After our dreams were dashed in purchasing the creamery here in Tioga County, I am so excited to announce that we are moving back to Lancaster County Pa! I guess it’s time to make it official and post it on my blog. Why? Because my phone has been ringing off the hook and everyone has been asking.
We are moving to the Ephrata/Denver area of Lancaster County to a 75 acre farm. The farm adjoins my older sister Lori’s property. It is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath home built in the 1700’s. The home was actually a school when it was originally built. It still has the old school bell on the roof as well (I’ll post pictures as soon as I get back down there to take them). Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge history buff and love antiques. I have never lived in a brand new home and most likely never will. I love the character of the old homes and let’s face it…they are built much better than today’s homes are. This will be the oldest home I have ever lived in by 100 years. Our first home was built in 1832 which we completely restored. It was literally falling down when we purchased it. Anyway, I have many family antiques in my home now. Nothing really worth loads of money but to me they are priceless because they are part of the history of my family.
Back to the farm…(sorry I tend to get sidetracked 🙂 ). The farm has 10 acres of fenced pasture for the herd. It also has a HUGE, did I say HUGE, barn. It also has several other barns attached to that one. I believe three more in all. A real honest to God milking parlor as well with the pipeline, tank, automatic cleaner, etc. Completely up to date and inspected…ready to milk and certified by the state (somebody pinch me please!). It has a nursery! OMG…a nursery for my precious sweet little babies! Hot and cold water…in the barn! No more running a hose down to the barn and filling up buckets. No more trying to keep everything unfrozen in the winter time! The barn also has 4, yes I said 4 silos! No more buying a ton of grain and storing it in sealed barrels. I can actually order a crap load of grain and have it put into the silo…huge savings in money right there alone! It has overhangs for the herd to loaf around under when its raining or when they are looking for a cool place to lay in the summer. And, what is most exciting to my children and husband…it has an automatic barn cleaner! They are dancing and doing the jig over that one alone. It drops the manure down into two manure pits underneath the barn. This was originally made for cows but with goat manure being mostly little manure berries, it makes for an excellent composter. My husband will just have to turn the pile from time to time. Great for gardening which I plan to do a lot of.
I’m not finished…still many more things we are so excited about! The driveway is long. I like this because even though the farm is located in the middle of things so to speak, the actual barn and home sit in the middle of the property so it is still very secluded. More secluded than we are here…LOVE THAT! It is like having the best of both worlds. There is a 3 car garage with a pit and 220 line for my husband. It is also heated by a wood stove as well. This is his favorite luxury item! He can actually use his welder, torch, etc. without having to worry about burning down the barn or laying in the wet muddy driveway to work on stuff. The pit is excellent for changing oil and doing whatever mechanics love to do. The garage is a motorhead’s dream.
My favorite part, well one of my favorite parts…everything is paved! Yes, NO MORE MUD!!!! Praise be to God, my prayers have been answered! You have no idea how sick and tired I am of the mud. In the spring when everything begins to thaw out, we are knee high in the stuff. It is every freaking where! In your car, in the house, in the barn, on all of your clothes, on all of your shoes, on all of you coats, in your hair…I get so frustrated in trying to keep the floors in my house mud free. I am soo excited not to have to battle mud anymore, you have no idea!
We will be milking 100 goats there the first year and intend to increase our number to 200 eventually. Since the milk only needs to be transported to New Holland, there is literally no shipping charges on the milk. Basically, that leaves us with much more profit than if we had milked on a commerical level here in Tioga County. We would have just broken even because most of our profit would have went towards shipping our milk. We will also have our raw milk license and eventually hope to begin making goat cheese to sell as well. I will be taking my goat milk soaps to sell every Friday to the Green Dragon Farmer’s Market. This is a huge farmer’s market and is known to thousands of people. This is their website http://www.greendragonmarket.com/ if you feel like taking a peak.
Speaking of the Green Dragon, they also have a hay auction. After some checking around, we are hoping to purchase most of our hay there. The price is unbelievable and since we live right beside it, we will get free hay delivery as well! If you have never been to any of Lancaster County’s famous farmer’s markets then I suggest you make a special trip. They are well worth it. The Green Dragon, Root’s, and the Lancaster Market are to die for. Anything you could ever want or ever need is sold. Come hungry and eat your way around. This is one of the things I missed most about not living in Lancaster County.
The farm also has fruit trees, a creek, a pond, flower gardens, out buildings, and such. It is a beautiful old farm and I am more than excited to move. I’m ready to load up and go right now. We officially move in May 1st so I guess I will have to wait until then. We are in the process of getting everything ready…pastures and what-not. We have been purchasing good quality dairy goats as well. We made a trip last week to Cape Cod, Massachusetts for Saanens. After the farm show, we are headed to Michigan for Nubians. We are also getting more Saanens at the Farm Show from Todd Biddle. I also am purchasing a few show quality Lamanchas from Ann Weikel’s farm for Katie. She has always wanted a couple of Lamanchas but we never had the room until now. Slowly, steadily, we are increasing the herd. I have died and gone to dairy goat heaven. If you know me, you know I couldn’t be happier!
With moving back to Lancaster County it also means I am closer to family and friends again. I have 3 sisters alone who live in the Ephrata area. Two sisters, a brother, and my Mom & Step-Dad live in Harrisburg (50 minutes away). Another brother who lives in Columbia (1/2 hour away). My Dad and Step-Mom who live in Quarryville (about 45 minutes away). Then all of Vince’s family who live in Chester County which is the next county over. It will make it so nice for holidays and family get togethers. The kids have 5 of their cousins to run and play with on the farm since my sister’s property adjoins ours. On the weekends they will have 2 more cousins. This also means I have lots of nieces and nephews to recruit for help when needed (or they can get punished to clean out my barn if they step out of line 🙂 ).
We still haven’t decided if we are selling our home here or not. We have pushed around the idea of renting it out to the right person. Someone who will take care of the place and not trash it & who can pay the rent bill as well. We also thought of just keeping it and renting it out on a weekly or monthly basis as a vacation home. We also have been thinking of just keeping as a home for us as well and selling it in the future when the market gets better. I am still not sure what we are doing. Either way, we are trying to get it all finished. Everything painted and the flooring done before we move.
So, there it is. My dreams are coming true! Things fell apart with purchasing the Creamery here in Tioga County but I just knew there was a reason why. Better things were offered to me. It means a lot of work is ahead of me as well but if you know me, you know the grass doesn’t grow under my feet. I am no stranger to working my backside off and it keeps me out of trouble anyway 🙂 . Anything worth while is always worth the hard work that goes along with it.
When I was a little girl, I always said I was going to be rich, famous, and work with animals. Well I’m far from famous, but I do live an animal lover’s dream and I’m rich in so many ways just not monetary rich so I guess two out of three isn’t bad!