Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homestead Highlight: Sonja

My greatest inspiration in my own backyard farming adventure has been to hear the experiences of others. I invite you to read along here as Homesteaders share their adventures and experiences from their own farms, backyards, and homes.
Want to be featured as a Homestead Highlight? I would love to hear about your experience. For more information follow the link to the information page and share your own homestead here at the Backyard Farming Connection! 
With the start of the New Year, I am looking for a few new homesteads for the coming week, so please let me know if you are interested in sharing your story here! 
Today I welcome Sonja to this space

My name is Sonja Twombly. My husband, Sean and I live with our 2 teenage daughters in Coastal Maine. Together, we are building Lally Broch Farm, our homestead and growing small farm business. It is not easy. Anyone with any experience in farming large or small can tell you that. But, it is the very best way we have found to live.

You can follow along with Sonja at Lally Broch Farm

 In some ways, our story is probably like many of yours; a young family, working two full-time jobs in this uncertain economy, trying to make ends meet. What started with us thinking it might be fun to try to grow some of our own fruits and vegetables on our small 4 acre +/- slice of land has become a journey into really providing for ourselves.  It’s changed how we view the food we eat, what it is made of, where it came from, and how it was handled. It opened our eyes to terms like “GMOs” and “battery hens”. It led to our first getting mad, and then, determined. These changes have not happened overnight. This journey we’re on is still in progress. But, “when you know better, you do better”.  We want to do better.

 It would take too long to write about how we decided to add different kinds of animals to our homestead. I can say that at the beginning it was less a plan and more a pattern of animals coming into our lives just when they needed us or we needed them the most. Our eldest daughter, Caitlin (grown and married now) wanted to purchase Jasmine, the horse she learned to ride on, from the folks who owned and were selling her after 7 years. That was before Sean and I wed. The kids and I lived in-town in a modest home with a modest yard. Keeping a horse there was just impossible. But, we’re not the sort to give up easily. At 14 years, Caitlin got a part time job and worked off part of her horse’s boarding with a neighbor, who had a barn, pastures, and horses of their own. When Sean married us, he helped Caitlin fence off some pasture at his home and we built our first stable.

 Then came the goats. We purchased Jedidiah to be a companion for Jasmine and as a pet for our middle daughter, Kristen. We purchased Asher to be a companion for Jedi and so that our youngest daughter, Meaghan was not left behind. That brought the count to 1 horse and 2 goats.

The years passed; nearly five of them to bring us here. “Wouldn’t fresh eggs be convenient?” Sean and I thought. We answered an ad for 4 free hens. Caitlin saw a sign for “free hens” and we added 8 more. Last year we hatched our own chicks for the first time. Now, we have more than 50 chickens roosting in our lives. “Ducks!” suggested Sean. “No!” said I. Thirteen of the little quackers have a hold tight on my heart. The 2 geese were thrown in as a gift when we purchased our ill-fated demon-llama. The old stable came down, a new barn was framed. Chicken coops and tractors designed, built, and revised. We decided that if we were going to have goats, it might be nice to have some does. We learn some about as often as we win some. You can read about and laugh along with these adventures in our blog. ( We hope you will.

 This will be our first official year opened for business. We’re expanding our gardens. We hope to sell CSA shares for fruits, vegetables, and eggs. We learned to make soap and cheese. We’re adding fiber bunnies and turkeys this year. Our growth has more of a planned direction to it, certainly.

I didn’t know that this would be my life 5 years ago. How can you predict finding yourself exactly on the road you were born to travel? It is full of back-aching work and fantastic rewards. There are losses and gains. We hope that you will join us for this journey; no road is long with good friends at your side.


  1. What a wonderful blog....LOVE it!! <3

  2. I have been following Sonja's blog for a while now and it is one of my absolute favorites! I just love her blog and I'm so happy to see her family moving toward their goals. So nice to see this feature and learn a little more about their journey! Way to go, Sonja and Sean! :)

  3. Im so proud of you mom!

  4. What a neat post! I'll be checking Sonja out for sure!

    Thanks for sharing at the Farmgirl Friday Blog Fest today!

  5. Thanks for sharing, it's nice to see so many others who care about the quality of their food and are doing something about it!