Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

Archive for tag: cheese

Flint Hill Farm in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania is known as a Farm Educational Center. Located on 26-acres, this multifaceted farm is a working Alpine goat and Jersey cow dairy that procudes milk, cheese, and yogurt. You can pick up these products in their on-site store or enjoy them with your breakfast when you stay on the farm.

Flint Hill Farm - making dairy products

Guests and visitors to the farm can also opt to sign up for a cheese making class, where they learn to make chevre, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese. They also give the option of milking the cows and goats in the morning before class!

Flint Hill Farm cheese making

Flint Hill Farm draft horseOvernight guests have the option to be "farmer for a day", which includes hands-on egg-collecting, feed and water the ponies and horses, feed and milk the goats, and observe cow milking. Draft horses help with much of the everyday farm work during certain seasons.

The farm itself dates back to about 1850 and run by two famlies until Kathleen Fields purchased it in 1997. Vacationers can choose to stay in the farm house, where there are two rooms with queen beds, plus a room with twin beds, or stay in a mobile home/RV that is situated in the six acres of woods on the property.

Activities at Flint Hill Farm in PA

Camps are offered during the summer, including Farm Camp, Horse Lovers Camp, and Kindercamp. More information can be found on the farm's website.

Flint Hill Farm goat and cow dairy

Start planning your trip to Flint Hill Farm today!

Enjoy a closer peek at Flint Hill Farm through this video:

Farm Stays: Not Just For Kids

Farm and ranch stays are generally a very family friendly vacation, and we tend to focus a lot of our attention on that. Travel Blogging Moms want to share the farm stay experience with their family-focused readers, and other writers often base their inquiries on the best places to enjoy vacation time with multiple generations of family.

But kids aren’t the only ones who can get something great out of a stay on a working farm. Whether single, part of a couple, or with a group of friends, there are plenty of farm vacation ideas for grown ups:

1) Wine Tasting & Tours

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Rustridge Ranch and Winery, St. Helena, CA

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Sakura Ridge Farm and Lodge, Hood River, OR

From well-appointed tasting rooms, to farms situated near world-class wine regions, wine and farm stays often go hand-in-hand. Rustridge Ranch and Winery is a rustic Napa Valley vineyard, winery, and thoroughbred racehorse ranch. Gather in the B&B kitchen in the evenings for hors d'ouevres and sampling Rustridge wines. During the day, learn about wine making and growing grapes, or about breeding and training racehorses.

Sakura Ridge Farm and Lodge in Hood River, Oregon, is located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. Cherry, pear, and apple orchards bloom and beckon, and you'll be in great proximity to wineries and tour opportunities in the Mt. Hood region.

Find more farm stays with wine tasting/touring activities.


2) Cheese Making or Tasting

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Flint Hill Farm, Coopersburg, PA

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Mountain Farm, Burnsville, NC

Cheese goes with wine, after all! Whether you want to learn how to make cheese at home, or just sample some farm fresh goodness, farm stays can hook you up. At Flint Hill Farm in Pennsylvania, the "Cheese Artist Package" will give guests a 2-night stay in their 1850s farmhouse, and hands-on immersion in the process of making cheese, from milking to packaging of the final product for sale.

Mountain Farm is the smallest certified dairy in North Carolina, and a member of the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail. They make unique aged goat cheeses, soft flavored cheeses and marinated Feta, and as they are only occasionally open to the public for special events, your stay will be peaceful and private.

Find more farm stays offering cheese making or tasting.

 

3) Cattle Drives or Cattle Sorting

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Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, Sandpoint, ID

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Horses N Courage Camp, Lennep, MT

Whether you're a bonafide "city slicker", or you've spent some time on horseback, authentic cattle drives or cattle sorting activities are experiences you won't soon forget. At Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho, put on your game face and participate in competitive team cattle sorting. They even offer five-night adult only getaways during select weeks in the summer.

At Horses N Courage Camp in Montana, you'll ride alongside the Hereim family while you herd and move cattle. Their cabin, tent, or teepee accommodations, along with camp cooked meals and songs around the campfire will give you a taste of Montana's backcountry.

Find more farm or ranch stays offering cattle drives or cattle sorting.


4. Cooking School

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The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm, Skamokawa, WA

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Bean Tree Farm, Tucson, AZ

Watching a chef (or even just a talented cook) prepare a meal is a delight. Taking it to the next level and actually learning from such a person is something really special. Hosts Don and Kitty Speranza at The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm in Washington owned and operated a successful catering company in Portland before turning to the farm life. These days, they will teach farm guests how to make artisan bread, pasta, and comforting country Italian meals. And then you get to feast on your hard work!

For something really different - and really interesting - check out Bean Tree Farm in Arizona and learn to identify, harvest, process, and pepare seasonal Sonoran Desert foods.  You might harvest and process barrel cactus fruit, saguaro fruit, dragonfruit, paloverde seeds, and much more. They even make a desert kimchi!
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Find more farm stays offering cooking classes.


These are just a few getaway ideas that adults can enjoy, but almost any farm, ranch, or vineyard stay will fit the bill. From relaxing in a quiet farm cottage with a good book, to throwing yourself into farm chores, taking in the night sky, or learning some new skills - alone, or with a friend or partner - these vacations aren't just for kids!

Sorry! Mariposa Creamery has closed their farm stay doors since we put up this post.

Mariposa Creamery goats on stumps

Mariposa Creamery is a small micro-dairy offering a farm stay in the middle of the historic Zane Grey Estate in Altadena, California. Who would have thought you could take a real farm vacation in the Los Angeles suburbs?

Besides being able to stay overnight on the farm, guests can opt in for cheese-making classes and a chance to taste a variety of the cultured milk products produced by the resident Nubian goats. Goats are milked twice a day and guests are allowed to try their hand. It's harder than it looks, but the goats are patient teachers.

 

Mariposa Creamery breakfastGreat for couples or young families with at most two small kids (due to the size of the Airtream trailer that resides in the middle of the garden), Mariposa Creamery has been selected by Airbnb as one of the Top 40 on its Wishlist. Could it be they were chosen because their promotional photo shows baby goats in front of the Airstream? Or could it be just the most interesting, fun, natural, foodie stay in LA - and for only $169 per night?!

We sat down with Gloria Putnam, goat herder/cheesemaker/farmer to find out more about her farm oasis and what it's like to be an urban farmer.

What is the landscape and setting like around your farm, especially since you are so close in to LA?

We are in a suburban neighborhood. About 15 minutes from downtown LA. And only 5 minutes from the hiking trails of the Angeles National Forest.

What is the Zane Grey Estate known for and how does the farm fit into it?

Mariposa Creamery Zane Grey EstateThe Estate is on the National Register of Historic Places, both because the western author Zane Grey lived (and died) here, and also because it was built by architect Myron Hunt, who is most famous for building the Rose Bowl in Pasadena but also for building many other commercial and residential structures in the area and was an early pioneer in poured-in-place concrete construction.

The property has no history of farming before our project. But it's an ideal location for a suburban farm because the lot size is large compared to most properties, and Altadena has zoning laws that allow livestock. Altadena is kind of an urban farming hot spot in Los Angeles.

What do guests typically do when they visit your farm?

Mariposa Creamery milkingThe most popular activity is the morning goat milking. Guests can watch or get a private goat milking lesson. Many students plan their visit around a food crafting class offered on the Estate by the Institute of Domestic Technology. Others arrange for private cheese making instruction.

Off farm, guests enjoy visiting the nearby Huntington Gardens and hiking in the mountains. We have a collection of ruminant-related DVDs in the Airstream that are also very popular!

Could you describe your accommodations in a bit more detail, e.g. is the trailer best accommodating 2 adults or can a family with kids squeeze in?

Mariposa Creamery AirstreamOur Bambi is the smallest trailer made by Airstream--only 16ft. Think Tiny House size. The main bed is a little bit more narrow than a full, so fine for a couple that doesn't mind a night of snuggling. The dinette also folds down into a smaller bed. We've had up to families of 4 work it out, but that's a little bit tight. Families of 3 and couples are the most common guests.

How/when did you get into farming and what’s your background?

We've been farming here for about 7 years. Our dairy goats are the main focus, but we also keep chickens and quail, and have a reasonably sized vegetable garden and herb garden. We were motivated initially by just wanting good food. But now I think we are mainly motivated by our love of our animals, and an appreciation for the magic of what they do: make milk out of grass!

What drew you to goats, cheese, and small-scale farming (be it a certain breed, a certain type of growing method, etc.)?

Mariposa Creamery charcuterie (goat sausage)I love milk. And goats seemed an obvious choice since our space is relatively small compared to most farms. Our goats are Nubians, so they make especially rich milk, which is great for drinking but also high-yielding for cheese.

The most fun part of small-scale farming for me is learning something new, since I didn't grow up on a farm. I love learning about the goats, how to best keep them happy and healthy, and how to make the best use of their generous offerings. I'm a scientist by training, so cheese making is a natural hobby for me.

Anything else you think travelers might want to know?

Mariposa Creamery cheese making classOur farm's focus is education. We don't sell our milk or cheese although farmstay guests get to enjoy both while they are here. We teach cheese making classes and operate a dairy internship program for locals. There aren't many farms or ranches near Los Angeles, so it's a great place to invite people to come and see what what small scale farming is like. Everyone who visits is surprised by how friendly the goats are. The most common comment I get is "They are just like dogs!" Except dogs don't give you their milk!

 

 

So ended our conversation with Mariposa Creamery, obviously great lovers of goats, hanky-panky aside. Did we forget to say that their Mariposa Creamery Facebook page is full of the daily antics of their four-legged friends, including sneaking in through windows into the kitchen and getting stuck in all manner of things?! A visit to this farm is sure to bring some peace into the middle of an LA stay, but also a few tales to tell!

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Please help us extend a warm welcome to High Breeze Farm in Highland Lakes, New Jersey to the Farm Stay U.S. website.

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This family operated 165 acre farm is located adjacent to the Appalachian Trail and surrounded by Wawayanda State park, which gives it a secluded feeling while still being close to area attractions. High Breeze Farm grows organic fruits and vegetables for their CSA and farm stand, as well as 100% grass fed beef, pastured pork, and free range eggs. Their family Jersey cow provides milk and guests can enjoy the opportunity to make butter and cheese.

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The High Breeze house is a private 3 bedroom + loft home, with the capacity to sleep 12. It has a fully equipped kitchen for self-prepared meals. Guests of all ages are welcome to observe or participate in daily farm activities. Weddings, family reunions, and other special events may be held at the farm.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the High Breeze Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy High Breeze Farm)

Farm Stay Story - Spiritwind Farm

Our second Farm Stay Story was written by Andrea O'Connor, who visited Spiritwind Farm in Lebanon, Maine.

Spiritwind Farm Draft Horses

I'm so happy to have discovered Farm Stay U.S.!

I had an incredible time at Spiritwind Farm, Lebanon, Maine. A BEAUTIFULLY restored farmhouse with luxury room and private bath. They have two Shire horses Kelly and Lucy, goats Coco and Bella and babies (so cute!), chickens, pigs. I think the big pig's name is Cobble and she likes to eat giant marshmallows as the occasional treat. She's having piglets in the fall!

Kathy's goat milk soap is fabulous, the best I've ever used. She makes chèvre cheese too, which I didn't get a chance to taste as she was all sold out. Blueberry muffins, a dip in the beautiful pool after days at the nearby ocean beaches, watching the fireflies and flames in the outdoor wood fireplace!

Ahhh. So relaxing and fun.

Thank you, thank you to Farmer Kathy, farm hand Erin, and all farmers doing such importand work for us and the earth!

(Photo courtesy Spiritwind Farm, words copyright Andrea O'Connor)

Farm Stay Story - Mariposa Creamery

Sorry! Mariposa Creamery has closed their farm stay doors since we put up this post.
Our first entry in the Farm Stay Stories contest is brought to us by Helene Garcia of French Foodie Baby. This story about her family's visit to Mariposa Creamery in Altadena, California first appeared on her blog on June 19, 2013.


 

At the goat farm...

 

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The other night, at dinner time with Grandpa and Grandma, Pablo was served some pork chop with mushrooms. He happily grabbed his fork in one hand, and with the other hand, picked a mushroom from his plate. He examined it, and turned to me: “La mer?” Loosely translated as: “Does this thing I’m about to put in my mouth come from the sea?” We then had a conversation about the forest, the place where you can find bunnies, deer, trees, creeks. And mushrooms.

I felt very happy about this exchange, because I realized that Pablo is interested in where his food comes from. He knows it’s not just magically there. Not only does he know a process of shopping, and cooking went into it (which he participates in more and more), but he also knows the food grew, or lived, somewhere. And I have, without giving it much thought, just as part of our conversations at the dinner table during our family meals, pointed out to him where the things he eats do come from. Shrimp, fish, oysters from the sea. Herbs from the garden. Apricots and peaches from our market friend Sam’s trees. Cherries we picked ourselves. Eggs laid by chickens. I am very matter-of-fact about naming the meat we eat as well, whether it’s duck, chicken, lamb, etc.

Way before our children ask us where babies come from, they should ask us where their food comes from. Or at least, let’s hope they do. And let us have a good answer for them (one that does not include an unpronounceable ingredient, as Michael Pollan advises). If we want our children to eat and enjoy real, nutritious, clean foods and give them a lifelong love for them, we must 1/ have, 2/ nurture, an interest in those foods, a curiosity of the what (it is, it tastes like, smells like, feels like, looks like), the how (it was grown, made, prepared, cooked), and the where (it comes from.)

This pursuit of connection with our food, this love and interest for the sources of our food, has been so fulfilling, nourishing, as it were. And it led us a few weeks ago, to Mariposa Creamery Farm Stay, in Altadena, California.

Gloria and Steve, who both have day jobs while running this goat and farming community, welcomed us in their haven for a couple of wonderful days. By wonderful, I mean the type of vacation that makes you wonder whether that should be your full time life. Because then, every morning would be a little bit like this...


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We wake up early and step outside within a few minutes of waking. We hear the birds, and the goats in the distance. Haphazardly dressed, Pablo refuses to put shoes on and wants to go explore the vegetable garden. It exudes free growth. It’s not a perfectly trimmed garden with ranks and beds. It’s a freestyle vegetable jungle. Pablo explores, passed the tall fennel, chards, amaranth, squash flowers, around the artichokes and the shiso.


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I try to follow but his small size gives him the advantage, to explore and find treasures. And a treasure he does find. “Tomate”. There, hidden in the depths of this jungle he’s so simply made his own, hangs a small, perfectly vermilion tomato. He extends his little hand and gently picks it. We both take a bite.

Oh, that bite.

He continues on, feeling the earth on his feet. Steve greets us as he picks some chards for our breakfast. The goats bleat over there, on the other side of the big house where many people of all trades seem to evolve productively.  We walk over there. Pablo stops by the berry bush to pick a blackberry, and we meet the carpenter, whose shop is next to the creamery. He shows us how he spreads the seeds of the wild flowers around every so often. So they keep growing wild throughout the property, and they do. Bright orange and yellow blotches everywhere, which a certain goat might be allowed to exit the enclosure to enjoy, every once in a while...


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We wonder into the chicken enclosure, and find Gloria grabbing some fresh eggs for breakfast. Pablo is eager to hold one. Pablo is eager to hold two. One gets broken, so he holds on to the other one carefully. Lesson learned.

Now for another lesson, a goat milking lesson. The suggestion that I may milk the goat straight into my coffee enchants me. I follow suit.

Pablo is familiar with the milking movement, as it is also the sign for milk in sign language, which we used when he was an infant. This was always his favorite sign ;-) But he is a little intimidated by Brin, the goat we are getting our milking lesson with.


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He decides it is wiser to feed her treats while we learn. He watches baby goat Spike get some milk from Brin.

The fresh milk tastes exactly that. Fresh. It is not gamy as I expected, though I like gamy. It tastes very mild and delicious. Oh the wonderful things that can be made with that milk. And Gloria and Steve do make so many of those wonderful things here. They teach a cheese making course I am hoping to take some day. And yogurt.

We hang with the goats for a while, the 5 months old one are just about Pablo’s height. They are terribly photogenic. Dare I say hams even?

Petting, nudging, observing, climbing, jumping ensues. Kids.

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We get this sense of family. The goats, Biscuit, Apple, Ice Cream, Rhubarb among others, are raised with love and warmth. It radiates.


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It’s breakfast time. What a feast Gloria has made for us. One of our most memorable breakfasts ever. Fresh squeezed orange juice from that tree, right behind us. Homemade bread, with fresh chèvre. Homemade jam, homemade ketchup. Roasted potatoes, fresh herbs. Artisan sausage from a friend of theirs. Pablo discovers a love for sausage. And eggs of course. Sauteed chards with homemade goat feta. Goat milk yogurt. Brand new apricots deposited by a neighbor in the mailbox last night, packed in an egg crate. Juicy as can be.


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This is how people lived hundreds of years ago. This is how some people live today, right here in a suburb ofLos Angeles. And how wonderful, brave and beautiful.

After breakfast, Pablo wanders on the path in the back of the house, among the wild poppies, fruit trees and artichoke plants, holding a piece of cheese in his hand, mumbling to himself “squeeze, squeeze”, the goat milk the cheese came from.

I love that he can experience this freedom here. This rich environment.

Certainly our morning is a very romanticized version of farm life, which is tremendous hard work and commitment. But what a worthwhile venture.


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It sometimes feels like the kind of life that I want, for myself, for Pablo. At the same time, I have no idea how we could get there, or how it would fit with the other stuff our life is currently made of. Sometimes we must make choices. As long as we don’t live by default. Food for thought, for now.


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Words and photographs copyright Helene Garcia / French Foodie Baby 2013.

Please join us in welcoming a new member to Farm Stay U.S... Lucky Goat Family Farm, located in beautiful Big Sur, California!

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Lucky Goat Family Farm is equally inviting for families with children as it is for romantic couples, singles, or groups of friends. Each day begins with milking the goats, making cheese, checking the troughs, and watering the gardens. Guests are welcome to join in, or just relax on the spacious decks overlooking the ocean.

The farm hosts have been making goat cheese for 26 years and they offer a special goat cheese making workshop (by reservation, with a separate fee from the stay).

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The cottage has room for up to five guests to stay and experience this haven for wildlife and livestock, including goats, sheep, horses, cattle, sheep dogs, deer, bobcats, fox, and condors.

The farm is located close to Pheiffer Beach and the Cultural Center of Big Sur, Loma Vista, where visitors can find great music and wonderful shops of local crafts.

Want to see more? Visit the Lucky Goat Family Farm listing on Farm Stay U.S.

The alpacalypse is coming! Here, this llama will explain...

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Oh.

Sorry.

Okay, all jokes about the end of the world aside, farms are great places to learn a skill or two that might see you through some tough times -- or at the very least, impress your friends at parties. (Seriously. Homemade cheese? I would be so impressed while I hid it all in my purse to take home.) (I like cheese, is what I'm saying.)

Day 5 - Bread, Butter, Jam, and Cheese Making; Canning and Preserving; Soap Making; Teaching Farms; Teaching Ranches; Cooking School

Homemade Butter

Homemade butter

Fresh, whole ingredients, usually straight from the source. A knowledgeable farmer or rancher to teach. These are some invaluable gifts!

The Farm Stay U.S. search page can help you find all kinds of new skills to learn. Just click on "Show More Search Options" and select an activity to see what our members have to offer.

Wow, what a great month we had in July for new members! Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to these newly listed farms. Here are some quick highlights from their profiles:

Chantilly Ridge Alpacas

Chantilly Ridge Alpacas

Port Orange, Florida

We are a family run full service Alpaca Farm (meaning we do all the work), located in beautiful Port Orange, FL. Come and help out on the farm, feed and play with the Alpacas, chickens, bunnies. Relax by a beautiful pool (get a wonderful massage, optional ) or visit the many interesting places Daytona Beach and surrounding areas have to offer.

Pholia Farm

Pholia Farm Goat Cheese Dairy

Rogue River, Oregon

Go glamping in a charming, refurbished 1970 Airstream Land Yacht in a private setting on a real goat cheese farm. Participate in milking and farm chores if you like, feed baby goats in the spring, or hike our forest trails. The farm is completely off the power grid and nestled on 24 acres of forest and farmland. It is family run, sustainable, and organically managed.

Sweet Retreat

Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks

Northfield, Vermont

The guesthouse is perfect for short or extended vacations. To get you started, we stock the guesthouse with ample breakfast fixings for your first morning meal. We invite you to help yourself to fresh veggies from our lush garden in summer, and to complimentary maple syrup from our sugarhouse year round throughout your stay.

Harvest Village

Harvest Village

Leroy, Michigan

Harvest Village, an organic, centennial farm features natural meat products from grass fed cattle and sheep; pastured heritage pigs; free range heritage turkeys; and free range chicken eggs.

Spiritwind Farm

Spiritwind Farm

Lebanon, Maine

Beautiful and private historic farm in southern Maine. I raise English Shire horses, Nubian and Nigerian goats, chickens, and pigs. Delicious Chevre cheese and luxurious goat milk soap are products from my goats. Almost everything I serve is from the garden or from my animals. The animals are all treated humanely and they live happily and freely on the farm.

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Flamig Farm

West Simsbury, Connecticut

Over the past 30 years, driven by Nevin Christensen's Eco-environmental vision, Flamig Farm has grown from a small egg, organic vegetable, and strawberry operation to a richly varied, education and entertainment, farm complex and petting zoo.

Newton Farm

Newton Farm

West Kill, New York

Set in a high mountain valley, in the heart of the Catskill Region, Newton Farm Collective is a small market garden organic farm on 50 acres of rolling pasture and woodland.The farm dates back to the 1840's and retains all of its charm and curiosity, the setting is truly tranquil and peaceful.

Barred Rock ChickensWhen I decided to raise backyard chickens three years ago, I consulted books and the internet, as it is so easy to do these days. But books and web forums didn't prepare me when one of our hens broke her leg. As a girl from the suburbs, whose only real outdoor chores growing up were weeding a lawn or raking leaves, I laugh now (and cringe a little) to recall our dash to the vet's office to have them put a splint on that little chicken leg, when, really, I could have handled it myself.

There's a self-sufficiency that comes from trying things on your own, trial and error, and necessity. However, if we have the foresight to seek help and knowledge from our community, we can accomplish even more.

In Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, author Shannon Hayes interviewed Los Angeles homesteader Kelly Coyne who says, "you need community. The best way to do any of this is to have someone show you how to do it. I think a lot of these skills are not easily taught by books, and when you're a person who's not been raised doing any of these things, whether it's preserving or growing or dealing with small stock, it's all very mysterious. You spend a lot of your time going, "Well, what is this?" Like, "What's this spot on the plant, why is my chicken doing that?"

Our farm, ranch, and vineyard members know about community, and the importance of sharing knowledge. Guests can get started learning a variety of skills straight from the farmers and ranchers who practice them every day.

Check out these results from some Activity searches on our site:Homemade Butter


IHEM

Along these same lines, this September, Mother Earth News and Grit magazines are hosting International Homesteading Education Month.

On their website, you can find workshops, open houses, and other events, all centered around neighbors teaching neighbors and building more self-reliant communities. Find events about food gardening, renewable energy systems, raising livestock (including backyard chickens), real food preparation and preservation, fiber arts, and more.