Category Archives: Homestead

Maagical Solstice: A Member’s Experience

By farm family member, Ashley Hirsh

ash with goat.jpgI grew up in a conventional American household in Las Vegas, Nevada. The nutrition of my youth was S.A.D. (Standard American Diet.) Meals came out of boxes or cans and our idea of a refreshing beverage was an ice cold Pepsi. When I left home and began my journey across the country and back again I learned a lot about healthy lifestyle. I longed to live in a community that valued slow food and connection to the Earth. When I arrived in Mount Shasta, I knew I had found such a place and celebrating the Summer Solstice at Maagic Mountain Farm on June 21st felt like part of a dream come true.

flowers

My family enjoyed our three minute walk to Maagic Mountain Farm and arrived at 8:30am to find an already festive gathering. Friends and neighbors chatted around bistro tables graced by bright calendula bouquets. The spread of farm fresh victuals was astonishing! Hard boiled chicken and duck eggs, fresh baked bread, homemade goat cheese, butter, and yogurt, sun ripened cherries, sticky sweet preserves, crumbly buttered scones… AND LATTES… made by goats… with help from Leslie.

Mugs

I stood transfixed, coffee cup in hand, waiting for the “melted ice cream goat” to take the milking stand. Once in position, I handed over my mug and in a few squeezes had a foamy, creamy, and delicious latte straight from the udder, quite a marvel for this city born girl with a country heart! I savored my beverage while my two year old enthusiastically accepted the responsibility of goat brushing. If you are a parent, you know what a miracle it is to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and have your child otherwise occupied…

brushing

I can’t explain how grateful I am for the blessing of this farm and the joy we feel participating in it. Knowing there are people like the Ellorin Family working in an open-hearted, labor of love, community centered way makes the future feel brighter than many would have us believe. In the moments when I get caught up in what is going on “out there” it helps to remember the people doing good work right here in our neighborhood. No matter what we are going through, good people doing good work persist and there is always Maagic just around the corner.

IMG_2831

Maagic Mountain Farm…a lot can happen in 3 years

August 10, 2012 we closed escrow on this homestead property.  The house was a striped foreclosure and without a toilet (just a hole), no bathroom floor, no light fixtures, beer cans littered around the house and very dirty.  One wall in the kitchen was used as a dartboard.  Outside, the yard was completely unkept for at least a year, the pasture was 4 feet high and the creek was hidden. 0-Goats knocking 2013-03 It was so exciting but oh so much work.  We began work immediately and moved the family in October.  Immediately I wanted to bring the goats over (they used to be boarded at Kid Creek Pastures). Without a milking stall and only exterior fencing, the goats roamed the yard free. I once found a goat in the house. Can you say…”Crazy!”

Since then much has changed and evolved…

In 3 years Todd has worked his maagic and made this a real homestead with:

  • A warm farm house complete with toilets, light fixtures, flooring and more.
  • A mobile chicken camper for our hens.
  • A garden patch cleared by chickens and planted 3 consecutive summers.
  • Almost 1000 ft of fencing installed, replaced or reinforced to be goat proof.
  • Goat barn and milking stall and cleanroom.
  • A pasture barn and breeding area.
  • Two bee hives with ever increasing number of boxes.
  • 2015 addition includes a mini-high tunnel greenhouse for winter greens.

0-Winter milk 2012-12 0-Milking 2012-12

Todd originally took the old fence and made an 8×8 stall and small overhang for milking.  Blocked on the southside, it worked amazing and kept the snow off the stantion. (Dec. 2012)

Then he expanded to 2 stalls and a larger milking overhang. (Mar. 2013)

0-Milking 2013-040-SHed 2013-03

Then we expanded the cover are for the goats in the winter of 2014.  At first it was all constructed with pallet walls and gates and cattle panel walls on the Northside.  Amazingly it kept the snow and rain out and goats dry.

0-Expansion 2014-01  0-MIlk machine 2014-06Summer 2014 we moved all the goats out of the stalls and began milking on the patio.  It was open air and covered by an awning, but walking the goats past the garden daily was a workout in itself.  For a short period (5 days), I tried a milking machine.  Not for me.  I prefer hand milking and have never used again.

Now I milk in style in a milking temple, complete with concrete milking area and a cleanroom.  The improvements make milking even more fun and much more clean.

My beautiful picture IMG_20140124_162341_052 (3) My beautiful picture 0-Milking 2014-9

IMG_1202

The Hen Camper

IMG_1446 IMG_1445

The Garden

Les Garden 2013-07-31_20-29-12_164

Photos of the greenhouse coming soon!

NEWS on the Homestead

Lots of new things happening at the homestead:  

New last week:  3 Turkeys and 10 Chicken Pullets.  They live in an interior cage inside the chicken pen.  This helps everyone stay protected and get familiar with each other.  These turkeys are almost chicken size.  Watch how quickly they grow!

IMG_1660 IMG_1649

A new Top Bar Hive has moved on to the property from a neighbor.  The hive used to be on the other side of our pasture and was successfully moved to our property.  You can lay under this hive and see the bee activity.    Welcome honey bees and thank you William for sharing and teaching.

IMG_1645

Last Sunday our bees got a house expansion and a second box was added because they are growing and filling up the first box.  The hive is much stronger this year.

IMG_1644

Yesterday homestead security just got a new deputy.  Check out our new puppy, Buddy Ollie, a Treeing Walker Coon Hound.  This is really Kyle’s new buddy that has taken residence in Kyle’s Room.  He is just so cute!  He comes from The DeGrofts homestead in Bella Vista where we also found Roadie, Valentine, Coral, Tink and Glinda.  He comes from a wonderful home and loving family. Thanks Albert and Joann.

IMG_1638

And today, our new Buck arrived from the valley.  He was called Obsidian, but again I want to do a naming contest.  We look forward to naming him together.  He is 3 monthes old and very sweet and social.  He will be ready for fall breeding and live in the back area away from milk girls. Gotta love the spots!

IMG_1678 IMG_1674

COMING SOON… baby ducklings (+/- 25 days more) and baby chicks (+/-15 days more).  

IMG_1642 IMG_1648

Attachment Warning:  Home hatching can be very tough and chicks and ducklings often die before ever making it a month.  I just warn you all, farm life is a wondrous and horrific all at the same time.  We have to love all and also detach to the cycles of nature.  We feel blessed our creatures remember how to brood their young as many chickens do not even remember how to anymore.  We are blessed and encourage the animal’s natural instincts.

The Landscape Changes Overnight

This Saturday we enjoyed a lovely farm day in the sun and green pasture.IMG_1293 IMG_1299 IMG_1304 IMG_1300

Today we woke up to white everywhere.  Look at the view from the milking stall.  Todd designed it perfectly so the view is open but no snow comes in.  You can see the ducks look like they want in but they really love the snow, just like the dog.

IMG_1312 IMG_1315 IMG_1317This little one can’t figure it out.  What is this stuff!!!