To explain the farm, I have to first explain the ranch. A mostly-wild chunk of land in South Nevada County bordering the Bear River, the ranch was purchased by my great grandparents, circa 1922, from some Italian immigrants who were trying to make a go at farming olives and grapes. For whatever reason the Italians gave up, but the olives and the grapes are still here, though they’ve gone a little feral. My great grandparents never lived here full-time, but they built a small cabin on the property, and my grandfather spent a lot of time here as a kid. Likewise my own dad didn’t grow up here, but spent nearly every summer here. Fast forward to the 1970s, my parents and their friends took over a part of the ranch and built their wacky houses on it. I did grow up here, along with my sister and our ‘godbrother’ (not a real thing, I know, but that’s what he is!). Other relatives moved onto other parts of the ranch, aunts and uncles and cousins. The total acreage of the ranch today is something like 50, and there are six houses on it. Six little homesteads. Mine is one (one of the bigger ones).
Gina is my neighbor on the Ranch. She lives across the hollow from me in a beautiful, wacky house. She is my partner in keeping goats which we are learning about together. She has experience keeping rabbits in the past, I have experience with horses, and we both have chickens, so we’re not total beginners in animal husbandry but there you go. Also, because she’s a Master Gardener, she gives me lots of advice about my organic garden, and we share a love of cooking and homesteading type projects.
As we will be breeding and selling Nigerian Dwarf goats and having a small dairy together, we decided to name our shared endeavor Henge and Hollow farm. Future goats will have that name in their pedigree. The name is derived from the two little dirt roads that run on the ranch, and are also descriptive of the landscape here. ‘Henge’ refers to the sacred, ancient oaks that inhabit our forests. ‘Hollow’ refers to the deep creek hollow that runs through the property.
Although we aren’t farming to market (yet), I think that is something we both would like to do someday, in one form or another. One thing I know for sure, we’re both a little obsessive, and when we decide we want to do something, well…. So stay tuned for wild ideas and crazy schemes, there are bound to be a few!