Hello beautiful peeps,

I’m back, I know it has been a long time and it is high time for a farm update. Getting back on track with everything has taken more time than I thought. Along the way, I’ve made advances in getting us off of the Facebook platform and onto another social media platform that is made for the people and not for gathering the people’s information. 

My platform of choice is Locals.com. Our Locals community can be found at https://peacefulheartfarm.locals.com. This platform is designed to be a community and to be able to support itself. Not only will I post, but subscribers can post as well. You can view all of the content without becoming a subscriber, but there are significant benefits to taking the subscriber route. To get you started here is the promo code for a 30-day free trial. FREE30 is the code to enter when registering.

After 30 days, it is $5 per month to become a subscriber. Subscriber status gives you access to ALL content, including the subscriber-only content. Subscribers can post and comment on my posts or any other post in the community. Start conversations around local food, homesteading, cheese or any other topic of interest in this realm. Maybe ask a question about an issue you are having with your home and/or homestead. Get feedback from me and the entire community. Think of it like Facebook groups without the trolls. I post and we all comment. You post and we all comment.  

The pay wall does more than support your local food chain and our farm, website and podcast, it also keeps out those trolls. Anyone who wants to be part of the community pays a nominal fee. Those who only want to be angry and destructive will not usually invest any money to be able to post their tirades. There are too many free ones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and who knows how many others, where anyone can make any comment without fear of coming in contact with a real person. You know what I’m talking about. People saying things they would never say to a person in a face-to-face interaction.

In any case, check out Locals and let me know what you think. Here’s the link again: https://peacefulheartfarm.locals.com

PODCAST DETAILS

I realize it has been a long time since I updated you on goings on here at the homestead. There are lots and lots of changes. I’ll hit the highlights here and provide details in my podcasts. I only send out an email when I have an announcement. Podcasts are where to find everything you ever wanted to know about the homestead. 

General homestead updates are covered in detail on my podcasts. The last 10 episodes are now listed on our Locals page.

There has been a significant lag with the podcast publication as well. I believe the last one came out in September last year. A new episode will come out in the next few days getting you up-to-speed on the cows. Subsequent episodes will bring you up to date on the dogs and the sheep. There is just too much to get into one episode.

I’m also starting a series of podcasts that include information on growing your own food. The first in the series is a brief introduction to types of soil conditions involved in container gardening, raised-bed gardening and the conventional row-type garden. In the podcast, I only have time for a very brief description following the homestead updates. More detailed information will be forthcoming separately on the Locals platform. This will be subscriber-only content. Get started with your free trial to see if this is something you want to learn.

This newsletter is getting long. Here we go with the very briefest of updates on the homestead. 

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Sheep, Finn and Charlotte 

Last time you heard about the addition of a new ram and three ewes, bringing our total to five breeding ewes. We can expect the first lambs in just a few weeks. They could come as early as the first week of March.

Finn and Charlotte, the two newest livestock guardian dogs are doing a great job protecting these guys. It took a while, but I think they are beginning to see these sheep as something to be protected. It’s hard to tell. New dogs are not completely settled and trusted with livestock until we’ve gone through an entire four seasons — one year. We have a plan for keeping the sheep and lambs safe during this first lambing season. We don’t want any accidents between the dogs, sheep and lambs. Once the dogs see what’s going on and learn to bond with the lambs, we will be good to go in future years. 

Mack and the Cows 

Over the past few months, the cows have all been brought together. At first Mack was with the calves and yearlings. Next, we added the three new heifers, Molly, Ginger and Wanda to Mack’s responsibilities. After a while we put all of those guys in with the rest of the herd. Mack stays with them throughout the day. He has adopted all of them as his charges.

Same as with the cows, during calving in late March, we will have to watch closely and take some precautions, too. We don’t want any slipups.

Quail

The quail are hanging in there in this cold winter weather. They seem to have no difficulty whatsoever with the cold. The biggest problem is keeping unfrozen water in their cages. 

We are still getting lots of eggs. Sometimes there are fewer when it gets really cold. But for the most part we get 25 to 30 eggs a day.  

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

The electrical installation is getting ramped up. The cut list for all the electrical parts is done (I think) and estimates are being gathered. The power guys have been out and seen what needs to be done to connect the power. We have that estimate. The propane gas folks have also been out and we have that quote.

Scott is ordering construction materials to finish out the entire building all right now because the prices on materials are currently double or more. Even if it will be months before he gets to it, the floors, ceilings, electrical and plumbing parts are being purchased now. So far, we have been able to get everything we need.

There are lots of horror stories out there of having to wait months to get materials for construction. How are the supply chain issues and inflation affecting you?  

Garden

I’m still undecided about what to grow this year. I need to make up my mind soon for anything that needs to be planted indoors ahead of time. 

That’s it for farm news. 

ITEMS OF NOTE AT FOR SALE AT THE FARM AND INDEPENDENCE ONLINE MARKET:

  • Mild, Medium Hot and HOT Salsa in pint jars

  • Sweet and sour pepper relish (pint jars)

  • Spiced pear jam – a hint of ginger and cloves (pint jars)

  • Pickled quail eggs in 1/2 pint jars.

  • Apple and Peach pie filling (quart jars).

  • Pickled pepperoncini (pint jars). I have a variety with red pepper if you like a bit of spice.

  • Pepper jam in 1/2 pints

  • Quail eggs by the dozen

  • Quail meat in 1 lb packages

  • We have ground goat (approx 1 lb)

  • Grass-fed ground beef (approx 1 lb)

  • Grass-fed ground lamb (approx 1 lb) 

Herd Shares

I’ll see you in my usual location in Independence.

Add on as you desire. All cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you every other Wednesday. Next pick up date is the 2nd of February — Ground Hog Day. 

You can pickup at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Tuesdays 10:00 am to noon. Email me to let me know if you want anything extra this time. 

I still have raw milk cheese shares available. Contact me via email (melanie@peacefulheartfarm.com) or phone (276-694-4369).

Please go HERE to learn all about Herd Shares.


Peaceful Heart FarmCast

No new podcast yet. I’m working on it. Until then, listen to the last podcast where I’m giving you details on getting the two cows to freezer camp. It was quite the fiasco with the neighbors calling at 9:15 at night for us to come and get them out of their yard. “Homestead Update and Health Update” also has more information about Scott and I as we journey through cancer treatment.  


Free Downloads

I want to follow up on my previous FarmCast, The Taste of Cheese where I talked about developing your expertise with using descriptive words. The FREE downloads of Classifying Cheese by Type and Category and Expand Your Cheese Vocabulary are still available at our website. Please stop by and get your FREE resources. 

You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HEREOr, if you have an Alexa device, just say:Alexa, play podcast Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

And don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Peaceful Heart Farm podcast on Apple PodcastsAndroidTuneIn, Stitcher or Spotify


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FARM STORE Hours:

Tuesday:  10am – 12pm
Saturdays:  3 – 5pm

Peaceful Heart Farm

224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

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FARM STORE Hours:

Tuesday:  10am – 12pm
Saturdays:  3 – 5pm

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Fridays:  9am – 1pm (May thru October)

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