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Getting ready for the Storm

“Good luck is a residue of preparation”, so we are doing everything we can to position ourselves to weather this storm as best as possible.

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Getting ready for the Storm
Sarah FickenComment

Heating with Wood

Heating with wood forces us to think actively about our comfort. Is another degree or two in the livingroom worth an extra few pieces of wood? Can we stay out another few hours or do we need to reload the fire? Would adding another sweater or snuggling up under a blanket keep us just as warm?


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Heating with Wood
Sarah FickenComment

Planning for a productive 2019

Life on a farm is busy and unpredictable. Throw in two children and a full time job, the best I can hope for is to bring some order to the chaos.

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Planning for a productive 2019
Sarah FickenComment

FOCUS -- Our word for 2019

2018 tested us in ways that made us question our dreams, our fortitude, and our sanity. I believe that 2019 will send us similar tests, but having survived 2018 we are prepared to thrive in the face of whatever 2019 throws our way. Our goals for 2019 are simple and focused.

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FOCUS -- Our word for 2019
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Our trip to Alaska

The logistics of going on vacation when you own a farm and don't have any employees are challenging. Chris milks the cows twice a day, everyday, and to find someone to come in and run the farm the way we would for a week is daunting. We are so thankful to have such wonderful neighbors who were willing to take on the challenge, split the responsibility, and keep us updated on facebook messenger. While we joked that our Amish alarmclock went off every morning at 4:15, we are so grateful for the care that was given to our animals while we were gone and the chance that we had to get away. As Steven said, there is nothing quite so sweet as coming home. 

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Our trip to Alaska

Building our future

A CSA member stopped in on Sunday to pick up her share of vegetables and she visited with me in the milk house. Our conversation made me pause, made me think about all the progress we have made -- how out of bare ground we have built our farm.

Building our future

Happy Father's Day -- A letter from Hannah to Daddy (with interpretation)

Did we do enough grass gardening today for the cows? You have taught her to love the cows and wonder about their needs, even when it isn't convenient. Today is hot and muggy and Hannah refuses to wear anything but barn boots, but despite the heat, Hannah wants to go out and fix her grass garden (aka fix pasture fence) because she's worried the cows might get hungry and you aren't here to feed them. She's learning from you to put the needs of the animals before her own needs. 

Happy Father's Day  -- A letter from Hannah to Daddy (with interpretation)

Making Hay

Each year we get better at doing hay. The first time that Chris and I did baleage on our farm was just after the barn fire. Since we lost our equipment in the fire, we were using a new to us baler and a new to us tractor and trying to figure out how to get it all to work well after midnight. I can still feel the frustration and disappointment as the baler jammed for the umpteenth time that night and we realized that we needed to call it quits and try again in the morning.

Making Hay

In celebration of ice cream

I’m not sure it is possible to separate the story of our farm from ice cream. Ice cream is the fuel that powers our farm. It is the treat of choice for brainstorming sessions and hard conversations. It is dinner at the end of a hot day filled with field work and chores. It is the sweetener we add to our coffee during morning milking. (If you haven’t tried ice cream in your coffee, step away from your computer, pour yourself a cup, scoop in some ice cream, and try it right now!) It is the midday snack when it is too hot to eat, but we need to refuel our bodies. Ice cream is our deep exhale at the end of the day before we crawl into bed. Ice cream is the glue that holds our farm together.

In celebration of ice cream
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Keeping our faces to the sun and our feet on the ground -- 2015 in review

2015 was a hectic year. Amidst the push to build two barns, we found time for three (and a half) cuttings of hay, brought calves into the world, milked our cows 730 times, grew our CSA, and strengthened our little family.

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Keeping our faces to the sun and our feet on the ground -- 2015 in review
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#DairyChristmas: Love and Latkes

And just as we reflected on the meaning of Channukah, we found a way to save our favorite tradition. While we didn't have a cooking stove, we found enough wood to light our wood stove, heat oil in the big cast iron, and make latkes. Those first latkes in our new house were especially sweet.

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#DairyChristmas: Love and Latkes
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When Progress Looks Like Poop

Our new barn project offered the opportunity to fix our daily poop struggle. The single most expensive part of our project and the part we spent the most time designing was our manure push off. Our manure push off allows us a safe, easy, and clean place to push the manure into the spreader. Once the manure is in the spreader, we are able to spread it on our field, returning important nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

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When Progress Looks Like Poop
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You Know You Are a Farmer When.....

The mud is always deeper than I expect it will be and the high spots I hope to jump between are always just a tad too squishy.

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You Know You Are a Farmer When.....
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Ask us: What does a typical day on the farm look like?

Each day on the farm is different. Our animal’s needs are constantly changing, our to-do list evolves with the changes we make to the farm, and our priorities reflect the season.

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Ask us: What does a typical day on the farm look like?
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Ask us: Why do your calves live in little plastic houses?

We have chosen to house our calves in hutches for these first few years on our farm because the hutches provided safe, reliable, and effective housing for our young animals while we became more established.

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Ask us: Why do your calves live in little plastic houses?
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Ask us: What are you hobbies? Why can you never commit to plans? Want to eat out on Thursday?

Well, I love rowing, knitting, and reading. In the past 3 years I have been in a boat once, finished one non-agriculture related book, and knit about 2/3 of a scarf.

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Ask us: What are you hobbies? Why can you never commit to plans? Want to eat out on Thursday?
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Finding A Rhythm

In January the snow piled up, in February we ran low on wood, in March we got swallowed by mud. April’s weather was capricious and May brought forth a riot of life.

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Finding A Rhythm
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Power Outage

Our contingency plan for a power outage is solid and the generator was quickly in position and  waiting for a tractor hook-up. Chris jumped in the Ford and turned the key. Click

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Power Outage
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Ask us: What do you do with your bull calves?

When a cow does have a bull calf we name it after a cut of meat and raise it.

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Ask us: What do you do with your bull calves?