In 2005, we built our home on 14 acres of existing farmland in Ashford, Connecticut. All that land seemed like a waste of space as a large lawn. This was existing farmland not living up to its potential. Add the fact that we grew up on farms and it didn’t take long before we decided to fill our land and our hearts with some animals!
Chickens seemed like a natural choice, since nothing beats farm fresh eggs. We started with an even dozen birds and, in a few months, we had added more to our brood until there were more than 23 chickens and twoGuinea hens. Every bird was named and so much fun to watch. With each new flock came the need for more coops. We built three coops, which we fondly referred to as the Coop-Dominions. We’re not sure who had more fun — the chickens enjoying a free-range lifestyle or us. We got such a kick out of watching our chickens just doing their thing.
The chickens were established and all was well. The next logical step was to add some ducks. Indian Runners looked cool. Chance and Scout, two friendly female Indian Runner ducks raised from a few days old, entered the scene.
Shortly after they arrived, our loving, still unnamed farms adly suffered one its first loss when Chance passed away. The now lonely Scout needed a companion and we searched for one duck. Four came to the farm and we couldn’t refuse. What the heck, the more the merrier! Five ducks, each with its own unique personality added character and dimension to the now fledgling farm.The combination worked and we spent our days collecting chicken and duck egg sand supplying the entire neighborhood with fresh eggs during the peak season.
As often happens in life, the unexpected took place. A friend asked us to accompany her to a local goat farm in March of 2014. She was looking for prospective companions for her weathered male. During our brief visit to the goat farm, we fell in love with these affectionate and high-spirited animals. Our friend decided not to purchase that day but we went home with a new passion and many plans. That night, and for several nights to follow, we researched the care and raising of goats. We talked to fellow farmers, read books, and researched online. By week’s end, we were the proud owners of four American La Mancha/Nubian kids: a buck named Sammie and three does named Faith, Hope, and Charity.
We were raising four young kids in a 4x8’ plywood box in our garage. That was enough to get us started to breed and milk our goats, maybe ending up with some good cheese. Our lives revolved around our goats. We adjusted to getting up at 4 a.m. to bottle feed them and offer some grain.
The chickens and ducks were our friends but the goats had so much character that they swiftly became family. Charity was blind and deaf due to an illness contracted when she was a kid. While she would not have fared well in a large herd, she flourished on our small farm. To this very day, ourMiss Charity handles herself very well as a mom, making her way around the barnyard with ease. She is an inspiration to us as she faces each day with grace and joy.
The little box wasn’t a long-term solution. We knew we had to separate the boys and the girls. We also needed a companion for Sammie. Life got busy again. We designed and built an L-shaped goat house off our own home.We brought Jester home for Sammie. The girls took up one half of their new house and the boys loved their own home. Everything was perfect again.
Setbacks and tragedy weren’t far off. First, Jester suffered a bout of goat polio. We were relieved when he pulled through with the help of a newfound friend, our brilliant vet. But, soon after Jester's recovery, the unspeakable happened. Sammie fell sick. After weeks of care and doing everything we could, our beloved main Sire Sammie passed away, only five months old. We were devastated. The loss was hard to process but we gained strength and perseverance once again from family, friends, and our vet. We learned that that anything worth having is worth working for, so we hung in. We still had our girls and Jester and wanted to do what was best for our animals and our farm.We moved forward.
We decided to name the farm in a way that honors our rough start, the joy that our goats have poured into our hearts, and the bright future we see for our farm. Hy-Hope Farm was christened with three barns and 16 goats.
Next, Oliver came into our lives as an extremely affectionate Alpine fondly. We frequently refer to him to Onamer, as he always needs to be on you. Oliver to this day reigns supreme as Top Goat.
We had gallons of milk and a lot of animals who need much more than love to survive. We asked ourselves how we could make the farm workf or everyone. Goat milk soap! The creative juices flowed again as we devised, tried, and tweaked recipes. The work was challenging but exciting and rewarding, especially when we hit on the winning formula. Hy-Hope Soap was born.
We asked friends and family to test our farm fresh goat milk soap. The feedback was fantastic and our unique recipe was ready for prime time.The response from the public has been overwhelming. Everyone who tries our soap knows why we are proud of the quality and purity of our product.
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