, changes we’ve made, etc. First a little background, this is our third full year homeschooling. When all kids were sent home in 2021 for the rest of the year it was a blessing for our family. Lance and I loved having the kids home all the time. We spent a lot of time working together outside, playing games, and just being together. When it was time to enroll the kids in school for the next school year, we decided to keep our three youngest home and continue homeschooling. Our oldest two children wanted to go back to public high school, mostly because they love competing in sports.

We had talked about homeschooling the kids off and on for years. I had done all the research and already read several books so we had an idea of what we wanted our homeschool to look like. We just never took the leap to actually do it even though we loved the idea of it. Having all of the kids sent home gave us the chance to give it a try and realize that we loved having the kids at home as much as we thought that we would.

Our first year, we homeschooled by ourselves. There wasn’t a lot of places open or groups meeting because of the virus. Part way through the year, we did end up joining a homeschool group that got together occasionally to let the kids play together. We chose all of our own curriculum which included a lot of reading. The second year, we joined a homeschool co-op that focused on academics so we didn’t get to choose all of our own curriculum. The co-op was a huge blessing for us and it was so nice to do school with others once a week. This year we are still part of the co-op but it has underwent some changes to better fit the families that are there this year. We are currently doing our science, history, and art history at co-op.

So there’s our homeschooling background, now onto what we are doing this year!

Kinzie is using The Good and The Beautiful for language arts, handwriting, and math. We are using the McGuffy Readers for reading and Exploring Nature with Children and lots of time outside for science. She also has plenty of time to play, paint, build, just be a little girl. She also loves helping me with chores around the house right now.

Since we were able to choose all of our curriculum again this year due to changes at our co-op, I asked Lane and Colton which curriculum they wanted to use. They chose to go back to how we had done school the first year which is a mix of Charlotte Mason and classical. We do dictation, copy work, read a lot, morning time, and math at home. They also do more reading or research on various history and science topics. The boys take piano lessons and Lane is teaching himself the guitar. I have also promised the kids to do at least one field trip each month and so far I have been successful!

Lane and Colton are using Memoria Press’, Exploring the World of Astronomy for science at co-op this semester. We haven’t settle on a science topic for next semester yet. Our art history for this year is Ever Ancient Ever New Level 1 from Catholic Heritage Curricula. Surprisingly, Colton says Art History is his favorite subject! We are using Year 2 History from The Good and The Beautiful.

At home we use Salt and Light Catholic Homeschool curriculum by Jane Manka along with the Real Learning book by Elizabeth Foss as the spine for our homeschool when it comes to language arts, literature, catechism, supplementing science and history, as well as how we structured our school. I have also pulled ideas from Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Many of the books on their reading lists come from Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. We use reading, dictation, copy work, narration, or note booking pages for most of our subjects. Lane likes writing and researching so he is always working on some kind of research paper. They also use to learn how to type correctly.

Half way through last year, I realized that I am not good at teaching math so we joined Nicole Math Lady. The boys are able to watch all of the lessons from their Saxon Math books and do the lessons online. It has been been wonderful not to have to worry about teaching math!

During our morning basket we rotate through books about church history, art history, composers, saints, holidays, etc. We just read a chapter or so a day and then move on to the next book on the next day. Kinzie also does the calendar for the day and we discuss the weather. The kids will sometimes draw or paint while listening. Kinzie’s favorite part of morning time is that I turn on The Doxology by Anthem Lights to tell them that its time to come downstairs so we can start. She loves that song!

A very positive change we made for Colton this year is the addition of note booking pages. He has never liked free writing and has fought me on it every year. I finally decided to have him start using note booking for science and history. It is amazing how much he will write about a subject after he has had the chance to watercolor a picture about the subject at the top of his page. Who knew all it took was a little watercolor painting to get him to write?!?

Something that we have done from the beginning that works great for us, especially Colton, is using a spiral notebook to write all of their tasks in daily. All he has to do is look at his list and mark off each task as he completes it. I also add piano practice and some of the chores they do regularly to their list. Kinzie can’t really read her list but she loves having a list like the big kids.

We have really enjoyed homeschooling and this lifestyle. We have the freedom to learn what and how we want to. Each child is unique and this allows us to tailor their education to their abilities and interests. The kids have a lot of time to explore their interests or spend hours exploring outside every day.

Watercoloring outside
Field trip to the Kansas Museum of History
Colton caught tadpoles in various stages of development this fall.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions! I love talking about homeschooling and how it has blessed our family!

Resources mentioned in this post. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)


Salt & Light can be found here


Beekeeping Bees Honey

Honey Harvest 2022

We harvested our honey for 2022 last week. This was the first year that we had two hives with almost all of the frames completely full!

I find it interesting that bee colonies can have different personalities. One of the hives has been very gentle all summer. They never swarm me or follow me back to the house after I have opened their box up. The other colony though is very aggressive. It always seems like all of them swarm out and try to attack you when the hive is opened! I have been told that the more aggressive colonies tend to survive winter better so I’m hopeful that we will have bees live though the winter again. This was the first year that we had bees live all winter. It was a pleasant surprise when I checked hives in March!

Like usual the kids were a lot of help for awhile when we started collecting the honey. After we finished the first 16 frames though, they lost interest and I got to finish the rest by myself.

Honey or “liquid gold” as Colton calls it, produced by bees right here on our little farm is something that I will forever be grateful for. Bees are amazing creatures. The symmetry and organization they use to build out the honeycomb is fun to study. The health benefits the honey provides to our family are a big plus as well!

We will have a limited amount of honey available for sale to local customers only. Look for it to be listed soon!

All photo credits go to Lane and Colton – my hands were way to sticky to touch a camera!

Agriculture Bees Family Finnsheep Goat Milk Lotion Goat Milk Soap Goats Homeschool Sheep

Highlights of the Year

It has been over a year since I last wrote a blog post. It’s crazy how fast time goes. Life has been busy like normal and we’ve had the usual changes that happen as the seasons go by. I thought an update was long overdue so here it is!

Last summer we had our first litter of livestock guardian puppies. We ended up keeping two of them – Jayde and Maizie. Jayde is an excellent lgd however, Maizie prefers to lay around near the house. Unfortunately, we lost our male and had to buy a new one this summer. Chief is the sweetest, softest puppy ever. He is growing so fast and is just as big as the other dogs even though he’s only 6 months old!

We had our second crop of Finnsheep lambs this spring shortly after our second shearing. Parasites have been a struggle this year so we are working on building a more resilient flock. The differences in hardiness between our hair sheep and Finnsheep are still so interesting. I am very pleased with the quality of our lambs and their fleeces though. It is so hard to be patient for next spring when we finally shear the lambs!

Two of our beehives survived the winter and we will be harvesting the honey soon! The hives have very different personalities. One is calm and quite while the other will swarm and chase you as soon as you open their box! Needless to say, I don’t open their hive without my full bee suit on.

The garden is currently in desperate need of attention, mostly the tomatoes. I am planning to work on that this week. We really enjoyed the salsa I canned last summer so I need to get some done for this year. Both my flower beds and vegetable garden seemed to struggle this year. It seemed to be a combination of weather, bugs, and naughty dogs that kept everything from growing well.

Last spring, Lance and I bought an old building in town that had most recently been a restaurant. We are currently renovating it into a venue and airbnb. I love the building and all of the character and quirks that come with a building built in 1909. It has a room that is perfect for me to use as a studio for our Ranch Store. I have loved having more room to make and store all of our products. Lance and our oldest son, Cody, have done all of the renovations so far. I am always amazed at their knowledge, ability, and work ethic.

Our oldest daughter, Hailey, graduated from high school in May. I am still processing how she is already an adult and not a little girl. She is enjoying college which makes it a little easier that she is no longer living at home full time.

I am still making our Goat Milk Soap and Lotion. We only had one doeling born this year which was really disappointing for Colton. She was named Marshmallow because she is the color of hot chocolate and has a white spot on top of her head like a marshmallow. He is hoping for more girls than boys next year! Colton bought a new buck this year. His goal with a new buck is to improve the quality of his goats and add in some color variety.

The younger three kids and I started our third year of homeschooling in August. After using a few different curriculums the last couple of years, we felt like we had a good idea of what works for us, so we have used the mix and match approach to curriculum this year. I will be sharing more about our homeschool in a later post.

Over the summer, we went to several horse shows. The kids have improved so much in their riding skills. The circuit we do is great for all ages to ride in. Three generations of our family are currently riding. The kids love competing against dad and grandpa!

Since we bought the building we decided to host a fiber festival! The first annual Fiber Flurry will be held November 4-5 at Sikes Venue in Leonardville, KS. There aren’t any other fiber festivals in our area so we are hoping to have a good response. If you live nearish to us, we hope you will come either as a vendor or to check it out!

I think that wraps up the highlights from the year. My plan is to attempt to write more regularly and send out a newsletter one time a month as well. If there is anything you would like to hear about please let me know in the comments!