Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Maggidan's Minis Animal Farm



My family has taken an interest in farm animals since we are in the process of creating SHAPE Eco Farm. Our farm is a family project and has a goal of sustainability. Since we want to leave as many trees standing as possible, miniature animals just seemed to fit in with what we are doing. Surprisingly, we met Dan Dawson at the postage office and then set up a trip to Dan Dawson and Maggie Leman’s farm called Maggidan’s Minis. Their main focus is Pygmy Goats, but they also have a few Giant Flemish rabbits. As you will see below, the rabbits are worthy of such a name.


Maggie and Dan have been raising Pygmy Goats since 1992 and they are registered with The National Pygmy Goat Association or NPGA for short. They started showing their Pygmy Goats that same year at the North Carolina State Fair and have some champion goats as a result.

Maggidan’s Minis Website  http://www.maggidans.com 

07-IMG_1997  12-IMG_2001

Dan had to chase down the Flemish Giant so my brother could pet it. Joshua’s ambition at our farm is to raise rabbits. He will probably start out with a smaller breed, but it gives him something to work towards.




Flemish Giants

 17-IMG_2009 18-IMG_2014




Pygmy Goats are social animals and should be kept in groups. Failing to do so could result in a stressed goats and an awful lonesome one too. There are a few things to keep in mind before you dash off to buy one. First, (and very wise step) be sure that livestock are allowed in your city limits. You may rationalize that they are pets, but your neighbors or home owner associations may believe other wise. Second, protection, protection, protection. If you have animals, predators will come and it is best to take necessary action. Also important is providing good quality hay even though grain is the easier route think of it as candy and not the main dish. Mineral supplements are also needed just like we require vitamins from our diets or in a supplement form.

Once you get the basics covered, you can enjoy your new pets. They supply healthful high butterfat milk for those who want to try their hand at it. As a matter of fact, Dan Dawson invented a hand-milking device. The goat’s milk can used for baking and even soap making. If you’ve been wanting a farm animal, but want a smaller breed, you may want to look into raising some Pygmy Goats.


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Start of a New Adventure, SHAPE Eco Farm is Born


My family has begun a new endeavor. The creation of a sustainable farm where we will live, offer classes, workshops, and experience homesteading. Everyone has dreams, goals, and ambitions, but what if those dreams actually happened. What if the future became brighter because you decided to step out in faith. When we act on a dream, we never know what will happen. We may face uncertainty and fears, but how can we be successful unless we try? Once we take that initial step, the succeeding ones become easier. My seminary teacher used a simple illustration. She said faith is like a flashlight. The beam is short and we must take one step at a time, but as we follow that light it will lead us safely to the other side.

Being a city girl, I never dreamed of actually starting a farm. Let me repaint what you typically see as a farm. It is not a clear pasture land with just animals or a monoculture of row crops. It is a 5 acre piece of land with a home for our family of 5 and a barn. We will be starting a garden and we’ve already started a fruit orchard. We will be raising chickens and rabbits. We are not farmers and are definitely not pros at this, but we want to help out the community by offering a place where kids and adults can experience a taste of a farm with a more urban approach.


Our home was not built on site. It was brought in on wheels. Yes, you heard that right. Our home was made in a factory. Not your typical picture of home construction. It is a modular home brought by truck in three sections. Each section is lifted by crane and sat on a foundation. It is not a task to be taken lightly and by no means a stress free experience. To see your home flying through the air is one of those once in a life time experiences.


Our home was moved by a “House Tug”. It was a remote controlled gizmo that maneuvered our home up a steep driveway. It did get stuck in the clay and had to be moved by crane.


To get the trailer up the driveway, the workmen laid out boards.


It was a tight fit and it seemed to be with not an inch to spare.


Up, up, and away! The second section was lifted up even higher than the first. It then had to be spun all the way around so it would be going in the right direction.


With the plastic drawn back, you can see right inside the house.


Section number two being laid down. The last section was my brother and sisters bedroom.


Our home is on the foundation and as you will notice the door is very high. We had to use a ladder to get in!


My brother and I got to sit in the crane that took our home for a spin.


The view of our front porch.


They covered our home to end the day. The tarp is necessary until they pop up the roof and complete the work. Yes, the roof literally pops up. That is the neat part of a modular home. More is yet to come!