Place of Residence: Shenandoah Valley, VA
Background and Personal History: I grew up on a small farm in a poor coal mining community where I was taught the value of hard work. I became mysteriously sick at the age of 21. Having a dream of being a wife and homemaker, that became my career. During my “sick years” we homeschooled and gardened in between days in bed. After 14 years and much frustration, we finally, through a miracle, figured out that I was allergic to chemicals in the Ohio Valley. We moved and I began to get better. It has been one step at a time but we have learned some very valuable lessons to share with others including the value of chemical-free air, food, and water. Having recently finished homeschooling my last child, I find myself spending more time farming and educating others about how to eat to recover the lost years and preserve the health of the next generation.
Current Projects: Raising Once-A-Day Family-Sized Milk Cows. We are very proud of our Jerseys with grazing genetics. They thrive on grass and have not been purposely bred in a way that makes them easy to hand-milk. They are a line of old foundation Jerseys that are raised on real milk for four months. (Did you know that most of our dairy calves are now raised on formula?!) Four months of real milk allows proper rumen development so they can thrive on grass and live a long full life. Our cows are bred to avoid the typical scourges of the average milk cow including mastitis, ketosis and milk fever. The vet is only at the farm for pregnancy checks, routine care and injuries — an infrequency unheard of on typical dairy farms. We also have a passion to educate others about A2 milk and breed for A2/A2 genetics. A1 is a genetic mutation that the majority of milk cows carry and has been linked to several health issues including heart disease, autism and type 1 diabetes. I am currently working on two training DVD’s about the care and training of the family milk cow that will be available in the spring of 2013. We also offer what we call Milking School at the farm a couple of times a year where we cover hand milking, caring for, feeding and training a family cow, and also making butter and a soft cheeses.
Grass fed beef is one of our farm projects also. We raise our steers on real food, not formula and feed free-choice kelp, Redmond natural trace mineral salt and other supplements. We use only natural wormer and no chemicals of any kind are given unless absolutely necessary — which is hardly ever.
Other Fun Facts: I started a local debate club, which has produced several national winners and is still going strong 10 years later. I did a three-day Mother-Daughter Retreat for 6 years after my daughter got married because I realized that time spent with my daughter was precious and I wanted to facilitate that between other mothers and daughters. I also do a seminar once a year called “Health Notes” where I share the latest health discoveries I have made. I am the President of a local Back Country Horsemen chapter. BCHA works as a liaison between equestrians and the public lands to preserve and maintain the rights of equines in the public trail system by linking arms with other user groups and helps with maintenance and preservation of trails. I also enjoy hiking and am an avid reader.
Because of my chemical allergies, we purchased a home built just after the Civil War and made with real wood. We are remodeling it ourselves using all chemical-free products, and we heat with both geothermal (which provides our a/c as well) and burn wood that falls in the storms or washes up in the river on our property during our annual flood. Now we know what people mean when they used to say, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!” as we have to cross the water every time we come and go to our beautiful hollow.
Find Me on the Web: MistyMorningFarmVa.com
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