Welcome! We are so happy you have decided to join us on our journey!
I'm Kim and Sapphire Winds Farm is the dream of my husband, Shane, and myself. A few years ago, we decided that we were ready to move out of the city into a more rural community and live a more natural and self-sustaining life. In 2016 we found the perfect property for us in Ramah, Colorado - located in eastern Elbert County. Our original plan was to purchase a 5-10-acre property within an hour from my employment in Denver. But instead we found a 60-acre property 1.5 hours from my job! We fell in love with the place though and knew this was the one for us.
However, this meant totally changing our initial plans. What were we going to do with 60 acres? The land had ag status - we had not planned for that - what did we have to do to keep the ag status on the land? Sure, eventually we wanted to have couple of cows, maybe some chickens and pigs, and Shane always wanted goats. But now we had to do it sooner rather than later? Okay - I've never shied away from a challenge - we can do this!
To retain ag status, we found that the property must be either producing agricultural products or being used to graze livestock. The only thing our land is really suited to growing in large amounts is hay, and we were not jumping into being hay farmers right away! So, livestock it would be. From the county: “Qualifying livestock must graze the majority of the property and are defined as domestic animals used as food for human or animal consumption, breeding, draft, or profit. This may include cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, yaks, buffalo, and breeding equine. The grazing and boarding of pleasure horses does not qualify as ranching use.”
We started researching our options. We planned for this to help replace Shane’s construction income in the future, but also need to keep our day jobs in the meantime. Cattle were too much for us to jump into at this time. Several of our neighbors have alpacas, so we wanted something different. Goats looked like a good option - but what kind? Meat goats? No - Shane is a huge animal lover and could not stomach the thought of raising cute little goats just to have to send them to slaughter later. Milk goats? We both have day jobs and like to camp - we couldn't commit to milking every 12 hours, every day.
Then I discovered the wonderful world of fiber animals. Angora goats seemed to be just the ticket. Easier to take care of than other goat breeds? Check. Even if we breed, mothers only produce enough milk for their babies, so no milking to worry about? Check. And finally - one site on raising Angora goats quoted "perfect for the part time rancher" - double check - that is us! This was something we could start small with and expand over time. We also needed guard animals. I'm not really much of a dog person. After a lot of research, we settled on llamas - also fairly easy to keep and great for guarding goats. Plus - bonus! - we could expand the fiber operations to include llama!
In addition to all of this, I also already had plans to launch a handmade soap business from our new home and finally turn my photography hobby into a viable business. So now we had acreage to maintain, a home that needs some renovations, outbuildings that need built, animals to raise, businesses to launch and a whole lot of learning curves coming up very fast!
So, here we are one and a half years later. We're pretty well settled into the new home, but the learning curves are coming pretty regularly. This blog is the start of the next phase of this journey. Here I will share updates on the various businesses, our adventures into goat and llama raising, and share fun stuff from our days on the farm. There might be recipes, funny stories, cool stuff we've learned, or who knows what. Whatever it is, I hope you find it entertaining!
BTW – here is a so-so picture of me taken recently on the ranch sporting my Kubota cap about to get down to ranch business. I hate pictures of myself, but working on getting over that in 2018! #sapphirewindsfarm #homesteading