Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

The Farm Tour and Getting Behind

In June 2017 we went on the farm tour.  Maleah had wanted to go as part of her birthday present.  Well, who am I to deny such a simple request from a perfectly pleasant soon to be 17 year old????  I could never do such a horrible thing to my sweetheart!  So, off we went to the Farm Tour.

On Saturday, we toured several different farms in Polk County on the GRO Rural Opportunity farm tour.  We started with a buffalo farm.  I have been fascinated with buffalo for years!  It might have something to do with the fact that I love buffalo burgers….However, after seeing how cute baby buffalos are up close, I might not be able to eat a buffalo burger again for a while.  The buffalos were lovely and we enjoyed seeing all of them and their cuteness!  We even loved on the miniature donkeys and bought some sunflower bouquets from some adorable kids.  It was great!

After the buffaloes, we went to visit a micro dairy.  I honestly wasn’t sure if micro dairy meant a small dairy or miniature dairy cows??  In my defense, it really could have went either way and I would have been pleased!  It turned out to be a small dairy that only had 2 milk cows, a young heifer and a young bull calf.  They also had pasture raised pigs and Boy were they ADORABLE!

The owner was a wealth of knowledge, extremely patient with questions, and kind with kids.  I just completely enjoyed that visit.  I’m secretly trying to convince Jim to have several milk cows, but he isn’t falling for my plans yet.  I think my seductive wiles have worn thin with him….

After that, we went to an innovative, small farm that has planted almost 100 apple trees on an acre and a half, I think it was.  Jim was riveted and talked with the farmer for almost an hour asking questions.  Huh???  I totally didn’t expect that because Jim has never shown an interest in our fruit trees.  Jim is always throwing me curve balls….  Hmm, maybe he wants to be an apple farmer when he grows up??

Anyway, the farm also had goats, pigs, donkeys and free range chickens everywhere.  The kids and I drifted from one set of animals to another asking the Mrs. of the farm, also known as “The Farmer in Charge” (her words, not mine) all kinds of questions.  We got some great ideas and tips that we have tucked into the recesses of our minds.  I love hearing about other people’s passions and success stories along with their advice and regrets.  The local farm tour has set it up perfectly to allow people like us to really interact and learn from other farmers.  We loved it!

The next day we started in Buncombe county on the ASAP farm tour.  Our first stop was a fairly new creamery.  We knew one of the owners Cane Creek Creamery and we wanted to show our support for them.  It was wonderful!  We petted some adorable calves, watched chickens, got a personal tour of the place, ate homemade ice cream, sampled cheeses, and bought cheeses.  Then we sampled more cheeses and bought more cheeses…I knew we needed to leave soon or I was going to run out of room in the cooler!  Not that I would’ve minded though.  That cheese was heavenly!  Unfortunately, it didn’t last that long once we got home.  I think 3 little mice snuck into my refrigerator and ate it all!

Our next stop was not far away and was another farm that did a little bit of everything.  And I do mean everything.  They raised grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chickens, goats, fruits, berries and vegetables.  They had a farm store and restaurant, a pottery barn, a huge barn for events, stables, summer camps, and playgrounds.  You name it-they had it.  I wanted to see that farm in particular to see how they managed it all.  We stayed at that farm for almost 2 hours walking around and taking it all in.  Honestly, it was too much though.  We couldn’t see it all!  That farm was lovely, but it was really a lot more than we are wanting to try to do.  I think it’s way, way more than we would ever even think about doing!  I want to focus on one thing until we get it almost perfect and then add the next project on our list.  That farm was great, but I saw a lot of things that I would want to change or focus on.  So, in the end, we learned a lot.  And we decided that we will definitely be starting small and work slowly to make it work the right way for us.  However, the tunnel slides at that farm were completely awesome!  Now that’s an idea I want to recreate at our place!  The tether ball and tree house next to the creek were a big hit with the kids as well.

Jim took this picture of a tunnel slide at one of the farms we went to.  I really want a tunnel slide now.  Maybe one for the kids…and one for the big kids-Me and Jim!

The last farm we wanted to visit had withdrawn from the tour due to an unexpected illness we were told.  Maleah was a little disappointed because that farm had the Jacob sheep she wanted to see.  They also had some Angora goats that she was interested in learning about.  Maybe next year.

After the farm tour we realized that we were a little behind on the progress we were wanting to make on the farm.  This is what we wanted the whole farm to look like:

And this is more of what it actually looked like in places:

We still hadn’t finished burning some of the old brush piles.

The piles we had already burned needed to be raked out and piled back up to burn again.  We still had quite a bit of work left to do before we would be ready to plant the grass seed in the fall.  

Ok, fun time is over.  We have to get back to work now…

 

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