Building a sustainable future for our family
Chip was raised in Florida and joined the U.S. Army, where he served for several years before returning to the United States. We met while he was stationed in Germany, quickly figured out we were meant for each other, married and built a family.
While military life does not allow to put down roots for very long, and we would have many moves, both within the US as well as on other continents, we managed to build a great family.
While stationed overseas in 2016 we made the decision to start a family farm once we make our way back home to Florida. We had been following homesteaders and farmers build their dreams and we wanted to do the same.
In 2018 we bought our property in the Florida Panhandle. At that point it was a small single family home in the middle of nowhere, sitting on 20 heavily wooded acres. We knew we would have a lot of work to do once we are able to return home.
Fast forward to 2020: We moved back to the Florida Panhandle and started building our dream. Moving home after being away for 7 years came with many challenges, including no furniture, no transportation and nothing but the house and land in our name.
We cleared land, put up fencing, built infrastructure, started a garden, started with livestock, and learned the hard way along the way.
Florida is his home and that is where he wanted to be after active military life.
Never in his wildest dreams had he considered being a farmer when he grew up. However, that's exactly what he would call himself now. A pig farmer, to be exact.
If you ask Chip, his absolute favorite type of animal we raise here at the farm are pigs. Feeder pigs, Kune pigs, potbelly pigs, he loves all of them.
Chip very naturally fell into the role of livestock caretaker on our farm. Though livestock care is the whole family's job, Chip is the one who takes front row.
In addition to raising and educating about pastured pigs, Chip also has a huge love for livestock guardian dogs and will teach a class about them at the "Keepers of the Old Ways" festival.
Growing up in Europe and moving to America has been quite an adjustment for Nicole. It has been a long time coming, but living the farm life she finally feels home again.
Nicole grew up in a rural village in Bavaria, just minutes from the Czech border, where homesteading was not a new fashion word, but simply the way people lived.
Everyone had a garden and livestock, went foraging into the Bavarian Forest and knew all about growing and preserving food.
Nicole now teaches "the old skills", including food preservation, foraging, herbs & medicinals, sewing, knitting and more to her children and community.
Nicole is also the one behind the garden and our farm shop, as all products are made by her by hand in our kitchen.
Our kids are a huge part of why the farm works the way it does and they are an amazing help.
Amber has taken on the official title of "goat lady" on our farm. We raise miniature goats and Amber does an amazing job taking care of the adults, as well as the babies.
Though she knows the kids will all find new homes, she will not let this deter her from speinding time in the barn with them, playing, cuddling and even reading to them.
When all kids are weaned, she then takes over all milking duties and has really taken on the whole goat operation as her business and takes real pride in it.
Zach is another huge part of how we make the farm work. Not only is he Chip's biggest helper for anything related to mending, fixing, and building, Zach also has his own chicken operation.
Zach was able to source some specialty breed chickens during a farm barter session and now is proudly raising Tolbunt Polish and Tolbunt Frizzle Polish chickens. Once he is able to build up his breeding stock, he is planning on hatching and selling chicks.