we’re back!

happy spring! it’s certainly very springlike here on the farm – 60 degrees and sunny one minute, and snowing sideways the next. seedlings in the greenhouse and pregnant goats in the field.

you may have noticed that our website got hosed and went down in a spray of formatting errors and 404s last year. we’re pleased to report that we’re up and running again! however, the experience of getting hacked also hosed all of our media files, and getting 15 years of photographs re-synced with 15 years worth of blog posts is, well, not going to happen. so we’re just starting fresh from here. previous posts were mostly designed as photo posts, and i’m sorry to say we’ve lost all that documentation in this format. spring is a good time for a clean slate, in any case. for a good visual representation of Sunflower River, you can also follow us on instagram.

we’ll try to post here more regularly as we move forward! you can expect to see more visual upgrades to the site rolling out now that we have the basics put back together.


goat yoga!

Is there anything more cheerful and emblematic of spring than baby goats? I’m not sure there is. So in the spirit of springtime and joy and setting down your burdens to relax into the moment, Sunflower River is bringing you: Goat Yoga!

Goat Yoga!
Sunday, April 17th at 1pm
Saturday, May 14th, 11am
with Erin Hansbrough
at Sunflower River
outdoors, bring a mat & your water bottle
(we have a few mats folks can borrow if you don’t have one!)

No yoga experience necessary, no flexibility required, and unless the day is warm, you probably won’t break a sweat. Each session is unique – goats are unpredictable! Laughter is guaranteed! You can focus on centering yourself in the face of physical distraction, take selfies with baby goats, or enjoy the sensation of stress evaporating from your body as you move completely into the moment, and surrender to the adorable experience of baby goats bouncing all around you and off your body.

Message for any questions, or to get the address! Register by contacting Erin at Pre-registration required!



Kat has a soap shop! while everybody was learning how to bake banana bread as their pandemic project last year, i was learning how to make goat’s milk soap. (well, and also how to back up a trailer, but that’s still a work in progress.) it’s twice as much chemistry (and therefore alchemy) as baking, and at least as fun as it is weird. the upshot of all this is that i have accumulated enough handmade soap to open a soap shop!  We’re on Etsy as Sunflower River Soaps, and you can also order soaps directly from me by email, text, or instagram DM.

currently available scents are:

rose vetiver
rosemary mint
calendula citrus
cedar & lemongrass

all soaps are made with our goats milk, as well as a variety of oils and plant-based colorants. full ingredients lists are in the etsy listings:


a wedding, and suddenly autumn

Last month, Sunflower River had the pleasure of hosting the wedding of our friends Victoria and Logan. It’s been some years since we’ve hosted an event like this, and it was an unexpected delight. The farm is clean and clear, with a fresh-scrubbed feel that all of us are loving – including the happy couple. The ceremony was held in our main ritual ground, a large circle under the 200 year old Grandfather Cottonwood, ringed with grapevines on trellises and fruit trees. We put on a fresh coat of mulch for the occasion, and the space looks better than ever.

The theme of the wedding was The Night Circus, and the bridal party decorated accordingly. After the ceremony, the reception was held in the fire circle, with snacks, circus performers, and games. Following this, a food truck from the Street Food Institude provided catering. Dinner was set up in a pavilion in the pasture, with an aerial performer and acrobats from Wise Fool providing entertainment.

It was an entirely lovely evening, graced with beautiful weather and a lively but mellow, fun, event. And everybody who wanted to got to visit with the baby goats.

If you have an event you think would be a good fit for our space, please reach out! We’re interested in hosting more events like this, and have plenty of space for events up to around 150 people.


turkey time!

It’s that time of year again – Sunflower River has farm-fresh turkeys available!

Our birds are cage free heritage birds, rich and juicy and, if we say so ourselves, delicious. We’re raising Narragansetts this year, a beautiful heritage bird with a lovely temperament. Birds range from 6-25 pounds dressed weight, and will cost $8/pound oven-ready, or $7/pound if you come help process. Processing will be on November 20th, from 7am-noon; we’ll schedule the details when you reserve a bird. To reserve your bird, email us at A $20 deposit holds your bird and is deducted from the final cost. It also helps us pay for feed, as they eat quite a bit as they get big!

We do not do a winter processing, so if you are interested in buying a turkey for the winter holiday of your choice, you are welcome to do so now and then freeze it for later.


bat houses

Using designs provided by our neighbor, who has had bats in her bat houses for many years, our wwoof volunteer Adam built and installed these lovely bat houses. We’re prone to naming things around here, so they are Nectar House, Agave House, and Ocotillo House. We can’t wait for bats to move in!

Also this tree in autumn is one of the best things about living here. There are a lot of best things about living here, but this tree is really that amazing.


work parties

We have four volunteers working with us on the farm for a couple months – something that hasn’t happened in quite a while. This past work party on Sunday there were 8 people on the farm for all or part of the day, and we:

  • de-mousified all the stored insulation and moved it to the cottage attic (no actual mice found, but we unbagged and examined every piece to make sure; several cockroach eggs removed)
  • added 2′ of height to the west side of the pasture fence, watched the goat ooze out of a ground-level hole while we did so, and fixed said hole
  • put goats back in a total of 5 times
  • learned that a goat can ooze
  • finished fencing the asparagus bed and also weeded it
  • finished the hay barn
  • weeded epic amounts of horse nettle around the property
  • AND Rev fixed my yurt door
  • and I pruned some elms that were leaning on the wall

Okay, so maybe learning that a goat can ooze through a hole less than a quarter the size of said goat was not really productive, per se, but it was very informative.  And after that, our volunteer Adam inspected the entire pasture fence for ground-level holes or other weaknesses that the goat could exploit.

We certainly have plenty of work days where there are only four of us, and so comparably less stuff gets done, and work days where no matter how many people we throw at it, we can’t finish a project, either due to the largeness of the project, or to delays of many kinds, or general lack of energy, or anything.  But this work party felt great, and really demonstrated the potential inherent in the work-party structure, so I thought I’d mention it.  If you are interested in coming to a work party or two, sign up for our email list!  If you click the Contact Us link in the menu, it’ll take you to the sign-up page.


racing into autumn

We have been keeping extremely busy around here since the Harvest Festival. The Festival itself was, as always, a lovely day spent in the excellent company of friends old and new. Many farm tours were had, many people met the goats, much good food was eaten, and as ever, the pie contest was a dazzling success. We always enjoy this day, which is our unoffical community-birthday party, a great deal, and this year was no exception.

Shortly after the Harvest Festival, three new interns (through wwoof and workaway) arrived on the farm, and we have been getting projects done at a dead run ever since! It’s a delight to have so many excited and engaged young people around the place and tackling our substantial summer backlog of projects.

One very notable project is the completion of our new hay barn! We’ve got goats now, so we need a place to store hay, and that place is not the inside of the existing barn, which is set up as a workshop. So Rev designed and built a long high narrow hay barn on the south side of the main barn – near the goat pen, easy to access from it, but outside of it, and a good dry spot from the weather.

this photo does not do the hay barn justice. neither does this one, but it’s more fun:

We fixed the gate that day, so they couldn’t repeat this particular stunt!

Using plans provided by my colleage Jen of Seed Broadcast, we have also built a field shelter for the goats out of all repurposed material.

It is tall enough for full-grown goats to walk under, and sturdy enough for them to walk on top of it (an important characteristic in anything that is going to be near a goat!). The frame is made of old hoop-house pieces that we had laying around, and have never once used in the garden, and some spare pro-panel roofing that was left over from another project. The three goats we currently have will all fit under it, as well. We’ll probably add another shelter if we ever expand the herd. Meanwhile, this will keep them dry in the rain in the pasture, since goats really hate being wet. They are secretly just cats with horns – which July evidenced the other day by squishing through a hole not more than 12″ wide – the goat himself being substantially wider than that, and also about 3′ tall – but he fit anyway through this small, ground-level hole he had made in the fence! This after weeks of mystery escapes multiple times every day. The field is basically goat paradise, but it’s no good; any fence is there to be crossed! Two interns and I were busy adding a couple feet of height to the west side of the field, on the premise that he was jumping out over there, when the goat dropped to his knees, oozed through the hole, and popped up on the other side happily crunching elm leaves, right in front of us. Cats with horns, I tell you.

Another of the many projects that’s gotten done in the last month is a complete rebuild of the outhouse. It was in a location that no longer quite made sense – a relic of an older configuration of our property paths, which have changed quite a bit in 12 years. It had also begun to develop a distinct list. So this summer, three of our stalwart volunteers took it apart, and then Rev rebuilt it, square to the new path, with a better foundation, more space, and an improved metal roof!

This week’s major building project is also headed up by volunteers – a second intern housing dome out back. The one we have is quite popular with interns who will be camping out, and really it’s very comfortable fancy-camping digs. We have parts donated some years ago by our friend Dave, so we are now setting up a second housing dome beside the first one. It’s still under construction, but as of this afternoon, it was looking very dome-like!

We’ll get a foundation under it and a tarp over it, and add a door like we did with the other intern dome, for easy ingress.

and because I can’t go two months without a substanive post and then not give you a gratuitious kitty picture, here’s Arisilde in repose.


three goats of our own

So, as I mentioned last month, we did buy July, the young wether (neutered male) from our friend Laura. Then a couple things happened very rapidly, and now we have three goats. We ended up with a choice between a mini-Lamancha/Nigerian dwarf cross doeling, and an alpine doeling. And we ended up choosing them both!

Meet Dulcinea, our mini:

As a miniature breed, Dulce will give less milk than her larger counterparts, but as a half-Nigerian-dwarf goat, she’ll give milk that is very high in butterfat – ie, sweet. She was disbudded on her farm of origin, so her horns will never grow in, and she must have been bottle-fed, because she is absolutely sweet as pie. As sweet as her name, in fact. She runs up to the gate to be petted whenever someone comes into the barnyard, and is very nearly as interested in pets as she is in treats, which is saying a lot for a goat. She’s tractable and responsive to human needs.

and meet Stella, our Alpine:

She’s being held by our wonderful long-term intern Adriana because we had to rescue her from inside the feeder – she somehow managed to climb in, and then got stuck. It took three of us to get her out again. Prior to that moment, she hadn’t let any of us touch her – but she was very calm stuck inside the feeder, and seemed to understand that we would help her, even if she doesn’t quite trust any of us yet under ordinary circumstances. The next day she was willing to accept weeds out of my hand, though, so I think maybe it helped! We will keep working on domesticating her. She seems interested in the idea – she watches July and Dulce intently while they interact with us. Unfortunately, July sees himself as being in charge of the herd, and he’s jealous of both food and affection, so he will butt her away from us when she comes close enough to get petted instead of him. I am going to start working with her without him in the pen, I think.

And in case you missed the instagram/facebook photo updates of me and July:


11th Annual Harvest Festival

You are invited to the 11th Annual Sunflower River Harvest Festival!

Help us celebrate our twelfth birthday as a community by coming to our Harvest Festival, an all-ages celebration of the year, the harvest, the cycles of the seasons, of friendship and family and the beauty of the world.

We’ll have a potluck, a pie-baking contest (bring a pie!)*, bobbing for apples, horseshoes, a piñata, farm tours, and an all around good time!

Feel free to bring musical instruments and start a jam!
Invite your friends and family!

Kids are very welcome, but please leave the dogs at home!

Sunflower River (address available by request; it will never be posted online, so please drop us an email if you need directions.)
1-6 pm
Monday (yes, Monday! it’s Labor Day!) September 2nd

We look forward to seeing you there!

*Entries for the pie-baking contest should be made from scratch including the crust, and should be in a clear glass pan so that the judges can see the bottom of the pie. Feel free to experiment and try new things! Never baked a pie? There’s no time like the present! First-time pie-bakers have won this contest more than once! Prizes are harvest-baskets from Sunflower River.