Hello beautiful peeps,

Once again, it has been a long time since I’ve given you guys an update. My apologies. Live seems to be moving so fast right now. Is it the same for you? Can you believe we are already into June? Scott has been making lots of posts on our community page https://peacefulheartfarm.locals.com. This platform is designed to be a community and to be able to support itself. Not only will Scott and I post, but as a subscriber, you can post as well. You can view 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.

I have two areas of subscriber-only content that I am in the process of creating. One is short presentations of various types of cheeses. The other is short presentations on various homestead medicinal herbs.

After the FREE30 days, it is $5 per month to become a subscriber. Subscriber status gives you access to ALL content, including the subscriber-only content I just mentioned. Additionally, Subscribers can make posts and comment on our 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 post in 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 an upcoming podcast. There are also more details on a couple of podcasts I’ve published since my last newsletter. My habit is to only send out an email when I have announcements with very brief homestead updates. Podcasts are where to find everything you ever wanted to know about the homestead as well as additional content regarding cheese, raw milk, medicinal herbs and homesteading. 

Honestly, there has been a significant lag with the podcast publications as well. The last one came out two months ago. A new episode will be published in the next few days getting you up-to-speed on as much as I can cover in a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Subsequent episodes will bring you more details on the cows, dogs and sheep. There is just too much to get into one episode.

I recently did a short series of podcasts with 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. Ask for more detailed information on the Locals platform. This will be subscriber-only content. Again, get started with your free trial (FREE30) to see if this is something you want to enjoy in your life.

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

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Sheep, Finn, Charlotte and Mack 

We had 7 lambs this year. Unfortunately, we had multiple issues with keeping Finn and Charlotte contained. The last time they escaped and left the sheep  was about 5 weeks ago. I tethered Finn in the back field as a temporary measure to contain him. We left the sheep unattended in the front field for maybe three days and we lost 6 of the 7 lambs and one of our new ewes. Yet another coyote attack. Bad mistake. We immediately moved the sheep to the back with Finn and Charlotte (Finn was still tethered at this point).

Eventually, having observed that Finn and Charlotte were such a problem with escaping, we decided to change plans and train Mack with the sheep. He had bonded so well with the cows it was logical to try him with the sheep. Yet another mistake was made during this transition and at this point, I am still grieving the loss of Finn.

We took him off the tether and contained him with Charlotte in the “lower garden.” This was to be a temporary place — literally less than an hour — while we took all of the sheep and Mack to the corral and checked their health and then returned them to their original pasture, together as a unit. By the time we returned, both Charlotte and Finn were gone — escaped yet again. By evening Charlotte had returned. Finn has been missing now for three weeks. He has never been gone more than two days. Once we picked him up about five miles away when a local farmer called to let us know he was at his place. He has a collar with our farm name and phone number. I can only hope that he is still out there somewhere roaming around and someone will see him and give us a call.

On the up side, Charlotte is getting along well with Finn. She still pretty much goes anywhere she pleases, but she comes back quickly. It took her about 2 weeks of missing Finn before she would even bark at anything. Now she is more back to normal — which means escaping regularly. He has never gotten lost the way Finn did nearly every time. There is no fence that will contain either of them so I will be trying a corrective collar on her to try and save her from disappearing, never to be heard from again. 

Cows 

The cows have begun the artificial insemination process. If all take, we will have eight calves in March or April. All is going well with that process. Watching for signs of coming back into heat begins in about 4 days. In about a month, preg checks will begin.

Quail and Chickens

A lot has changed with the quail situation. We have decided to go ahead with getting chickens. That means the quail will no longer be needed for our homestead. As soon as our new chicks begin laying eggs, we will be done with the quail. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this, but raising quail is quite expensive. There is a reason people have chickens rather than quail. 

We are still getting lots of eggs. For the most part we get 24 to 27 eggs a day.

I hatched out two batches of chicken eggs. We now have 14 American White Bresse chickens and 10 Black Copper Maran chickens. More on those guys in the next newsletter. They are about 8 weeks old and doing very well. For more details on some of our plans in this area, listen to the latest podcast.  

Creamery and Scott’s Other Stuff

Scott finished ordering construction materials to complete the entire building. There are still a few items on backorder that will show up at some time in the future, but most is here waiting for him to complete the assembly.

I have been helping him put up the roof. Everything slowed down with the coming of spring. We have both been working on getting the garden planted. Scott got the orchard in order and all of these things have superseded working on the creamery. Such is life on the homestead.   

Garden

It’s past the first week of June and we finally got the bulk of the garden planted. Yesterday I really did myself in with too much sun in one day. We were planting the rest of the vegetables I had in 2″ pots. Whatever was left of my plant starts after the last farmer’s markets ended up in the garden. I held off planting our garden to see how many plants would be available. As usual, God has a great plan and I had almost exactly what I needed to fill out the entire garden. We have brussel sprouts, onions, chard, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lima beans, parsley, winter and summer squash, eggplant  and I will fill in any spaces with flowers, bachelor buttons, stocks, and painted daisies. 

That’s it for farm news. 

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

  • Mild, Medium Hot and HOT Salsa (pint jars)

  • Sweet and sour pepper relish (pint jars)

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

  • Apple pie jam (pint jars).

  • Apple 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

  • Grass-fed 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 or here at the farm.

Add on as you desire. All cheeses and butter are at your service. Looking forward to seeing you on your scheduled pickup days.  

Pickup locations are at the Independence Farmers’ Market on Fridays 9 am to 1 pm or 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

A new podcast is in the works. The latest podcast “Planting the Garden,” has a lot more information on the breeds of our new chickens as well as springtime animal births on the homestead. Give a listen to bring yourself more up-to-date on how our lambing and calving season went. A large portion of that podcast details my original spring plans for the garden. As life goes on, those plans changed. More on that in the next podcast.  


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:

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

Peaceful Heart Farm

224 Cox Ridge Road, Claudville, VA 24076

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We'd like to make sure we have cheese available where you can get it. Whether it be at the Farmers Market or a specialty food store.

Let us know where you'd like to see us and we'll try to make it happen. We'll notify you via email when we get our products to your favorite shopping destination.

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FARM STORE Hours:

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

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Independence Farmers Market:

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

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