May Journal

Hello friends! As I sit here preparing to write our May journal, I marvel at how we are already in June of 2020. This year seems to be going by on warp speed! I sincerely hope that you are all staying healthy and that your happiness is increasing with the warmer temperatures. May is one of my favorite months because it’s when color starts to reappear in the barren winter landscape, like daffodils and tulips. It’s also the time where we bring on young fowl to the farm, such as ducks, chickens, or turkeys. In the beginning of the month, temperatures are still freezing at night, so the gardens don’t go in until at least after Memorial Day.

Orion posing in one of the back pastures.

Speaking of the colder nighttime temperatures, it wouldn’t be spring in Maine if the daffodils didn’t get a little dusted with a small spring snow storm. This year though, it wasn’t just a dusting! On May 9th, we had quite the spring snowstorm! This wasn’t all too unusual though.. as Mrs. Davis can testify from 1967.

We bought chicks and ducklings this May. It’s our first time raising ducklings and I am awed at how fast they grow. The chicks will be egg layers once matured, and the ducks will be processed for food for us. One of our all time favorite restaurants in the Old Port is called the Grill Room, and they serve an amazing roasted duck breast which I hope to replicate with our farm-raised ducks.

The ducklings enjoying a sunny day swimming.

Another new addition to the farm this May is a new Hereford calf. We traded a bull that was born in October 2019 for this heifer who was born in November 2019. Her name is Penny, and we hope with her stellar genetics she will produce good offspring to keep building our herd.

Paul and Penny.

Towards the end of the Month, the piglets that were born in the beginning of April went to their new homes. We had an incredibly tough time with the deliveries of piglets and lost about half of what we were expecting. Out of three sows, one did fantastic, and then the other two not so well. One of the sows that had issues had a piglet stuck, which I wasn’t able to assist and get out, so we called an emergency livestock vet in to help. The other sow spooked with every cry that a piglet would make, stepping on them and crushing them. We were very disappointed because of the significant investment we had made financially, but also because we were not able to fulfill all the requests for piglets to people. In October, we should have two sows farrow again, and we hope and pray it goes much better then the spring.

Spring piglets warming up under a heating lamp.

Well, that’s it for May! We are as busy as ever with renovations, farming, work, and just life in general. Friends and family, stay healthy!

Ragnar jumping for joy with all the lush, fresh growth to eat.

March Journal

March carries the last weight of winter and the early reprieves of spring. We could have several big snow storms, or sunny, melting days all in the span of a week. As for the end of March, the snow is melting and while we are happy to see the dormant grass, it does mean that there are some pretty muddy areas around the farm. We are trying to be careful to not tear up the soft ground too much with the heavy tractor when dropping a hay bale to the cows.

Freyja and Helga, born March 5th, 2020.

March also brings kidding season, where new spring babies start to arrive. Jovie, who is one of our Alpines, gave birth to two does, named Freyja and Helga. Freyja was the absolute sweetest baby, and I got attached to her pretty quickly. We also added a new buckling from an outside herd to be the new sire in our herd. He’s a strong, brave little brute and so his name is now Ragnar, which is very fitting considering his loving yet wild personality.

Ragnar, born March 9, 2020.

Because our goats are exposed to fencing, it increases the risk that they could get caught in it if they had horns, leading to potential accidental death for the goat. For the safety of the goat, we disbud the horns on baby goats, which is cauterizing the area where the horn would grow to prevent it from growing. It’s also not safe if one goat in a herd has horns because when it head butts other goats to establish the hierarchy or play, it could seriously hurt the one without horns.


Freyja’s life was short lived-on March 20th, she died of unknown causes. I was devastated, because in the two weeks of her life, I had grown incredibly attached to her. If there is any place that you could learn all about the circle of life, visit a farm. Shortly after Freyja’s death, a spring lamb was born just a few hours later.

Jovie freshened wonderfully, and we are reaping the benefits of fresh and delicious goats milk. Since her milk came in, I’ve started making chèvre, ricotta, and cajeta. If you haven’t had cajeta yet, please do yourself a favor and go find some! Cajeta is the beautiful love child of a cross between dulce de leche and caramel sauce. To make it, you combine goats milk, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon sticks, and then reduce the mixture until it’s a beautiful caramel color at your desired consistency. Making cajeta also doubles as a work out, because you’ll be at the stove stirring your big pot of cajeta for at least 3 hours. What’s coming out of my farm kitchen next? Goat’s milk mozzarella, goat’s milk yogurt, and goat’s milk salted caramel candies.

I’ve also been busy batching a lot of goat’s milk soaps. My soaps are made with goats milk, essential oils, and nourishing oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil. Right now I am working on batches for summer with blends such as citronella oil and tea tree oil which are natural deterrents against mosquitoes and ticks. Once these have cured, these will be available for purchase in our online farm store.

As always, we are busy with the “now” and preparing for the future. Seedlings for our garden have been started in a mini greenhouse. It looks like this year won’t be quite as wet as 2019, so we are hopeful for a bountiful growing season. Also, Paul built several new stalls in the barn to separate our three pregnant Berkshire sows. We anticipate they will give birth in the coming weeks, so getting them into separate stalls was an important step to prepare for them.

That’s our update from the Hill for March! We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have been impacted with food shortages and are searching for quality meats, eggs, and dairy products, check in with your local farm extension to get connected with a local farm.

Paul and Courtney