aka as Goose Poop Farm

by Ric McDermott
(Pepin Wi)

It's been a year and a half since I gave up city life to return to my roots on the farm. A day trip brought me to Pepin County in Wisconsin. Awed by the awesome scenery: hills, valleys, rivers, trout creeks and most majestic of all, Lake Pepin - the wide spread on the Mississippi River.

Down a lone gravel road in a valley, I found the century-old homestead, 40 acres that I now call home. A real farm house with hand hewn timbers for supports, a real 100-foot red barn silo and wind mill. It looks like what a farm in the country should, and now it's mine.

The first year was difficult; but not being defeated, the second year has started off much better.

Anxious to get started in my new chosen life, I tilled up a 50' x 100' garden and planted thirty dollars worth of sweet corn. July came with thoughts of harvest and loading up the back of the pickup with corn and heading off to the farmers market. I was so excited the day I picked the first ears of corn, and in less than a hour I was in heaven, eating corn that I grew. I slept well that night, only to awaken and find out that the raccoons liked my corn too and had a party in the garden with all their friends eating my corn. I was devastated and depressed; I never had those problems in the city. Lesson one: I am not the only creature out in the country that's hungry.

Then there are the chickens. A venture that also was new to me. It all started with a quick in-and-out stop at the feed store for cat food. Then I heard the sounds of baby chickens in the back. To make a long story short, I walked out with the cat food and a box with 26 baby chicks and two geese.

My new life as a chicken farmer has begun. A stock tank, bedding and lights now in the farm kitchen was home to the baby chicks. Soon enough, I added another stock tank to the kitchen to house the weekly newcomers of chickens. I was hooked. I found out they get a new shipment of chicks to the feed store on Thursday. I was there early every week. Not that that craziness was enough, I found out you can order chicks online. Three hundred chickens, fourteen geese, and thirty keets later I thought, put the breaks on; that's enough!

I still had no coop, but I had chickens in the yard with electric fencing around and a makeshift wooden shipping crate nicknamed the "clown car". Soon enough, I was introduced to the predators: weasels, raccoons, possums, hawks and even my tabby cat all took their share of the baby chicks. No longer wondering why I had so many in the beginning, the loss was great the first few months.

Fall was around the corner and still no coop; what was I thinking. The more I thought, the harder it became to figure out the coop. I was over thinking and that is dangerous for me. I needed help. In desperation, I sent out an email to my cousins and they arrived (30 of them) one day in October. They helped convert the milk house into the new coop. The end of the day, the barn was secure, the coop was up and running, all my trees were planted and we feasted on pot luck. Power in numbers.

That's just part of my story, My flock is now down to 13 geese, 70 chickens and one keet. The real thrill for me is today I found three goose eggs. Wow, This is my life!

Comments for aka as Goose Poop Farm

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Jun 23, 2010
Living the Good Life
by: Ken

So glad to hear that all is well with you since I have not heard from you in four or more years?

Wish we had been able to stop off and visit you and even help you if that was possible since we have never lived on a farm only visited my grandparents farm in Sanborn, Iowa many years ago.

As I mentioned to you on the phone, when I find the book "Down on the Farm" written by two women who gave up everything to start a farm in southwest area of Minnesota, I will mail it to you but need an address.

Of course it has been challenging so but I know in the end it will be great for you and Mike.

Mar 22, 2010
Great Eggs
by: Marty

Ric, It was great to see you again. I'm glad I found your blog. The eggs were just like I remembered as a kid growing up on the farm, fresh and delicious. Your friends don't know what they are missing.

The next time you make it to the big city don't forget the eggs. I'll take another dozen.

I'm glad you're living your dream.

Mar 11, 2010
from an Urban dweller
by: Lois Carlson

How does that chix get to the dinner table? Where did my eggs come from? It is a mystery-and yet if I am serious about eating organic-it is time to connect with those on the front lines. Kudos to Ric!!!

Mar 03, 2010
Goose Eggs
by: Ric@Goose Poop Farm

I haven't figure out how to add to my blog but in a comment.

You learn the hard way. The geese have now laid 6 eggs; they don't fit in a egg carton. I put them in a Tupperware container. Oops. Last night with rummaging in the refrigerator the container fell and I LOST three eggs to the floor. I knew I should have used them up earlier. No, I had to be greedy. I did a web search on geese eggs. A place out of Florida was selling them two for 19.99 plus shipping. Before the accident, I thought I had a GOLDEN GOOSE. I now have the means to supplement the farm. OOPS my dreams were smashed on the floor.

This morning the pretty African goose laid an egg, my dreams restored. LOL, then at eleven I went out and did my egg hunting. Found a huge egg from the white goose, twice the size of the first one. Giddy like a school kid I continued my hunt, my basket now overflowing. One more goose egg and 15 chicken eggs and it's not even noon. I am living Easter every day and the chickens are doing the coloring for me, the different shades of brown along with blue green eggs and of course white eggs for my friends that can't bring them selves to eat an egg that's not white.

If I were in school I certainly would have a show and tell. For now, long out of school I get to tell all of you of the adventure. Once I figure out the camera, I will be posting pictures.

It's a good day.

Mar 02, 2010
by: Roxie

Thank You! I am so inspired that maybe we can do it! I am going to show my dh your article and this site. Thanks again

Mar 02, 2010
Great life
by: Dan

great story that is easy to relate to....I know when I finally get a chance to start my new farm life, I will have similar episodes being a newbie. But I can't wait to get started, I have "barnheart" and think about it everyday. I am looking into the LaCrosse area of Wisconsin. Take care and let us know more of your adventures.

Mar 02, 2010
Great Story!
by: Sue

One of the best stories I've heard yet! Thanks for sharing, and please let us know more!

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