Kat Ludlam, High-Altitude Homesteader and Fiber Mill Owner | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Read all of Kat’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

Occupation: Homesteader, homeschooling mother, and educator at Willow Creek Farm

Residence: High Plains of Colorado

Background: Kat Ludlam has long been passionate about family, animals, writing, and teaching. She attended Colorado State University, where she studied Equine Science, and earned her Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification through NARHA — now Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International, –in 1999. She married her high school sweetheart, Daniel, and they began building a family together.

As Kat’s and Daniel’s children were born, Kat left her budding career to focus completely on her family. Homeschooling her children became her priority. Since she was now at home full-time, she desired to have a homestead where they could raise healthy food to feed their growing family. Daniel and Kat had always loved living at 7,500 feet altitude in the beautiful Rockies of Colorado. As they began their homestead, however, they found that the altitude and climate made learning to homestead more difficult. It affected everything from the obvious things like gardening, to the much less obvious things like hatching. These challenges were not highly documented and finding sources to learn about how to be successful homesteading at altitude was nearly impossible. So, Kat decided to start a blog, documenting the adventures, successes, and failures that their family faced as they learned through trial and error how to successfully homestead in the Rockies.

Willow Creek Farm was born. Kat and Daniel started with a vegetable garden, meat rabbits, and laying hens. Over their 14 years of homesteading at high-altitude, they also raised cows for dairy and meat, dairy goats, meat chickens, and sheep for wool, milk, and meat, along with the livestock guardian dogs needed to protect their animals from the many predators the Rockies house. Kat expanded her gardening skills to include not only vegetables, but fruits and both kitchen and medicinal herbs as well as seed saving. She preserves food through canning, freezing, dehydrating, root cellaring, and smoking. And she makes all types of dairy products and cheeses with the milk from their livestock. Kat’s and Daniel’s main goal is to feed their family as much as possible from their own property, while selectively breeding their livestock and plant varieties to perform well in their climate.

Through the years, sheep have become the hoof-stock focus of Willow Creek Farm. Daniel and Kat and all their children enjoy the personality of sheep and the fiber arts. They love using the wool from their sheep to spin, knit, crochet, weave, and felt items for their family and gifts. In 2017, they opened their dream business, Willow Creek Fiber Mill, and began custom processing alpaca, wool, angora, and exotic fibers into roving and yarn for their customers. While Daniel handles most of the mill work, Kat enjoys filling her days with homeschooling their five children, running Willow Creek Farm, and teaching others about homesteading through her writing.

In 2021 Kat and her family moved from the high-altitude Rockies to the High Plains of Colorado and have started to build a new homestead and bring new life to a 30-acre property.  They raise, breed, and sell specialty wool sheep, milk sheep, Nubian goats, ducks, and chickens.  And they continue to focus on feeding their family and livestock from the land.   

Connect with Kat at 
Willow Creek Farm to learn about homesteading and check out her and Daniel’s custom fiber-processing business, Willow Creek Fiber Mill.