Goldenrod Farm, situated on 70 acres in Northern Maine, over looks Mt. Katahdin and Mt. Chase. The beautiful view and lush pastures dotted with a variety of farm animals takes you back to the small homestead style of farm.
Homestead farming takes many avenues. We have combined modern conveniences and older concepts of providing for ourselves. We grow a large garden providing us with fresh vegetables along with canned, dried and frozen vegetables. Our root cellar stores the remaining produce for winter. Convenience foods are also canned, such as home made spaghetti sauce and salsa.
The orchard incorporates old and new fruit trees, including cherry, plum, peach (a cold tolerant variety), pear and apples. The old fashion type of apples such as Dutchess, Maidens Blush, Russet, Yellow Transparent, and numerous types not identified yet, mix with the new types like McCoun, and some young plants from Fedco that we are waiting to taste like Honeycrisp, and Burgundy. We also pick red raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and have thriving young elderberries and grapes. Fall finds us making Apple cider the old fashion way with a hand crank press that is well over 100 years old. Apples from 20 or more trees, including crab apples, are pooled and washed to be pressed making 10 to 20 gallons of apple cider for gifts and home use.
Late winter we tap maple trees to make 2-3 gallons ofMaple syrup for our use and gifts. There is nothing like the taste of pure Maple syrup, whether it be on the morning pancakes or in a batch of Maple syrup fudge.
The large variety of animals we raise provide us with many products, such as milk, eggs,butter, cheese, fiber from Sheep, Llama, Angora Bunnies, and Angora Goats, lambskins, soap and meat. Many types of livestock and fowl are raised on homesteads across America, some of the ones we have, are listed and described on our Animal page.
Farms must also support themselves, as most farmers do we have many irons in the fire. Below are some of the projects we embark on during the year.
During the summer months we operate an Animal Farm, inviting school, church, and other groups to visit our park and learn about farm animals. Demonstrations of goat milking, spinning, shearing, cider making, and calf feeding are offered at various times of the year. A display of Wool from Sheep to Skeins invites you to touch and learn about the steps in making wool yarn. The Bantam House has nests along the back, everyone likes to check for eggs. Food is available to feed the animals and a special pen for babies allows your kids to meet our kids (and lambs). Adults enjoy seeing and learning about farm animals as much as the young people, and many reminisce visiting an Aunt and Uncle's or Grandparent's farm as a youth. Blackie the pony gives pony rides to youngsters, for many it is the first time on a horse. The gift shop offers Maine made foods and handcrafts.
An abundance of our organic garden vegetables and fruit are taken to a local farmers market, offering such delicacies as fresh baby lettuce and mesclun mixes, fresh spinach & swiss chard, beets & beet greens, radish, carrots, baby onions, green beans, summer & winter squash, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage in red and green and brussels sprouts.
The animals provide us with many products. The Romney sheep provide us with wool offered to handspinners, along with freezer lambs and lambskins to tan. Breeding stock and replacement Ewes are chosen from the best of the offspring. Our Jacob Sheep grows wonderful wool and is an attraction in the Animal Farm.
Milk from our Jersey cows is made into Butter to offer at the Farmers Market, and cheeses are made for home use. Bull calves are sold as veal calves and when we get a heifer we keep it as a replacement cow.
The laying hens produce fresh eggs to the delight of area egg fanciers and are also sold at the farmers market. Fresh eggs are much in demand in this area with so few people raising hens.
Broilers are raised every year in a free range, chemical free, manner, for both home use and to market. Turkeys for Thanksgiving are usually all spoken for by July, they are also raised free range and chemical free.
The goats provide us with milk, and cheese, and are used in demonstrations on milking. The kids go to senior citizen dinners, schools and parades to inveigle their way into everyone's hearts.
All the game birds find there way into our freezers but we also sell hatching eggs, and some chicks. We use both incubators and bantam hens to hatch chicks. Replacement stock comes first, but the game birds lay a lot more eggs then we can hatch or eat.
The peacocks besides being just beautiful and occasionally loud, provide us with 100-150 fine tail fethers that sell in the gift shop. Feathers of all kinds are a favorite with kids in the Animal Farm.
Even the rabbits help out with the feed bill, the New Zealand Rabbits are used for meat, English Angora Rabbits produce lots of wool and the Mini Lops make excellent pets.
So you can see we are busy year round, as are most homesteads. It is important to have a plan, to provide direction in your endeavors. We have a 5 year general plan so we know what we want to accomplish that year. Plans revolve continually and sometimes some projects get put off or end up being redundant. We list all projects finished each year in the back of our daily calendar. The end results have only to please us. The most important thing is that we have fun running our farm and "chores" are a stable and fun part of the day.
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