Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Farming and being a Mother.......

One goes well with the other don't you think? As a matter of a fact it is because of becoming a Mother and having children that Olde Sow Farm was created. As soon as our first child, Zoie ,was born I knew I wouldn't be leaving her to go back to work. Even though I had a job that I really enjoyed working for a veterinarian. I wanted to be with my children 24 hours a day. With Jude's birth, I delved into local and organic foods although didn't produce any of our own, we made a cross country move from Idaho back to our home state Maine.
When I became pregnant with our 3rd child, literally the week we moved onto this farm, I became REALLY interested in raising our own food to feed ourselves, both for health and sustainability reasons. We had a couple sows at this point, and after Veda was born, we got our first Jersey milk cow. I was in heaven, and also started thinking about how I could raise healthy food for us and also others and maybe make some money as well so I could continue to stay home with our growing brood of children.
Fast forward 2 years, pregnant with Ayla, and Olde Sow Farm becomes a reality. We sold our first official pork at " Maine Fare" in Camden in September of 2006. I think pregnancy is good for my farming goals as I always seem to get really creative and motivated. Some type of Life nesting I think, as we aim to prepare a nice Life for each child. Summer of 2008, I was preparing to have our 5th child,Ida May, and we were also slowly building a creamery and acquiring a few more Jersey cows.
This 2009 market season the creamery will get its feet wet.
It hasn't all been roses. Trudging across 20 acres with crying babies on your back, while setting up rotational fences isn't as pleasant as a contemplative morning out doing it yourself. Attempting to chase down loose piglets on the highway with 2 kids in a jogging stroller and 2 more galloping beside me and the dog pitching in can be embarassing. Sharing the grief of untimely deaths of beloved animals. Suffering a serious financial blow at the hands of another with less integrity, Worst of all, almost losing our 1 1/2 year old baby girl to type 1 diabetes, but also finding out what a wonderful community we live in, as neighbors kept our wood furnace going, cows fed and watered, and hot meals delivered.
I love that my kids think pork, beef, eggs, milk all come from farms and not the store. They can catch a wiggly piglet, hand milk a cow, transform milk into yogurt, find kittens in the hay stack, and grow their own veggies. Our 2 oldest practice their Math, making change while selling our food at farmer's markets.
Right now at this junction of the road I have less to do physically with the farm than I ever have before.It's temporary, I miss it, but Dante has jumped in. He draws the line at milking cows and crafting that milk, but this winter he has been a God Send. Ayla's needs with her Diabetes, and newborn Ida Mays STRONG preference for Momma has kept me close to the house. With warmer weather I am able to pull it off much better as the kids love to push the baby around in the stroller while I milk, and the cows move permanently out of the barn onto pasture 24/7 for 5-6 months so no manure cleaning. Yahoo! Yet another reason why seasonal farming and selling in season at farmer's markets works so well for us. In the winter, our kids love to play outside but bundling them up x 5 kids, to spend a couple hours 2 times a day to do all the milking and barn cleaning chores just isn't happening.
It's been a great ride so far, even the bumps in the road, it's a part of our story and I can't wait to see it unfold!


  1. Jessika, I have similar desires as a mother and having a farm. My 4th child is 3 months old, we homeschool, and we are just getting our farm going. I am anxiously waiting to get a Jersey(very hard to find in our area)and 2 black angus. I can't wait for my kids to learn farm life! I am so excited about feeding my family real butter and cheeses.
    God Bless

  2. Congrats Linsey! You won't regret your move for independence and the new direction of your life.