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Get your goat

Posted by <3 Michelle on Monday, April 20, 2015,
Many of you that follow the farm on facebook know that we had decided to sell out herd of Boer goats and focus on sheep and pigs. We had been waiting until they were all done kidding and every one was sturdy enough to withstand a move.  We listed the herd on several sites and in the first day found a great home for the whole herd to stay together.  This was of course ideal because several of the does had special bonds so it was good to know they would all be staying together. The day came tha...
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Basement blunders

Posted by <3 Michelle on Wednesday, April 8, 2015,
When we built this house we thought that we would finish the basement and have this lavish game room with pool table and all sorts of fancy things.  Three years later, and an unplanned farm started, the oh so lavish walk out basement holds our giant freezer our home raised meat is in and our bikes.  In spring the basement becomes even more chaotic.  It is a place to raise babies, poultry, and bummer lambs.
This year the basement has been super busy, with two southdown lambs born in frigid Febr...
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Crepe/Mannicotti recipe

Posted by xoxo Michelle on Monday, January 12, 2015,
Hey guys, I've had a lot of people ask about the crepes I make on a regular.  I mostly make plain crepes and fill them with cottage cheese.  This is a traditional Polish food that many people put maple syrup on after baking (not me).  My favorite food hands down though is manicotti, not manicotti made with filled pasta shells from the store but real manicotti.  So since I had all the ingredients in my fridge I decided to make some for dinner tonight.  So directions are for manicotti but crepe...
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What's cookin...

Posted by Michelle on Monday, September 22, 2014,
There is no doubt in my mind that I will never be mistaken for a chef, regardless I on occasion hit some home runs in the kitchen department.  A lot of you guys have asked for recipes that I normally wouldn't think to share but this one is a good one!  Goat Goulash!  It's what's for dinner!  So here's how I make it!  
Cook one lb of pasta according to directions, macaroni or whatever you prefer.  I always coat my casserole dish with cooking spray.  Brown a lb of ground goat.  Dump the pasta an...
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Vegetarian meat farmer....

Posted by Michelle on Thursday, September 18, 2014,
One of my biggest hurdles at the market is explaining my choice to be a vegetarian and then selling pork, lamb, or goat!

Most of my interactions at market do not include my life story along with it...but the best part of markets is connecting with my customers.  Often they ask how goat tastes, or does lamb taste like beef.  Since I am an honest person, and want my customers to like and trust me I tell them, I do not personally eat the meat, but I do cook it :)

I have reviews from several truste...
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Chin up buttercup

Posted by ~Michelle on Thursday, September 4, 2014,
Ok so a new school year has begun. I do not pose to be a completely sane human (that would be boring), but nothing gets me gloomier than when my kiddo goes back to school... So after crying like an idiot for a good twenty four hours (not a very hydrating idea with my new running regiment), I decided to get busy.  Holidays are coming up, which means the busy craft show season is upon us.  I spent yesterday filling some etsy orders and my first attempt at making my own tomato sauce from the ga...
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Growing inside

Posted by Michelle on Wednesday, March 12, 2014,
As I watch what I hope to be the last store of the year snow and blow outside my window I am so grateful that spring is around the corner.  In my, I am slowly going crazy, cabin fever I have started growing trays in my house, like in my kitchen :)  It started with a bag of lentils I bought at the bulk foods store for $1.24.  That pound of lentils was soaked over night in water, then spread out on a tray with holes poked for drainage.  I covered the lentils with a damp paper towel, keeping th...
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Chaotic Bliss

Posted by Michelle on Wednesday, February 26, 2014,
There is so much going on this week my head is slightly spinning!!!  I know you guys are like, what's new lol  Well we ended our vacation week visiting a farm in Sharon Springs that had a couple litters of uber adorable Kunekune piglets, we are over the moon excited to be welcoming a boar, named Wolfie, and a gilt, yet to be named in a couple weeks when their paperwork comes in!!!  If you do not know what Kunekune pigs are they are a heritage breed of pig that does exceptionally well on fora...
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Lamb watch

Posted by Michelle on Tuesday, February 4, 2014,
With only 44 days until spring I am getting ancy to get outside and get moving.  I LOVE spring!  Our new chicks have arrived safe and sound and are growing fast.  One arrival that I am over the moon about is of course my precious Babydoll Lambs!  We have six (maybe seven) bred ewes in the barn.
The utlrasounds we had done last month were fascinating and totally worth it!  

Preparing for lambing is basically caring for the ewes, making sure they have what they need to eat, clean water, and loose...
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Chicky Checklist

Posted by Michelle on Wednesday, January 29, 2014,
On the verge of February, the most bitter month of the year, it is hard to stay positive and remain motivated to plan for spring.  January has been a beast with polar vortex, several feet of snow, states of emergencies, and for me cabin fever!  We were grateful to welcome two adorable doelings (who we are going to have to have a name game for as Matt cannot decide :).  They keep us busy, and thoroughly entertained.  
One great part of February is that our replacement chicks are ordered in fo...
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Adding color

Posted by Michelle on Monday, January 20, 2014,
I am so completely new to working with wool, I love it and do it just about every day in one way or another. I learned to dye wool fairly early on as it is fun, and with mostly white sheep it expands the amount of projects I could do exponentially!  I dye wool on my stove by heating water and adding whatever the dye is, whether it be a natural dye like beat root or berries, kool aid which is fun and inexpensive but doesn't offer the full range of colors I needed, or rit dye which usually fil...
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Digging out

Posted by Michelle on Friday, January 10, 2014,


Like many people in the North east we have spent the last few days digging out!  Our house, driveway, barn, and cars were buried in a crazy blizzard that brought around four feet of snow in two days.  Normally we are prepared and equipped and both Matt and I have 4wheel drive vehicles so the hype of impending storms don't usually scare us too much  Well this one was a whole new ball game.  We literally did not leave the house for thee days, frequent runs to the barn with warm water were the ...

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Felted slippers=raisin hands

Posted by Michelle on Sunday, January 5, 2014,


Ok so one thing I have been wanting to learn to do is to felt slippers and booties.  I made it my goal this weekend and consider myself somewhat successful :) Here is what you will need to start:
- Around a pound of wool, depending on the size slippers you are making of course
-Bubble wrap
-Bamboo placemat
-Soap (I used unscented goats milk soap)
-A fine net or old curtain (I used an old laundry bag)
-Bowl with warm water

To begin you trace your feet, or the feet of your recipient, with a one inch ...

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Happy New Year!

Posted by <3 Michelle on Wednesday, January 1, 2014,
Welcome 2014 I cannot wait to see the bounty you have to give!  I am always looking forward no matter what the time frame or land mark, I always have little excitements that I am anticipating.  This year our big goal that hovers over all our farm goals is better record keeping and analysis of those records.  I admit, it is the unfun part of farming, but it will help us do what we do in a better way to be able to learn in the future.  A friend of mine and I often talk about the saying that in...
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Always learning

Posted by Michelle on Sunday, December 29, 2013,
Those of you that follow our facebook page know that we have recently purchased the Homesteading for beginners set of videos.  I thought it would be nice as I watch to post about some of the interesting tips I learn from the videos.
Last night I popped in disk one, which features sheep.  With the Babydolls I have done a lot of reading and hands on learning so for the most part there were not many new things to me.  It was great for some one who is thinking of getting sheep, or just recently ...
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Let the fun begin

Posted by Michelle on Saturday, December 21, 2013,
Ok so my Christmas gift to myself/Birdy was a set of hatching eggs, not just any hatching eggs but FRIZZLE hatching eggs, any of you that follow the farm know that we had a delightful little frizzle hen, Fizzle, who passed away this past summer.  We miss her so and I thought it would be a good winter pick me up to try and hatch one of our own.  Now Frizzles are a funny chicken, you cannot breed a frizzled roo to a frizzled hen and get frizzled chicks, odd right?  The gene that causes the fri...
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Christmas crazy!

Posted by Michelle on Friday, December 20, 2013,
This time of year it is really easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays.  Whether you are trying to schedule a trip, organize a get together, find the perfect gift, or finish orders in time the stress can overcome your day.  I can say a few things that saved me this year I will try to repeat for years to come.
-Get the amazon app on your cell and shop when waiting in the car or in line etc, multi task!
-Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them
-Plan ahead, especially if you se...
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FINALLY

Posted by <3 Michelle on Wednesday, December 18, 2013,
Well I feel like a bottle about to burst after weeks struggling with my blog page I have finally been able to get logged in and type!  We have been getting buried in snow in the blustery North East and with that I have had way too much inside time!  I am slowly going crazy...six, five, four, three, two, one switch!  LOL ok out of my system (kind of).
So part of my cabin fever lunacy pushed me to the edge and in a weak moment I logged into ebay.  Not for, clothes, antiques or collectibles, si...
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How a vegetarian raises meat birds...

Posted by Michelle on Sunday, November 3, 2013,

    When Matt decided we should start raising broiler chickens for our family and for the markets I was so completely against it.  I have been a vegetarian since I was 12, I'm two weeks away from 31 :)  I never felt good about the common practice of industrial farming where animals were confined in huge chicken or hog or cattle houses.  I always loved farming and my favorite toys were plastic farm animals that I housed in a cardboard box barn I constructed and my green John Deere Tractor.  Wh...
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Prepping....for spring

Posted by xoxo Michelle on Friday, October 18, 2013,
    A week ago Matt and I found a Bobcat skid steer on Craigslist that was just right for us and we could afford without a loan (hugely important when farming).  Today Matt decided to take the Bobcat out back to our small wooded area and clean it out as it used to be some one's dumping ground.  There is everthing from parts of old cars, tractors, disks for plowing, stoves, toys, tons of buckets, bottles and cans.  There is even an old playhouse that was built back there.  So naturally I was p...
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Treading water without a pool

Posted by Michelle on Thursday, October 10, 2013,
    Lately this farm chica feels a bit like she's treading water without a pool!  Between the day to day chores, responsibility, keeping up with inventory, laundry, a busy toddler, and a ten year old with homework and a busy schedule it can be tough to keep up.  Matt and I have tons of projects to handle before the snow hits, which could be tomorrow in upstate NY, or could be around Christmas, you never know!
    We are finishing up the high tensile fence for the goats and then will move on to...
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It's hard to say goodbye...

Posted by Michelle on Friday, October 4, 2013,
    One thing we have noticed about our fairly new farm life is the frequency we have to deal with loss.  Our families are no strangers at having to say good bye.  Matt comes to the farm a retired army vet who has lost friends both stateside and abroad, I come as an army widow who bred dogs for the last ten years and aside from the obviously loss of Birdy's dad, have had to say good bye to some very sweet and too young canine souls in my past.  Most people at some time or another suffer loss....
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Fall is in the air

Posted by Michelle on Sunday, September 29, 2013,

    The girls and I went on a walk this afternoon, the weather is delightful, 70, sunny, and breezy.  Aside from the new neighbors slightly scary and aggressive LGDs that are apparently trained to an underground fence, the walk was super peaceful.  The colorful leaves crunched under our feet, numerous caterpillars were crossing the road.  Those caterpillars made it very evident not only that winter is coming but it looks like it will be a long one!  The black stripes were much greater on the ...
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NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival

Posted by Michelle on Tuesday, September 10, 2013,

    Well Saturday was a whirlwind for sure.  I loaded in the truck with the girls and sheep in tow at 2:30am.  By the time I got to the closest town, Watertown, my awesome tarp fastening had failed and had to be cut off the sheep crate.  I pulled into McDonalds, open 24 hrs, to cut off the flapping tarp remnants.  Apparently McDonalds is full of the bar crowd at that time (duh) so I had lots of interesting comments while standing on top of the truck, with sheep in the back, at 2:40am....  Any...
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Life is full of choices

Posted by Michelle on Thursday, September 5, 2013,
    We have known for a long time the the Olde English Southdown Babydoll National sheep show was coming up in the beginning of September, I had entered to be safe....in case I was able to go.  I went back and forth with the pros and cons of making the 5 hour trip.  I knew Matt wouldn't be able to come as he has other stuff going on, so for me to go it would mean making the trip with a ten year old (no prob), a toddler, and three sheep.  With a house sheep, baby chicks, and a barn full of cri...
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Never a dull moment!

Posted by Michelle on Monday, September 2, 2013,
    A couple nights ago I noticed the pullets were laying eggs up on some of the hay, so I put a step stool there so I could get up there and collect eggs easily.  Yesterday morning, I went up to collect eggs and to my ultimate surprise there were tiny little chicks up there!  When we bought pullets this year we bought a few of a few different kinds, one of which breed being Buff Orpington, which I love, but they all look identical.  I did not realize that one of the Buffys had gone broody an...
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Up to my eyeballs in dryer balls...

Posted by xoxo Michelle on Sunday, September 1, 2013,

Today I am up to my eyeballs in dryer balls...lol  Trying to keep up with inventory and feed the kids, clean the house, do chores is a time management challenge for sure, especially this time of year.  I first learned about dryer balls from another vender at a craft show.  She was looking for a local source for them to care for her little one's cloth diapers.  With a little research (and encouragement from my sis) I decided to try to make some.  My baby at the time had super sensitive skin an...
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That time of year...

Posted by Michelle on Wednesday, August 28, 2013,

It's that time of year, the rams had to move to their own man cave.  Last year I brought Ramboy in at the end of September and since I didn't want to put him by himself I acclimated him to the flock.  Well, five months later little Hope and Mumble were born on a slightly bitter morning, minus eleven degrees to be exact.  I remember every moment of that morning like it was yesterday and I don't want that to happen again.  So the boys have eachother this year as we flew little Dodge in from IL ...
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All I know about wool...

Posted by Michelle on Monday, August 26, 2013,

Isn't much compared to many.  In the short 14 months I have owned sheep and worked with fiber I have learned the basics of needle felting, how to shear (sufficiently not professionally), how to pick and wash fleeces, use a drum carder, dye wool, and I'm starting to learn to spin (thanks to my very patient dad).  Most things I have either learned from trial and error or youtube.  Today I dyed wool with Rit dye, it was raining, and I'm low on colors to felt with so I figured a good day for groc...
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I call them Hail Mary Tomatoes

Posted by ~Michelle on Sunday, August 25, 2013,

I almost laugh at how prone to bad luck I am when it comes to starting plants.  I hardly ever have luck getting my seedlings to thrive after they are transplanted, if I even get them that far.  This year was no different and I can't bare the thought to go without fresh home grown tomatoes.  So I planted a Hail Mary crop of Tomatoes, direct seed style, and waited.  Sure enough I ended up with a few hearty rows of tomato plants. I don't want to say I play favorites in the garden (or any where f...
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Time flies

Posted by Michelle Stephens on Saturday, August 24, 2013,

We have been super busy around here.  The Watertown Farmer's Market is going great but keeping up with inventory for that and the Carthage Market two days later is impossible.  I haven't been to the Carthage Market in weeks because I am busy making more dryer balls, and processing chicken to fill orders from the Wednesday market.  This is definitely a year of learning and learning to manage inventory and keep enough in stock and keeping things fresh are a challenge.  So I apologize for not be...
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We are grateful

Posted by ~Michelle on Sunday, June 9, 2013,

I am such a bad blogger, I write every few days then disappear for weeks.  I'm sorry.  So many wonderful things have been happening I don't even know where to start.  Market season has begun, it is an adjustment to say the least, getting up before the sun and leaving the house by myself.  Matt has to play mister mom the days I work markets, Wednesday in Watertown and Friday in Carthage.  It is nice to get out and meet new people and talk about my passion, the farm, so for that I am grateful (...
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Lambs!...not what I had planned!

Posted by ~Michelle on Sunday, February 24, 2013,

    Thursday brought our first lambs here at Sweet Pea Farm.  I had bought a baby monitor with a video screan, night vision, thermometer, and two way talk so I could monitor the sheep part of the barn better from inside the house.  Thursday was the first calm day we'd had all week as my oldest daughter has been on winter break and had plenty of activites going on through out the week.  I was upstairs with the girls about to hop on my trusty eliptical (the only non-barn chore kind of work out ...


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First babies of 2013

Posted by Michelle on Wednesday, February 20, 2013,
    Well the first new babies of 2013 have arrived, 20 tiny little chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery came to my post office this morning.  I ordered Buff Orpingtons, Golden and Silver laced Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, and Cuckoo Marans. They all were looking lively and happy so that was a relief!  My sister had ordered a few meat chicks to raise for her family to eat and they were market with red on their head to identifiy them, we called them Bullseye babies.  LOL  Apparently it is com...
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It's going to get hot in here.....I hope!

Posted by Michelle on Monday, February 11, 2013,
    Well yesterday brought on an after church road trip to Fulton NY.  We had found an ad on craiglist for a 25'x92' greenhouse and yesterday was the day that worked for every one to go take a look.  I'm excited to report we put down a deposite so we can pick it up when the snow melts a bit.  I am so excited/nervous for the possibilities this will bring the farm.  It wil extend our growing season, increase the strength of our crops, provide warmth for chicks we are growing, I mean with all th...
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Here chicky chicky

Posted by Michelle on Friday, February 8, 2013,
    We have had poultry at the farm before we had a farm really, Matt fell in love with the ducklings at the local TSC and of course had to bring a six pack of them home (Rouens).  He ended up with 5 drakes and a single girl :)  Pretty rare for our female populated home!  Time went on and the original six turned to 19 after a few were dropped off/rescued.  They enjoy our pond and in return lay wonderful eggs (the additional 13 are mostly females).  
    Shortly after the ducks were brought in ...
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