All in all I would say that Rosasharn Farm was a great first farming experience for us! They “specialize” in raising and breeding Nigerian Pygmy goats (they have about 75 of them), as well as Great Pyrenees and Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mixes (they have about 6—and these are HUGE dogs). The first one we met was Teddy, who’s 17 and looks every bit of it. He’s a big sweetie who just wanders around and occasionally asks to be pet. In addition to all of those animals they have a precious Cavalier King Charles named Nellie, an evil Papillon that actually hisses at you when you got near it named Zeke, a handful of cats, sheep, horses, pigs, a variety of birds and a water buffalo named Bill (he was originally going to be raised for slaughter, but became their pet, or the “Farm Ambassador”). They have gardens with all sorts of fresh vegetables and wildflowers, but most of what they grow is for themselves, and the animals are really where their income comes from. Anne Peterson pretty much runs the show with the goats, and Mark is her super sweet husband who kind of takes care of the rest. Anne has four kids, three of whom live on the farm—Eleanor, Linden, Robin and the oldest Maggiana.
In the mornings, breakfast was kind of a free-for-all. John and I usually were up before everyone else, and made ourselves eggs and toast most mornings. This farm runs on a different time schedule than most, where they were usually getting up at about 8:30am, taking a decent sized break in the middle of the day, and finishing up chores late in the night. Lunch was not just your average PB&J, but freshly picked tomato and cucumber salads with fresh herbs, pasta and homemade pesto—all of which is absolutely delicious. I am not someone who typically enjoys tomatoes, but I was literally eating them like candy. The difference between a freshly picked heirloom tomato and a tomato you could get from a grocery store is mind-blowing. Dinner was usually another type of tomato and cucumber salad with pork of some sort (from one of their pigs). It’s cool to see how they can feed themselves almost every element of their meal straight from their own farm!
The first day we spent at the farm, Mark took us around and showed us what the morning chores consisted of—feeding and watering one of the pens of goats and the birds, and also feeding and watering the pigs and Bill—we did these every morning while we were there. Another chore that we ended up doing most days, was clearing out a lot of brush (thorns, vines, weeds) around their pond—we both ended up with poison ivy, but John has it all over his arms, poor guy! After we did a good amount of brush clearing, we cleaned up and drove around town a little, and visited a reservoir nearby to take pictures.
The second day we did our morning work and cleared some brush out until lunchtime, after which we went to the Ice Cream Barn and Mark bought us ice cream! We pretty much had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves after that. The next day after our morning chores, Anne let us bottle-feed some younger goats! Mark had us help him get hay from their upper barn, and showed us around the old house across the street. This house used to be a part of the farm way back in the day, along with the 67 acres that came with it. Anne and Mark are in the middle of trying to obtain that property again, to expand their 90+ acres and also to keep construction companies from building mcmansions on it. The house on that land was where an old man lived, and after he died it was pretty much left as is. The kitchen had a crazy old wood-burning stove; it had plaster walls with cool old wallpaper on them, and was literally just like you walked into your grandparent’s childhood home.
That afternoon we went a few towns over to visit Warren, RI, which was about 20 minutes away from where we were in Rehoboth, MA. Warren is a quaint New England town on the bay, with a lot of cute little houses and one little main street. We ended up hanging around in The Coffee Depot, where John edited some pictures and I wrote thank you notes for a few hours. We wandered around looking at the houses for a while and visited some antique stores then made our way back to the farm. When we got back, John worked on putting a new pump on Penny’s sink, and I painted my toenails and wrote a little bit about what we had been doing on the farm thus far.
Thursday and Friday were very similar days; we did some chores and hung around. We did our laundry and put it out to dry on Penny, only to wake up at 6am to the sound of rain all over our mostly dry clothes! On Friday around 9pm, Mark found us and told us that a goat had just given birth! We ran down and saw these 2 precious little tiny goats, already standing on their wobbly legs and making the cutest sounds you’ve ever heard. Anne let us hold them and it was just the best! They were already such perfect little goats! It was dark out we definitely had to go back the next day to get some good pictures of them! We went back to the Ice Cream Barn for a last hoorah and said goodbye to the family since they were leaving early the next morning for a goat show.
I would certainly say that this was a good first farm for us, since we’re not entirely interested in being farmers. It was pretty much what we wanted out of the experience—time to spend with the family, delicious food, a million animals (and kitties!), a few chances to get some real farming experience and a good amount of free time to explore and relax a little. Anne and Mark were such good hosts to us, and by the end it kind of felt like we had been there forever. I can’t wait to see how each farm differs from the next, but for now we’re both pretty satisfied with our first experience! We don’t go to our next farm until Saturday the 29th, so for now we’re in Boston and going to slowly make our way up to Maine from there! Wish us luck on our week on our own!
Also, here are some photos from Providence, RI, where we stopped for dinner before arriving to the farm!