History of our Farm
In 2001 we started raising livestock on our farm that is located about 6 miles northwest of Dwight. We bred our own duroc pigs. We had two sows and a boar. Because we still had teens involved in FFA in High School we also had steers and heifers that we and the teens raised. The steers and heifers were shown at 4-H and FFA fairs.
Trent is a trained mechanic who started at Greenway Motors in Morris and has since moved onto Narvick Lumber where he works on the cement trucks and such. While growing up Trent spent summers on a cousin's farm where he learned farm operations.
Jackie grew up on a farm that raised angus cattle and pigs. We live there now. Jackie is a trained EMT-paramedic and works part-time at Dwight EMS while also working full-time nights as a 911 dispatcher for Grundy County Sheriff Department.
When corn prices soared we sold the pigs and for a couple of years just fed out feeder pigs that we bought from a neighboring farm. We had increased our cattle herd by breeding the heifers the teens had raised and by buying market heifers at the 4-H Fair auction.
Trent saw an article about goats and decided that would be our next venture. So we started with 3 pygmy goats. We quickly decided that we would like full size dairy goats. We purchased a couple of bred dairy goats from a farm down by Effingham. We quickly increased the herd of goats when we realized that we enjoyed interacting with the goats. All have different personalities. Some are real friendly, others are standoffish; but they all follow the bucket of feed!
We feed the goats a combination of cracked corn, cracked peas and oats. The goats are fed grass/alfalfa hay during the winter and are on pasture during the spring,summer and fall.
In 2007, we suffered a devastating fire when the barn full of animals, hay & straw, and equipment burned down. We lost half of the goat herd and all the feeder calves and a brand new John Deere “gater” that was very handy when it was time to do chores. We are still in the process of rebuilding.
In 2008, we decided to concentrate more on selling our goats for meat. We joined the Downtown Bloomington Farmers' Market. We needed a name for our farm and we chose Catalpa Gove for the grove that was planted in the timber in the 1940s. At the market we sell our goat & lamb meat, our heirloom vegetables and our goat milk soap. We started making soap because of all the milk our goats were producing.
Trent has gardening in his blood. His great-grandfather from England was an avid gardener. Trent spends hours each winter looking through the seed catalogs trying to decide what he wants to grow each year.
All of the animals are not given growth hormones and antibiotics. In 2008 we planted our own hay field.
The teens are grown and flown. We have two lively grandsons,3 & 2, who love to come and play on the farm. The oldest has already helped raise his first baby chicks. He is becoming more helpful with chores. He wants his own bucket of feed to carry and he holds the water hose to fill troughs. We hope that they decide to follow in our footsteps.
We belong to the following organizations: Buy Local, Buy Fresh, the Heartland Local Food Network and the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network.