Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maple Syrup fun on the farm

This winter we decided to do something that we had never done before....tap Maple trees! We decided to start out small at tap the few large Silver Maple trees in our front yard. Even though they weren't Sugar Maple trees, we decided that the small different in sugar content (2.0% sugar in Sugar Maples vs. the 1.7% sugar in Silver Maples) wasn't enough to detour us. 

This year we started this 10 taps and only collected sap for a week. Since it was a warm winter, the sap in the trees started running much earlier, so we ended up beginning our tapping at the end of the sap run, even though it was only the second week in February. 

So, we began by setting 2 taps in each of our large Silver maple trees. We collected morning and night, keeping the collected sap in food safe five gallon buckets and storing them in a large walk in cooler (sap must remain chilled until you process it)

My three older children (9,8, and 3) had an awesome time drilling the holes and hammering in the taps! It was such as fun process and great learning experience for all of the kids.

After collecting about 40 gallons of sap, we began our cooking day mid morning on a Saturday. We collected several large pots and built a few different fires and began the cooking process. As the sap would boil down, we would add the remaining sap until all of the sap in the buckets were in a pot. Then it was just a waiting game as it cooked away.

We made an entire day of it, and even cooked our stew next to one of the boiling sap pots. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and made it a wonderful family day. It was the most fun, as a family, we had in a long time!

We boiled well past dark, and once the sap had boiled down to about an inch to an inch and a half, we strained the sap into a smaller pot and moved into the house for the final boil!

Once in the house we continued to cook the sap until it reached 7 degrees above boiling. For our area in Indiana, that is 219 degrees. Once the sap reached that point, it was officially syrup. The hot syrup was filtered for the second time and put into mason jars and waterbath canned for 10 minutes to ensure that they properly sealed and the jars were sterilized. Once they were waterbathed, they were taken out to cool.

We started with 40 gallons of sap and ended with 1 gallon of syrup! Not bad and was perfect for the ratio (40 gallons to 1 gallon). 

We had such a wonderful time and have enjoyed having our own syrup so much, that we are planning on doubling if not tripling the amount of taps and trees we do next year. We also are going to pay closer attention to the weather patterns to ensure that we have a longer sap run to work with! That would provide us with a TON of sap!

Another idea we are going to put into place next year is to put in a sap cistern. We are purchasing a 100-200 gallon water tank that we will bury in the ground. We will then store our collected sap in the cistern until we are able to process it. This will ensure that the collected sap stays at an appropriate temperature. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 Kids

We have a few kids available and more to come in May. Please see our Doe page and For Sale page for more information. If you would like to reserve a kid, please contact us at 

Available this year:

F1, F2 and F3 mini alpines
F1 mini saanens 

We also have a 5 year old 3rd Freshener Mini Alpine available for sale. She is bred for May kids and will be sold as is.  

Our Mini Alpine Journey

This year we have a total of six does kidding, four of which are mini alpines! This year we will have our first F3 or American mini alpines, meaning we are that much closer to having purebred Mini Alpines. This has been a long journey for us. We purchased our first French Alpine doe and Nigerian buck in 2010 as bottle babies in hopes to one day get to this point.

After two years of kidding ourselves, and lucking out to find another F1 mini doe locally, we began the mini breeding process with 2 of our own does. We had a difficult time finding the quality of buck we wanted, so in 2014 we purchased and had flown in our Herdsire from Idaho.

The following year, 2015, we kidded out our original herd queen Apple (french alpine doe), and our three mini alpine does, giving us a beautiful crop of 2 F1 doelings, 4 F2 doelings and 1 F2 buckling! We retained one doe from that kidding!

Last year, 2016, we unfortunately lost our French Alpine doe a month before she was due to kid. We then kidded out our three mini alpine does and were blessed with 3 F2 doelings and 3 F2 bucklings; retaining one doe and one buckling.

This year we are kidding out four mini alpine does (one has currently kidded), one nigerian dwarf doe and a saanen doe (currently has kidded).

We are excited to continue this process, and hope that so many more people in our area will learn and fall in love with this awesome breed! They are quite a remarkable goat and are perfect for homesteads, especially with young children.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to reserve a kid of your very own. We are able to offer breeding pairs to help start your herd off right!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gearing up for the 2016 kidding year!

We will have F1 and F2 mini alpines available in May. We have 3 F1 mini does due to kid, as well as, our lovely French Alpine.

Big things are happening this year! We will be adding another mini alpine buck to our herd this year. We do not have one purchased yet, but are looking at one. This will call for a bit of a road trip, but if all works out, it will be well worth it!

We are also adding some new animals to the farm this year. We will be adding Khaki Campbell ducks for both eggs and meat. We are hoping to make our farm more sustainable. More info will be coming!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Thank you!

We have had a blessed kidding season thus far! Our first two F1 mini alpines kidded May 27th, 2015, each with twin does! We retained one doe from each kidding! We then had our youngest F1 mini kid May 29th with a single doe kid! On June 1st, our French Alpine doe, Apple, kidded twin does. We ended with 5- F2 mini alpines, and 2- F1 mini alpines.....6 does, one buck! I can't believe it! What a great doe year! We have since sold all the does and the buck! We had two families each take a pair of does to start their own mini alpine herds. We still have, Sally, our Saanen due to kid. She is also bred to our mini alpine buck, Howie. Her kids will not be registered, however, any doe kids will be sold as family milkers ($75), and buck kids will go either intact or wethered ($50).

Again, we are so thankful for a very successful kidding season (so far!) All of our minis were first fresheners and are all milking almost a half gallon a day and are increasing everyday. It is so rewarding to see the girls that you bred show to be such wonderful milking does. They have such wonderful udders and are so easy to milk, which is not always the case with first fresheners, and minis at that!

If anyone is interested in 2016 mini alpines, we will be taking reservations. To reserve a kid, a $50 non refundable deposit is required.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Kidding trouble. Thank God for small hands!

Yesterday, May 29th, was my kids and my first day of summer vacation.  They were excited to stay home and play with the four little does that were born two days before. I had put my youngest down for a nap and decided to take one myself, since I hadn't slept well the night before.  My son, who is 7, came running into my room to let me know he had checked on the goats and Heidi was having a baby! This was the doe I had been worried about. She is my smallest and she had a very big belly on her. When I got to the barn, I could hear her. I opened the stall door and could see one foot and a nose. I tried to pull the other foot forward and pull the kid, but the forehead was stuck. Each time I pulled, she would cry and look at me with those same brown eyes she did the day I delivered her. She looked at me as to say, " please, mom, help me!" Of course, my husband was at school, as his last day was that day. My mom and dad weren't home either. There was no one to help me, except my son. I pushed the baby back in and asked my son to hold it at its feet until I got back. I ran out of the barn and called my grandpa. He is in his 70s but he had raised cows when my dad was younger so he knew somewhat what to do, but honestly,  I just needed someone else to be there with me. I remembered a meme I had posted on facebook. It said something along the lines as, " I don't want to adult today." I didn't!  I wanted someone else to take over. After I got ahold of my grandpa I ran back into the barn. I could hear my son soothing the doe. He was telling her it was going to be ok. I told him papaw was on the way. I went in and he had managed to pull the other leg forward.  With the repositioning I was able to get the kid out. I braced myself, because I figured the kid was dead. I told my son to go check on his sisters. I didn't want him to deal with this yet after he had been so brave in helping.  As soon as I got the kid out, it moved. I ripped off the sack, cleared the mouth and blew in his nose.  My grandpa had just gotten there, just moments after I pulled the kid out. My daughter brought me a towel and we dried him off. I trimmed his umbilical cord, dipped his hooves in iodine. She had kidded a single HUGE buck kid, and he was  beautiful! 

Mom and baby are doing great. I decided,  since he was a single and my does were all raised on CAE prevention, that I would allow her to dam raise. She worked hard for that baby!

I am so proud of my son! He usually freaks out in any kind of bad situation,  but this time, he kept it together while I fell apart on the inside a bit. I love my goats. They mean the world to me.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bouncing baby goats!! and DOES at that!!!

Well, it is that time of year on the farm, and we have babies! So far, two of our F1 minis have kidded (on the same night). Merrie kidded a set of broken Chamoisee twin does. They have white on them, and are very flashy girls. Star kidded a twin does, one black and one chamoisee. The black doe will be retained and one of Merrie's does will be retained. The other two does will all be for sale. I will have updated pictures on the for sale page soon, but you can always check us out at facebook! We still have one F1 doe to kid, as well as, our alpine doe and saanen doe. All kids from these does will be for sale.

Maple Syrup fun on the farm

This winter we decided to do something that we had never done before....tap Maple trees! We decided to start out small at tap the few large ...