First our apologies for the lack of updates and replies to anyone who has tried to contact us through the farm email address or site. While we were looking for land to expand the farm in rural Wisconsin our family did some serious soul searching. In the end, we all decided we loved the farm but Wisconsin just was not where we felt was home.
Now don’t get me wrong. Wisconsin will always have a place in our heart. We met and befriended some of the most wonderful people. Everyone told us when we were moving to Wisconsin that there’s just something about midwestern people. They really are some of the nicest you will ever meet. We found so many families around us through the farm and the community that grew from that as well as our family’s very active involvement in the county and statewide 4-H program. I really can’t say enough good things about 4-H. If anyone is looking for a good club, check out Astico Perseverance club as part of Dodge County’s 4-H program. It’s not just farm kids showing steers and sheep. There are so many programs and inclusive of all from visual arts, budding writers, future agronomists and of course animal husbandry. There is certainly something for everyone.
But that being said, we felt the familiar pull in our hearts that we just had not found home yet. It was a hard decision but we knew we had to try again. Now, when you have a farm, you can’t just go wandering the country for weeks on end trying to determine where home is. This posed a rather serious problem that actually has a funny solution. As Mandy and I were driving back from the library or a 4-H kid drop off we got to talking. Something that basically went “wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to travel around the country for a year trying to figure out where we want to go?” That simple joking question led to a longer and longer conversation. By the end of it we both probably wanted to move forward but were afraid to admit it. So we said, let’s ask the kids what they think, certain that they would shoot us down and that would be that. With a high schooler and another almost there they wouldn’t want to leave their friends. And the farm is amazing so who wants to leave.
At dinner that night we asked them. “What would you all think of taking an RV around the country for a year to decide where we want to move next?” And to our amazement they jumped on board enthusiastically and started planning what they would keep, what we would have to store and what to sell. What would the grandparents think? What about the animals, we would certainly have to find good homes for all of them. What seemed like hours later we had practically decided to do it. But we told them to sleep on it and we would talk about it again later that week.
By the end of the week we all knew the decision. We were going to sell the farm. We were going to buy an RV. We were going to sell almost everything we own and put some in storage to have when the year is over. We were all going to live in less than 400 square feet. That’s 7 people in 400 square feet. But, we would have an experience that so few have the opportunity to have. The kids would see so many things they only read about in their geography and US history lessons. We were really going to do this.
And so our adventure began. Three months later we had the farm sold, the flocks dispersed, truckloads to Goodwill and the special things in a storage locker for a year. October 12th 2015 we cast off onto the open highways of this great country to find home. That was a year ago and we haven’t made it far. We’ve seen 15 states and still haven’t found home. Our one year plan has now morphed to three. We are still on the road and having a blast.
Now I’m also getting around to updating the site. Stay tuned for a new family travel blog. The Wandering Peacock Farm will keep wandering for the time being.
Looking for a great homestead pig or hoping to expand your herd with a gentle pig that has great foraging abilities? If so, look no further!
We have a select number of purebred registered American Guinea Hog piglets available as breeders and feeders from two separate litters.
We hold the piglets for 10-12 weeks before selling any potential breeding stock (unlike most places that sell at 6-7 weeks). That means we have additional time to evaluate the piglets and only sell the best of the litter.
If you just want to raise pigs for the freezer, we also have feeders available. They produce a flavorful, marbled red pork (not like the pale, bland, factory meat) in about a year.
Email or give us a call today to reserve your piglet!The first litter will be ready for new homes after 5/26, second litter after 7/4. Breeding stock is $225 each while feeders are $150 each.
It has been a busy few weeks here on the farm. We sheared all the sheep so they now have their cool summer haircuts! And we now have freshly shorn raw fleece for sale.
Here is Red, getting ready to go under the, er, clippers.
And here she is afterwards, looking like a whole new sheep!
Okay, okay, so it really is a different sheep. It’s Virginia, one of our Romney ewes. She is Red’s mother and is refusing to smile for the camera. I guess she didn’t get the exact style she was hoping for.
Virginia might not have been thrilled, but we certainly were. Seeing those bags of freshly shorn fleeces all lined up made us pretty happy.
While we may be saving a fleece or two to enter into the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival this fall, we have several others available for sale. The prices vary depending on breed (Romney, Leicester Longwool, CVM/Romeldale and a few crossbred fleeces), as well as quality so contact us if you are interested.
We also have a few fiber lambs available to new homes later this summer. I’ll write more about them later but just couldn’t resist sharing this photo of Heath looking very thoughtful and handsome.
Spring is almost here in Wisconsin! That means that we are now taking pre-orders for our pastured Freedom Ranger chickens and grass-fed lamb. We also have fiber sheep available: lambs, yearlings and ewes. We are taking deposits for our spring litter of American Guinea Hog piglets (almost all sold though!) and can take pre-orders for our fall litter.
Chickens are available around July 4th and have an average weight of 4.5 lbs. They are free-range (with a predator-safe home at night), supplemented with certified organic feed produced by a small, local mill.
Lambs are ready in the fall (generally October or November depending on the pastures.) Lambs are 100% grass-fed.
We are also expecting some great fiber lambs this year from our Leicester Longwool and Shropshire rams crossed to our CVM/Romeldale, Romney and CVM/Romeldale x Blue Face Leicester ewes. We can’t wait to see what beautiful fiber they produce! We also have two yearlings, three ewes and our Shropshire ram available now. Lambs would be available around July or August.
There may be a few piglets left from our American Guinea Hog litter. They will be ready for pickup around mid-May. Piglets are given grain only as a treat but instead consume pasture, hay, sprouted barley fodder, fresh goat’s milk, kitchen scraps and veggies from a local vegetable farmer. Piglets are not given vaccinations or antibiotics and are not castrated/altered in any way.
If you are interested in any of these products, please let us know as soon as possible as we have sold out of items in the past.
This recipe is a true family favorite! Josh has been known to break out the grill during the middle of our cold, snowy Wisconsin winter (with some encouragement from the kids). To make it a quick go-to dinner, we triple or quadruple the seasonings and store them in a glass jar in the spice cabinet so we have it ready for the next 3 or 4 times we need it. Then, on a busy night, you just throw the spices together with liquids, rub it onto the chops and slap them on the grill. Quick, easy, and delicious – enjoy!
Yesterday Olivia, our American Guinea Hog, gave birth to her first litter of piglets! We had just checked her a hour earlier and there were no babies. So when the kids came running in, yelling about piglets, we thought it was an April Fools Day joke. Nope. We were able to see the last two being born!
While she birthed nine babies, we have lost two over the past 24 hours. It is a hard truth to farming and one that never gets easier for us. But with any luck, seven babies and Olivia will be out squealing and running around the green pastures within a month or so!
PS: Sorry the picture isn’t the greatest. For some reason, they just didn’t want to cooperate…
Being new to eating lamb we are always on the lookout for great recipes like these grilled lamb kebabs. One thing we’ve found that everyone in the family loves are kebabs and Josh loves grilling so it’s a win for all. Honestly just the word is cool and funny to say! We found this great recipe at Smitten Kitchen and love the yogurt marinade with a few adaptations for our family.
Grilled kebabs have several things going for them:
You get to roast it on a stick.
You get to eat with your hands.
Very easily personalized so everyone gets what they want.
You get to spear and roast things over a fire (maybe my inner child coming out here).
We’ve got to remember to start taking pictures of these recipes but we’re not really the foodie types that snap pictures before they eat. These always turn out scrumptious though. Our one recommendation is to grill veggies and meat on separate skewers so you can control whether you like more fire roasted or tender/crispy veggies.
1 pound plain yogurt (Your choice, we use our homemade yogurt)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
lemon zest from 2 lemons (we like the extra zing)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, ground in your fingers as you add
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3-4 pounds lamb (we’ve used leg steaks, shoulder steak, leg cuts are typical for kebabs)
veggies (we use onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchinni)
Combine all ingredients except lamb and veggies in a large, non-reactive bowl. Cut the lamb in 1 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the yogurt, making sure it is covered with the marinade. I like to just reach in with my hands and stir it around to make sure everything is covered nicely, you can use a spoon as well. But the key is to make sure each piece is coated. Cover the mixture plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days.
Soak your skewers for at least 30 minutes if using wooden ones or else your grilled kebabs can turn to chunks of meat with ashes separating them. When ready to grill, cut a whole onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into three or four sections. Prepare your other veggies in sizes comparable (half larger mushrooms, use large chunks of peppers, whole thick slices of zuchhinni). Loosely thread lamb onto skewers (we use 5-6 pieces per skewer). On seperate skewers, thread your veggies. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning two or three times, until the lamb is medium-rare. They cook fast and are very easy to overcook. Best to try one as you go along. :)
We have found the recipe below is usually at least double what we need for a meal so we freeze half.
14 ounces yogurt (a little less than 2 cups)
1 cucumber, unpeeled (if it has seeds, cut it in half and remove those)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
dill (to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the cucumber and squeeze with your hand to remove some of the liquid. Pressing it in mesh sieve with a spoon to extract the extra water or wringing it in cheesecloth also work well. Add it to the yogurt along with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and stir well. Add your spices (dill, garlic, salt and pepper) a little at a time until you get a good taste for you.