Well, hello there. We’re at this moment in Oregon, volunteering on farms and trying to determine if Quiet Farm wants to be born in this place. We planned to spend a month on one particular small goat dairy, but as we know from previous adventures, travel plans don’t always work out exactly as envisioned. So we ended up living in a vintage trailer (oh, the memories) for ten days here at Grassward Dairy, a micro-creamery just outside of a college town we know and love (go Beavs!).
The farmers have to cross a road twice a day to move the cows for milking.
We’ve now worked and/or volunteered on more than half a dozen farms around the world, and every single one is different. Grassward Dairy sits on about one hundred rolling acres along Mary’s River in the southern stretch of the Willamette Valley; in addition to the three milking cows, there are ducks, laying hens, beef cattle, sheep, a donkey, a llama and a rambunctious cattle dog-in-training.
Harold, on the left, and Hazelita are being raised for meat. Hand-feeding them collards and chard was one of the highlights of our time here.
Cows on their way to the barn for the evening milking.
It doesn’t always rain in Oregon.
We cleaned out the tomato and pepper plants from this 100-foot hoop house, then prepped and reseeded the beds with winter greens.
The guard llama and her flock.
Every farm is unique, and every farm’s business model is unique, too. Grassward Dairy offers a dairy CSA, which means that customers pay a fixed price each month in exchange for fresh raw milk, yogurt, cheese, butter and cream. In this agricultural part of Oregon, it’s easy to eat local just about all year.
Terry the rooster, with one of his ladies. Muscovy ducks and Florencia the guard donkey can be seen in the background.
Hattie, looking regal and proud.
Disking one of the pastures in preparation for cover cropping. While we were there, heavy rains swelled the river and flooded this pasture, among others.
The evening milking.
The more time we spend on farms, the more we know this is the right path for us. Many thanks to the team at Grassward Dairy for letting us be part of their farm family for a short time. And if you’re in the area, you can stay there too!