Why are we homesteading, working fulltime, raising a performance dairy goat herd, and starting a retail presence?
A little background
The start of H&M Homestead began in 1988 when I, Nicholas MacDonald, started my life around horses. This desire to learn more about the marvelous creatures grew over many years of working with them. I have gone from just riding in the wagons to breaking and training horses in the Western seat. I have been trained in Western, Saddleseat, and Huntseat. The spring of 2008 is really when H&M Homestead began its existence. The name of the dream changed many times as life evolved, but the core of the dream stayed the same. This homestead began on a couple of pieces of scrap paper that turned into a full business plan. . .
In 2013, I met Robbie Hammond, we have both grown up with a strong love for animals of all shapes and sizes.
Robbie grew up raising chickens, geese, goats, and cows. He always wanted to have goats and chickens again and we have brought it to life here at H&M Homestead.
The goal at H&M Homestead is to continue growing the love for animals for people from all walks of life.
The future at the homestead is to bring horses to the homestead, be self-sufficient through gardening and renewable energy, have honey bees, and expand Two Dubs Originals Gifts & Furniture.
Why are we homesteading?
The simple answer is we love to work outdoors and we love animals.
Our goals of homesteading have slowly developed over the past five years. Prior to purchasing this property, we lived in a small cabin and had few chickens and a small garden. This quickly grew once we moved to the current location in Jonesboro, ME.
Initially, we just wanted to have a few chickens and a small garden. Then we were given a goat, Buddy, and of course, one goat can't be left alone so we got another, Jovie. On the way home from picking her up we found out she was pregnant. Two quickly turned into four. Then I thought we should get a registered goat so along came Beaten Path Sweet Pea. #AGS
Once word got out that we had goats, we had people asking if we would be interested in their goats. This led to us acquiring a couple more, Diane and Button.
As time went on, we realized that we needed to start looking for a property of our own. The search was on. We looked at a number of homes and this one felt right. Almost like someone was telling us that we needed to live here.
Once we made it through the first winter and spring came, the hard work began. We have been working to catch up on four years of work in a summer's time. We made a lot of progress while balancing kidding season with the goats. In March of 2019, we brought on Laverne, Shirley, and Blanche.
The big reason's why we have our little homestead is to grow our own food, raise quality animals, and spread the love for animals with those here or traveling through.
Why are we raising a performance dairy goat herd?
As the goat journey started both Robbie and I were not ever thinking we would get this many goats or that we would be having performance dairy goat herd. At first, we both just wanted to have a couple of pets, Buddy & Jovie.
As the love for these little creatures grew, we thought we could breed and sell the babies from Jovie if we could find a buck for her. Once she kidded in June 2018, we had Totes and Dily. We kept Totes as a buck and we got Beaten Path Sweet Pea in September 2018. Now that we got a glimpse into what having a registered doe was like, we knew that she would need to be bred to a registered buck. For Sweet Pea's first freshening she was bred to Totes, but in early 2019 we got Beaten Path Thistle. This was the beginning of the HMHomesteadMaine performance dairy goat herd.
Still at this point, we didn't think we would be doing anything too crazy. Until the summer of 2019, when I started talking with Lisa at Painted Pepper Farm and tried making a batch of goat milk soap. The soap was a success! I was asking all kinds of questions about goats and what she may have available. She ended up having three little doelings available in January of 2020, Painted Pepper FSE Dolly, Matilda "Tilly", and Girl "Girlie." #ADGA Prior to and following picking up these three little ladies, I spoke with Lisa frequently and she shared much of her knowledge and guidance with goat handling and care. Later in March of 2020, Lisa was working on downsizing her herd some and we worked out a barter agreement to build her an equine run-in shelter and pen for Painted Pepper PZ Beth & Dusk and Painted Pepper FSE LuckyStar.
Ashton, Robbie's youngest brother, came along to help with building the structure at Painted Pepper and now he has goats of his own, Painted Pepper Nailo, Phan, Cedar, and Poplar.
In just a matter of two years, we went from just have a couple of pet goats to having a herd of ADGA & AGS performance quality dairy goats.
So why are we doing this? We absolutely love our goats and the products that we can make from their milk, we aim to sell high quality dairy goats for showing and for dairy production, the local and digital community loves goats, and we want to share the love of this herd with others virtually and locally. We look forward to goat yoga, open farm days, and visiting food trucks.
Why are we building a retail presence?
Robbie and I both have had experience in retail varying from garden centers, hardware stores, clothing to home decor.
Robbie more than anything has wanted to have his own farm supply store for years. While working at a local hardware store he has learned a significant amount about retail sales and processes. In his journey of retail he has also learned a fair amount about the product buying process and how to best find what the customer is after.
I have had the desire to have a tack shop and garden center ever since I worked at a large garden center in Bangor, Maine.
With both our experience and education, we have put that together to finally start our own retail business. While this will start out online primarily, the goal is to build the retail location starting in 2021. Please join us in the journey by shopping with us.
Why are we blogging?
Reading blogs, articles, and forums have been one of the best ways to learn how to help goats when they are kidding, how to trim hooves, how to make money on a homestead, and so much more.
The goal of this blog will be to build a community that works together to share knowledge of animals and homesteading.