My ex co-worker Stewart Nichol always loved to quote,
"the Way to Make a Million at Farming...Is start with 2. "
He knew the hard work of a childhood on a daffodil farm.
Stewart may be right for many but it is one of the most rewarding things I could ever have done with my life. I have always loved animals since a was a young girl. My Grandpa McDonald always said I had a way with animals. I remember that once when a buttefly lit on me for a moment as a child.
(Yes, I had a Grandpa named McDonald and he had a Farm. Funny HuH LOL)
There are not many joys that compare to seeing new life come into the world.
If you doubt it, watch a child see a the birth of a goat or calf or a chick emerge from an egg.
I love Farming.
I grew up in Washington State in a farming community. My Grandfather had a small Dairy in Frances, Washington. When I was just 5 years old “Grandpa Joe” sold the farm. I begged my dad to buy it!!! I love animals and the big 2 story farm house. My dad would have nothing to do with going back to the farm. After all he grew up with milking and farm choirs and leaving school to help run the farm. Little did I know a dream smoldered in that little girl that one day would come to be.
I learned to feed calves and milk cows on that dairy that my Grandfather once owned as the gentleman Jim Wilson let us neighbor kids come work and visit.
When I was 17 years old, I answered a phone call from a local dairy man looking for my aunt to milk his herd of cows, they had the wrong number but I eagerly said, “I know how!!!!” I started that Sunday Morning milking for them. Which led to more job offers as I went from milking on 100 cow dairy’s to 500 cow dairy’s and Assistant Herdsman on a 1000 cow dairy where we delivered calves, treated the sick and managed the health problems of all the herd.
I gave up on farming when I met my ex-husband, tired of working hard only for a paycheck and still wanting my own dairy but not seeing how I would ever afford it. I sold my handful of cows and moved to Alaska.
After some travels following my ex-husband’s work we finally landed in Waldport, Oregon tired of the travels. In a trade with my ex-father-in law I acquired my first 3 beef cow’s with calves in 2001 and later that summer I leased the Carson Ranch, owned by Cy and Judy Carson – Kauffman. A Dream Reignited!!! I started to slowly grow my beef herd and I started buying milking equipment, got divorced along the way in 2005 but still that dairy dream smoldered. I kept raising and selling Grass Fed Beef and Finally God sent me some Angels to help me through the Hard Days and help my Dreams Take Shape.
With a lot of Hard Work and Help of My Dear Friend Joe West, The Milk Room was constructed and Milking Parlor completed in 2010. Milking began in February of 2011 with Mocha, one of the most sweetest, patient cow’s I have ever met. I offered Fresh Raw Milk, customers come from Florence, Yachats, Waldport, Newport, Lincoln City, Siletz and other communities along the Oregon Coast to retrieve their share of the Cow and Goat Milk. In 2012 I began offering Herd Shares. A wonderful way for Families to obtain Fresh Raw Milk. I then added Fresh Eggs, Lamb and Goat seasonally and Pork.
In June 2013, I was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, extremely rare Bone Marrow Disease. About 1 in a Million people are lucky enough to get something so scary. I always tell people, I am the luckiest person they know! =) Well Challenges do make us stronger and make you appreciate living. I am happy to say, I did not have a bone marrow transplant as the well meaning doctors choose as first defense to cure, but instead chose ATG or Atgam. The great part, it is antibodies collected from my furry friends, Yep Horse Blood. Humen blood given to horses causes the horses to react to a foreign blood and create antibodies to fight it, extracted and then intraveniously given to people to fight off there own cells that went awry attacking bone marrow. Amazing !!! 2 months later, my blood counts started to come back after weekly blood and platelet transfusions. What a relief and a blessing. I still am anemic but just under normal and continue an immune suppressant drug daily (cyclosporine) and hopefully will be rid of that in another year or so. My Grandmother Carrie McDonald, always says, "God works in Mysterious Ways" I am grateful for my challenges and all the many Blessings I have received.
I now have a wonderful Partner Steve Wortley. Steve is one more Blessing to come my way. He added new lights in the barn, fixed alot of that old wiring in an old barn(he's an electrician),fixed that refrigerator that kept shocking us girls. Yikes! jumps right in to shovel poo, weed eat, collect eggs, drive tractor or get really dirty. ( Walking across the Manure Pile sunk past his knees. LOL) We have a good time together, laugh and dream of new ventures. I am so grateful to have him in my life. Working full time and running the farm does get exhausting and Finding the right Partner makes it all worth the wait.
January 1, 2016 Steve and I got Married. It was a wonderful day and surprised by my Mother and Sister and Family who made the 5 hour trip to be at our little ceremony. Life sure can make some changes...I have sold the Farm Business and a handful of cows and goats to Tiffany and Ryan Miner that continue our traditions of Grassfed Meats and Fresh Milk at the Yachats Location. The rest of all the livestock, Beef Cattle, Retired Milk Cows, Horses, Lambs and Goats have made the Journey to Lebam, Washington where I, Deb grew up. We started Leasing the Historic Globe Farm in June of 2016 and continue selling Grassfed Beef, Lamb and Fresh Eggs that are From Free Ranging Happy Hens. We purchased my Grandparents little farm in 2018 and now find ourselves working on another older home. Steve had 2 strokes at Christmas 2022 and we found some new challenges and hopefully will get him back walking late summer 2023. Its been a long road but he has a good attitude and we are grateful to live here in Frances and have each other.
It has made us both so Happy to Live here among Family and Friends. Working on our old fixer upper house, working on the farm, It just makes you smile when you wake up with Purpose.
I may never get to that Million but I sure had fun and made a lot of memories trying. =)