We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome to the Down Home Farm Tours series. To see all the farms and homesteads featured in this series, click here.
Welcome, Millview Farms!
Today, Marie (who blogs at Plowing in Pearls) shares her family's Ontario farm, Millview Farms. You're going to love this tour. In fact, I predict when you're done, you'll be clicking over to her blog and farm website to see more. 🙂
What is your name and the names of your family members?
My name is Marie, my husband is Brandon, and our beautiful son is Chase. We live in South Central Ontario, Canada. I write the blog Plowing in Pearls, and our farm website is Millview Farms (which is also the name of our farm). Although my husband has been farming his entire life, I just married in to it, and have been “homesteading” for about 4 years.
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
We are the third generation of my husband's family to live in our house and farm this land. We have 150 acres on this property, but farm close to 800 acres spread around our area. Most of our land is field or pasture, but we're also lucky to have an amazing hardwood forest with some beautiful trails, streams, and a pond. Our house is perfectly located just 2 minutes drive (or 10 minutes walk) from a our lovely small town of Millbrook.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
We farm full time, and I raise free range/pastured meat and eggs. I prefer heritage breeds, and have many (like large black pigs and blue slate turkeys) but part of my goal is to make humanely raised meat accessible to the largest demographic possible, which translates into raising standard varieties as well. We strive to be as self-sufficient as possible and produce all our own food, including milk. We also have a menagerie of “pasture ornaments” (or “hay burners” if you were to ask my hubby 😀 )
Any future plans?
In the future, I'd like to expand our freezer meat business. I will be breeding many of my own heritage livestock this year to try and reduce costs and move further away from conventional breeds while keeping prices as affordable as possible. My five year plan also includes starting an educational program for school children to come and learn about their food, and where it comes from.
Any funny stories to share?
Although I didn't find it funny at the time, one of the more humorous moments I've experienced was when I started milking my goat, Maebelle. She isn't the friendliest goat, and doesn't really enjoy being touched, which, as you can imagine, is slightly problematic for a goat that is to be milked by hand. Believe it or not, that requires a lot of touching. 😉 To make a long story short, she kicks like a mule, and I learned the hard way that it's better to milk a bit then pour it in to a tote so you don't lose the whole pail when you're almost finished and she puts her foot in it, then knocks it all over you. I can laugh at myself now, but in the future, I'll be doing a little more “research” before settling on a milking goat!
Any sad times on your farm?
It definitely hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. Like I said, I wasn't born in to this life, so I've had to learn to cope with the heartbreak of losing animals to illness and predation. We free range our poultry, and for the most part, don't lose many birds. But unfortunately a coyote decided our flock was an excellent all-you-can-eat buffet. He ate seventeen of my heritage breed hens. I got the last laugh though when my husband shot him, though.
However, the coyotes would strike back in this battle of farmer vs. predator. The day after arriving home from our honeymoon, I noticed one of our two Shetland sheep was missing. It was a miserable, cold, windy November day, and there I was, pacing every square foot of the (vast) pasture. I eventually found a pile of wool and bones in the furthest corner of the field. That was the most heartbreaking moment I've experienced so far. I have since taken up coyote hunting, although I've yet to bag my first animal.
Let's Tour Millview Farms!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from Marie, as she tells you what is in each gorgeous picture.)
Mac and Morris are my goat Maebelle's twin boys. I was there when she gave birth, and what a breathtaking experience that was!
Sally is our Large Black sow. She's only about 10 weeks old in this picture, but she'll end up weighing 600 to 800 pounds when she's done growing.
This is our humble abode, and my husband, myself, and our son. (Wardee: You have a lovely home and family!)
Last year's young Broad-Breasted White turkeys free ranging in the driveway. Regardless of their poor genetics, these guys do much better when they're not stuffed in to a barn like sardines.
Pearl is without a doubt everyone's favorite farm animal. She's a pasture ornament, but the sweetest and most loving creature to ever grace this earth. (Wardee: I can tell. How special!)
This was our son practicing “sharing” with one of our goats. We feel so blessed to be able to raise him in this free and natural environment. (Wardee: Look at his expression! He's loving it!)
One of our Silver Spangled Apenzeller Spitzhauben (what a mouth full!) chickens scratching for some bugs.
(Back to Wardee) Marie, I really, really loved touring your farm. I have to say, I want to see more! Thank you for sharing your farm with us!
Please give Marie and her family a warm welcome in the comments!
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