Robin Trott

Spring, Sheep, and Responsible Husbandry

Spring is a time of never ending chores, but also a season of re-awakening as daylight hours lengthen and temperatures climb. The darkness of winter is washed away in the spring rains and as new life emerges, so does the fresh hope of the season. Hope, faith, and trust in the earth are what encourage farmers to continue a risky business in which a bout of inclement weather can bust a season and wash profits down the drain.

Farming is also an incredibly sensory experience. The rich aroma of soil ready to be planted, the sun kissed, fertile earth opening to accept seed, the cool breezes carrying calls of returning flocks of birds, all of these beckon in spring. I am enveloped by “the peace of wild things” and “for a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” (Wendell Berry) 


Read more »

Ace and Other Magnificent (Fainting) Goats. Recipe: Goat Tagine.

Ace was magnificent. His thick, cocoa colored fur rose to a spikey crest down his backbone and his curved horns were ridged, thick and powerful. Although he resembled a thug, equipped with Mohawk and weapons, he had a gentle disposition and would tip over when startled, just like the rest of the herd: Ace was a Tennessee Fainting Goat.


Read more »

And Then There Were Ducks: Raising and Roasting a Muscovy

Its tenderness and flavor, size and cheapness were the themes of universal admiration. Edged out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family…”

~Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’


We came to poultry later in our grand scheme than we had originally intended. After purchasing day old chickens from the Murray McMurray Hatchery, and having some success with eggs and meat, we decided to try our hand at ducks. While attending a local auction, we ran across our fainting goat breeder (more on that story later) and found she had brought a hatch of Muscovy ducklings to the auction.


Read more »

Some Pig! The Real Dirt on Raising Pigs

“Of all the major livestock species, none is more misunderstood and less appreciated than the hog.”

So starts Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs by Kelly Klober. Pigs are very often considered dirty animals (have you ever called your kid’s room a “pigsty”?), and generally have a bad reputation in the public eye. As much as I love pork, it was with much trepidation that I traveled to our local pig breeder to bring home two new additions to our growing menagerie. We’d prepared a pen, purchased feed, and read the books (Storey’s Guide, Versa Press 1997 and Raising Pigs Successfully, Kathy and Bob Kellogg, Williamson Publishing, 1985). Nevertheless, my husband Doug understood that if I didn’t like pigs, they wouldn’t be my responsibility. 

Read more »

On Becoming a Farmer

Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes that’s the prime thought in my mind, especially when I’m staring at a bushel basket of carrots and the prospect of a day of canning ahead of me when I’d much rather be doing ANYTHING else. Well, this is what I wished for and dreamed about for years, and for the most part, I am not sorry I made the decision to move from the suburbs to the country.


Read more »

Celebrating Squash at Prairie Garden Farm

My trek from suburbanite to flower farmer extends over two decades, dozens of how-to books and magazine subscriptions, and the practical (read “backbreaking”) experience of digging in dirt and watching things grow. My friends and family sometimes question my sanity, but walking to the barn in the early morning, hearing the turkeys call from the wetlands below and watching a bald eagle soar above assures me that I made the right choice. Part of seeking an “idyllic” country life stemmed from the wish to produce and preserve much of the food I eat. From chickens to grass fed beef to chemical free garden produce, I have tried it all and have been rewarded with healthy, abundant food for going on ten years.

Read more »
Syndicate content