Hello beautiful peeps,

Once again, it has been a long time since I’ve given you guys an update. My apologies. Life is just running by me at breakneck speed at the moment. Is it the same for you? 

Some of you have been added to Peaceful Heart Farm mailing list from my Village Wisdom Herbs website and mailing list. I’m combining it all into one website. If you no longer wish to receive emails, I understand. You will find the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this newsletter.

My main purpose for today’s newsletter is to announce the above about Village Wisdom Herbs and to reconnect to everyone else. I’m going to make one additional announcement here near the top of the newsletter before I go off into details about where we are today and what’s coming up.

The second piece of information that I want to get up front is our beef availability. I have an abundance of ground beef coming up in about two weeks. As a result I’m running a great sale. Ground beef is normally $9.00 per pound. During this short window of time I’m selling larger quantities at a discount. You can get 50 pounds for $7.50 per pound ($375), 25 pounds for $8.00 per pound ($200) or 10 pounds for $8.50 per pound ($85). Click or Tap HERE to check availability. Local pickup on everything in our store. 

We are getting very close to finishing the milking parlor and cheesemaking facility. Scott has been making 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, X (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 just hit the highlights. 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 in January. It has been a whirlwind of a spring, summer and fall. 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. 

Here we go with the very briefest of updates on the homestead. 

HOMESTEAD UPDATES

Finn, Charlotte and Mack 

If you are new, these are our livestock guardian dogs. Currently, Mack is in charge of the sheep (except for the ram) and adult cows. Finn and Charlotte are in with this years’ calves, the goats and our new ram that will join the sheep in just a few days.

Mack has turned into an exceptional guardian dog, though he does like to intimidate the sheep. That could be a better relationship but he is diligent in staying with his animals.

Charlotte still roams just about anywhere she pleases but mostly stays with those calves. Finn is tethered on a very long lead to keep him from roaming. He gets lost and has trouble finding his way back home. Also, he has an autoimmune issue with his eyes and receives treatment twice daily. This is a life-long treatment for him but, so far, it is very effective. He is not making tears and the medicine keeps his eyes in good shape. I’m loving my dogs

Sheep and Cows 

The latest count is six ewes and two wethers in the sheep flock. Everyone is doing great. Nothing exceptional to share there. 

As far as cows, I’ll give you a run-down on all of the girls.

We are currently milking nine. Butter, Cookie, Rosie, and Princess are all Jerseys. All are registered and certified A2A2 — except for Cookie. She is not purebred, but is mostly Jersey. She came from an A2A2 herd but we don’t have official paperwork on her. Then we have Wanda, Virginia, Violet and Ginger. These girls are all registered Normandes. This is our seed stock for building the herd. We have the genetics we are looking for in these girls. A2A2 and BB Kappa casein are what we need for our milk and cheese. Then there is Molly. She is 25% Normande/75% Jersey. We got her just because she is so beautiful. All of these girls are currently in milk.

Then there are the heifers from last year, Jill and Penny. They are both exposed to the young bull. We hope to have confirmation on their pregnancies soon.

Lastly are the calves from this spring/summer/fall. We have sold a couple and currently have five that are being bottle-fed and one that is already weaned. Katie was our only spring calf. She is by far the most beautiful calf I have ever seen. Her colors are just amazing. The younger, bottle-fed group were born between mid-July and mid-September. Hazel (who had a heart problem at birth but seems to be doing well at this time) and Peter are July babies. Lila and Paul are August babies. Andrew is bringing up the rear — the last one born in September. These are all gorgeous calves. Check out Scott’s pictures of them on Facebook and on the Locals platform.

Chickens

I went through a lot of changes with the chickens. Originally, I hatched six Black Copper Marans and six American White Bresse. Check out the podcasts on these guys. Eventually I decided to let go of the Bresse chickens. There were two roosters in the hatched group and they are simply too aggressive. These red, white and blue chickens are beautiful but I would get attacked just about every time I went out there. Perhaps I could find better genetics, but I decided that it was not worth the trouble at this time. In the spring I may purchase a few day-old bresse chicks to raise for meat. We shall see.

At one point a friend and neighbor gifted me a half dozen hens. A mixture of Rhode Island Reds, Cinnamon Queens and one that I have yet to identify. These are all great chickens.

This spring I hatched out some Black Copper Marans from my girls as I wanted to increase their numbers. I also hatched out some of the American White Bresse. I did keep one hen from that hatching. She was just too beautiful to go into the pot. So I have one white hen. Currently there are eight Black Copper Maran hens and one rooster. He is gorgeous. He stopped being aggressive when I got rid of the Bresse roosters.

Then there are the young Rhode Island Reds and Cinnamon Queens. These were from a group of day-old chicks I purchased in late May. Just a couple of days ago I started getting small eggs from that group. There are 11 hens in this group. Four RI reds and seven Cinnamon Queens. Looking forward to a lot more eggs in the very near future. I also kept one Rhode Island Red rooster for breeding purposes.  

I’ll be hatching more Black Copper Marans and Rhode Island Reds in the spring. The Cinnamon Queens are a hybrid chicken so I won’t be breeding any of them. They sure do lay lots of eggs and are a good breed to have on the homestead.  

Creamery 

Scott just ordered the last of the large items — sinks and such — he needs to complete the plumbing. Once that part is done, we are ready for inspection. It has been a very long road but there is a huge light at the end of the tunnel.

We already have lights and propane hooked up. Scott is using the large bulk milk tank in the milk room. He has a temporary set-up for using the water for lots and lots of cleaning in a much larger space, even while waiting on the sink. It is working — after a fashion

That’s it for farm news. 

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

Canned Stuff

  • Medium Hot Salsa (pint jars)
  • Sweet Pickle relish (1/2 pint jars)
  • Dill Pickle relish (1/2 pint jars)
  • Grandma’s Golden Relish (pint jars)
  • Cowboy Candy (1/2 pint jars)
  • Apple pie jam (pint jars).
  • Pickled pepperoncini (pint jars). I have a variety with red pepper if you like a bit of spice.
  • Pickled Beets – Four varieties (pint jars)

Baked Stuff

  • Scones
  • Muffins
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Black Magic Cupcakes
  • White Magic Cupcakes

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 for the Independence Farmers’ Market is the Court House parking lot Wednesdays 3 pm to 4 pmor at the farm Saturdays 3 pm to 5 pm or Wednesdays 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. More on the homestead updates there.  


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

Can you find our products?

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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